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HISTORY

OF

THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

BY REV. D. A. PAYNE, BALTIMORE, MD.

This humble branch of the Redeemer's , devise a plan in order to build a house of Church was founded in the year 1816, in their own, to worship God under their own the city of Philadelphia, by Rev. Richard | vine and fig-tree. In this undertaking they Allen, (afterwards its first Bishop,) Rev. met with great opposition from an elder of Daniel Boker, Rev. James Champion, Rev. the Methodist Church, (J. M'C.) who Clayton Durham, and others, whose names threatened, that if they did not give up the have not reached the present time. The building, erase their names from the suborganization of said church, took place in scription paper, and make acknowledg. a convention held for ecclesiastical pur- ments for having attempted such a thing, poses, by a large number of colored per- that in three months they should all be sons, who had seceded from the Methodist publicly expelled from the Methodist So. Episcopal Church, both in the city of Phi- ciety. 'Not considering themselves bound ladelphia and Baltimore, for reasons which to obey this injunction, and being fully they considered perfecty justifiable in them- satisfied they should be treated without selves ;-reasons growing out of their cir- mercy, they sent in their resignation. cumstances as an oppressed people, in Being now as out-casts, they had to church as well as in state,

seek for friends where they could ; and the As the history of our rise and progress, Lord put it into the hearts of Dr. Benja. and reasons which led our fathers to secede min Rush, Mr. R. Ralston, and other refrom the M. E. Church, are not generally spectable citizens, to interpose for them, known, I shall insert here an extract from both by advice and assistance in getting the address of our bishops, Brown, Waters, their building finished :- Bishop White and Quinn, to the members of the African also aided them, and ordained one from Methodist Episcopal Church in the United among themselves, after the order of the States.

Protestant Episcopal Church, to be their “ In November, 1787, the colored peo pastor. ple belonging to the Methodist Society of “ In 1793, the number of the serious Philadelphia, convened together, in order people of color having increased, they were to take into consideration the evils under of different opinions, respecting the mode which they labored, arising from the un- of religious worship; and, as many felt a kind treatment of their white brethren, strong partiality for that adopted by the who considered them a nuisance in the Methodists, Richard Allen, with the advice house of worship, and even pulled them of some of his brethren, proposed erecting off their knees, while in the act of prayer, a place of worship on his own ground, and and ordered them to the back seats. From at his own expense, as an African Methothese and various other acts of unchristian dist meeting house. As soon as the preach. conduct, they considered it their duty to ers of the Methodist Church in Philadel.

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disappointed in this plan, Robert R. Ro-, and in order to secure their privileges and berts, the resident elder of St. George's promote union among themselves, it was charge, came to Bethel and insisted on resolved, That the people of Philadelphia, preaching to them, and taking the spiritual Baltimore, and all other places who should charge, for they were Methodists. He was unite with them, should become one body told, he should come on some terms with under the name and style of the · African the trustees; his answer was, that he did Methodist Episcopal Church.?” not come to consult with Richard Allen, Having thus sketched out a brief his. nor the trustees, but to inform the con- tory of our little Zion, and the causes gregation, that on next Sabbath day he which led to a separate organization un. would come and take the charge ; they der the aforesaid title, I would further told him, he could not preach for them state, that as these did not involve any under existing circumstrnces. However, difference in doctrine or practice, the at the appointed time he came; but, having aforementioned Convention, held in Phila. taken previous advice, they had their delphia, in the year 1816, adopted the preacher in the pulpit when he came, and same doctrines, discipline, and general the house so fixed that he could not get government, in which they had been inmore than half way to the pulpit ; finding structed, and by which they had been himself disappointed, he appealed to those governed, differing only in those points who came with him as witnesses, that which did not apply to their peculiar cir. • That man,' meaning the preacher, “had cumstances. These points of difference taken his appointment.' Several respect are the following: able white citizens, (who knew the colored 1. They have no presiding elders, just people had been ill used,) were present, because they are not able to maintain and told them not to sear, for they would them. see them righted, and not suffer Roberts to 2. Their local preachers are eligible to preach in a forcible manner: after which membership in the Annual Conferences, Roberts went away.

and as such, are entitled to all the privi“ The next elder stationed at Philadel. leges of the itinerant members. phia, was Robert Birch, who followed the 3. Their local preachers have a seat, example of his predecessor, came and pub- voice, and vote, in the General Conferlished a meeting for himself; but the be- ence, when sent there as delegates from fore-mentioned method was adopted, and the Annual Conferences, to represent the he had to go away disappointed. In con- lay members of the church, i. e. For sequence of this, he applied to the Supreme every four hundred lay members, there is Court, for a writ of Mandamus, to know one local preacher in the General Con. why the pulpit was denied him, being ference. elder; this brought on a law suit, which According to documentary evidence, ended in favor of Bethel. Thus, by the the first Annual Conference was held in providence of God, they were delivered the city of Baltimore, in the month of from a long, distressing and expensive April, 1818, at which the following per. suit, which could not be resumed, being sons were present, viz: determined by the Supreme Court; for Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, Rev. Jacob this mercy they were un feignedly thankful. Tapsico, Rev. Richard Williams, Rev.

“ About this time the colored people in Henry Harden, Thomas Robinson, Chas. Baltimore and other places were treated in Pierce, James Torosen, Jerry Millar, a similar manner as those in Philadelphia, and William Quinn. who, rather than go to law, were com- In May, of the same year, the second pelled to seek places of worship for them. Annual Conference was held in Philadel. selves; this induced the people of Phila- phia, and was composed of the following delphia to call a general convention in persons, viz: April, 1816, to form a connexion ; dele. Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, Rev. James gates appointed to represent different Champion, Rev. Richard Williams, Rev. churches, met those of Philadelphia, and Henry Warden, Rev. Charles Pierce, taking into consideration their grievances, | Rev. Reuben Cuff, Jeremiah Millar, Wil.

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