African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) Beliefs and Practices

African American church congregation
Blend Images / Hill Street Studios / Walter Jimenez

The AMEC, or African Methodist Episcopal Church, is Methodist in its beliefs and was founded nearly 200 years ago to give Blacks their own place of worship. AMEC members hold to Bible-based doctrines similar to those of other Christian denominations.

Distinctive AMEC Beliefs

  • Baptism: Baptism marks a profession of faith and is a sign of the new birth.
  • Bible: The Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation. If it cannot be found in the Bible or supported by Scripture, it is not required for salvation.
  • Communion: The Lord's Supper is a sign of Christian love for one another and a "sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death." The AMEC believes that the bread is a partaking of the body of Jesus Christ and the cup is a partaking of the blood of Christ, by faith.
  • Faith, Works: People are counted righteous only through the saving work of Jesus Christ, by faith. Good works are the fruit of faith, pleasing to God, but cannot save us from our sins.
  • Holy Spirit: AMEC Articles of Faith state: "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."
  • Jesus Christ: Christ is very God and very man, was crucified and rose bodily from the dead, as a sacrifice for original and actual sins of humanity. He bodily ascended into heaven, where he sits at the Father's right hand until he returns for the final judgment.
  • Old Testament: The Old Testament of the Bible promised Jesus Christ as Savior. The ceremonies and rites given by Moses are not binding on Christians, but all Christians are to obey the Ten Commandments, which are God's moral laws.
  • Sin: Sin is an offense against God, and may still be committed after justification, but there is forgiveness, through the grace of God, for those who truly repent.
  • TonguesAccording to AMEC beliefs, speaking in church in tongues not understandable by the people is a thing "repugnant to the Word of God."
  • Trinity: The AMEC professes faith in one God, "of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible." There are three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

AMEC Practices

  • Sacraments: Two sacraments are recognized in the AMEC: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is a sign of regeneration and a profession of faith and is to be performed on young children. Concerning communion, the AMEC Articles state: "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." Both the cup and bread are to be offered to the people.
  • Worship Service: Sunday worship services may differ from local church to church in the AMEC. There is no decree that they be exactly alike, and they may vary among cultures. Individual churches have the right to change rites and ceremonies for the congregation's teaching. A typical worship service may include music and hymns, responsive prayer, Scripture readings, a sermon, the offering, and communion.

To learn more about African Methodist Episcopal Church history and beliefs, visit the official AMEC website.

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Zavada, Jack. "African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) Beliefs and Practices." Learn Religions, Feb. 8, 2021, Zavada, Jack. (2021, February 8). African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) Beliefs and Practices. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) Beliefs and Practices." Learn Religions. (accessed June 2, 2023).