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African Methodism

Three of the largest denominations within African Methodism are the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church. While their histories differ, their governance and leadership structures are very similar, as is the etiquette for approaching and working with individual churches and their ministries.

Orientation/Classification: Methodism / Protestantism

Adherents Consider Themselves: Christians

House of Worship: Church or Temple

Religious Leader: All Methodist churches are led by bishops. Bishops appoint presiding elders and pastors. A presiding elder supervises a group of churches. A pastor is the leader of one church or a circuit of multiple churches.

Physical Interaction: Handshakes are the generally accepted and common method of greeting.


Houses of worship are known as churches, but some are called temples. Congregations can be found in all types of buildings, from traditional white-clapboard structures with steeples to cathedral-like buildings to houses, hotels and community meeting rooms.


Contact the pastor for local matters involving one or two churches at most; the presiding elder for matters involving several churches; the bishop for matters involving multiple states, a region (in Africa) or the policy of the church as a whole.


Typical of most American diets, food is restricted usually to two small meals and one full meal. As is standard in the American Protestant tradition, meals are served without meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent.


Varies by congregation, but dress at worship is typically “Sunday best,” a term used to describe clothing worn by church members that is formal but conservative and not overly flashy. Members of the ministerial staff typically dress more conservatively, as do officers of the church.


When scheduling a meeting with the members of the church, avoid Sundays and Mondays.