For individual church buildings/congregations of this name, see African Methodist Episcopal Church (disambiguation).
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African-American Methodist denomination based in the United States. It is the first independent Protestant denomination to be founded by black people . It was founded by the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the mid-Atlantic area that wanted independence from white Methodists. Allen was consecrated its first bishop in 1816. It began with eight clergy and five churches, and by 1846 had grown to 176 clergy, 296 churches, and 17,375 members. The 20,000 members in 1856 were located primarily in the North.  AME national membership (including probationers and preachers) jumped from 70,000 in 1866 to 207,000 in 1876.
"God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family"
Derived from Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne"s original motto "God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, Man our Brother", which served as the AME Church motto until the 2008 General Conference, when the current motto was officially adopted.
The AME Church grew out of the Free African Society (FAS), which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and other free blacks established in Philadelphia in 1787. They left St. George"s Methodist Episcopal Church because of discrimination. Although Allen and Jones were both accepted as preachers, they were limited to black congregations. In addition, the blacks were made to sit in a separate gallery built in the church when their portion of the congregation increased. These former members of St. George"s made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although the group was originally non-denominational, eventually members wanted to affiliate with existing denominations.
Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodist. They formed the Bethel African Methodist