AME Church seeks funds to document its 150-year history in S.C.

The AME Church has launched a fundraising effort to create a documentary that chronicles its dramatic and influential 150-year history in South Carolina.

The new film, “The AME Movement: African Methodism in South Carolina,” will describe the church’s life in South Carolina during the Antebellum period, Reconstruction, Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement and more.

“What a great way to celebrate our independence — and the 150th anniversary of the South Carolina Annual Conference,” said the Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia who is producing the documentary.

Tyler also was executive producer and writer of a docudrama about the life of AME Church founder Bishop Richard Allen. Tyler is now pastor of the first congregation Allen founded.

He will tell a Palmetto State story that begins around 1816 when Morris Brown, a free shoemaker and devout Methodist, walked out of a predominantly white and racially segregated Methodist Church in Charleston.

He formed the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, now Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street.

Since that day, the AME Church has proven pivotal in South Carolina in matters of faith and social justice. The state has produced more AME Church bishops than any other.

The film also will celebrate the church’s prized institutions such as Allen University and Mother Emmanuel Church, once home to Denmark Vesey, along with providing details about the rise of female preachers, the Women’s Missionary Society, the Lay Organization, the Sons of Allen and the Young People’s Department.

To help fund the documentary and a short teaser, the church is seeking donations.

It is holding a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, an online platform for giving to projects. Donors can contribute any amount toward the goal of $40,000.

If the project reaches that goal by the Nov. 17 deadline, the documentary will be funded. If not, donations automatically will be returned to donors.

So far, donors have pledged more than $2,000.

More than 25 interviews have been conducted for the film, including one with U.S. Rep. James Clyburn.

South Carolina AME Bishop Richard Franklin Norris launched the documentary project.

View a teaser and make contributions on the Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/1gjH33r.

To learn more about the fundraising campaign, email scamechurch@gmail.com.

For more about the documentary, email Tyler at markkellytyler@gmail.com.

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