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Grant Chapel AME Church celebrates 120 years as a pillar of the black community
When you speak of a church, you usually speak of its congregation.
That's true in the case of Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. But you also speak of dichotomies.
The church is strongly rooted, firmly established. And yet Grant Chapel, like many churches, is engaged in a daily struggle to remain vibrant at a time when society is rapidly changing.
Still, there is much to celebrate. Grant Chapel, the oldest black church in the state, turns 120 years old today.
"You only become 120 years one time," Pastor Delman Howard told his congregation Sunday. "If you don't celebrate it, shame on you."
The "church built upon a rock," as its members have christened it, is rich in history, dating back to the Reconstruction, when Albuquerque was a township and New Mexico was decades from becoming a state.
Today, Grant is located at 7920 Claremont Avenue N.E., in the heart of the quiet Hoffmantown neighborhood. The current facility, formerly St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, is miles from the church's original site Downtown, which in 1883 was offered to a group of U.S. Army "buffalo soldiers" who'd been …