AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL (AME)  CHURCH

Brief History:

       The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church or AME, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination. It is the first independent Protestant denomination to be founded by black people.

 

It was founded by the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the mid-Atlantic area that wanted independence from white Methodists. It was among the first denominations in the United States to be founded on racial rather than theological distinctions and has persistently advocated for the civil and human rights of African Americans through social improvement, religious autonomy, and political engagement.

Allen, a deacon in Methodist Episcopal Church, was consecrated its first bishop in 1816 by a conference of five churches from Philadelphia to Baltimore. The denomination then expanded west and south, particularly after the Civil War. By 1906, the AME had a membership of about 500,000, more than the combined total of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, making it the largest major African-American Methodist denomination. The AME currently has 20 districts, each with its own bishop: 13 are based in the United States, mostly in the South, while seven are based in Africa. The global membership of the AME is around 2.5 million and it remains one of the largest Methodist denominations in the world.

1758

John Wesley baptizes two "Negro slaves," at least one woman, thus setting the pattern for receiving people of color into the societies and the church. These two return to Antigua to start the Methodist society in the "new world."

1760s

Anne Schweitzer, a black woman, becomes a founding member of the first Methodist society in Maryland. Two years later, another black woman, known to us only as Bettye, is one of five persons to attend the Methodist services inaugurated by Philip Embury in New York City. When the John Street Church is built in 1768, the names of several black subscribers appear on its roster.

1784

The Christmas Conference in Baltimore founds the Methodist Episcopal Church. Among those riding out to issue the call for the conference is "Black Harry" Hosier. Born a slave about 1750, Hosier receives a license to preach in 1785 and becomes one of the best preachers and most effective early circuit riders.

1790

Drawn by the Methodist Episcopal Church's anti-slavery stand, blacks (slave and free) make up 20 percent of the 57,631 American Methodists.

1791

John Wesley dies. His last letter is one written to anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce, urging him to "Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it."

1794

Increasing segregation within churches causes Richard Allen to form the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. In 1796, blacks walk out of John Street Church in New York and eventually build the Zion Chapel. Similar movements occur in other communities.

1805

The African Union Church is formed.

1816

The African Methodist Episcopal church is formed in Philadelphia. Richard Allen becomes its first bishop.

1819

John Stewart is named as the first missionary to the Wyandot Indians. A black man converted in 1814, he was engaged in this ministry for several years before obtaining a license to preach in 1819.

1821

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is formed in New York. James Varick is elected as first general superintendent.

1844

Rising tensions over slavery come to a head in the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church when Bishop James O. Andrew of Georgia is told to desist from the exercise of his office until he frees slaves passed down from his wife's estate.

1845

In a break along regional lines, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, is formed in Louisville, Ky.

1858

The Liberia Conference elects Francis Burns as bishop. The first missionary bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he had served as a missionary to Liberia for 24 years.

1866

A group of black Methodists within the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, petition the General Conference for their orderly dismissal from that church.

1870

Those former members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, found the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Jackson, Tenn.

1902

Susan Collins goes as a missionary to Angola where she is welcomed as "one of us" and serves 29 years.

1920

The Methodist Episcopal Church elects Robert E. Jones and Matthew W. Clair Sr. as bishops.

1939

The Methodist Episcopal Church; the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and the Methodist Protestant Church unite to form The Methodist Church. Blacks are segregated into a separate Central Jurisdiction.

1956

The General Conference, meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., adopts Amendment IX, allowing transfers of churches and conferences out of the Central Jurisdiction into geographical jurisdictions.

1968

The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church unite to form The United Methodist Church. As part of the plan of union, the Central Jurisdiction is abolished and formal segregation ended.

Roy C. Nichols becomes the first African American to be elected bishop by a regional jurisdictional conference in the new United Methodist Church. Black Methodists for Church Renewal is organized. The General Commission on Religion and Race is formed, with Woodie White as the first African-American to head a United Methodist general agency.

1976

Mai Gray becomes the first African-American president of the Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries.

1977

Trudie Kibbe Preciphs becomes the first African-American member of the secretariat of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.

1984

Leontine T.C. Kelly becomes the first African-American woman to be elected bishop.

1990

Charlotte Ann Nichols (Peninsula-Delaware Conference) and Joethel Jeannette Cooper Dicks (West Ohio) become the first African-American women district superintendents.

2000

General Conference delegates participate in a service of repentance for racism within the denomination.

2004

General Conference delegates celebrate the African-American witness and presence within The United Methodist Church and recognize "those who stayed" in spite of racism.

2008

16.6 percent of the U.S. delegation to the 2008 General Conference are African-American.

2009

African-American United Methodists speak at the inauguration of the first African-American U.S. president.

—This timeline first appeared in New World Outlook, May-June 1992. Adapted by permission and updated by United Methodist Communications.

                      

 1. "The African Methodist Episcopal  Church is a church of Christ in which 'the pure word of God is preached and the Sacraments duly administered." Harmon, p.3. Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church. 

2. Some (AME) Methodists do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and the church accepts them in this unbelief.

       R. Sockman, "What is A Methodist?,p.82,article in Religions of America. 

3. There are two Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Sockman, Ibid.p.86

4. "Let every adult person, and the parents of every child to be baptized, have the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion."  Discipline, p.410

5. "The baptism of Infants" is justified on basis Jesus said "Suffer the children to come unto me." Discipline, article,1910,p.470-474

6. Parents of the infant are duty bound to teach the infant after baptism, concerning "our faith" (Methodist Doctrine). Discipline,p.471.

7. The AME church has "conferences" and boards that gives rules,doctrines, and regulations governing all procedures and affairs of the church, and all ministers are obligated to observe "every part" of it in his district. 

