Torch Run Marks Bicentennial of AME Church

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The African Methodist Episcopal Church began celebrations of its 200th year Saturday with a torch run from Dover to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Eighty runners were expected to make the trek which spans approximately 90 miles over a 24 hour period. Starting at the Richard Allen historical marker on the corner of Loockerman and Federal streets in Dover and ending at Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, runners will have passed through Dover, Smyrna, Townsend, Middletown, New Castle, St. George, Wilmington and Claymont along U.S. 13.

For the first time, the American Cancer Society partnered with a faith-based organization to help bring awareness to the work of ACS. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is delighted that the world’s largest voluntary health organization fighting cancer will serve as a co-sponsor of the event.

Richard Allen, the founder of African Methodism, was sold as a slave to a planter named Stokeley near Dover. It was in Delaware that Mr. Allen was converted under the preaching of Freeborn Garretson, an itinerant preacher of the Methodist Church.

Later, Mr. Allen worked for the Continental Army and purchased his freedom. “In so many ways, he was the first national leader for black people in this nation and was a tireless worker for the well-being of all persons,” said the Rev. Ellis B. Louden, pastor of Mount Zion AME Church in Dover. Mr. Allen advanced the cause of the abolition of slavery and the quality of life for free African-Americans.

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Source: Delaware State News

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