The African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1816 by Rev. Richard Allen. This was derived from the original Methodist church that was dominated by the whites. It was during a time when racial segregation had hit all sectors of the nation and hence minimizing on the ability of the church to deliver its purpose. From the few blacks that attended the church, they decided to have their own congregation that will ensure their internal issues are effectively handled without the hindrance of white dominance. Being formed by people who understood the needs of the minority and more especially he blacks who were being discriminated against, they came up with a mission statement that will ensure the issues are solved once and for all. As the church grew, it became generally concerned about the issues of the black people at large. It is for this reason that it gained much popularity in the African continent (Campbell 150).
The Mission statement of the church is to spread the gospel of Christ through ministering to each needs of the society. This includes feeding them spiritually, physically, clothing them and granting them the comfort and solace they need. The church desires to set the spirit of the African man free by ensuring they are physically, spiritually and psychologically healthy. The emphasize on the African community is mainly because of the negative attitude that has been held against them by other communities that feel superior to the black race. (Russaw 49) to accomplish this, the church launched into the following activities:
- Preaching the gospel
- Feeding the hungry
- Clothing the naked
- Housing the homeless
- Cheering the fallen
- Providing jobs for the jobless
- administering to the needs of the needy such as the sick, the captives, refugees, orphans, the elderly and the likes.
- Encouraging thrift and economic advancement and
- Bringing people back into church (Campbell 303)
Through this, the church has been able to reach to the various needs of the needy in the society by giving them the comfort and solace that they need. I personally realized that it will be useless to just preach the gospel without considering the needs of the congregation. Most of the blacks had given up on life due to the prevailing circumstances. I realize the importance of teaming up with the founders of the vision in United States, to influence each other towards good deeds and eventually empowering each other.
The church is engaged in various economic and charitable activities to facilitate the fulfillment of the mission statement. Many well-wishers including non-governmental organizations have come up to collaborate with the church to ensure the delivery of the services. Apart from such organizations, as an individual, I can contribute towards this worthy course in whichever way I feel best suited. The best thing about the church is that it is diversified to the level that anybody can be of great assistance to the work irrespective of their social standing or economic status (Russaw 28). The church welcomes people to participate in their activities either physically or by sending their financial contributions.
The church has a number of volunteers and still encourages others to be of help by simply visiting the sick, those in prison and those facing all kinds of issues. One does not need to be a preacher for them to support the mission of the church. All they look for are individuals who are willing and ready to take up the burden of others. The church has various tent facilities to take care of the refugees and asylum seekers. Through such tents, they provide food, clothing, beddings and medical treatment to the needy. They also share the gospel of Christ with them and assure them that they have a God who loves and cares for them. The church is not selective on who can be assisted or assists them to accomplish the mission. A person does not need to be a member of the church to actively participate in its activities or even obtain assistance. The kind of people they support are also of different religious background.
The church also has established institutions of learning that support its mission work in various ways. For in stance, a person can choose to support such work by enrolling to such schools. The money obtained is used to fund its various activities. Through the institutions, many people from needy backgrounds have also been able to obtain scholarships and hence advancing in their studies. Through the programs, the church assists in eradicating poverty, illiteracy and other related evils in the society (Campbell 201). Through various institutions, the church also gives people the opportunity to serve and hence granting them the exposure they need to prosper. The church has been able to create employment opportunities to people through the establishment of schools, churches, colleges and even church ministry.
Individuals can support the ministry by donating the needed materials and finances to expand the ministry. There are many areas that the church needs to grow and even penetrate to other interior regions and minister to the needs of the people. For instance, the church desires to plant more schools and churches yet they do not have the needed facilities such as land. If they get a donation from any person, they will be able to erect a church, a school or a hospital depending on the needs of the area. There are also other facilities that have been established yet the church needs a constant flow of funds and resources to keep them flowing. Due to many other activities that the church is engaged in, it may not be possible to effectively take care of the facilities. However, when they get committed people to support such activities, it will be easier for them to concentrate on other issues.
The church has different kinds of partners that contribute to the growth of the ministry. As mentioned, some choose to support such a ministry by enrolling into their schools and colleges. Other can also serve as volunteers to teach in the institutions or serve as healthcare providers in the hospitals and camps. Other partners send their financial contributions on a regular or irregular basis depending on their income. The church also has missionaries who travel from place to place preaching the gospel of Christ. The church also has children homes, homes for the old, disabled, rehabilitation centers and the likes. Through such institutions and homes, the church aims at meeting the needs of the society at each level. Any person irrespective of their standing and age in the society can be of great help to the church and even be helped by the ministry (Russaw 73).
Kind support such as donating clothes and food to the various centers is also encouraged by the church. Individuals are encouraged to donate clothes they do not need to a needy person. Foodstuff and other medical facilities are also of great importance. There is also the need for study materials for schools and churches. The church has specific plans where a person who wants to contribute can do so. For instance, an individual can choose to support a specific child by paying for their school fees, clothing them or just taking care of their medical needs. Another person can pledge to be bringing all the clothes they do not need on a yearly basis. This may even be done by collecting such clothes from friends and relatives. Others have also committed to supplying foodstuff to specific institutions and hence ensuring that the organizations run.
Logistic and managerial responsibilities are also needed for the various institutions of the church. The church therefore employees qualified managers to assist in such activities. Some also volunteer to do the administrative work and therefore easing the financial burden of the institutions. As a minister of the gospel, I realize that there are many areas where I can be of assistance to the church. One of the areas I feel best suited is reaching out to the lost with the word of Christ. In a world where truth has become rare and the fact that people need encouragement, I purpose to reach out to those around me. I can always be part of the mission team that visits the sick and prisoners in hospital, assist in the logistics of distributing the necessities. My ministry work also gives me the opportunity to shape the morals of the upcoming generations. I accomplish this by visiting schools either on weekends or at any appropriate time and share the Word of God with them. I can also be part of the mentoring and counseling sessions on any issues that affect the young.
Having understood the mission statement, I also realize that there are various needs around me that need to be taken care of (Campbell 94). This means that as an individual, I can embrace the mission at heart by touching those that are around me. This may include clothing a needy neighbor, preaching the gospel of Christ or just praying for the activities of the church.
Campbell, James. Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa. London: UNC Press Books, 1995.
Russaw, Ethel. Call the Roll: Laity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. New York: AuthorHouse, 2011.