CME Beginnings - From Tender Plant to Sturdy Tree
The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church
or the CME Church as it is commonly called, came into existence as a
result of the movement from slavery to freedom. During the years
following the birth of Methodism, the denomination grew rapidly. The
Methodist Episcopal Church South was an outgrowth of Wesley's
Methodism. Some Blacks, converted to Christianity by slave masters,
accepted the Methodist doctrine as it was. However, with the passage of
time, the emancipation of Blacks from slavery created the desire by
Blacks to have and control their own church. This desire led formerly
enslaved persons who had been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church
South, to start their own independent religious organization.
Organizers: Forty-one men who has exemplified leadership qualities
gathered together in Jackson, Tennessee on December 16, 1870. With the
advice and assistance of the white brethren of the M.E. Church South,
the Black religious leaders organized the colored branch of Methodism.
On Tuesday, December 20, they adopted the Methodist South's Book of
Discipline and on Wednesday, December 21, they elected two of their own
preachers - William H. Miles of Kentucky and Richard H. Vanderhorst of
Georgia - as their bishops. Gathering in Jackson with only a dream, the
religious leaders departed with their own church a reality.
the words of Bishop Randall Albert Carter, "this tender plant of God"
had taken root and "was here to live or die." (Biblical basis: Psalm
The Department recommends the use of Bishop Othal H. Lakey’s
publication “The History of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church"
published by the C.M.E. Publishing House. Furthermore, it is
recommended the use of “Wondrous Grace” published by the Department of