The Church Growth & Development Department (formerly the Bureau of Evangelism) is a part of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AME Zion Church) is a historically African-American Denomination officially formed in 1796 in New York City.
The church can be traced back to the John Street Methodist Church of New York City. Following acts of overt discrimination (such as black parishioners being forced to leave worship), many black members left to form their own churches. The first church founded by the AME Zion Church was built in 1800 and was named Mother Zion and still stands on 137th St. in Harlem . These early A.M.E Zion churches were still part of the Methodist Episcopal Church denomination, although the congregations were independent.
The fledgling church grew and soon multiple churches developed from the original congregation. These churches were attended by black congregants, but ministered to by white ordained Methodist ministers. In 1820, six of the churches met to ordain James Varick as an elder, and in 1821 he was made the first General Superintendent of the AME Zion Church. A debate raged in the white-dominated Methodist church over the possibility of black ministers. This debate concluded on July 30, 1822, when James Varick was ordained the first bishop of the A.M.E Zion church. The total membership in 1866 was about 42,000. Two years later it membership was a little more then 164,000 members.
The A.M.E. Zion Church was as a big part of the Abolitionist & Civil Rights Movement and became known as the Freedom Church. With notable members such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. To learn more about our church visit www.amez.org