Grant AME Church

Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1906. The church was named Grant Chapel A.M.E. after the Right Reverend Abraham Grant, Presiding Bishop of the District at that time. The late Reverend S.E. Edwards started the church in a little one-room house on Manhattan Street (now 113th Street) in Los Angeles. As a result of great efforts and hard work, God provided a new church home at 114th Street and Compton Avenue. In 1923, the membership increased to several hundred. Property was purchased and a new building erected on 108th and Compton Avenue. In 1954, we moved to our current location, 10435 South Central Avenue, under the leadership of then Reverend Henry W. Murph.

With an excellent foundation established since 1906 and continuing by Pastors, Officers, and Laypersons, Grant is moving to greater fields of service. Grant continues to strengthen its presence as a change agent for empowerment and redemption in the Watts Community.

History of the AME Church

1787: the Walkout

The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) began out of a racial dispute at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal church in November 1787 that led to the Africans walking out in protest. Normally denominations are started because of some theological difference, but the AMEC began because of a racial discrimination. This marked the first incidence of a peaceful protest in African American history.

1794: Mother Bethel

In 1794, Richard Allen purchased a blacksmith shop, which served as what would become the first black church in America, Bethel Church (House of God). The church was located at 6th & Lombard streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the oldest parcel of land owned by blacks in America as the 4th building of mother Bethel AME Church stands as a landmark today in this same location.

1816: General Conference

April 9th, 1816 marked the first General Conference where the African Methodist Episcopal Church was officially formed culminating nearly 29 years of religious oppression.

Our Mission

The mission of Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, economic, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ’s liberating gospel through witnessing and service. At every level of our church, we shall engage in carrying out our mission and purpose.

We shall seek out and save the lost and serve the needy through a continuing program of: {1} preaching and teaching the gospel, praise, prayer, worship; {2} feeding the hungry; {3} clothing the naked; {4} housing the homeless; {5} cheering the fallen; {6} providing jobs for the jobless; {7} administering to the needs of those in prisons, hospitals, nursing and senior citizens homes, caring for the sick, the shut-in, the mentally and socially disturbed; and {8} encouraging thrift and economic advancement.

Our Pastor: Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph


The Rev. Dr. James Arthur Rumph was born on the toweling peak of Mount Andrews, a proud community in Barbour County Alabama nestled between the townships of Midway and Clayton.  For more than 35 years he has served as a church pastor and has been involved in organizing, networking, and mobilizing religious communities and civic organizations around social, political, and economic related issues through churches, ministers associations, and nonprofit groups.  His extensive background as chief of administrative fiscal management has included developmental planning, staffing, delegating, public relations, and policy formation.  In addition, he has worked on initiatives concerning affordable housing, family support, youth nurturing gangs, and anti-violence strategies.  His life’s development has come as a result of the influence of a strong Christian home, growing up in a village minded community, continuous educational pursuits, and attending a Christ-centered church.

Growing up in a Christian home, he observed the Christian faith being taught and practiced.  Here he was taught to pray daily, read Scripture, and to attend church regularly.  Embracing family values, James married Sandra Bryant of Birmingham.  They are the proud parents of two children JaSan A. and James A., II.

The village minded community where James grew fostered a healthy safe environment.  A neighbor taught him upholstery in his upholster shop.  He became an outstanding baseball player for the Mount Andrews Flames Baseball Team.  He also played defensive end for the Clayton High School Tigers Football Team.

After graduating high school, James continued his educational pursuits at Tuskegee (Institute) University, Tuskegee, Alabama.   He received an AAT Degree from Chauncey Sparks State Technical College, Eufaula, Alabama; a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; a Master of Divinity Degree from the Turner Theological Seminary, Interdenominational Theological (ITC) Center, Atlanta, Georgia;  and Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Beason Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham Alabama.

James attended the Shiloh African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) of Mount Andrews, Alabama, and was baptized as an infant. He accepted faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and was confirmed into the church at age twelve.  As a member of the church, James was part of the youth ministry, Sunday school (also assisted the Superintendent), ushers ministry, and the choirs.  James loved singing and started a youth choir at age fourteen.

The Reverend Dr. James Arthur Rumph answered the call to go preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979.  He received his Deacon Ministerial Ordination in the “Solid” South Alabama Annual Conference in 1981 and the Elder Ordination in the West Alabama Annual Conference in 1984.

Dr. Rumph has demonstrated gifts and graces for ministry.  He has humbly served several churches in Alabama and Missouri, and is currently the Pastor of the Grant AME Church, Los Angeles, California.  He was assigned as the Pastor of Grant AME Church on October 29, 2013 and preached his first sermon at Grant on November 3, 2013.

