LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Little Rock celebrated a big anniversary Sunday morning.

Sunday was the church, located on west 16th street downtown’s 160th birthday.

Nathan Warren established the church that became Bethel AME towards the end of the civil war.

Pastor Truman Tolefree said that looking back on the church’s history brings him pure joy.

“Just looking back over the trail, Amen, over which we have come and the ways that God has blessed us and on the shoulders of all of those individuals that we currently stand. I was just feeling sheer joy.”

Past members of Bethel AME have included African American attorney Scipio Africanus Jones, as well as Daisy Bates and several members of the Little Rock Nine.

Members of the church were also instrumental in the founding of Shorter College.