(Washington) The historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church is celebrating its 175th anniversary on Sunday, July 21, 2013 with a commemorative service and celebration at 10:00 a.m. The church is located at 1518 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20005, only a few blocks from the White House. The featured speaker is Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green, Sr. the 125th elected and consecrated Bishop of the A.M.E. church and head of the 12th district, which encompasses Arkansas and Oklahoma. He views the church “as a proponent of change.” This view resonates with the members of Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, the National Cathedral of African Methodism,”as its historic story is one of change, social activism and advocacy.
Founded in 1938, Metropolitan was formed by two existing churches: Israel Bethel A.M.E., founded in 1821 and Union Bethel A.M.E. founded in 1838. The parent A.M.E. Church movement grew out of an anti–segregation protest in Philadelphia in 1787. Similarly, both Israel Bethel and Union Bethel began as a result of dissatisfaction among African Americans over racial segregation here in Washington at Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church. On July 6, 1838, Union Bethel received the official sanction of the Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Consequentially, this date is recognized as the official date of the founding of Metropolitan. The name of the Church was officially changed to Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in 1872 at the Baltimore Conference.
The Metropolitan A.M.E. Church was a safe haven to runaway persons who were enslaved; pioneered the Bethel Literary Society which enriched the civic, cultural and intellectual lives among African American citizens; has featured prominent persons over the years such as Frederick Douglass, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Mary Mc Leod Bethune, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joel Elias Spingarn, E. E. Just, Alaine Locke, Mordecai Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Jesse Jackson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others; hosted the funeral of Frederick Douglass; was the site of the prayer services during the two inaugurations of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Albert Gore. In addition, President Barack Obama and the First Family have worshipped twice at the Metropolitan, including the Sunday of his second inauguration. The church raised over $56,000 in money and goods for the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; was the site of the Washington, DC memorial service for Rosa Parks and the official memorial service for A. Philip Randolph; has worked with citizens who are reentering society after incarceration; and has sponsored many social activist events, the most recent ones have focused on the “Stop the Pipeline to Prison” and “Ending Gun Violence.” Metropolitan AME Church received the designation as an historical site and the church has been renovated to maintain this edifice as a part of A.M.E., black, Washington, DC and American history. Recently, Metropolitan was awarded a $90,000 grant from the Partners in Preservation to restore the stained glass windows on the church’s primary facade.
Senior Minister, the Reverend Dr. Ronald E. Braxton extends an invitation to the public to attend this commemorative service and celebration. Please contact the church office at 202 331-1426 or visit the church’s website, www.metropolitaname.org for additional information about this celebration.