Organized in 1828, Israel African Methodist Episcopal Church has served the Albany, New York African-American community of New York’s Capital Region for one hundred ninety years. The Church opens its doors to promote Christian beliefs through church and community service as well as educational projects and programs.

Historical Information
Richard Allen, founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, embraced the Methodist denomination with its precise ways of operating and John Wesley’s dual religious doctrines of equality and evangelism while he was still a slave. Facing the segregation of the Methodist Church however, the founders voluntarily separated to form the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The new AME Church maintained the doctrine and discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1828 Reverend William Cornish was assigned to the City of Albany NY to organize African Americans under the motto of the founding fathers; “God our Father, Christ our redeemer, man our brother.” The history of Israel AME Church parallels that of the National AME Church; People of African descent were attending the Methodist Episcopal Church on State Street in Albany, New York when they were asked to pay pew taxes. They left the Church and formed the Free African Society. In April of 1829, the act of incorporation for Israel AME Church was recorded.

The present Church was designed and built between 1845 and 1854 by Reverend Thomas Jackson who served as Pastor for 11 years. In its 190-year history, over 70 pastors have served this historic Church. The Church served as a station on the Underground Railroad throughout the Civil War, assisting enslaved people in their struggle for freedom and freed men and women in their spiritual struggle. Harriet Tubman slept in the Church and Fredrick Douglass spoke in it.

Israel Contemporary Ministry
Israel AME Church today is closely connected to its historical past through its belief in God… The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit; and, is transformed through the belief in the brotherhood of mankind through community and church services.

The goals and objectives of the programs at Israel today are enriched by that historical background and are still based on the need for freedoms of expression, religion, treatment with dignity, and the right to own and operate a religious establishment.

The Albany, New York Chapter of the NAACP was founded at Israel, and is but one demonstration of the church’s community involvement which continues today through its ministries which include, but are not limited to: the Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry, Voter Education, Evangelism, Youth & Young Adult programs, missionary work, senior citizen programming and much more to come.

“All Things New” — Isaiah 43:18