Once again, an AME church has been burned in the South. This time in South Carolina, a place that seems brimming with hate. The full name of the church is the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
I grew up in the Methodist Church, where churches were congregated geographically. I didn't know until I was much older that when I went to Sunday school all the Black churches that were Methodist (not AME) were collected into something called the central jurisdiction. In other words, Methodists were divided into Black and White churches. It made a mockery of the first song I learned which said "Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Black and yellow, brown and white, all are equal in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."
The AME churches were formed in the early part of the 19th century after African-American Methodists were not allowed to pray with White Methodists.
I've been to AME churches in the fifth District. They run the gamut from First AME, a Los Angeles church that is visited by presidents, to Bethel AME where parishioners cars are locked within a fence so parishioners can pray without worrying.
What I love about these churches is their hymnals, which contain a lot of hymns I learned long ago that are no longer in the mainstream Methodist Hymnal.
Today, I despair for my country that has never learned that Jesus really loves all the little children and does not acknowledge that God really created us equal.