Bishop Daniel A. Payne proposed to the 1856 General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church convening in Cincinnati, Ohio that the episcopal seal should include the denominational creedal statement, God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, Man Our Brother. This declaration of A.M.E. faith identity became the denominational motto until 1908, when a surge of Pentecostalism in 1906 in Los Angeles at the Azusa Street mission, the former site of First A.M.E. Church, convinced African Methodists to alter the motto. Hence, the 1908 General Conference meeting in Norfolk, Virginia placed on the published minutes, God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Ghost Our Comforter, Man Our Brother.
The 1912 General Conference convening in Kansas City, Missouri retained the altered statement of A.M.E. belief. The Centennial General Conference of 1916 meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, however, made no reference to new the A.M.E. motto, and since that time Bishop Payne’s original formulation of the motto appeared on all denominational documents and published materials.
At the 2008 General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri an inclusive motto was adopted and now declares God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family. The evolvement of our motto demonstrates that African Methodists engage in ongoing assessments of our theology and how God speaks to us in changing circumstances.
Dennis C. Dickerson
Department of Research & Scholarship
The Mission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs of all people by spreading Christ’s liberating gospel through word and deed.
At every level of the Connection and in every local church, the A.M.E. Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the A.M.E. Church evolved: that is, to seek out and save the lost, and to serve the needy. It is also the duty of Church to continue to encourage all members to become involved in all aspects of church training.