Posted Thursday, April 19th, 2018

KICKS OFF YEAR-LONG CELEBRATION THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 21

For 175 years, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church has been an important part of Morris County’s and Morristown’s community.  During its early years, in addition to being a church, it served as a schoolhouse for children of color and supported Veterans of the Civil War, some becoming ministers and lay clergy.

Morris County's History: Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Morristown Celebrates its 175th Anniversary

During the Great Migration (1916-1970), members of Bethel AME helped families from the Southern states and the West Indies looking for better educational and employment opportunities.  Today Bethel AME opens its doors to those in need with the Table of Hope project.

On Saturday (April 21) the Bethel AME in Morristown will begin a year-long series of programs to commemorate its 175th anniversary.

The April 21 program begins at 11:30 a.m. with a special prayer and historical walk to celebrate the founders of the Bethel AME Church, as well as the African American Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War who are buried in unmarked graves in Evergreen Cemetery in Morristown.

The walk will begin at the Presbyterian Church of Morristown on The Green and culminate at Evergreen Cemetery.

The church also will dedicate interpretive panels that were recently installed at the church to commemorate Bethel AME Church’s history and its contributions to the local community over the last 175 years. The interpretive panels were paid for in part, by a generous project grant from the Morris County Heritage Commission’s re-grant program.

Everyone is invited and welcome to attend the anniversary events, and to celebrate our community’s and the county’s history.Morris County's History: Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Morristown Celebrates its 175th Anniversary

For more information on the Bethel’s 175th anniversary and the events planned throughout 2018, please visit our website at http://www.bethelmorristown.org/175th-anniversary/ and find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Bethel.Morristown/

  • APRIL 21: Anniversary Prayer Walk

Celebrates the Founders of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church as well as the African American Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War who are buried in unmarked graves in Evergreen Cemetery.

  • JUNE 9: Celebrate Juneteenth on the Morristown Green

Juneteenth commemorates freedom gained by enslaved African Americans in the South after the Civil War in 1865. See costumed interpreters from Union Troops and Colored Troops, make an Emancipation Day button, hear stories and songs of freedom from noted performers Kim and Reggie Harris, and learn more about how and why African Americans celebrated this holiday. There also will be a Discussion on Race and Community.

  • OCTOBER 12: The AME Church in New Jersey: Reconsidering its Role and Legacy. 

Dennis C. Dickerson, James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, and former Historiographer of the AME, will deliver a lecture on the history of the AME Church. Betty Livingston Adams, author of Black Women’s Christian Activism: Seeking Social Justice in a Northern Suburb, will discuss the larger context of AME history.

Low country Voices in Concert at Drew UniversityLow country Voices is a nonprofit performing arts organization dedicated to performing standard choral repertoire to highest standards with special emphasis on African-American music, including Black gospel, jazz, and spirituals. RSVP here for 175th Anniversary Concert

  • OCTOBER 14: 175th Anniversary Brunch.

At the Hanover Manor. It will be a great gathering of elected officials, community leaders, former and current church members, staff , ministers and friends of Bethel.