African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church)

African American Methodist denomination formally organized in 1816. It originated with a group of black Philadelphians who withdrew in 1787 from St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church (see Methodism) because of racial discrimination and built Bethel African Methodist Church. In 1799 Richard Allen became minister of Bethel, and in 1816 he was consecrated bishop of the newly organized African Methodist Episcopal Church. Limited at first to the Northern states, the church spread rapidly in the South after the Civil War. It founded many colleges and seminaries, notably Wilberforce University (1856) in Ohio. In the late 20th century the church claimed 3,500,000 members and 8,000 congregations. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

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The Articles of Religion are an official doctrinal statement of American Methodism. John Wesley abridged for the American Methodists the Thirty-Nine Articles of Anglicanism, removing the Calvinistic parts among others. The Articles were adopted at a conference in 1784 and are found in paragraph 103 of the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline. They have remained relatively unchanged since 1808 (save for a few additional articles added in later years).


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