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African Methodist Episcopal church

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African Methodist Episcopal church

This denomination originated in a dispute over segregated seating arrangements at Philadelphia's St George Methodist church. Richard Allen led his fellow blacks out of the congregation in protest and formed the Free African Society. Allen founded the Bethel church and was ordained the first black Methodist deacon in 1793. In 1816 the Bethel church called a general conference of black Methodists, which founded the African Methodist Episcopal church, with Allen as bishop. By 1865, the church included 53,670 members and 2,613 clergy. In 1990 it had 6,200 churches and 2,210,000 members (1.5 percent of all churchgoers).

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