8. The complex organization of the Methodist Church with all its conferences, powers and duties are set forth in the Discipline. Discipline, article 4, p.10. 

9.  Conferences must not change or revoke any of the AME Church's existing Articles of Religion, or change or do away with the episcopacy or destroy the superintendency. 

10. No member of the Methodist Church may preach without a license. Discipline, article 302, p.91.

11. Women may engage in the ministry of preaching except as travelling evangelists. Discipline, Article, 313, p.94.

12. Elders and deacons are selected by the election of the annual conference. Discipline,article 392,p.15. 

13. Term "Reverend" is applied to AME men. Discipline, article 414, p.119

14. The African Methodist Epicopal shall be under the control of the Board of Publication, subject to the Conference. Discipline,article 1103, p.238.

15. The order for dedication of an organ is prescribed: "in the name of the Father . Son and Holy Spirit." Discipline, article 1931 p.550. 

16. The doctrine  of "justification of faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort." Discipline, article 9.

17. Immersion (baptism) is not essential for salvation of adults (although they do hold infants are saved by baptism!). 

18. It is not necessary to partake of Lord's Supper weekly; quarterly is practice of Methodists. 

19. The church is composed of many branches (denominations) and the African Methodist Episcopal church is one branch.  

 1. The name "African Methodist Episcopal " not in the Bible.

2. The name "churches of Christ" is in the Bible. Romans 16:16. 

3. "Sacraments" not in Bible, but even if it were, the Methodist church does not "duly administer" them according to the Bible.See under Baptism below for example.

1. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14. Matthew 1:25.

2. Those who believe a lie are condemned. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.

 

1. "Sacrament" is a word carried over from Catholic tradition, not found in the Scripture.

 

 

 

 

1.Baptism was immersion or "burial" in and "raising up" from water.Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12.

2. There was and is only one baptism. Ephesians 4:5

1.  Baptism is not the subject Jesus was teaching on this occasion....not mentioned in this entire chapter, not in the chapter before or after. 

2. Infants were never baptized in all Bible history.

1.. Teaching preceded true baptism, Matthew 28:18-20, as well as followed it. Infants are NOT capable of instruction, hence never received baptism in the Biblical record. 

1. The Scripture constitutes God's ONLY authorized guide, given by inspiration of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

2. "All things pertaining unto life and godliness" were delivered in the first century, 2 Peter 1:3.

3. No other doctrine, principle, precept, commandment, procedure or policy is to be taught by man or angel, other than that given to the apostles. Galatians 1:8-9.

4.Nothing can be added to or taken from the word of God. Revelation 22:18-19.

5. Traditions or doctrine (disciplines) of men make void the word of God.

1.  The church of Christ had no ecclesiastical governing conferences.

2. Each local congregation was independent of all others, under Christ alone as head with all authority. Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23. 

3. Elders and deacons constituted local officers. Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:1-13. 

1.. Any Christian or group of Christians must repent of any man-made tradition, system or notion contrary to God's Word, and pray that God will forgive him or same. Acts 8:14-24. 

2. Every man or woman that is in any FALSE way should renounce it at once, confess faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God , and be immersed into the Kingdom of God, like Saul of Tarsus and other obedient hearers of God's Word did. Acts 9;Acts 22. 

3. "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate." 2 Corinthians 6:17. 

 1. Every Christian preached (or shared the Word) Acts 8:4

 

 1. NOT permitted. 1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12

 

1.The local church is to select its officers from among themselves. Acts 6:3-5.

2. Let them be proved, let them be chosen and then let them serve. I Timothy 3:1-10

3. Evangelists appointed elders. Titus 1:5.

1. 'Reverend' used once in the Bible and there it applies to God,NOT man. Psalms 111:9.

 

 

1. No conferences nor official functionaries of such in the early church. 1 Corinthians 4:6. Must NOT go beyond things written.

1. No organs in Christian's worship. Not according to the pattern. Hebrews 8:5. John Wesley objected to their use, as did all prominent reformers.

2. Cannot be "in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." 

3. Some say, "How petty must God be if He can't overlook instruments in worship?" When has it ever been God's Will to "overlook" that which He (sees as strange or unnatural) never authorized? Did God overlook Cain's offering?(Genesis 4:2-8)  Did God overlook Nadab and Abihu offering? (Levitius 10:1-3) Sure many today would consider God's actions pretty petty, after all it was only unauthorized (strange) fire!

1. See what the Bible teaches in James 2:14-26. 

2. Faith only gives us "power to become" sons of God. John 1:12. "Power to become suggests possibility, not actuality. 

3. Faith must WORK by LOVE to avail with God. Galatians 5:6. 

1. Baptism is necessary to:

  •   enter Kingdom. John 3:5 

  • have sins forgiven. Acts 2:38 

  • receive Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

  • enter the church. 1 Corinthians 12:13

  • enter into Christ. Galatians 3:27.

  • saves us. 1 Peter 3:21.

  • wash away sins. Acts 22:16

  • .saves us. Mark 16:16.

1. See type in Old Testament of weekly eating showbread. 1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6; Leviticus 24:5-9; Hebrews 10:1

2. Early Christians communed each week. Acts 20:7;see 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. 

3. Steadfastly, Acts 2:42

1. Christ established one church. Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13. 

2. NO division exists. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (the Bible does not support the concept of "different branches" of the Church nor the concept of denominations (division). 

3. If many denominations are the visible branches where is the visible trunk? 

4. Jesus taught that "a man" is the branch and that Christ himself is the vine. John 15:1-7. 

Since the African Methodist Episcopal Church (members) came out of the Methodist Church and they divided over RACIAL issues NOT Theological reason many of their beliefs are the same.