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Beginnings Challenges Changes

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Presentation on theme: "Beginnings Challenges Changes"— Presentation transcript:

1 Beginnings Challenges Changes
Black Methodism Beginnings Challenges Changes

2 African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church was started in 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by a group of disinherited Americans whose forefathers came from Africa. The leader of this group was a 27 year old "African," Richard Allen. At that time the word "African" was used to designate those persons whom we now call African American.

3 Five Characteristics of Black Church Experience
Black controlled Involved in the everyday life of the people Provide members with a sense of worthiness and identity Emphasize evangelism with direct witness to saving love of Jesus Christ Adaptive to changing conditions of society while challenging oppressive forces

4 Early Methodism Response to Black Americans
Offered emotionalism and religious enthusiasm (Revivalism) Lagged behind Baptists in obtaining black congregations Revivalism offered escape from intolerable economic and social conditions

5 Remember Betty? Black “girl” in Philip Embury’s Class at the John Street Methodist Society in New York, 1766. Several Northern societies integrated early Southern societies begin practicing segregation and racial selection early Asbury concerned about racial segregation but knew no way to affect change

6 Early Black Methodism Whatcoat’s journals record increased incidences of segregation, especially concerning the sacrament of Holy Supper. Asbury and Whatcoat “adjust” to the growing white desire for segregated worship General Conference 1800 allows for the ordination of black preachers as deacons Elder ordination not until 1812

7 Early Black Methodism Harry Hosier ( ) was born a slave in North Carolina.  Following the Revolutionary War he gained his freedom from his Maryland master, and was converted to Methodism.  His sermon, "The Barren Fig Tree," preached at Adam's Chapel, Fairfax County, Virginia, in May of 1781, was the first recorded Methodist sermon by an African-American.

8 Early Black Methodism Hosier became famous as a traveling evangelist up and down the Atlantic seaboard.  He was a companion on evangelistic trips with Asbury, Coke, Jesse Lee, and Freeborn Garrettson,  and was heralded as one of the greatest preachers of his time.   His influence was one of the most important factors in the early spread of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America.

9 Early Black Methodism Mother African Zoar Church began in 1792, when a group of African Americans withdrew from Old St. George's Church to protest discrimination there. The dissident group, calling itself "African Zoar" (HE: “good will”) was recognized by St. George's in 1794 and grew to become the mother church of several local Methodist congregations, including Tindley Temple, Raven Memorial, Mount Zion, and St. Thomas.

10 Pattern of Black Denomination Formation
Integration with White congregation Experience of Segregation Separate Meeting Times established Separate Meeting Places established Blacks found independent church Independent churches fashion a denomination

11 Early Black Methodism Richard Allen ( ), the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was born a slave in Philadelphia.  After purchasing his own freedom as a young man, he joined St. George's Methodist Church, from which in 1787 he led a dramatic withdrawal of black members.  Allen soon became pastor of the group and was ordained as a deacon by Bishop Asbury.  When the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized nationally in 1816, Allen was consecrated its first Bishop.

12 Richard Allen Licensed to preach - 1784
Ordained Deacon by Asbury – 1784 Stages “Walkout” of St. George Church -1787 Organizes Free African Society – 1784 Mother Bethel Church started

13 FREE AFRICAN SOCIETY Allen, along with Absalom Jones, came together to form the Free African Society (FAS) on April 12, The Society, though not religiously affiliated, proved much like a church in serving the black community. NAACP founder, W.E.B. DuBois, writing a century later, called the FAS, "the first wavering step of a people toward organized social life." Organized as an altruistic society for extending mutual aid to the widowed, sick, and jobless, it was funded by dues-paying members.

14 Mother Bethel Church Allen received permission from St. George Church to build a church on the site where he purchased the land for St. Thomas's years earlier. Allen bought a blacksmith shop and had it hauled by a team of his own horses to 6th and Lombard. Bishop Asbury presided over the church's dedication on July 29, 1794.

15 Mother Bethel Church But tensions develop over who owns the deed to the church. Discipline claimed the “church at large” owned the building Members of Mother Bethel wanted to own the property 1796 – Articles of Association of Bethel AME Church formed. 1830- Convention of Colored Men of U.S. held there. Bishop Allen presided.

16 Mother Bethel Church Mother Bethel Church was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The ground on which Mother Bethel stands is the oldest parcel of real estate continuously owned by African-Americans in the United States. The first black boy scout troop was founded at Mother Bethel Church.

17 Convention of 1816 African Methodist Church formed
Polity identical to Methodist Episcopal Exception: no presiding elders Allen elected first Bishop Slave owners could not become members

18 Two Important AME Aspects
Took a strong stance against discrimination and segregation; has always counted whites among its membership Work of Richard Allen seen as expression of Nationalism, the challenging of economic and political policies detrimental to Black Americans.

19 Allen’s Nationalism Movement
A leader of the free black community in Philadelphia, Allen also served as one of  the spokesmen for the forces opposed to the American Colonization Society, an organization that proposed sending freedmen back to Africa.  His campaign against the colonizationists resulted in the first meeting of the National Negro Convention Movement in a loosely organized group that functioned as a public platform for black abolitionists and community leaders.

20 Freedom’s Journal Freedom's Journal, the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States, was published weekly in New York City from 1827 to John B. Russworm edited the journal alone between March 16, 1827 and March 28, Later,  Samuel Cornish served as co-editor (March 16, 1827 to September 14, 1827). Richard Allen was a regular contributor (see web site)

21 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
1796  Peter Williams, James Varick, Christopher Rush and other African Americans of the John Street Methodist Church, a white church in New York City, hold separate meetings in October. 1801, William and others incorporate the Zion Chapel into the Methodist Episcopal Church Schism causes division of an “Asbury” Congregation from the Zion congregation

22 Peter Williams “Peter Williams, Sr., was for a number of years the sexton of the John Street Methodist Church, in which position he became distinguished among the white communicants for his fidelity and piety. He joined with other Negroes desirous of independent church action and established the Zion Church, out of which emerged the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church” From The History of the Negro Church by Woodson, Carter Godwin, ( ), pg. 95

23 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
1820 Rev. William Stillwell leads a congregationalist schism from New York Methodism. Zion Chapel goes with Stillwell for a while. “Asbury” congregation and Zion Chapel reunite in 1821 to form the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in American. Several elders ordained following year.

24 African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
1820  Zion and Asbury hold organizational meeting to form own denomination, October 1821  Zion, Asbury and four other congregations hold conference in New York City to establish a new organization separate from Richard Allen's Methodists, June 21 1822  Zion pastor, James Varick elected first bishop of denomination 1824  New group officially breaks ties with the white Methodist denomination  1828  First General Conference of the A.M.E Zion Church held

25 Peter Spencer  ( ) Peter Spencer was born a slave in Kent County, Maryland. When freed, he moved to Wilmington. He was soon an active in community and in his church, Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church.  In protest against the church's  racial discrimination Spencer led almost forty members out of Asbury to form Ezion M.E. Church.  

26 African Union Church Eight years later, in 1813, still frustrated by the Methodist Episcopal church's discrimination, the Spencer and William Anderson led another group away from the church.  They founded an independent church, the Union Church of African Members, the first African American controlled church in America.  Spencer served as pastor and elder minister until his death.  The Union Church spread quickly to include congregations in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. 

27 African Union Church Methodist Episcopol in polity with one exception: congregations appointed own pastors. Bishops called Presidents Forms the African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church of the United States of America and Elsewhere (1865)

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