St. Luke AME Church Open House
August 20 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Ellicott City’s Saint Luke AME Church will host an Open House featuring a special appearance by Benjamin Banneker re-enactor Bob Smith who will discuss Banneker’s August 19, 1791 letter to Thomas Jefferson. His purpose for sending the letter was to challenge Jefferson’s racial ideology and to ask for Jefferson’s assistance in ending the “the unjustifiable cruelty and barbarism” that was the institution of slavery in America.
St Luke AME Church is located atop the hill at 8411 Main Street in the historic district of Ellicott City, Maryland.
According to the Church’s website, which appears outdated in light of more recent research (see below), the church had its beginnings in Oella, Maryland and remained there until 1860. A parcel of land was purchased by the Trustees from Thomas Isaac and his wife for the sole purpose of building a place of worship. This property was located on Merryman Street, then known as “Missionary Bottom.”
MORE RECENT RESEARCH conducted by Howard County Lynching Truth and Reconciliation, Inc. indicates that:
- the date indicated above as for the Church’s Main Street purchase is incorrect by 7 years.
- Trustee Alexander Butler received the deed in 1890 (purchase was done in 1889).
- The church on the Martenet map of Ellicott City has been shown to not be on the land belonging to the church.
- It is from a different building that already existed there pre 1860. The ‘L Gillis’ property was the log cabin taken off of Merryman and now sitting on Main Street. Levi Gillis was a Mulatto male who lived in it with his family, and Thomas Isaac purchased it from him on the same day that Levi and other church Trustees bought the land next door to his cabin for a new church (the one actually affiliated with St Luke’s history).
- Research on this continues.
ABOUT THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL (AME) CHURCH
The African Methodist Episcopal Church is also known as the A.M.E. Church for short. The word African means that the church was organized by people of African descent and heritage. It does not mean that the church was founded in Africa, or that it was for persons of African descent only. The church’s roots are of the family of Methodist churches in terms of its basic doctrine and order of worship. Methodism provides an orderly system of rules and regulations and places emphasis on a plain and simple gospel. The A.M.E. Church was born through the adversity of the Methodist church and to this day does not differ in any major way from what all Methodists believe. The split from the main branch of the Methodist Church was not a result of doctrinal differences but rather the result of a time period that was marked by man’s intolerance of his fellow man, based on the color of his skin. It was a time of slavery, oppression and the dehumanization of people of African descent and many of these un-Christian practices were brought into the church, forcing Richard Allen and a group of fellow worshippers of color to form a splinter denomination of the Methodist Church. Episcopal refers to the form of government under which the church operates. The chief executive and administrative officers of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination are the Bishops of the church.
For a complete history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church by going to http://www.ame-church.com