Our Beginning and History
In 1787, Reverends Richard Allen and Absalom Jones withdrew from the St. George Methodist Church because of “unkind treatment” and restrictions placed upon worshipers of African decent. They founded The Free African Society, which was the beginning of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1816, Richard Allen called together sixteen representatives from Bethel African Church in Philadelphia, and African Churches in Baltimore, Maryland; Wilmington, Delaware; Attleboro, Pennsylvania, and Salem, New Jersey, to meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A church organization or “connection” was organized as the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Richard Allen was the founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
A - The word “African” means that our church was organized by people of African descent and heritage. It does not mean that our church was founded in Africa, or that it is for people of African descent only.
M – The word “ Methodist” means that our church is a member of Methodist Church Family.
E – The word “Episcopal” refers to the form of government under which our church operates. The Episcopal form of government means that the chief executive and administrative officers of our denomination are the Bishops. Their authority is given them by the General Conference.