The African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church and Connection
, usually called "the A.U.M.P. Church
," is a Methodist
and the oldest independent black denomination in the U.S. It was chartered by Peter Spencer
(1782-1843) in Wilmington, Delaware
, in 1813 as the "Union Church of Africans." It was usually called the "African Union Church" until a Maryland offshoot of the A.M.E. Church
(the "First Colored Methodist Protestant Church") merged into it in 1866, when the denomination added that church's name to its own. A schism in the 1860s caused some of the congregations to form the "Union American Methodist Episcopal Church
" in 1865. The two denominations are now referred to collectively as the "Spencer Churches
" (or, less often, the "Union Churches").
Although it was a Methodist Protestant church in its earlier years, by the 1880s the A.U.M.P. Church was considering adopting an episcopal structure, and in 1922 it consecrated its first bishop, Daniel Russell, Jr. But it was not until 1967 that the Church actually made the switch to the episcopal structure and consecrated its two leaders as bishops.
The A.U.M.P. Church currently has a total of about 40 congregations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.