The African Methodist Episcopal Church, established formally as a denomination in 1816 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, rapidly expanded from the Middle Atlantic States northeastward to New England and westward to Missouri within its early decades. Its short-lived presence in South Carolina in the 1820s threatened the “slave power” and the new denomination was forced to retreat until after the Civil War in 1865. This setback, however, did not affect the founding of churches in the slave states of Kentucky and Louisiana near the end of the 1840s. With the planting of congregations in the Pacific areas in the 1850s, African Methodism was firmly in place in faraway San Francisco and adjacent areas of California
Neither now nor in the initial years of AME Church expansion was the denomination restricted to American soil. Bishop Richard Allen’s endorsement of a mission to Haiti in 1824 and Bishop Morris Brown’s welcoming the founding of the Canada Annual Conference in 1840, made African Methodism a religious refuge for persons of color within the western hemisphere. From Haiti, the denomination through the remainder of the 19th century and into the 20th century expanded elsewhere in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Cuba became a part of the denomination in 1874, 1893 and 1898, respectively. In the 1910s and 1920s, congregations in Jamaica, Trinidad and the Virgin Islands were organized. When the Canada Annual Conference was re-established as the British Methodist Episcopal Church in 1856, the religious body extended to Bermuda and British Guiana.
The energy and vision of Bishop Henry M. Turner brought the AME Church to Africa in the 1880s. He organized the Sierra Leone and Liberia Annual Conferences in 1891. Out of South Africa, the AME Church stretched northward into nations such as Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and Angola into Central Africa. Missions are also in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa are also part of the denomination and a host of other countries on the continent.
NEW ELIZABETH AME CHURCH Newark, Delaware
In 1920, a few men and women of Christian faith gathered to organize a new church. The founders of Elizabeth AME Church were West Chambers, Eugene Cooper, James Dredden, Ben Allen, H. Cooper, James Washington, Laurel Washington, Elizabeth Chambers, Elizabeth Lord, Bessie Harris, Cora Jackson, Adline Adams, Gertrude Green, Madge Washington and Howard Jackson who was the local preacher.
They founded Elizabeth AME Church in Homestead in a small tent under the leadership of Rev. M.J. Hail. Later they built a church on October 19, 1921 and laid the cornerstone in Hometead, Marshlton, Delaware.
The triumph of their faith and foresight affirmed in a history of comradeship and service that existed for 37 years. In 1952, a few members organized a building committee. On December 1, 1957, the cornerstone was laid on Boxwood Road under the pastorate of Rev. E.N. Taylor.
In the late 1960s early 1970s Elizabeth was forced to once again abandon their church located on Boxwood Road in order to accommodate the State’s plans for construction of a new highway (Rt. 141) that would claim its property.
In the early 1970’s, the cornerstone was again laid. Services were held in the home of Mary Williams on Kiamenzi Road and Communion Services were held in the home of Frances Boardley.
In 1973 Rev. Stoney W. Daggett was sent by Rev. Noisette of Bethel AME Church, Wilmington, Delaware along with a few other preachers and lay persons to help the congregation re-establish and again build a church and lay a cornerstone.
On May 8, 1973 land was purchased at 323 Maple Avenue in the Belvedere/Cedar Heights community of Delaware and a church building erected. The church was incorporated February 7, 2002 in the State of Delaware.
In 2005, a new vision for the church was embarked and the congregation moved to Pencader Presbyterian Church, 2303 Glasgow Ave, Newark, DE and shared the church building with that congregation. The vision of the church was to reach a wider community and provide a holistic ministry solution through worship, evangelism and outreach programs that address the spiritual, social, economic and political needs of the people of God and to build a church and center that would meet those needs.
The ethics of responsibility that motivated these pioneers also embraced the great ministers that followed: Rev. Stoney Daggett, Rev. S. Carter; Rev. Charles Dennis; Rev. William Kinder; Rev. E Robinson; Rev. L. Seals; Rev. Jones; Rev. Perry L. Davis, Jr.; Rev. B. Austin, Rev. P. Ward; Rev. M. Butler.
In 2011 under the leadership of Rev. Karen L. Washington, the vision of the church was rekindled. On May 31, 2013, in reclaiming the church vision, the name of the church was changed from Elizabeth AME Church Inc. to New Elizabeth AME Church Inc. The congregation worshiped at Pencader Presbyterian Church building, Glasgow, DE.
In January 2015, New Elizabeth AME Church and congregation moved to Pencader Corporate Center, 250 Corporate Blvd, Newark, De where we are currently worshipping.
In 2016 the 323 Maple Ave church building was sold in order to move forward in the vision to grow the congregation and erect a church and Empowerment Center in the Bear/Newark area.
The vision of New Elizabeth is “Becoming and Making Disciples to Reach, Reclaim and Transform through the Power of Jesus Christ.” Under the current leadership and membership, the vision is to build a new church edifice and Empowerment Center to minister to God’s people Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, Economically and Socially.
It is through our Godly Heritage of those who laid the stones before us and the legacy they left behind that we are who we are today.
New Elizabeth AME Church will forever be indebted to the fine members and various clergy of Bethel AME Church, Wilmington, Delaware as they have been a continued support over the years (financially, spiritually and even paternally over the years helping Elizabeth to sustain its existence).
To God be the Glory for keeping us and bringing us thus far and we will never take for granted the many sacrifices made of all the men and women who have paved the way for the present congregation of New Elizabeth African Methodist Episcopal Church.
323 Maple Ave, Wilmington, DE
Pencader Presbyterian Church, 2303 Glasgow Ave, Newark, DE
New Elizabeth AME Church, 250 Corporate Blvd, Newark, DE
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