Porter Memorial Christian Methodist Church was established in 1918. During the Annual Conference of the Eighth Episcopal District, Bishop Elias Cottrell assigned the charge of organizing and building a Colored Methodist Episcopal church to the Rev. L. Jones in San Antonio, TX. Rev. Jones returned to San Antonio and in the same year met under a mesquite tree with Mrs. Lottie Fields and Family, Mrs. Rona Bell, Mrs. Annie Nevels and Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Wilson. It was there that they lifted their voice to God and marked the beginning of the CME Church in San Antonio, TX. Due to the generosity of the Sutton Sisters, the newly formed congregation was able to move from the mesquite tree on Burnett Street to worship in a tent in the 400 block of North Cherry Street.
When the Annual Conference convened in 1919, the Rev. H.P. Porter (later Bishop Porter) was assigned to take charge of this growing flock. It was under the leadership of this stalwart minister that a plot of land was purchased in 1919 and a beautiful re brick edifice was erected on the corner of Olive and Gibbs Street. The name was changed in 1966 to Porter Memorial CME Church in honor of its builder.
Since its beginning, Porter Memorial has always been a family church. We give thanks to God for those families and ministers who have prayed, planned, worked, and worshipped together giving service to God and the community. We are also thankful for the ministers who pastored and served this congregation in varying lengths of time, contributing their talents to meet the needs of its congregants and community. The Rev. Aretha V. Preston has continued the charge and made history as the first woman pastor of Porter Memorial.
Throughout the years, Porter Memorial has served not only as a moral and a spiritual station for its members, it has also been open for the community and social services as well. The basement of the Porter’s original structure was also used as the Lighthouse for the Blind Workshop. Because of it’s unique historical background and location, Porter’s original structure has become a part of the Carver Cultural Center, now known as “Little Carver” and is listed on the National Historic Buildings Register.
From that first Sunday under that mesquite tree in 1918 to today, Porter Memorial uphold the tradition of being a family church as we continue our mission of reaching the lost, teaching the found and preaching the cross.