Barratt’s Chapel to host first-ever historic event
“A Celebration of Methodism: Lest We Forget, Standing on Common Ground”
On September 8th, Barratt’s Chapel will host the first known African Methodist Episcopal service since the denomination was formed in 1816. The Dover District of the AME Church, under the leadership of Presiding Elder Winton Hill, will open its annual district conference with a special worship service at Barratt’s Chapel beginning at 7:00 p.m. The service is being co-sponsored by the Commission on Archives and History of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church.
In announcing the event, retired Delaware State Archivist and Commission President Russ McCabe stated “We are truly honored to be hosting this historic occasion. In a year that marks the bicentennial of the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, it is more than appropriate to recognize this milestone at the place where American Methodism was born. It is equally as significant that this will happen near the one-time home of Richard Allen, the freed slave who was the founder and first leader of the AME Church, and who is recognized today as one of our nation’s pioneers in the struggle for Civil Rights. This special occasion offers us the opportunity to celebrate our shared heritage and pride. Anyone who wishes to witness history in the making is invited to attend.”
Following the founding era of American Methodism, despite the faith’s early and passionate antislavery advocacy, the desire for greater participation in church affairs coupled with elements of continued racial inequality resulted in the decision of Richard Allen and his followers to organize a new and independent church. After two centuries of separation, members of these sister denominations who share a common heritage and core beliefs will come together in joy and celebration. Of particular note will be the participation of Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram, whose leadership of services at Barratt’s on September 8th is believed to be the first-ever such event since the separation of the churches in 1816.
In the absence of Presiding Bishop Peggy Johnson, The United Methodist Church will be represented by retired Bishop Violet Fisher, the first African-American woman to be elected to the episcopacy in the Northeast Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
Built in 1780, Barratt’s Chapel is the oldest surviving building in the United States built as a Methodist place of worship. For more information about Barratt’s Chapel, visit www.barrattschapel.org or call (302) 335-5544.