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History of Zion

It all Starts with "Zion"

The first church organized in 1796 and built in 1800 was called Zion.  The founders chose this name because, "it was the name most frequently used in the Bible to designate the church of God," even Zion Hill before there was a worship house.  Zion church was incorporated in 1801 by the name "The African Methodist Episcopal church in New York."  Methodist Episcopal was always in the title to exhibit the retention of the doctrine and form of church government under which the denomination originated.  "African" was prefixed to the rest of the title of this church because it was to be controlled by descendants of Africa, in the interest of humanity, regardless of race, color, sex, or condition.  Therefore, these people of African descent, with an indubitable pride in the Fatherland and abiding love of kinship, desired to maintain their identity, their ancient cultures and background for posterity.

Among the leaders of the movement was James Varick, who was the first Bishop and to whom is attributed the founding father of the Zion Church.


The General Conference of 1848 voted to make ZION a part of the denominational name, henceforth, to be known as the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church.  From the very outset the Zion Church has been in the forefront in the battle for full citizenship and freedom in this country.  The AME Zion Church encompasses all of the United States, Canada, Caribbean Islands, England, Africa, India and South America, and it is under the supervision of twelve (12) elected Bishops. 

See More: http://amez.org/our-church

AME Zion Church
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