In 1787, Rev. Richard Allen, Rev. Absalom Jones, and a band of followers withdrew from the St. George Methodist Church in Philadelphia because of the "unkind treatment" and discrimination with which these worshippers of African descent faced. They felt they no longer could worship in a congregation that could not affirm them fully as children of God with equal potential and worth. Allen and the followers began worshipping in a blacksmith shop. They founded The Free African Society, which was the beginning of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1816, Richard Allen and representatives from several; African churches met and a church organization of "connection" was organized as the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Richard Allen was the founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. They began the first African American denomination; it allowed and still allows people of African descent self-respect, dignity, and the freedom to worship God wholly, participating to fullest measure in the building of God's kingdom.