During the School of Theology and Ministry’s annual Denominational Representative meeting on September 8, 2010, nearly 80 religious leaders from 12 denominations welcomed a new faith community into the partnership with the school – the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). The AME faith community becomes the 13th denomination to partner with STM. STM’s curriculum, which is gaining national and international attention, is designed to help people of faith deepen spiritually within their particular faith tradition while also learning to build understanding, respect and action for a common cause that reaches across religious divides. The AME church is the first historic black church to partner with the School of Theology and Ministry. “Adding the African Methodist Episcopal Church into the denominational partnership of STM is a momentous occasion for the school and for Seattle University,” Dean Mark Markuly said. “The AME community will add to the diversity of our student body, and we already have welcomed a number of AME students into our degree programs. These students will bring a theological perspective into our on-going religious dialogue that is steeped in a commitment to scripture, worship and social justice.” “STM was founded to stand against the grain of polarization that has marked U.S. culture for the past three decades,” Markuly said. “The school brings people of many different religious beliefs into a community of learning that teaches us all to listen more carefully each other to confront our faulty assumptions about each other, to speak more carefully to each other, and even to challenge each other in love. In the process, we all grow in our understanding of God, each other and ourselves and the religious enterprise. The AME community has a remarkable history in America that includes a reputation for bringing religious and spiritual values into the public sphere. This is a community of believers who know how to work for social justice. All of the denominations at STM will have much to learn from this new partner.” The African Methodist Episcopal Church began in 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a group of Americans resisting slavery, racial prejudice and religious intolerance. The leader of the group was a 27-year-old “African” by the name of Richard Allen. Allen and this group began AME when African Americans were denied the freedom to worship in St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. The AME Church has always made a strong stand for human liberty, having led many social and cultural movements in U.S. history that combated injustice, human indignity and civil oppression. The Pacific Northwest Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church includes the geographical areas of Washington State, Montana, Oregon and Alaska, and is supervised by Rev. Shermella Garrett, Presiding Elder of the Pacific Northwest Conference. The conference is part of the Fifth Episcopal District of the AME community, which is led by Presiding Prelate Bishop T. Larry Kirkland.
In the immediate Seattle/Tacoma area there are six African Methodist Episcopal Churches:
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