Welcome to the Harrisburg District Webpage
Bethel A.M.E Church - Lancaster PA
Bethel A.M.E. Church shown above is the first and oldest church of its denomination and the first church established for the free and exclusive worship of Blacks in the County of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1817. A group of about 50 African Americans met at the home of James Clenderring. a local glazier, and agreed to contact certain respectable citizens and obtain assistance in the construction of a place of worship.
The Reverend Edward Maurice Bailey is the Pastor Bethel A.M.E. Church – Lancaster
Let's Stay In Touch:
The Harrisburg District of the Philadelphia Conference has a rich history woven within the walls of the twenty-five (25) local A.M.E. churches that make up the Presiding Elder’s District. I am honored to have the privilege of sharing with you a little of our history while inviting you and your family to visit one of our local congregations to learn more about us.
Many of our local churches were established as missions and gathering post for African Americans desiring to attend worship services within the community in which they lived. The early 19th century was a time when most persons of color were prohibited from attending a traditional church filled with white congregants. But, despite the harsh treatment of blacks throughout Pennsylvania, determined men and women found a way to secure property and establish Houses of Worship that would serve our people for generations.
Today, we are pleased to have a diverse and vibrant group of local A.M.E. Churches located throughout the various counties in Pennsylvania including our lead church in Harrisburg and our second church in Lancaster, PA. God has blessed us with a team of dynamic pastors and lay leaders that have served congregations with excellence and enthusiasm throughout the years of our existence. The potential for membership growth in the Harrisburg District is phenomenal as hundreds of thousands of African American families have blossomed throughout the many landscaped communities we call home.
Please join us one Sunday morning to experience the move of God in any of our twenty-five (25) local congregations. We are proud to be a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church family and particularly members of the First Episcopal District. As a “Connectional” church you and your family will have access to a vast spectrum of pastoral and ministry resources to meet the needs of multiple generations. We collectively offer both traditional and contemporary worship experiences that you and your family will enjoy. God bless you and we pray that you will take time to visit with us soon!
An Open Invitation to Visit Us!
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Harrisburg
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Lancaster
- Monumental A.M.E. Church – Steelton
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – York
- Mount Zion A.M.E. Church – Atglen
- Ebenezer A.M.E. Church – Middletown
- Mount Zion A.M.E. Church – Columbia
- Bethany A.M.E. Church – Harrisburg
- Mount Sinai A.M.E. Church – Harrisburg
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Carlisle
- Saint John A.M.E. Church – Lebanon
- Saint Paul A.M.E. Church – Oberlin
- Bethany A.M.E. Church – Parkesburg
- Saint James A.M.E. Church – Chambersburg
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Coatesville
- Union A.M.E. Church – Easton
- Saint Paul A.M.E. Church – Waynesboro
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Pottsville
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – McConnellsburg
- Saint Peters A.M.E. Church – Shippensburg
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Mercersburg
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Greencastle
- Saint Paul A.M.E. Church – Coatesville
- Bethel A.M.E. Church – Marietta
- New Covenant A.M.E. Church – Tobyhanna
and Our Pastor
On March 1, 1873 Bethel A.M.E. Church of York Pennsylvania purchased a parcel of land on the south east corner of West King and south Newberry Streets. The Church was incorporated on January 1, 1877 and the deed was conveyed to Bethel. The first church building was built and dedicated in 1873 under the pastorate of the Reverend J.B. Hill.
Today, the congregation is led by the Reverend, Dr. Katherine E. Rose who has served as Pastor since 2007. Under her stellar leadership the church is well postured to grow and flourish well into the 21st Century.
An Historical Note
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As a leader in the community of Steelton, Rev. Ssonko is actively involved in a number of initiatives representing Monumental. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland majoring in African Studies and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University.
Past and Present Clergy
of Mount Zion-Atglen
In 1814, two years before the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized and established, a company of Negroes met at an old house at North Bend, now known as Christiana, and started a prayer meeting. In the year 1815, they moved out of the house and into a small building at the top of the hill, across from the present day church building. As they struggled for religious freedom, they contacted Bishop Richard Allen and in 1817 Bishop Allen dedicated that building as Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1822 they purchased a tract of land in Penningtonville, now known as Atglen. This is the location of the present day church. In that building, plans were made for resisting a band of bounty hunters who were searching for runaway slaves during the Resistance at Christiana in 1851. In an effort to gain entry, those hunters shot through the door of the church building. That door is on display in the lower level of the present day sanctuary.
Rev. George H. Beachum, IV (pictured in brown sweater) was assigned to serve as our pastor and he continued to do so until 2002. From 2002 to 2009, Rev. Dr. Melvin D. Wayns, Jr. (pictured 1st on left) served as pastor, Since 2009 Mt. Zion has been pastored by Rev. Linwood M. Smith, Jr. (pictured with blue clergy shirt and collar).