The mission of Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church is to seek first the kingdom of God and it's righteousness while equipping the disciples of Christ to change the world.
We are a church that demonstrates the love of Christ through worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism and service.
We believe that Christians are called to pursue a supreme relationship with Jesus Christ out of which every other relationship and activity is defined and directed. The greatest call of every true believer is a personal devotion to the person of Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord. We believe that there is no higher calling than the pursuit of an intimate relationship with Christ. It is this devotion and submission to the Lordship of Christ that determines one’s perspective and conduct in all matters of life. That relationship is maintained and developed through fellowship with the Lord in the practice of the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life (prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, fasting, and the pursuit of holiness. This is a calling for every true believer, not only for the “super-saints.” We therefore believe that complete devotion to Christ and His cause should be the normal disposition reflected in every Christian. A saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is more important than anything else in life. (John 11:25)
Core Value #2: Scripture/Truth
We believe that the Gospel as revealed in God’s Word is His power for transforming lives. – The Bible as God’s Word is completely reliable, true, inerrant, and authoritative. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Scripture pierces the mind and heart, affecting every aspect of our beings that we might love the Lord with all our heart, soul, body, and mind. It is only in hearing the Truth of God’s Word that one is formed more and more into the likeness of Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit. Thus Jesus prays concerning His disciples: “Sanctify them by the Truth; Your Word is Truth” (John 17:17). Genuine spiritual growth cannot occur without Scripture. Furthermore the Bible equips God’s people for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). The Bible is inspired by God and is the rule and guide for our faith and practice. (2Timothy 3:16-17)
Core Value #3: Community/Fellowship
We believe people are called to and made for loving relationships. – People need close relationships where they can love and be loved, know and be known. In fact, it is in relating with others and participating in community that profound life-change takes place within the individual. Therefore we place a high priority on our small group ministry through which community is optimally fostered. Furthermore every ministry should reflect this value for relationships, for our calling, as a church is not simply to fulfill a certain task but to build Christ-centered relationships. Loving and self-sacrificing relationships must characterize the very work of ministry, for in many ways they are the very work of ministry. Finally, we emphasize the importance of fostering unity within the community’s network of relationships, being eager to reconcile our conflicts and maintain a spirit of peace in honor of Jesus Christ. Together we are the church and each of us is a separate and necessary part. (1Corinthians 12:27)
Core Value #4: Evangelism/Witness
We believe that the Church must touch unbelievers with the reality of Jesus Christ. – This is the primary purpose of the Church in this world. Jesus said His main mission was “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He gave His Church the same mission when He said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” (Mt. 28:19-20). As we have been and are being transformed by the gospel of Christ, we are now called to spread the gospel to those around us. We believe that the Church must be active in reaching the lost for Jesus Christ through relevant and relationship-based evangelism. This value for the growth of His Kingdom ultimately reveals our desire to glorify the Lord. God's saving mission is that all people should come to know and love Jesus Christ as Lord. (Romans 1:5-6)
Core Value #5: Excellence
We believe that excellence and quality must characterize everything we do. – 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” We believe that “good enough” is not good enough when it comes to honoring God through our ministry. In response to His holiness and greatness, and in gratitude for His grace and mercy, our aim is to offer to the Lord our very best in everything that we are called to do. This is not obsessive perfectionism but an attitude of excellence that permeates all that we do in the church, since what we do as Christians reflects upon the Master we serve.
Core Value #6: Authenticity
We believe that the church must desire and demonstrate authenticity. – Church was never intended to be a place where it is illegal to be your true self. If there is any place in the world where you can be transparent without feeling threatened, it has got to be the church. Jesus demonstrated the value of transparency in his dealings with His own disciples. He revealed His genuine self to His men, even (and perhaps we can say especially) in His time of suffering. At the same time, we believe this authenticity should also be characterized by sincerity of heart and humility. When Christians are in genuine community, instead of pretense and hypocrisy there is grace and truth. Masks come off, conversations go beyond the surface, hearts are vulnerable, accountability is invited, and people become a family in the truest sense of the word.
Core Value #7: Stewardship
We believe that all Christians are called to minister and to utilize their resources for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. – Church is not just a place where Christians come to fuel up on spiritual food once a week. It is a place for believers to be trained and equipped to do the work of the ministry. We believe that every believer has been given resources (talents, finances, positions, time, etc.). And every Christian has been uniquely gifted by the Spirit to contribute to the greater good of the community (1 Cor. 12:7). This means the church is to operate as a unified family of servants who faithfully steward the gifts that God has placed in them. We want to be a healthy Body of believers who invest their talents, gifts, resources, and time in God’s Kingdom.
