The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is a Christian-faith church with member churches across the country and around the world, as of 2015. The Church's theological beliefs are similar to other Methodist churches. It emerged as a separate entity after black Methodists experienced racism in 1796 New York City. The church is based in North Carolina, but each of 12 governing Bishops maintains an office in his own local neighborhood. The organization raises revenue through a membership business model.
The church was founded in 1796, officially chartered in 1801 and officially established in 1820, when its membership withdrew from the white Methodist church. The word "zion" was not added to the organization's name until 1848, in order to differentiate it from the Philidelphia-based black Methodists that emerged at roughly the same time. Throughout its history, the church has fought for social justice, with its members participating in activities such as abolitionism, the founding of the NAACP and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The church has affiliates on every continent except Australia, with a particular international focus in Nigeria and Ghana. The organization's presence in Liberia was also strong until civil war destroyed many of its buildings. The group is committed to education, operating Livingstone College, Clinton Junior College, Lomax-Hannon Junior College, Hood Theological Seminary and two facilities in Nigeria. Amez.org is its official website.
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is managed in a triune manner. A general conference comprised of delegates of the organization's corporate membership meets every four years to set the business agenda and budget. A board of bishops, consisting of one bishop in each of 12 Episcopal Districts, oversees local activities. These Episcopal districts include Piedmont, Eastern North Carolina and Western West Africa. Finally, 12 elected general officers perform duties that vary by location.