Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
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Architectural BuildingsReligious SitesChurches & Cathedrals
About
The history of the Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, its growth and development, is one of the extraordinary stories of American history. In 1796, a handful of Black men, free and enslaved-along with James L. Varick, walked out of the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church to establish a separate Black church called "Zion." The growth and development of Zion church mirrors the growth and development of New York itself. Starting in what is now the City Hall area, from its humble beginnings in a stable on Cross Street, Mother Zion has played a critical role in every aspect of African-American life during early New York City history.Many social organizations were founded to assist and improve the condition of the Negro, and Mother Zion Church played a key role in the growth process. William Miller, one of the trustees of Mother Zion, was selected as the first President of the New York African Society for Mutual Relief chartered by New York State in 1810. In 1817, the New York African Bible Society was established from his home.As one of the earliest and most vocal opponents of slavery and a constant champion of abolition, Mother Zion was there. In fact, Mother Zion became an important stop of the "Underground Railroad," hiding slaves behind the pulpit in a secret passageway. "Freedom's Journal," the first Black newspaper published in the United States, operated from the basement of Mother Zion Church from May 4, 1827 to May 2, 1828 for almost a year! Mother Zion's legacy is difficult to surpass, as it has always been a promoter of education and racial self-help for African Americans in this great city. Although our gains as a people have been significant against tremendous odds, the challenges are ever present. The nurturing of great men and women is another of Zion's legacies: Sojourner Truth transferred her membership from the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church to Zion Church in 1827. It was at the altar of Mother Zion that she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and there she was also reunited with her sisters who had been separated during slavery. Sojourner Truth became one of the foremost voices for women's and equal rights and the abolition of slavery. Mother Zion is also known as the "Freedom Church." Throughout its long history, Mother Zion has had many illustrious members who were leaders in our historic fight for freedom. They include Harriett Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Paul Robeson, Madame C.J. Walker and many others who fought so valiantly to free African Americans, socially, politically and spiritually. Today, it is the Mother Church of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church denomination located on five continents with a membership of over 1.5 Million. Mother Zion remains actively involved in all aspects of community involvement, and committed to the civil rights struggle, political empowerment and spiritual enhancement.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Harlem
As a hub of African American culture, Harlem has played a vital role in the history of New York City. Today, the neighborhood is as vibrant as ever as new businesses and developments go up next to local institutions. The heart of the neighborhood is bustling 125th Street, where street vendors and historic landmarks like the Apollo Theater mingle with big-name stores. Turn down almost any corner, and you’ll discover some of the most beautiful blocks in the city, filled with handsome brownstones, soul food restaurants, corner shops, and scenic parks. For a taste of a real New York neighborhood, it’s hard to top a visit to Harlem.
How to get there
  • 135th St • 3 min walk
  • 135th St • 3 min walk
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles35 reviews
Excellent
13
Very good
15
Average
5
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Essexboyz123
London, UK320 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We wanted to experience a real Gospel service when in New York and had looked to visit the Abysinnian Church in Harlem. However, we took on board advice which suggested that visitors were regularly turned away and decided instead to try the Mother AME Zion Church. We didn't realise until we arrived that the two churches are across the road from each other on 137th street!

The first thing I should say is that this is a church service. If all you want to do is hear a Gospel performance then do just that and don't visit a church. You can probably budget for about 2 hours of your time - but on our visit the sermon itself was every bit as rewarding as the singing itself. The whole experience was tremendous. The only disappointment was the behaviour of some tourists, who took pictures when asked not to and who left before the end of the service. They should at least have had the decency to sit at the rear....

You will be welcomed, and the obvious upside for the church is the revenue taken from the visitors - suggested donation of $10. A small price to pay though. On our visit there were more visitors than parishioners although this may have had something to do with the regular choir being away and the service starting slightly earlier (normally starts at 11am).

Contrast our experience with that of the elderly German couple who we met at the bus stop on the way home. They'd stood in line for 3 hours, in baking heat, at the Abysinnian Church and still didn't get in.....
Written September 1, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Synne
Oslo, Norway52 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Family
Attending the service on Easter Sunday was a great experience! What a friendly congregation who loves Christ and shares the Gospel<3

The pastor acknowledged the visitors, was thankful for our participation during the service and our offering to the church. The worship was real and alive, and the preaching was just as you would imagine in a black church - charismatic! The congregation only held about 40 members, whereas the rest of the nave was filled with visitors. However, many of these tourists left during the service, which I found disturbing.

I would have hoped that an estimated duration of the service would have been announced initially. Additionally, if the song texts had been available and the worship had one/more psalms which are known throughout the world, it would have been easier to participate - not only see a tourist attraction.

For general info, please see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/11/harlem-churches-see-a-boo_n_1337577.html
Written April 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AndieBuenosAires
Buenos Aires, Argentina881 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2012 • Couples
After seeing the crowds lining up across the street we decided to go to mass at this church, it's old and more modest than the Abyssinian, there are only 8-10 people in the choir and the pastor said in the speech that the congregation is shrinking. This church supports missions in Africa and is having a hard time doing their share of the work. The tourists look in such hurry that they can not stop fretting, moving and going out during the prayers, so disrespectful!
Written October 8, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KrmiNetherlands
Tilburg, The Netherlands239 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2012 • Couples
We wanted to experience a real Gospel Worship when in New York and had looked to visit the Abysinnian Church in Harlem. However, there was a line for at least 3 hours, so we decided instead to try the Mother AME Zion Church. We didn't realise until we arrived that this church is just arround the corner.

The first thing I should say is that this is a church service. If all you want to do is hear a Gospel performance then do just that and don't visit a church. The worship start at 10.30!! and it takes at least 2 hours. They do have a small choir with good voices. There are also widely spoken prayers and sermons.

You will be welcomed, and brought to your seat. It is not intented that you leave the worship before it's ended. (remember it takes at least 2 hours) They have two moments for financial donation and they suggested from the visitors a $20 each. In the second collection most of the tourists leave the church.

Gospel music is not a “performance”. The Power of Music in Worship speaks in a way no other medium can!
Written July 8, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nany M
Sao Paulo, SP386 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Solo
This a alternative for the Abyssian Church in the Harley.
Very good choir with great voices.
Very friendly service and a good sermon!
Written December 11, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jim R
Southend-on-Sea, UK242 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2012 • Couples
Be aware...do not expect dancing in the aisles a la Blues Brothers...this is a church after all. But it does have a small choir and some good voices.The service is 2hrs long but we sneaked off early via the rest-room ; ) This is a better alternative to the horribly crowded Abyssinian round the corner...and has polite ushers !
Written February 22, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, New York City

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