Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Bethel A.M.E. Church

In 1839, a group of 50 black Detroit citizens formed the Colored Methodist Society and associated with African Methodism. On May 10, 1841, the congregation organized itself as Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and on July 30, 1849, the church was formally incorporated.

The Society moved several times in this early period. When first established, members met in Old Military Hall. The Hall soon proved inadequate, so Bethel built its first church, a brick structure located on the south side of Lafayette Street, just behind the Old Military Hall. The church building was dedicated September 19,1847. With a growing congregation, money was raised for a second Bethel Church, to be located on the corner of Napoleon and Hastings Streets. The cornerstone for this church was laid December 22,1889. Bethel built its third church building at Frederick and St. Antoine Streets. This church was completed and dedicated on June 7,1925. This structure remained the home of Bethel until the church relocated to Warren Boulevard. The new structure, designed by Nathan Johnson and Associates, was dedicated in December 1974. Contemporary in style, it is reminiscent of huts in Africa.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church grew out of the Free African Society (FAS) which Bishop Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. Today, the AME Church has membership in twenty Episcopal Districts in thirty-nine countries on five continents.



Bethel A.M.E. Church, c.1975 – 2014.003.854

Bethel A.M.E. Design Pamphlet, c.1974 – 2014.003.766

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