Old Mother Bethel AME-African Methodist Episcopal
419 South 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
This church is the birthplace of a world-wide Christian movement which began with the conversion of a slave to saving faith. This slave in turn led his slave master to Christ. The slave master then freed his former slave, Richard Allen. The story of the Old Mother Bethel Church reflects the story of Onesimus in Saint Paul’s Letter to Philemon, his shortest epistle. Paul urges the runaway slave’s master, Philemon, to treat his slave, Onesimus, as though he were Paul (v. 17).
From humble beginnings, the African Methodist Episcopalian Church is now a church that has reached millions worldwide. This reminds us that the Christian gospel is, as Revelation 7:9 declares, for “every nation, tribe, people and language” (NIV). When faith is properly lived, it brings communities together. William Penn’s vision for a city of brotherly love, lived out by the application of the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12), is wonderfully mirrored in this church’s founding.