The following paragraphs offers a detailed explanation for the meaning of A.M.E.
The “A” stands for African, and suggests that the A.M.E. Church was organized by people of African descent and heritage. However, it does not mean that the A.M.E. Church is only for black people. In fact, Richard Allen’s slave master was the first white person to become a member of the A.M.E. Church.
In 1787, Richard Allen, the founder of the A.M.E. Church, led the separation of black people from the white Methodist church they had been attending, when they were asked to remove themselves from the sanctuary during the invocation. This small group consisted of those who became founding members of the A.M.E. Church.
The “M” stands for Methodist. Richard Allen, the founder and first active bishop, felt that no denomination would suit the capacity of his people as well as did Methodism. He was impressed with its emphasis upon the plain and simple gospel, which the unlearned could readily understand. He felt that Methodism had what black people needed in terms of instruction and encouragement toward upward progress, and toward proper worship of God.
The “E” stands for Episcopal, and refers to the form of government under which A.M.E. Churches operate. In the Episcopal form of government, the chief executive and administrative officers are the bishops. Their authority is given to them by the General Conference. Their responsibilities are to oversee the spiritual and temporal affairs of the A.M.E. Church. They preside over annual conferences, make pastoral appointments, ordain deacons and elders, organize missions, and generally promote the interest of the denomination.
The A.M.E. Church is a community of people who believe in the triune God. Our motto is: “God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, Man our Brother.”