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The idea of Christian Education is deeply rooted in the traditions and history of African Methodism.

Christian Education in the form of Sunday School work was organized in 1794. Richard Allen, founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, organized the first African American Sunday School at Mother Bethel, Philadelphia.

A formal plan for a Sunday School Union did not develop until 1884 when the General Conference, adopted it and elected Charles S. Smith, M.D. as its corresponding secretary.

Christian Education in the form of higher education was established by Rev. Daniel A. Payne, bishop and founder of Wilberforce University in 1856. Rev. Payne is called the Apostle of Education in the AME Church.

Christian Education in the form of youth fellowship was organized by Rev. B. W. Arnett in 1900 as the Christian Endeavor Society. In 1904 the name became the Allen Christian Endeavor League led by Rev. Gregg, led by Dr. J. C. Caldwell in 1908 and Rev. S. Morris in 1920.

Christian education in the form of a connectional organization was established at the 1936 General Conference and Rev. Solomon S. Morris, Sr., was elected to serve as its first General Secretary. The new Christian Education department now combined the functions of the Sunday School and Allen Christian Endeavor.

Under the leadership and direction of Dr. S. S. Morris, Sr., the Richard Allen Youth Council experienced rapid growth among youth leaders and workers. Dr. Morris served as general secretary until 1956.

Dr. Andrew White, who served as assistant to Rev. S. S. Morris, Sr., became general secretary in 1956. Dr. White's writings on the tradition and heritage of African Methodism expanded significantly, and likewise did printed curriculum resources for our Zion. Dr. White held office until 1980.

Dr. Edgar L. Mack became general secretary in 1980. Dr. Mack's passion for ecumenism led him to strengthen interdenominational relationships and to build enduring church partnerships. Dr. Mack held office until his death in 1991.

Dr. Kenneth H. Hill became executive director in 1991. Dr. Hill's pursuit of excellence led to the establishment of the scouting and music ministries in the connectional church and the expansion into technology in the church through several innovative programs. Dr. Hill held office until 2004.

The Direction

The Book of Discipline charges the Department of Christian Education with responsibility for "Developing standards, preparing programs, offering classes, teaching Christian education, publishing material, training people for pastoral ministry and other church vocations" in accordance with the tradition and doctrine of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Episcopal District Christian Education Directors

 1st    Rev. Jay Broadnax
 2nd   Ms. Robin Porter Smith
 3rd   Dr. Karen Schaeffer
 4th   Dr. Reginald Blount
 5th   Dr. Timothy Tyler
 6th   Ms. Kabrina Bass
 7th   Rev. Allen Parrott
 8th   Dr. Glenell Lee Pruitt
 9th   Ms. Hattie Nathan
10th   Dr. C. Dennis Williams
11th   Rev. Joy Gallmon
12th   Dr. Roy Jones
13th   Dr. Roberta Hill
14th   Rev. James Jallah
15th   Rev. Sydney Gordon
16th   Rev. Gail Meridin
17th   Rev. Royd Mwandu
18th   Rev. Albert B. Thwala
19th   Rev. Teboho Klaas
20th   Ms. Emily Chemise

Phone: (800) 525-7282 Fax: (615) 726-1866

AME Christian Education Department
500 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

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