Core Value #8: Servant hood
We believe that it is in the manner of true kingdom greatness to lower ourselves in serving others. – We desire to be a church that sees serving as a privilege, not a burden; a joy, not a drag; a calling, not a preference. In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus indicates that true greatness consists in serving others when he said: “…whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve….” Our call then is to not serve others because we have to, but rather because to do so is in the manner of kingdom greatness as modeled by our Lord. It is our aim to become a community consisting of members who genuinely delight in what we can do for each other.
Core Value #9: Diversity
We believe that the Body of Christ is called to unity in diversity. – We want to create a worship environment that welcomes and embraces the rich diversity of God’s people. Whether this translates into diverse ethnic, economic, or social backgrounds, we here at Saint Paul believe that God has called us to be a church (and leadership) that represents and reflects the diversity of His Kingdom, and also the diversity present in our community. Furthermore, rather than producing “cookie-cutter” Christians, we welcome and celebrate the unique personalities that God has created and brings to this Body.
Core Value #10: Worship
We believe that the Church exists to worship God. – “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We are called to honor and glorify God, seeing Him as the center of our lives, our church, and all reality. This innate urge to worship will find a home in some object, and if not God, in some-thing/one else. We at Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church believe that the only object worthy of our praise is our Creator. We also believe that it is through this worship that we can know the profound and true joy that we were created to experience. And as we delight and rejoice in our Lord, this brings Him glory. Finally, worship is not simply a Sunday activity, but a life that we live in constant awareness of and in response to God’s mercy, greatness, and love (Rom. 12:1). In this spirit, worship extends beyond times of singing to times of learning, prayer, and Christian fellowship.
Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church was a vision from God given to Reverends Joshua Goin, W.R. Love, and Rev. and Mrs. E.J. Davis. The church had its humble beginning in the summer of 1883. This devout group of believers met in the home of Rev. and Mrs. Davis.
The mission of the new church was to develop Christ-like character in the members; a continuing Christian Education program; a mode of ethical behavior; and a fellowship, not only with God, but also with Godís people.
The first services were held at a home on Romine Street. Later locations were Holmes Street, Metropolitan at Central Avenue, Cooper and Atlanta, and finally, our present site: 2420 Metropolitan Avenue.
Throughout the years, there have been twenty-six elders to uniquely serve this church as Senior Pastor. The membership has flourished and witnessed many momentous events serving the needs of our members and the community we surround.
Saint Paul AMEC Church Pastoral History
|Rev. Joshua Goin
||Rev. B.T. Alexander
|Rev. W.M. Palmer
|Rev. W.H. Durden
||Rev. F.W. Grant
|Rev. W.P. Crocket
||Rev. I.C. Oliphant
|Rev. H Williams
||Rev. W.E. Carter
|Rev. E.D. Bonner
||Rev. B.L. McCormick
|Rev. A.J. Smith
||Rev. David F. Harris
|Rev. P.E. Womack
||Rev. W.M. Jamerson, Jr.
|Rev. J.L. Johmson
||Rev. Drinkard Timms, Jr.
|Rev. C.L. Morgan
||Rev. E.L. Wright, II
|Rev. L.J. Sanders
||Rev. Dr. W. Raymond Bryant
|Rev. L. Reese
||Rev. Michael E. Bell, Sr.
The current pastor, Rev. Dr. Juan N. Tolliver continues in the tradition by ministering to the needs of the total person through our commitment to Christ, our commitment to excellence, and our commitment to ministry.
Today's mission is to be a church that is a growing, covenant community of believers liberating and empowering each person to become agents of change. A community where each person can discover and use their spiritual gifts by sharing Jesus Christ with all people through Worship, Praise, Study, Development, Witnessing, and Serving others thereby strengthening the Body of Christ.
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The African Methodist Episcopal Church has a unique and glorious history. It was unique in that it is the first major religious denomination in the Western World that had its origin over sociological and theological beliefs and differences. It rejected the negative theological interpretations, which rendered persons of African descent second-class citizens. Theirs was a theological declaration that God is God all the time and for every body. The church was born in protest against slavery - against dehumanization of African people, brought to the American continent as labor.
The Mission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ's liberating gospel through word and deed. At every level of the Connection and in every local church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the AME Church evolved: that is, to seek out and save the lost, and serve the needy.
The word African means that people of African descent and heritage organized the church. It does not mean that the church was founded in Africa, or that it was for persons of African descent only. The church's roots are of the family of Methodist churches. Methodism provides an orderly system of rules and regulations and places emphasis on a plain and simple gospel.
Episcopal refers to the form of government under which the church operates. The chief executive and administrative officers of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination are the Bishops of the church.
