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African Methodist Episcopal Church, Zion

A religious sect, founded in New York City in 1796. This organization sprang from a desire of colored members of the Methodist Episcopal Church to have a separate spiritual fellowship that they might be more helpful to each other. The first annual conference, however, was not held until 1821. James Varich was elected bishop in the following year. Until 1880 bishops held office for four years only, but in that year an act was passed making the bishopric a life office. The territory of this Church is divided into seven districts, over each of which there is a bishop. In 1900 it reported as follows: Ministers, 3,155; churches, 2,906; and members, 536,271.

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James Varich (1)
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