AME Zion Church in North Carolina

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church has been a significant religious institution for African Americans in North Carolina and throughout the United States. The church was formed out of the Methodist Church in 1816 in response to the segregationist policies preventing equality in worship. The AME Zion Church provided African Americans a community and culture in which they could worship freely and enjoy social customs without the condescension of segregation.  

Several historical figures worked hard to unify African American Christians under the AME Zion church. One of these individuals, J. W. Hood, a missionary born in Pennsylvania, came to North Carolina in 1863 to convince African American congregations to associate with the AME Zion Church. He was successful in doing so in New Bern and Beaufort.

Moving west across the state of North Carolina, in the 1880’s, the Waynesville Methodist congregation split over these same issues of separation. It took until 1922 before the Jones Temple AME Zion Church congregation got a formal building for worship, but this building still stands today in Waynesville and is a beacon of the African American community. Jones Temple has been under the leadership of Reverend William E. Staley since the 1990s.


Charlie Jones, Aubrey Payne, Hannah Van-Hooser, Hannah Wade