The Christian Methodist Epsicopal Church
is a historically black denomination
within the broader context of Methodism
. The group was organized in 1870 when several black ministers, with the full support of their white
counterparts in the former Methodist Episcopal Church, South
, met to form an organization that would allow them to establish and maintain their own polity, that is, to ordain their own bishops
without the necessity of them being officially endorsed or appointed by the white-dominated body. They called this fellowship the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church
, which it remained until their successors adopted the current name in the 1950s.
The church maintains a publishing house in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, Texas College in Tyler, Texas, Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Phillips School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama.
In the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, bishops are administrative superintendents of the church; they are elected by "delegate" votes for as many years deemed until the age of 74, when he/she must retire. Among their duties are responsibility for appointing clergy to serve local churches as pastor, for performing ordinations, and for safeguarding the doctrine and discipline of the Church. The General Conference, a meeting every four years, comprises an equal number of clergy and lay delegates. In each Annual Conference, CME bishops serve for four-year terms. CME Church bishops may be male or female.
The C.M.E. Church has set forth a Social Creed
Hymnal and responsive readings
Sunday worship services in the CME denomination commonly include a Responsive Reading from scripture
. A leader reads a line of scripture and the congregation reads a response. Bible passages are not arranged by topic; Responsive Readings are. Often, a single Responsive Reading consists of excerpts from several Bible passages.
The CME Responsive Readings are published in The Hymnal of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Items 1-545 are songs, and items 546-604 are Responsive Readings. The official Responsive Readings are from the King James Version of the Bible. This site has substituted the same excerpts from New King James Version (NKJV).
CME Connectional Emblem
The official logo or symbol of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church was originally authorized by Bishop B. Julian Smith for the Centennial General Conference held in Memphis, 1970. It was officially adopted by the General Conference in 1974 as the denomination's connectional marker.
Designed by Will E. Chambers, the logo shows the place of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in the rapidly changing urbanized society and its relation to God's people. The logo is composed of:
- The World Globe which represents the vineyard of God;
- The Skyline which stands for the Church's concern for human and urban problems and people's alienation from God and one another;
- The Weather Vane which symbolizes the need of the Church to be flexible in terms of meeting the contemporary needs of people; and
- The Cross which denotes, by its vertical bar, the need for a proper relationship between people and God, and by its horizontal bar, the need for proper relationships between people. The total Cross is a sign of the final-assured victory through the blood of Jesus Christ.
The CME church has been in negotiations for many years to merge with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
into a tentatively-named Christian Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
. The plan was originally for them to unite by 2004, but this has been delayed by the AMEZ church, which, for example, insists on having "African" in the name
The CMEC is very similar in doctrine and practice to that church and to the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Statement of the C.M.E. College of Bishops Attacks on America: Responding With Love and Justice
, prepared by The Commission on Social Justice and Human Concerns, CME Convocation, September 25 - 28, 2001, Nashville, Tennessee.