LOMAX A.M.E. ZION CHURCH was organized on June 12, 1866, in Freedom’s Village located in Arlington Heights, which is now Arlington National Cemetery. During the Civil War, Negroes migrated to Washington from Maryland and Virginia in such great numbers that the U.S. Government made provisions for housing and security. General Robert E. Lee forfeited the land to the Federal Government and, by order of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, set aside this land as home for “freedmen,” Many of our forefathers became self-sufficient by securing jobs as barbers, teamsters, servants, and farmers.
A handful of stalwart Christians organized Wesley Zion Church under the leadership of Reverent Richard Thompkins. The following persons were charter members of the church organization: Peter H. Jackson and William Marshall, Local Preachers; Elious Plummer, Henry Swanigan, Isaac Wood, Daniel Hogan, Trustees; David Boyd, Class Leader, William Springsteen Secretary; and John Wells, Cornelius Young, Thomas Simms, Nicholas Snow, Henry Jackson, Mary Young, Eliza Hogan, Eliza Boyd, Rebecca Plummer, Mrs. Smith, Jane Oskins, and Eliza Thomas.
For some time, the congregation worshipped in Freedmen’s Village, until they began to scatter to other locations. Many settled in this part of the country, which was known as Camp Distribution and later as Convalescent Camp. Prayer meetings and regular services were held in the homes of Mrs. Ann Jones and Mr. Henson Thompson, until Mrs. Jones made available to them a small frame building on her property, and the first church home was established, in which Miss V. Thompkins (daughter of Reverend Richard Thompkins) taught school. In 1984, the congregation led by Reverend Granderson Mitchell, purchased land for a permanent home. This present site was selected by the late Wallace Boswell, whose honored remains now rest in a hollowed spot at the front of this church. Mr. Boswell was affectionately called “neighbor” by the members of this community.
On August 8, 1874, the first payment of $5.00 (provided by Reverend L. Granderson Mitchell and Mrs. Julia Swanigan) was paid on this property toward the purchase price of $75.00. The last payment was made on February 29, 1876. At that time, the church was called Little Zion A.M.E. Zion Church.
Reverend Granderson Mitchell was followed in succession by Reverend J. Watters, R.R. Johns, A.J. Hollard, J. Saunders, and A.C. Washington, C.C. Perkins, T.G. Campbell, M.M. Bell, W.R. Wright, G. Bosley, T. Jenkins, B.H. Freeman, W.R. Smith, L. Clayton, W.L. Holland, A. Washington, A. Hannam, W. Alexander, J. Green, C. Madox, J.A. Jones, J. Lee, A. Day, N.H. Williams, J. A. Rusell, J. Swann, R. Nelson, C. Wye, and S.S. Swann.
In 1887, the cornerstone was laid for the second chapel under the leadership of Reverend J.S. Waters. Mr. Tibbit Allen Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The building was completed in 1889 and was called Lomax Chapel of the A.M.E. Zion Church. The church continued to grow spiritually, financially, and in membership. Lomax Chapel was the center of all interests in the community.
Lomax AME Zion Church’s Pastors from 1887to2014Reverend Waters was succeeded by Reverend William Fierce, Reverend Killingsworth, Reverend William H. Taylor, Reverend J.J. Robinson, Dr. Henry J. Callis, Reverend Thomas 0. Diggs, Reverend Jackson A. Browne, Reverends W.A.C. Kelly and F. Claude Spurgeon, Reverend Henry Hampton Sink, Reverend Arthur W. Walls, Sr., Reverend William M. Patterson, Reverend Louis Hunter, Sr., Dr. Cameron W. Jackson, Reverend Joseph E. Lamb, Sr., Reverend Dr. Gary W. Bums, Reverend Fredrick B. Massey, Sr.,and Reverend Samuel W. Whittaker.
Reverend Doctor Adrian V. Nelson,II was appointed to the Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church in June 2018 embracing more love and much emphasis placed on spirituality and discipleship. Under his leadership, Reverend Nelson statement to Lomax is “the Best Is Yet To Come”.