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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

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a religious denomination composed entirely of colored Methodists, organized Oct. 25, 1820.

I. History. This denomination originated in the secession, in 1820, of the Zion congregation of African Methodists, in the city of New York, from the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Congregation assigned as the cause of its separation some resolutions passed by the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1820, concerning Church government. Zion congregation was soon joined by several other congregations, and in 1821 the first Annual Conference was held in the city of New York, which was attended by 22 ministers, and reported the number of members connected with the Conference as being 1426. For seven more years successively an Annual Conference was convened, each of which appointed its president. At the Annual Conference of 1838, the Reverend Christopher Rush was elected permanent superintendent for four years. In 1887 the denomination had 2 general superintendents, 4 annual conferences (New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore), 2,600 travelling ministers, 3,250 local preachers and exhorters, 325,000 lay members, 50 churches, and many congregations without churches, in 11 states of the Union, the District of Columbia, and Nova Scotia. The General Conference of 1864, held at Philadelphia, declared in favor of . union with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (q.v.).

II. Doctrines. The doctrines are the same as those of the Methodist Episcopal Church (q.v.).

III. Government. The highest functionaries of the Church are general superintendents, who are elected to their office every four years by the suffrage of the members of the General Conference. They may be re-elected at the expiration of their term. The General Conference meets every four years, and is composed of all the travelling ministers of the connection. The Annual Conference is composed of all the travelling ministers of a district. See Reverend Christopher Rush s Hist. of the African Methodist Church (N. Y.).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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