On the evening of Friday, January 27 an arsonist threw a Molotov cocktail in an attempt to destroy the oldest African American church in the state of Arizona – The Historic Tanner Chapel AME Church. This malice failed and the church survived but with substantial fire, water and smoke damage to several levels of the structure. Determined and with God’s guidance, the Rev. Dr. Benjamin N. Thomas, Sr. shepherd his flock through this storm with as much normalcy as was humanly possible. Similar to the Israelites wandering in the desert, the Tanner family weathered the storm and stayed together worshipping at North High School, Central High School, The Mormon Ward, and most recently at The Parsons Wellness Center while the historic site was beings restored.
On Saturday, August 26 at 10:00 a.m., Tanner Chapel returns home. After two hundred and eleven days away from this historic structure, Pastor Thomas, surrounded by ministers, public officials and friends of Tanner, will lead the Tanner family through the doors of their restored church home. A celebration of thanksgiving, ribbon cutting ceremony and short program will take place followed by a reception. The community is invited to attend this homecoming event.
The Tanner Family truly appreciates the prayers and support given by the Phoenix community, and invites you to worship at Historic Tanner Chapel, located at 20 S. Eighth Street, Phoenix. 602 253-8426. www.tannerchapel.org.