Minister, educator and writer Richard Allen was born into slavery on February 14, 1760. He later converted to Methodism and bought his freedom. Fed up with the treatment of African-American parishioners at the St. George Episcopal congregation, he eventually founded the first national black church in the United States, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was also an activist and abolitionist whose ardent writings would inspire future visionaries. Allen died in 1831 in Philadelphia.
In 1799, Allen became the first African American to be ordained in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Then, in 1816, with support from representatives from other black Methodist churches, Allen founded the first national black church in the United States, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and became its first bishop. Today, the AME Church boasts more than 2.5 million members.
Today, the African Methodist Episcopal Church boasts more than 2.5 million members and has membership in twenty Episcopal Districts in thirty-nine countries on five continents. The work of the Church is administered by twenty-one active bishops, and nine General Officers who manage the departments of the Church. [1,2]
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