Hunter Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded, and organized in 1897 under the name “African Methodist Mission Church”. This early congregation emerged as a result of the desire of the African-American community in Suitland, Maryland, to have a church of its own. The original members and founders were Mr. Harper, Mr. Butler, and Mrs. Ann Lynn. Before these individuals decided to form a church,
they met regularly in the home of Mr. Harper where they conducted prayer
meetings and other spiritual events. His home was located on what is now
Dupont Avenue in Suitland, just blocks away from where the church formerly
worshiped. Hunter’s first pastor was Rev. Batters. Records indicated that the
congregation desperately struggled to obtain property they could use for
worship. A judge Cox, recognizing their need for a regular place of worship
donated an old shed on some property in Suitland. In 1910, the church was
officially named “Hunter Memorial”, and applied for, and was admitted into
the Baltimore Annual Conference that same year. There is no record revealing
who Hunter was, and why the church was named after him/her. Several
attempts have been made to discover this historic information, but to no avail.
However, some speculate that it was the name of Presiding Elder Hunter who
officiated during this period.In 1929, the church leaders began to evangelize the community to increase the membership. As the membership increased, it became apparent the little red shed was inadequate. Therefore, the shed was leveled and abandoned. An acre of land obtained by the members became the new site for Hunter Memorial (which became its permanent location until April of 2001). In 1932, the Rev. H. J. Curtis came to Hunter with a vision to build a new church. The members worked diligently with him to construct a new edifice. Mrs. Ann (Mother Lynn) Lynn was very faithful in coming to the church early before service to make fires in the winter, and ring the church bell before the services would start. Her daughter, Serena Lynn Hawkins, was faithful in giving concerts to help support the church financially.The ensuing twenty years was a continual struggle to keep the church alive. The 1930’s and 40’s were not good years financially, and while the small group had faith and zeal, the economic climate was a formidable foe. Successive pastors struggled courageously to keep the church going. Sadly, it was in 1952, under the leadership of the Rev. Jesse Simms the church closed its doors due to demographic and economic barriers.
In 1958, a young, eager and determined minister, the Rev. Leon G. Lipscombe, was assigned to reopen and rebuild the church. He built the original building in which the church worshiped. Following Rev. Lipscombe was a Rev. Mark Green who stayed for one year.In 1968, Rev. George A. Manning was assigned to lead the congregation. With dedication and hard work, Rev. Manning was able to overcome the fact that he only had twelve members. With a few of the men, he worked at night to complete the painting and plastering of the interior walls of the building that Rev. Lipscombe started. He worked on Saturdays and holidays to clear the entangled vines, weeds, and debris that surrounded the church building. Within the first year of his tenure, the membership doubled.Another challenge for Rev. Manning was the fact that the Sunday School was under the leadership of the Suitland Civic Association. After much prayer, in 1969, Rev. Manning moved the Sunday School from the Civic Association into the church. Unfortunately, this move was not supported by the Civic Association, and many of the Sunday School workers did not align themselves with the church. Undaunted, Rev. Manning reorganized the Sunday School, and it began to flourish.Over the next ten years, because of the continued growth in membership, Rev. Manning found it necessary to add on to the present church. A multi-purpose hall, five classrooms, a commercial kitchen, and brick veneer facelift was added. During this period the church grew to over five hundred families. After twenty years of pastoring, Rev. Manning was elevated to the position of Presiding Elder.
"...they met regularly in the home of Mr. Harper where they conducted prayer meetings and other spiritual events."
In 1988, the Rev. Michael O. Thomas and the Rev. Debyii
Sababu-Thomas were appointed to serve Hunter Memorial. This ministerial team brought a level of energy and charisma that propelled the ministry forward to new levels of community involvement and church growth. Under their leadership, Hunter acquired a lease for a new facility located at 4719 Silver Hill Road in Suitland. In October 2000, Bishop Vinton R. Anderson appointed Rev. Harold B. Hayes, Jr. to the historic Hunter Memorial. Rev. Kellie Hayes joined her husband in this spiritual adventure to continue the vision of their predecessors.
Under the leadership of Rev. Hayes, Hunter has completed renovations of the newly acquired property and purchased the entire shopping plaza that housed the church developing it as Kingdom Power Plaza. The ministry also acquired a 25-passenger bus, and renovated a dilapidated pawnshop into the beautiful and elegant Koinonia Banquet hall, debt-free!
Continuing their debt-free legacy, the Hayes sold Kingdom Power Plaza and purchased 11 acres of land, a new building, while also being able to renovate the building without loans. Just as Abram was led by God to a new land, so is the congregation and under a new name inspired by God. On March 4, 2018 the congregation began a new God journey in Upper Marlboro as Real Power AME.
The leadership is optimistic about the future. Dedicated to building kingdom people and advancing the kingdom of God through prayer, the ministry of the word, praise, worship, giving, and serving.