top of page

Saunders Memorial is committed to loving God and serving its community. Our greatest desire is for all to experience God’s unconditional love through meaningful worship and community outreach.  We strive to strengthen our understanding of God and how He has uniquely created us, so we may walk in the fullness of God’s Divine Purpose for our lives. Come join us on the journey! We are a church with open minds, open hearts and open doors. All are Welcome! Whosoever Will, Come! 

Our History

   In 1948, under the leadership of Bishop George Wilber Baber the Fourth Episcopal District, Michigan Conference launched "The Expansion Drive". In April, 1950, a Charter Member of Saunders Memorial A.M. E. Church, wrote to Rev. Carlyle F. Stewart, asking why there was no AME Church in his community. Rev. Stewart shared the letter with Presiding Elder David A. Blake, who in turn, contacted the letter-writer.

   This correspondence served as the genesis of Saunders Memorial, one of the first ventures of "The Expansion Drive".  Negotiations for the property located at the corner of Mack and Pennsylvania Avenues began in the summer of 1950, by the Rev. J. A. Aiken, Founder and first Pastor of Saunders. The Conference Attorney, Mr. H.L. Dudley, handled all legal transactions with information furnished by Rev. Aiken. Bishop Baber gave very close support to every move made in the negotiations. Saunders was named in honor of the late Rev. John W. Saunders, who was one of the outstanding pastors, presiding elders, and leaders of the Conference and Connection. Pastor Aiken and the Congregation of Saunders Memorial AME Church held their first service at 4209 Pennsylvania Avenue, the home of Charter Members, Mr. and Mrs. Henley C. Smith. Saunders had a membership of twenty-two on October 22, 1950. The First Officers of the Church were: Stewards: Mr. Paul Perkins, Mr. Charles L. Warren, Mr. Hugh E. Smith, Mr. John Kelly, Mrs. Mary E. Webb, Mr. Preston Davis, and Mr. Charles Saxton. Trustees: Mr. Theodore Van Buren, Mr. O.T. Murray, Mr. Elliott Rice, Mr. Curtis Harden, Mr. J.B. Montgomery, Mr. Eugene Lester, and Mr. Henry P. Talbert.  Mr. Clarence Bradley was the first Church Treasurer.


Bishop John F. White and Pastor Joelynn present the Man of the Year Award to Bros. Curtis Harden, founding member and trustee of Saunders Memorial (2018)

   On Sunday, December 17, 1950, at 9:00am the Congregation marched in procession from Mr. and Mrs. Smith's home to their new Church edifice located at 3542 Pennsylvania Avenue.  At 9:30am the first Sunday School Session was held and at 11:00am was the Holy Communion Worship Service. A General Fellowship Service was held at 3:30pm with the Opening Address given by Bishop G. W. Baber. At 7:30pm the Organized Lay of the Michigan Conference held their meeting. For four years Rev. J. A. Aiken and his wife, Mrs. Mamie L. Aiken, labored earnestly to assure Saunders Memorial AME Church served as a credit to God, the Community, and the Conference. Having served faithfully, Pastor Aiken was elevated to Presiding Elder and Rev. Handley A. Hickey was appointed to pastor Saunders Memorial.


   Subsequent pastoral appointments to Saunders Memorial include Reverends: Dr. Cecil W. Cone**, Gerald Haden, Carl Fuqua, Wesley Whorden, Edgar Vann, Sr. (Presiding Elder), Albert Preston, Lloyd Jenkins,  Isaac Clarington, Andre Spivey, Dwayne Gary, Dr. Cecelia Green Barr and Joelynn T. Stokes, Esq.

Revised from history written by Eva Murray circa 1955


Rev. Joelynn is pastor of Saunders Memorial AME Church in

Detroit. She serves as 2nd Vice President for the Connectional AME Women In Ministry and as General Counsel for the 4th Episcopal District of the AME Church.

Prior to calling her into the ministry, God began preparing

Joelynn for His service directing her to deepen her spiritual

knowledge. Being obedient, she obtained a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, with a concentration in Biblical Studies, from the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Rev. Joelynn Bio

Come Worship with Us!

Service begins at 11am Sunday Morning

Saunders AME .jpg

 Saunders in the Community  @ Hutchison Howe delivering back  packs and  school supplies to students.


3542 Pennsylvania St, Detroit, MI 48214, USA

(313) 921-8111

Your details were sent successfully!

Contact Us
bottom of page