“Since 1821, when a group of free and enslaved African Americans formed its congregation, Metropolitan AME Church, the national cathedral of African Methodism, has been much more than a spiritual sanctuary. A major landmark of African American heritage and one of the most important religious institutions in the United States, Metropolitan AME’s red brick Victorian Gothic-style church, completed in 1886, was constructed by donations – large and small – from AME congregations across the country. Their goal was to establish a permanent presence for the AME denomination just a short distance from the White House and the U.S. Capitol in order to pressure the federal government for equal treatment of African American people.” . . . Read more and leave your comments on our page at the National Trust for Historic Preservation site.
Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
1518 M Street, NW
DC Inventory of Historic Sites (1973)
National Register of Historic Places (1973)
The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 1518 M Street, NW is home to Washington DC’s oldest African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) congregation. Designed by architect Samuel G. T. Morsell, the Gothic style brick building has been a bastion of civil and human rights since its dedication on May 30, 1886. The Metropolitan
Church was founded in 1838 to minister to the spiritual needs of Washington DC’s African American population. Like its parent domination, the Metropolitan Church was rooted in opposition to slavery and the belief that African Americans were entitled to equality. A.M.E. members throughout the nation contributed funds to construct the Metropolitan Church. Their gifts are memorialized in Gothic building’s majestic stained glass windows, which document the growth of the A.M.E. denomination during the nineteenth century. The church’s parishioners have included leading members of Washington DC’s African American community, including Frederick Douglass, whose funeral services were held at the church. Known as “the National Cathedral of African Methodism,” the building continues to play an important role in the spiritual life of Washington, DC.
The 125-year-old Metropolitan A.M.E. Church is in need of extensive repairs and renovation. The building’s exterior walls suffer from structural cracks and water infiltration and outdated mechanical systems are taxing the already limited financial resources of the congregation. The original stained glass windows are also deteriorating. In the face of these challenges, the 1100-member congregation recently began a capital campaign to raise funds to remove, restore, and reinstall the stained glass windows. By listing the Metropolitan Church on the Most Endangered Places List, the DC Preservation League aims to marshal the expertise and resources of the preservation community to assist in the congregation’s efforts.
Congratulations to our own Rev. Kimberly Barnes who has been named the pastor of Gethsemane AME Church. We will miss her!
From the Washington Informer:
The Reverend Kimberly Brown Barnes was appointed pastor of Gethsemane African Methodist Episcopal Church in Landover, Md., during the 60th Session of the Washington Annual Conference, April 20-24 at Reid Temple AME Church in Glen Dale, Md. She joins the ranks of nearly a dozen women who pastor AME churches in the Washington conference of the Second Episcopal District.
“This is my first pastorate and it is very humbling but at the same time very exciting,” Barnes told the small congregation as she led her first service Sun., April 25.
“We have come open, excited, and a little nervous, but we are so excited about what God is going to do here at Gethsemane,” she said.
Family members and friends joined Barnes and nearly 30 members of the Gethsemane congregation at the worship service currently held in the auditorium at Kenmoor Elementary School, 3211 82nd Avenue in Landover. Among them was the Rev. Marie Braxton, of Metropolitan AME Church in the District, where she co-pastors with her husband the Rev. Ronald Braxton. Read more . . .
Scripture Lesson – Acts 16: 9-15 Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi. 9During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 11From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. NIV translation
Life is a continuum of lessons learned; some of which are learned the hard way, through willfulness and disobedience. We have all taken those hard paths and have learned from them.
Many of the lessons we learned were taught to us in our early years. First Lady Michelle Obama held a Mother’s Day tea at which she told the guests of the lessons she learned from her mother, Marion Robinson. These lessons were on the value of a good education, how to present themselves appropriately, and about self-worth, self-esteem and building character. Mrs. Obama chose to share the lessons she had learned from her own mother with young girls in Washington, DC. At the tea, Alexis Herman shared stories of what her Godmother, Dorothy Height, had taught her. In Maya Angelou’s book “Letter to my Daughter”, she told the stories of how her mother had raised her, and she passed these stories along to Oprah.
In the scripture, Paul traveled to the Roman colony of Philippi after having a vision that a man of Macedonia had bid him to come. He used the opportunity to preach the gospel to some women who had gathered at the river. One of the women was Lydia, an influential merchant woman, a dealer of purple cloth – which was a very expensive, luxury item for the rich – who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to receive Paul’s message, and after Paul baptized her and other members of her household, she invited Paul and his companions to come and stay at her home. Lydia teaches us several things.
1. Lydia teaches us some lessons on how to survive in a down economy. Rather than spending today with no plan for tomorrow, Lydia was a wise merchant, and she was a worshiper of God.
2. Lydia teaches us that no matter your title, degrees, or wealth, you still need to receive Jesus in your life. Jesus died for our sins, he was raised from the dead, he gave us everlasting life. Lydia teaches us that you can make it in a down economy if you have the Holy Spirit in your life. Lydia realized that although she had a lot of material things, she still needed to receive the Lord in her heart. Lydia was Paul’s first conversion of a European.
3. Lydia teaches us the power of “Christian Hospitality”. As Christians, we are expected to show hospitality; as a Christian, you are to go out of your way to be kind to others, to attend to another’s needs, to bring others into your space, to make others feel welcomed, loved, honored, and respected.
Christian hospitality, like love, is “not boastful or puffed up”; it’s not “all about me,” but it is about how I can honor and serve YOU. My mother-in-law taught me that no matter how little you have, you can always share what you have. My own mother – a gifted and talented journalist and editor – taught me that it doesn’t hurt to be kind to people, and you do not have to retaliate even if they are unkind to you.
These lessons of life have been passed down for generations. May we learn these lessons well, and may we teach by example to our own children, and to all of the other children in the Village.