History
 
     In May of 1985, Reverend Barbara J.  Anthony felt the calling of God through His Spirit to begin a new work. She spoke with Reverend David E. Mitcham, former pastor of Oak Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church, and he gave his unconditional support. Mitcham Chapel is named in his honor thus making Oak Grove the mother church. Reverend Anthony, as well as some members of Mitcham’s congregation, began in Oak Grove.
     Reverend Anthony initially put together demographic material pertaining to the Black population in the city of Oak Park, Michigan. She located Blacks by census tracts block groupings, and finally, she located Blacks by street. The 1980 census bureau information reported a total  population in Oak Park of 36,750, of that number 3,814 were Black. At that time Oak Park was a city in transition and Blacks were rapidly relocating to the city. However, a look at the city’s churches did not offer sufficient places of worship equal to this segment of the population. There was only one established Black congregation in Oak Park. There were approximately twenty places of worship, most of which were Jewish Synagogues. This was the initial challenge of this congregation.
     The first meeting of the proposed new church was held at Oak Grove on Saturday, November 30, 1985. The Concerned Christians Guild of Oak Grove came as a support group. Mr. Fowler, a resident from Oak Park also attended.  It was at this gathering the group decided to move ahead. Another meeting was held February 1, 1986 at Oak Grove. In attendance were Mrs. Lois Lewis, a member of Oak Grove; Mrs. Gwendolyn McGarrity, and Reverend David Mitcham. Prior to this meeting, Reverend Anthony met with Mr. and Mrs. McGarrity, in their home in January 1986 where they made the commitment to work with the church because they wanted to see an AME church in the city of Oak Park.
     Mitcham Chapel held its first official bible class and prayer meeting at the Community Center Building in Oak Park on Tuesday, February 25, 1986 at 7:30pm. The bible class was held for the entire year of 1986 at Oak Park Community Center. The first Sunday worship was held June 28, 1986 in the Oak Park Community Center building, located at 14300 Oak Park Boulevard. Mitcham Chapel held worship for designated periods of time, which provided six services as a pilot project to introduce  the church to the community. The first member to join was Mrs. Artie Vann, a resident of Ferndale, Michigan.
    During those years we researched every available building or piece of land in the city of Oak Park. The officers drove to each property site in an effort to find a location for the church in Oak Park. After contact with the City Planners office it was discovered that Oak Park had a radius of 5.5 miles and could not provide adequate space for a new building site. The existing properties needed renovation to meet codes, but the parking would be inadequate. Moreover,  the renovations needed were cost prohibitive and quite extensive.
    Mitcham Chapel began the 1987 conference year with worship every Sunday at St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 25401 Coolidge (at Balfour) in the city of Oak Park.  The church held Sunday worship every Sunday beginning September 20, 1987 and held Bible Study every Tuesday evening for ten (10) years without interruption.  Pastor Barbara, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, met with the church leaders and together they elected to move the church to a chapel inside Grace Hospital (now Sinai Grace Hospital) located on West Outer Drive (at Schaefer) in northwest Detroit. This location served as an outreach ministry. The Sunday worship was televised live to all the patients by closed circuit. Ambulatory patients were able to attend worship in the chapel where they received ministry. Pastor Barbara visited the patient floors prior to the Sunday morning worship to collect prayer requests from prayer boxes placed on each floor. Patients and staff made prayer requests. While the church was located at the hospital God sent persons to join who were grounded in faith.  The church contracted with the hospital for one year.
    The church transferred from the hospital to Faith Tabernacle Church of God in Christ at 23800 Lahser Road in Southfield, Michigan. We met for Sunday worship at 7:30am. The worship schedule was inflexible, limited the use of the facility to (2) two hours and proved to be an unsatisfactory setting for Mitcham Chapel. After seven months Mitcham Chapel relocated to Hope of Israel, located at 14001 West Eleven Mile Road in Southfield. At this location the Sunday order of service began at 9:30am with Sunday School, 10:30am intercessory prayer and worship at 10:45am.  After nine months at Hope of Israel, the building was sold which precipitated the church moving again. After an unsuccessful endeavor to secure a contract that would provide the church at least six months notice before having to move, the church was instead given 3 months notice.
   The church considered the possibility of purchasing a small building that would provide a base for community outreach service as well as a place for classes and worship. We began looking at buildings in northwest Detroit, Oak Park and Southfield but ultimately decided it was not feasible at that time. The five acres of land the church purchased in Southfield was secure, paid for in full, and the taxes were current, however, there existed a gap between where the church was and where it desired to go.  A topographical survey was completed in December 2000. The next step was the design of the multipurpose  center.  The firm Gaylord, Fisher & Associates provided 4 sets of designs.
     In the interim the church held Sunday worship alternating between the Oak Park Community Center and the Southfield Marriot Hotel. God again sent people to us with great faith and the willingness to be used by God.  The foundation of the church was strengthened as we raised the banner of faith higher and higher. Bishop Robert Thomas recommended that the church utilize one location. In August 20000, after returning from the Michigan Annual Conference, the church decided to locate the Sunday morning worship at the Southfield Marriot hotel every Sunday.  We terminated our search for a free standing building and initiated intense training sessions focusing on outreach ministry in every area of the church. At this time, we were involved at every possible level in the city of Southfield. The eight years at the Southfield Marriott Hotel were foundational. The church had architectural drawings completed and a beautiful rendering of the completed Master Plan of the building that was unveiled at a public showing.
     We kept hearing from God regarding acquiring a worship space that would better meet our ministry needs. We decided to believe God for a facility that would give us 24 hour accessibility. We signed on to lease a 2,100 square foot suite, located at 29350 Southfield Road. Mitcham Chapel moved to Harvard Plaza in April 2008 and had the first worship on May 4, 2008. The church ministered there for two years until we experienced a fire on December 1, 2010 that totally destroyed the building.
     God made a 100 fold provision for Mitcham Chapel to purchase a church building at 4207 West Fourteen Mile Road in Royal Oak, Michigan on a land contract negotiated with the owners, the Korean Assemblies of God. The church moved in March 7, 2011 and held the first worship March 27, 2011. Presiding Elder Norman V. Osborne preached from the subject “Standing on Tiptoe Looking to God.” He was profoundly anointed for that word. The blessings from the worship still remain with Mitcham.
     Mitcham Chapel has been blessed with tremendous support over the years. Along with Pastor Barbara, we thank God for these persons who have made the 28 year journey with her. Brother John, as he is affectionately called, Pastor Barbara’s husband and her daughters, Marci and Chareese (who have made innumerable sacrifices); Sister Gwendolyn McGarrity, who has served in many capacities and continuously as Church Treasurer; Presiding Elder Harold C. & Mrs. Martha Huggins, Presiding Elder Norman V. &  Mrs. Pamela Osborne; The late Rev. and Mrs. David E. Mitcham, Bishop Hubert N. Robinson, Presiding Elder Joseph and Mary Alice Parker and Bishop Robert Thomas, Jr.  The church also has a group designated the “Friends of Mitcham,” as well as family members, who continuously provide support. Additionally, the church now has a powerful group of youthful, excited, serious and anointed members who are doing great work, walking in faith and believing God to use them for his glory.
    God, indeed, has brought Mitcham a mighty long way and we are so very grateful. We look for a great harvest that will cause us to move into the next dimension of ministry. We expect God to grow us in such a way that we will initiate the building of the multipurpose facility on the five acres of land in Southfield which Mitcham owns free and clear. We have the assurance of our faith that God will bring it to pass. The future is sure to bring to pass the promise of God on our behalf. We give God all the honor and glory for His great and awesome blessings.