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The Motto "God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family" is a great summary of what the African Methodist Episcopal Church believes.
Also known as the A.M.E. Church for short, the denomination is Methodist in terms of its basic doctrine and order of worship. It was born, through adversity, of the Methodist church and to this day does not differ in any major way from what all Methodists believe. The split from the main branch of the Methodist Church was not a result of doctrinal differences but rather the result of a time period that was marked by man's intolerance of his fellow man, based on the color of his skin. It was a time of slavery, oppression and the dehumanization of people of African descent and many of these un-Christian practices were brought into the church, forcing Richard Allen and a group of fellow worshippers of color to form a splinter denomination of the Methodist Church. To find the basic foundations of the beliefs of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, you need look no further than The Apostles' Creed and The Twenty Five Articles of Religion:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead; and buried. The third day he arose from the dead' he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
Articles of Our Faith
1. OF FAITH IN THE HOLY TRINITY
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead, there are three persons of one substance, power and eternity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
2. OF THE WORD OR SON OF GOD, WHO WAS MADE VERY MAN
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the God-head and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man, who suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
3. OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
Christ did truly rise from the dead, and took again his body with all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and sitteth until he returns to judge all men at last day.
4. OF THE HOLY GHOST
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
5. THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES FOR SALVATION
The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scriptures, we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
The Names of the Canonical Books:
The First Book of Samuel
The Seond Book of Samuel
The First Book of Kings
The Second Book of Kings
The First Book of Chronicles
The Second Book of Chronicles
The Book of Ezra
The Book of Nehemiah
The Book of Job
The Book of Psalms
The Book of Lamentation
Ecclesiastes, or The Preacher
Cantica, or Songs of Solomon
Four Prophets, the Greater
Twelve Prophets, the Lesser
All the books of the New Testament as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.
6. OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and the New Testament, everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore, they are not to be heard, who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments, which are called moral.
7. OF ORIGINAL OR BIRTH SIN
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk) but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.
8. OF FREE WILL
The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore, we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God; by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
9. OF THE JUSTIFICATION OF MAN
We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by faith, and not by our own works or deservings; wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.
10. OF GOOD WORKS
Although good works, which are the fruit of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgments: yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that they by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree is discerned by its fruit.
11. OF WORKS OF SUPEREROGATION
Voluntary works, besides, over and above God's Commandments, which they call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for His sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ said plainly," When ye have done all that is commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants."
12. OF SIN AFTER JUSTIFICATION
Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God, rise again, and amend your lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can do no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
13. OF THE CHURCH
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
14. OF PURGATORY
The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshipping, and adoration, as well as images, as of relics, and also invocations of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant of the Word of God.
15. OF SPEAKING IN THE CONGREGATION IN SUCH A TONGUE AS THE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive Church, (to have public prayer in the Church,) or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.
16. OF THE SACRAMENTS
Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our faith in Him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord, in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the Apostles; and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, because they have not any visible sign, or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that received them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.
17. OF BAPTISM
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference; but it is also a sign of regeneration, or the new birth. The baptism of young children is to be retained in the church.
18. OF THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death; insomuch, that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
19. OF BOTH KINDS
The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people: for both parents of the Lord's Supper, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to administered to all Christians alike.
20. OF THE ONE OBLATION OF CHRIST, FINISHED UPON THE CROSS
The offering of Christ once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacraments of masses, in which it is commonly said that that priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable, and dangerous deceit.
21. OF THE MARRIAGE OF MINISTERS
The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore, it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.
22. OF THE RITES AND CEREMONIES OF CHURCHES
It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant of the Word of God, and are ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order of the Church and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren.
Every particular Church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies so that all things may be done to edification.
23. OF THE RULERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The President, the Congress, the General Assemblies, the Governors, and the Councils of State, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States, and by the constitution of their respective states and the Councils of States delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, and by the Constitutions of their respective States. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.
 It is acknowledged that the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the United States. However, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is an international Christian body with constituents around the world, and a Christian witness that is both parochial and global. Article 23 presumes the duty, loyalty and patriotism of our constituents, as citizens of sovereign nations, to obey just laws, to recognize and respect the organizational structure, and to uphold the Constitution of the country or nation-state in which our members hold the rights and privileges of citizenship. Further, obedience to Civil Government is one of the principle duties of all persons, and was honored by our Lord and His Apostles. Though differing in form and policy, all just governments rightfully commend the obedience, loyalty, support, and defense of all Christian men and women they control and protect.
24. OF CHRISTIAN MEN'S GOODS
The riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right, title and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally, to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
25. OF A CHRISTIAN MAN'S OATH
As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord, Jesus Christ and James, His apostle: so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.