Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church is a 3,000 member congregation with a rich tradition of Christian caring, community advocacy and action, and connectional involvement. The church is the largest in the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is the “First” church of the Palmetto Annual Conference and the Mount Pleasant District. Many active and retired clergy of the Episcopal District are members of Morris Brown, including the Right Reverend Zedekiah L. Grady, formerly Presiding Bishop of the First Episcopal District of the AME Church. Dr. Kay Middleton Brown, who grew up in Morris Brown, served as President of the Connectional Lay Organization of the AME Church.
In 1914, Morris Brown was one of the first African American churches in South Carolina to operate a Senior Citizen’s Home. In 1969, Morris Brown was the headquarters for the Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during a strike by the service workers of Charleston’s hospitals. Ministries of the church included a day care center, an HIV/AIDS ministry, tutorial services, a seniors program, a young adult program and counseling services.
The membership of Morris Brown has traditionally been diverse, including the humble and the notable in Charleston’s African American community. Many members of the congregation have served in public office, including the late Mrs. Marjorie Amos-Frasier, the first African American woman to serve on the South Carolina Public Service Commission, and the Honorable James E. Clyburn, the first South Carolinian elected chairman of the United States Congressional Black Caucus and formerly the House Majority Whip.
Morris Brown AME Church continues to build on the tradition of its founders in service to the present age. The church offers a wide spectrum of ministries geared to reach the entire community. The church co-sponsors an apartment complex for those of modest means and sponsors a community development corporation. The church is also an active voice of advocacy in the Charleston area with its annual support of the Nehemiah Action Assembly and ongoing support of the work of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry.
The past few years have brought an expansion of activities in the church family to emphasize Christianity as a joyous way of life and not just a Sunday affair. Midday Bible Study has been added for those who work downtown and for seniors who are wary of venturing out at night. A monthly “Book Brunch” allows members and guests to gather for food and discussion of contemporary literature. Monthly Spiritual Enrichment Seminars allow time for learning and fellowship. The Combined Choir, Gospel Choir, Young Adult Choir, Men’s Choir, Voices of Promise (Youth Choir), Generation of Praise, Sunbeam Choir, Praise Dance Troupe, Mime Ministry and instrumental ensemble enhance worship in joyful ways. New ministries started under former pastor Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr. include the Joshua Generation, the Young Women of Elegance (YMOE), and the Young Men of Distinction (YMOD).
We encourage you to visit Morris Brown and to consider membership if you’re seeking a church home. You’ll find a caring congregation that cherishes its traditions, but is also committed to contemporary Christian witness.