The African Methodist Episcopal Church, is a United States Methodist Church, not affiliated with the United Methodist Church governmentally, that was formally organized in 1816.
It developed from a congregation formed by a group of Philadelphia-area slaves and former slaves who withdrew in 1787 from St. Georges's Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia because of discrimination.
They built Bethel African Methodist Church in Philadelphia, now fondly known as Mother Bethel. In 1799, Richard Allen was ordained minister of the church by Bishop Francis Asbury of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1816, Ausbery consecrated Allen bishop of the newly organized African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Confined to the Northern states before the Civil War, the church spread rapidly in the South after the war.
The Church is Methodist in doctrine and church government, and it holds a general conference every four years. It has about 1,200,000 members.