On December 2, 1889, the trustees of Bethel A.M.E. Church were called to a special meeting. President D.W. Parvis informed them that the City of Philadelphia has “ordained” that the Bethel Burying Ground now is to be used for a city park. To accomplish this sale, it is necessary for the A.M.E. corporate leaders to vote to empower the trustees to sell the cemetery to the City for $10,000. President Parvis told them that the money from the sale would be used for the renovation and improvement of the Sixth and Lombard Streets properties owned by the Church. The Bethel trustees voted unanimously 20-0 in favor of the sale. (Minutes of the Bethel Trustees)
The numerous investment properties of the Church likely assisted in paying the mortgage for the new 1889 church that stands today.
From the official records of Mother Bethel Church archives. The trustee minutes are available on microfilm at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania.
“2 December 1889”
“A called meeting of the Corporation of Bethel AME Church was held on the above date. ….President Bro D.W. Parvis stated that the Municipal Government of the City of Philadelphia had ordained the burial lot belonging to our church (Bethel AME) situated on Queen Street between 4th and 5th Sts to be used as a public Park it was necessary for this corporation to pass a resolution empowering the Trustees to sell the said property. The following motion was made by Bro Fielding Ford & seconded by Bros Solomon Bright & Robt America – whereas the Municipal Government of the City of Philadelphia having ordained Burial lot Bethel AME Church, situated on Queen St. between 4th & 5th Sts to be used as a Public Park therefore be it resolved by the Corporation of Bethel AME Church assembled for the said purpose, That the Trustees be empowered to sell to City the said lot for the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars $10,000 After a general discussion upon the resolution it was carried. …“
“On Motion by Bro Wm. L Gomott & seconded by Bro R.J. Holland that the money accurring (sic) from the sale of said lot be used for the improvement of properties on Lombard & Sixth (6th) St. around the church amended by Bro Geo W. P. Custis and seconded by Bro. H. Brown that the money be deposited in the same bank or saving fund for the purpose specified (in the motion). …”