African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination based in the United States. 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. Allen was consecrated its first bishop in 1816. It began with eight clergy and five churches, and by 1846 had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, and 17,375 members. The 20,000 members in 1856 were located primarily in the North. AME national membership (including probationers and preachers) jumped from 70,000 in 1866 to 207,000 in 1876.Church nameAfrican: The AME Church was created and organized by people of African descent as a response to being forcibly denied access to the Methodist church based on the color of their skin. The church was not founded in Africa, nor is it exclusively for people of African descent. It is open and welcoming to people of all ethnic groups, origins, nationalities, and colors, although its congregations are predominantly made of up Black Americans.Methodist: The church's roots are in the Methodist church. Members of St. George's Methodist Church left the congregation when faced with racial discrimination, but continued with the Methodist doctrine and the order of worship.Episcopal: The AME Church operates under an episcopal form of church government. The denomination leaders are bishops of the church.