Today, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, or A.M.E. Church, is the world’s oldest protestant Christian denomination founded by Black people. It has a membership that has grown worldwide, and it’s now estimated that the A.M.E. Church has a global membership which includes more than 7.5 million people.

The Beginnings of A.M.E.


The A.M.E. Church has its roots in the Free African Society, which was established for the purpose of meeting the spiritual, economic, and social needs of African Americans in Philadelphia. The Free African Society was founded in 1787 by a group of free Black Americasn, and included Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. These two men worshiped at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church, but were forced to leave due to discrimination. Not only were they only allowed to preach to Black congregations, but they weren’t allowed to sit among non-Black people during church services there.

After leaving St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church, Richard Allen led a group of friends and colleagues who wanted to remain Methodists. In 1793, they created the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Meanwhile, Absalom Jones went on to found the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in July of 1794. Eventually, Jones’s congregation was consolidated with Allen’s into the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The mission of the A.M.E. Church has always been to minister to people of all colors, from all walks of like. Discrimination and racism made it so that the group had to separate themselves, but from the beginning, the A.M.E. Church welcomed everyone who wanted to worship there.

Growth of the A.M.E. Church

President Barack Obama on Friday eulogized the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims in last week's church massacre, calling him a "man of God who lived by faith." "We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith," Obama said.

President Barack Obama on Friday eulogized the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims in last week’s church massacre, calling him a “man of God who lived by faith.” “We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith,” Obama said.


One key thing that helped spread the A.M.E. Church’s influence was its dedicated to education. This was important at a time when Black Americans weren’t allowed admission to predominately White schools, yet greatly wanted to increase their chance of succeeding in society. Many of the colleges, universities, and theological seminaries founded by the A.M.E. Church in its early days still exist today, including Payne Theological Seminary, Morris Brown College, Wilberforce University, Paul Quinn College, and Shorter College.

The A.M.E. Church’s leaders also helped grow the congregation and turn A.M.E. into a major Christian denomination due to their dedication to structure, organization, and working together to achieve the church’s mission. This mission includes the following objectives: preaching the Gospel; feeding the hungry; clothing those without clothes; housing the homeless; bringing cheer to society’s fallen; providing honest jobs; ministering to the sick and imprisoned; encouraging righteous economic advancement; and drawing people back to church life.

The A.M.E. Church has endured through the years and its structure is still very much like it was at its inception. To serve the needs of modern society, they have added a health commission — the A.M.E. Connectional Health Commission — more educational initiatives, and social programs. Throughout everything, the A.M.E. Church has stuck by its motto: “God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family”.



There are hundreds of African Methodist Episcopal Churches located in the West of America. California is home to one of the largest ones, but there are others just as big on the same coast. This denomination is largely supported by black communities due to its history in promoting civil rights. So many of the largest churches are situated in Black communities.

The Largest churches


First African Methodist Episcopal Church Los Angeles: This church is one of the mega churches in Los Angeles, California; it is also the oldest in this area, founded in 1872. Currently, it has over 19,000 members and is very influential in the California area as well as in the United States. President Bush recognised their efforts in bringing change to communities. During election campaigns, politicians make it a point to visit this church because of the influence of this mammoth church.

Brookins Community AME Church: This is another mega church located in southern California. The church seats a total of 1200 people but usually averages an attendance of about 2000. It was started in 1977 and has since blossomed into a large charge with a huge following. The Rev Gregory Keith is its current senior pastor and he is a very influential individual in the community

Saint Philip Church: located in Atlanta Georgia, This megachurch has over 10,000 individual followers and is one of the oldest African Methodist Episcopal churches in Atlanta. Its history tells of a struggle in which it was burnt down in a fire in the 1950s, but it rose again to be an even more magnificent church with up to 2000 people attending services on Sunday. The reverend Willaim D Watley is the senior pastor at the church and he devotes his services to teaching the word of god and feeding the hungry. The church focuses on community work and helping the needy. It is very influential in the community.

Impact of the AME Churches in the West

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Because of their strong history in the civil rights movement, African Methodist Episcopal churches in America have had such a huge following of black Christians; this has made them highly influential in the politics, economics and social spheres of the country. Politicians listen to voices of the masses and the churches in the west have collected a lot of followers which means they have the ability to influence political elections. Socially, the AME Church has been vigorously supporting the education of black people providing scholarships and setting up institutions including colleges and Universities to ensure that the black youth attain a good education.

They also have set up homeless shelters and soup kitchens to help the needy. Most of the pastors of the AME churches keep on preaching the value of the family in promoting good morals and proper up bringing of children. Many families depend on the pastors for guidance and advice on family relationships and the like.

It is no doubt that the AME churches are making a big impact on the communities in the west as they continue to grow.


The African Methodist Episcopal church (AME) has always been championing the education of African Americans in order for them to better their lives. The first African Methodist Episcopal university was set up in the 1870s with the aim of educating freed slaves and continues to date to provide undergraduate courses. The church has followed through with the idea setting up a number of other universities, colleges and seminaries providing good education to African American students. Here is a list of the Best African Methodist Episcopal Colleges and Universities.

Top AME Universities and Colleges


Paul Quinn College

This college was founded in1872 in Austin Texas by African Methodist Episcopal preachers. At that time, it was named Connection High School and Institue. It was founded to provide education to freed slaves.

It was in 1881 when the state of Texas chartered it as a College and it was renamed Paul Quinn College after pastor Paul Quinn who had led a drive to expand the institute and introduced more subjects other than the original vocational skills that were being taught Today Paul Quinn College is a full college providing standard college education especially to African Americans.

Edward Waters College


It is the oldest black college in Florida. Edward Waters College was founded in 1866 to educate freed slaves. The college sits on 23 acres of land in Jacksonville and is a member of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. Edward Waters College offers Bachelors degrees in arts, Sciences, and Business administration. In total, there are 8 degree programs which include Criminal Justice, Communication, Psychology, Music, Biology, Mathematics, Elementary Education, and Business Administration.

Allen University

Just like most of the African Methodist Episcopal institutions, it was founded originally to provide education to freed slaves in 1870. Allen University is currently situated in Columbia, South Carolina. On Average, it has about 600 students, predominantly black. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and schools. Allen University offers Bachelors of Arts and Science degrees.

Wilberforce University

It was founded in 1856 under the cooperation of the Cincinnati, Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church to provide classical education and teacher training to African American Youth. The School, however, had to close in 1863 due to financial problems and the outbreak of the Civil was. In 1865, it was purchased by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and with funding from Government it was rebuilt. The University currently has a lab dedicated to providing education in science technology, engineering and mathematics for NASA future needs. Wilberforce University is dedicated to educating underprivileged students and puts emphasis on attaining a good education and helps them to get internships which provide practical work training and helps them graduate.

Overall Performance of the AME Church University and Colleges

The universities and colleges under the AME are highly regarded within the black community in America for their efforts to educate the African American population especially those that may have financial challenges attaining university and college degrees. A number of notable personalities in these communities have studied in these universities and colleges and are making great contributions to the nation as a whole.