Chico's first organized church was this tiny Greek Revival-style chapel on Main Street, completed in 1867. The Methodist Episcopal Church South congregation met here until it outgrew the facility. The church was handed to the Black community in 1907 and moved to 6th and Flume streets, land John Bidwell deeded to the St. Andrew's African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1871. Trinity Methodist Church bought the site at 9th and Linden Streets in 1957 to expand their church facilities. Chico's Gothic-windowed white clapboard church is a relic of its religious past. African-Americans have always found comfort at Linden Street's church. The church edifice and the AME's presence in Chico predate the chapel's "108 years of service" sign. The Chico Historic Resources Inventory says the structure was built in 1867 on Main Street. It was moved twice and is a California historical landmark. American history also revolves on the greater AME Church. The Rev. Richard Allen created it in 1816, although its roots stretch back to 1787, when Allen and colleagues founded the Free African Society to fight racial injustice and slavery in the newly constituted US. With 2.5 million members, it is the largest black protestant group in the world.
The son of Louis and Angela Morton, born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pastor Morton was educated in the public school system, ultimately graduating from Withrow International High School. He attended and graduated from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (2002). Robert graduated from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia where he earned a Master of Divinity, with a specialty in Ethics (2011) While in Atlanta, Pastor had the awesome opportunity to study under several ministers, Rev. Dr. Henry Wise Jones, Rev. Jerry D. Black, and Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale.
Pastor Morton’s personal and professional interests converge on the issues of community building, the creation and engagement of religious-public partnerships with and he hopes to provide safe space for those who are unhoused in our community, seek educational reforms that provide free education from Pre-K – community college.
Pastor Morton is also is very active in music, as a vocalist. Pastor’s earliest influences are rooted in jazz and neo-soul, Donny Hathaway, and Dee-Dee Bridgewater to name a few. Pastor Morton is active in our congregation as he currently serves as the Minister of Music for both the Bethel Choir and the Celebration Gospel Choir of Chico, California. On September 30, 2021, Rev. Robert Morton was ordained an Elder and subsequently appointed Pastor of Bethel AME, Chico.
Pastor’s favorite quote is - I have only but a minute, only 60 seconds in it, forced upon me, can't refuse it, didn't seek it, didn't choose it, but it's up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it; give account if I abuse it. Just a tiny little minute, but all of eternity is wrapped up in it - Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mayes
The Mission of the AME Church is to minister to the social, spiritual, and physical development of all people.
At every level of the Connection and in every local church, the AME Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the AME Church evolved: that is, to seek out and save the lost, and to serve the needy. It is also the duty of the Church to continue to encourage all members to become involved in all aspects of church training.
The ultimate purposes are:
make available God’s biblical principles,
spread Christ’s liberating gospel, and
provide continuing programs that will enhance the entire social development of all people.
In order to meet the needs of every level of the Connection and in every local church, the AME Church shall implement strategies to train all members in: (1) Christian discipleship, (2) Christian leadership, (3) current teaching methods and materials, (4) the history and significance of the AME Church, (5) God’s biblical principles, and (6) social development to which all should be applied to daily living.