Throughout his work as a pastor, Rumph has worked tirelessly to bring souls to Jesus Christ.  Under his spirit-led authority, several churches have enjoyed tremendous growth.  He has been the catalyst in establishing several new ministries in congregations and communities alike.  Such ministries include multiple worship services, athletic youth ministries, fitness and wellness ministries, singles and couples ministries, and several youth praise ministries.

To address the need for community ministry, Dr. Rumph launched an outreach initiative called SafeNet, Inc., which provides a variety of programs and projects to help bring hope and healing to hurting people.  This faith-based initiative is also responsible for the establishment of award- winning youth sporting programs.

Dr. Rumph served on the Episcopal Committee of the General Conference of the AME Church in 2004, 2008, and 2012.  He also served on AME Church’s Strategic Planning Committee; Financial Secretary of the Connectional Council; and Delegate to the World Methodist Conference where he carried the Holy Bible leading in the Opening Worship Service in Brighton, England, in 2011.

Dr. Rumph holds membership and affiliation in several organizations and agencies.  Some of these Alabama affiliates include the Masonic Lodge Adam #27 Prince Hall F & AM, State of Alabama; Greater Birmingham Ministry Alliance; Clergy That Cares; Birmingham Metro Area Justice Interfaith Committee; Fairfield Civic Center Authority; Olivia’s House Advisory Board; Alabama Arise; Professor Nichols-Grady School of Religion; North & East Alabama Annual Conference Board of Examiners, AME Church; and Adjunct Professor, Ethics, Lawson State Junior College.

Pastor Rumph is most grateful for his relationship with God, the Father of Jesus Christ, his family, and his opportunities to serve in the church and the community.  Rumph believe that we can upgrade local churches by building on the foundations of their true identity.  Dr. Rumph is calling the Church to “Upgrade” in his campaign as he offers himself for service as a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2016.


Ministerial and Administrative Staff

Associate Ministers 

Rev. Hester B. Lively
Rev. Everton (Tony) Robinson, Minister of Education
Rev. Treva Kelly, Minister of Evangelism


Caroline Culpepper

Administrative Staff

Cheryl Baylark, Administrative Aide
Lee Webster, Financial Secretary
Chris Jordan, Executive Director of Grant Housing Economic Development Corporation

Our Worship Support Team


Byron Smith

Music Coordinator, Director of the Adult Choir

Byron J. Smith, a native of the South Bay of Los Angeles serves as the Coordinator of the Music Ministry and the director/organist of the Adult Choir at Grant AME Los Angeles. He is also an Associate Professor of Music at Los Angeles Harbor College.

Byron has served in various capacities in church music for over the last 40 years and prides his appreciation of all styles of music in worship. He works extensively in the secular music industry as a freelance musician and is the owner of Onyx Music Publishing where he sells his choral music to churches and schools worldwide. Byron is a member of many professional music organizations currently serves as the First Vice President of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc.


Chris Jordan

Director of Voices for Christ Choir, and Donald K Scott Men’s Choir

Chris Jordan is the Chief Operations Officer / Executive Director of the Grant Housing & Economic Development Corp. He is responsible for day-to-day operational management and development of team synergy. Reporting directly to GHEDC CEO he is also responsible for the implementation and maintenance of policies and procedures set forth by Board of Directors. His duties include fund management and capital generation, program and project management, grant and proposal writing, management of all staff including consultants and independent contractors, preparation and presentation of quarterly and annual reports, various additional responsibilities as directed by CEO and Board of Directors.


Arvis Jones

Director of the Junior Choir

Arvis Jones received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a Music Therapy Certificate from California State University, Long Beach. She is an accomplished pianist and has performed as a piano accompanist throughout the United States.
Arvis has directed many choirs but working with children and youth choirs is her passion. She has been the Youth Choir director at Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles for 22 years.

In addition to working with choirs and as an accompanist, Arvis has worked with children and youth with dual diagnosis, the condition of suffering from a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. She has also practiced Music Therapy with seniors, stroke clients, Alzheimer patients and other diagnoses, not limited to but including, Cerebral Palsy, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Sickle Cell.

She was one of the first African American Music Therapist employed by Arts & Services for the Disabled. Arvis was also the first Music Therapist at the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic, working with children and youth of all ages who have emotional and environmental problems where she developed a program to address the needs of children, youth and young adults from the ages of 2½ to 22 years.

Arvis is currently the Assistant Director of a Grief and Loss program in Los Angeles, where she helps to provide a supportive environment for families who are experiencing some type of grief and loss. She is the founder of the Center’s Children’s Grief and Loss Choir.