Philadelphia is home to a bevy of important historical moments and figures including the founding of The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) by Richard Allen. The church was founded in 1816, and this year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding and the establishment of its keystone church, Mother Bethel.
In celebration of the monumental anniversary, the First Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church hosts concerts, services, award ceremonies and more throughout the year including the quickly approaching Bicentennial Celebration events from April 7 through 10 and an anticipated conference in July.
AME Bicentennial Celebration Events — April 2016
The April festivities kick off with a gospel concert on April 7 that celebrates both classic gospel pieces and contemporary works. The ticketed show features popular gospel artists like Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers, Regina Jackson and Jamarien Moore at the First District Plaza.
On April 8, Mother Bethel is home to a free reenactment of the first General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which took place at Mother Bethel exactly 200 years before on April 8, 1816. The event will also include a social justice forum and call on influential leaders to take part in the forum.
The events continue with a ticketed award luncheon and performance that honors the mother of the AME Church, Sarah Bass Allen, on April 9. The ceremony will honor women from various AME churches that embody the spirit of Sarah Allen. On April 10, the celebration closes out with a church service at Mother Bethel that celebrates the varied Methodist religions with an inclusive service.
Festival events take place at Mother Bethel church or First District Plaza. For more information regarding locations and tickets of the AME Bicentennial Celebration Events, click here.
AME Conference — July 2016
The April events serve as a precursor for the AME Conference in July — July 5 through 13 — when congregants head to Philadelphia for the AME’s general conference — complete with an unveiling of the Bishop Richard Allen Memorial Courtyard and a new mural dedication. Stay tuned for more on the highly anticipated AME Conference this summer.