1869 - 2004
2004 - Present
“We believe making history is just as important as studying history.”
● Established in 1869, Antioch-Lithonia is one of the oldest, if not the oldest church, established by African-Americans, in Lithonia and Dekalb County. In 1869 twelve faithful members spent $2.50 to build a bush arbor on Highway No.12 (now Covington Highway).
● In 1871 three acres of land were purchased for $150.00 and the first permanent sanctuary was constructed for $800.00.
● Reverend John C. Center, the first moderator of the Atlanta Baptist Association, pastored from 1870 until 1875.
● A stone structure was erected in 1911. The cut stones from the nearby quarries costs fifteen cents each. The structure owned by Good News CME church is a Lithonia landmark.
● Reverend Adams Daniels Williams, the maternal grandfather of Dr. Martin Luther King, pastored from 1893 until 1924.
● Rev. Joseph Thomas Dorsey, the cousin of Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of gospel music, pastored from 1925 until 1943. He was known far and wide for his extraordinary preaching ability.
● During the decades of the fifties, sixties and seventies, Antioch-Lithonia was very active in the civil rights movement. Many NAACP meetings were held at the church and many of the members attended the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
● In March of 1995, Pastor James C. Ward arrived with contagious energy and excitement as he cast a vision to elevate the congregation to the next level of success. The congregation eagerly caught the vision and rapid paradigm shifts occurred.
● In October 2004, Antioch-Lithonia entered a new era with exciting expectations signified by the relocation to the present site at 2152 Rock Chapel Road.
● In 2019, the members of Antioch-Lithonia celebrated the sesquicentennial anniversary with many memorable events, which included: a formal concert honoring deceased members, featuring the debut of a commissioned work entitled, The Heritage Hymn; a gospel concert; a full production dramatic stage play entitled, Bent but Not Broken; the construction of a replica of the original brush arbor; the ordination of ten deacons; and the ordination of six ministers.
● For more than a century and a half Antioch-Lithonia has served the city of Lithonia, Dekalb County, the State of Georgia, the United States of America, and the entire world by promulgating the gospel of Jesus Christ and by ministering to the needs of many individuals as God has granted vision and opportunity.
● Each past generation served with purposeful prayer, powerful, dynamic preaching, exuberant worship, pertinent ministry, and practical Christian education. The present church members are following this stellar tradition.
● Antioch-Lithonia will continue to serve as a beacon of light and as a dispenser of hope until Jesus burst through the clouds to “rapture up” His bride.