According to the 1880 census of Brevard County there were just five Black men who were heads of families. Three of the Black freedmen were Peter Wright, Wright Brothers and Balaam Allen. Captain Peter Wright was the mail carrier while occupations of Balaam Allen and Wright Brothers are unknown. They settled along the north and south banks of the river now known as Crane Creek. Brothers and Allen settled along the south side of the creek now known as Melbourne, Florida.
In 1884, in the dining room of a tiny house on the southern banks of Crane Creek, organizers met for the purpose of establishing a place of worship for themselves and others of the Black community. Those who met in the dining room of Wright and Mary Brothers, included Robert and Carrie Lipscomb, and Balaam and Salina Allen. In 1885, the first church structure for Allen Chapel African Methodist Church, now known as Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was built on the northern end of what is now Lipscomb Street. This was Melbourne’s first house of worship. The house still stands.
Reverend A. G. Smith was the first pastor and Reverend A. Harris was the first Presiding Elder. Under the pastorate of the late Reverend J. B. Garmon the need to erect a new church building and parsonage was realized. Sufficient land was purchased and in 1964 the present church building was erected at 2416 South Lipscomb Street. The church was completed in 1964 under the pastorate of the late Reverend B. H. Martin.
The cost of the present facility was approximately $110,000.00. The church parsonage was completely paid for in 1969. The church’s mortgage was paid off eight months after being assigned and the mortgage burned January 30, 1977. Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Church was incorporated with the State of Florida during the 1981-82 conference year. Under the pastorate of Reverend J. S. Morice, the church completed construction of the Charles W. Jackson Sr. Education Building, a multipurpose building, at a cost of $350,000.00. Currently, Greater Allen Chapel’s property and buildings are valued at more than $478,000.00. Greater Allen Development Corporation, a separate entity from the church, was formed on November 16, 2016 as a Non-Profit Corporation under Florida state laws.
Greater Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the spirit-filled church, invites all to join in its services at any time while in Melbourne, Florida.