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African Methodist Episcopal Church

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The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the "AME Church," is a Christian denomination founded by Bishop Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816.
Contents

Church Name

Template:Methodism The word African means that the church was organized by people of African descent and heritage. It does not mean that the church was founded in Africa, or that it was for persons of African descent only.

The church's roots is of the family of Methodist churches. Methodism provides an orderly system of rules and regulations and places emphasis on a plain and simple gospel.

Episcopal refers to the form of government under which the church operates. The chief executive and administrative officers of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination are the Bishops of the church.

Motto

"God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, Man Our Brother"

Derived from Bishop Daniel Payne (1811-1893) See "God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, Man Our Brother: A Theological Interpretation of the AME Church." By Dr. James H. Cone, Ph. D. AME Church Review, Volume CVI, No. 341 (1991), page 25.

History

The African Methodist Episcopal Church has a unique history. It is unique in that it is the first major religious denomination in the Western World that had its origin over sociological rather than theological beliefs and differences, and the first African-American organized and incorporated denomination in the US. The AME church is also the church that sponsored the first independant historical black college, Wilberforce University. The church was born in protest against slavery—against dehumanization of African people, brought to the American continent as cheap labor.


The AMEC grew out of the Free African Society (FAS) which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. The church was organized by African-American members of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church. The incident that led to this was the removal of Absalom Jones (1746-1818) from St. George's by the trustees while he was in the act of prayer. The congregation supported the act of the trustees, and Allen and Jones led the African-American members to form the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1793. In general, they adopted the doctrines and form of government of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


When officials at St. George’s MEC pulled blacks off their knees while praying, FAS members discovered just how far American Methodists would go to enforce racial discrimination against African Americans. Hence, these members of St. George’s made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodists. In 1794 Bethel AME was dedicated with Allen as pastor. To establish Bethel’s independence from interfering white Methodists, Allen, a former Delaware slave, successfully sued in the Pennsylvania courts in 1807 and 1815 for the right of his congregation to exist as an independent institution. Because black Methodists in other middle Atlantic communities encountered racism and desired religious autonomy, Allen called them to meet in Philadelphia to form a new Wesleyan denomination, the AME.


While the AME is doctrinally Methodist, clergy, scholars, and lay persons have written important works which demonstrate the distinctive theology and praxis which have defined this Wesleyan body. Bishop Benjamin W. Arnett, in an address to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions, reminded the audience of the presence of blacks in the formation of Christianity. Bishop Benjamin T. Tanner wrote in 1895 in The Color of Solomon – What? that biblical scholars wrongly portrayed the son of David as a white man. In the post civil rights era theologians James Cone, Cecil W. Cone, and Jacqueline Grant who came out of the AME tradition critiqued Euro-centric Christianity and African American churches for their shortcomings in fully impacting the plight of those oppressed by racism, sexism, and economic disadvantage.

Beliefs

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The Motto "God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, Man Our Brother" is a great summary of what the African Methodist Episcopal Church believes.

Apostle's Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead; and buried. The third day he arose from the dead' he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

Church Mission

The Mission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ's liberating gospel through word and deed. At every level of the Connection and in every local church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the A.M.E. Church evolved: that is, to seek out and save the lost, and serve the needy through a continuing program of (1) preaching the gospel, (2) feeding the hungry, (3) clothing the naked, (4) housing the homeless, (5) cheering the fallen, (6) providing jobs for the jobless, (7) administering to the needs of those in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, asylums and mental institutions, senior citizens' homes; caring for the sick, the shut-in, the mentally and socially disturbed, and (8) encouraging thrift and economic advancement.

The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 2000 pg. 13

Colleges, Seminaries & Universities

Structure

The General Conference

The General Conference is the supreme body of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is composed of the Bishops, as ex-officio presidents, according to the rank of election, and an equal number of ministerial and lay delegates, elected by each of the Annual Conferences and the lay Electoral Colleges of the Annual Conferences. Other ex-officio members are: the General Officers, College Presidents, Deans of Theological Seminaries; Chaplains in the Regular Armed Forces of the U.S.A. The General Conference meets quadrennialy (every four years), but may have extra sessions in certain emergencies.

Council of Bishops

The Council of Bishops is the Executive Branch of the Connectional Church. It has the general oversight of the Church during the interim between General Conferences. The Council of Bishops shall meet annually at such time and place as the majority of the Council shall determine and also at such other times as may be deemed necessary in the discharging its responsibility as the Executive Branch of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Council of Bishops shall hold at least two public sessions at each annual meeting. At the first, complaints and petitions against a Bishop shall be heard, at the second, the decisions of the Council shall be made public. All decisions shall be in writing.

Board of Incorporators

The Board of Incorporators, also known as the General Board of Trustees, has the supervision, in trust, of all connectional property of the Church and is vested with authority to act in behalf of th Connectional Church wherever necessary.

The General Board

The General Board is in many respects the administrative body and is comprised of various departmental Commissions made up of the respective Secretary-Treasurer, the General Secretary of the A.M.E,. Church the General Treasurer and the members of the various Commissions and one Bishop as presiding officer with the other Bishops associating.

Judicial Council

The Judicial Council is the highest judicatory body of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is an appellate court, elected by the General Conference and is amenable to it.

Overview

The AME church estimates around 5,000,000 members, 9000 ministers, and 7000 congregations in more than 30 nations in North and South America, Africa, and Europe . Twenty bishops and 12 general officers comprised the leadership of the denomination

The AME Church is a member of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), and the World Council of Churches.

It is not the same as the U.A.M.E. Church founded in Delaware by Peter Spencer in 1813, or the AME Zion Church, founded in New York.

See also: Methodist

External links

Select District Websites

Reference

  • Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, Samuel S. Hill, editor
  • The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 2000
  • The AMEC Book of Worship
  • History of the AME Church: The Black Church in Action, Howard D. Gregg, Ph.D.

Bishops

Active Bishops

  • E. Earl McCloud, Jr.
  • Richard Franklin Norris
  • Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr.
  • Robert Vaughn Webster
  • Phillip Robert Cousin, Sr.
  • John Richard Bryant
  • William Phillips DeVeaux, Sr.
  • Preston Warren Williams, II
  • Cornal Garnett Henning, Sr.
  • Theodore Larry Kirkland
  • Gregory Gerald McKinley Ingram
  • McKinley Young
  • Richard Allen Chappelle, Sr.
  • Vashti Murphy McKenzie
  • David Rwhynica Daniels, Jr
  • Samuel Lawrence Green, Sr.
  • Carolyn Tyler Guidry
  • Paul J. M. Kawimbe
  • Sarah Frances Davis
  • James Levert Davis
  • Wilfred Jacobus Messiah

See also

External links

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