“African Methodist Episcopal Church and Missionaries in Haiti”

“African Methodist Episcopal Church and Missionaries in Haiti”

Did you know that African American missionaries from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which Richard Allen founded in 1816, built the first Protestant Church (Saint Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church) in Haiti in 1824? In other words, the second Protestant denomination established in Haiti in 1824 (only 23 years after the birth of the nation of Haiti) is the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E. Church). (Other historians have reported the church was erected in 1834). The first Protestant denomination established in Haiti in 1816 (only 15 yrs after the birth of Haiti) was Methodism from the Methodist Wesleyan Mission of England.

Bishop Richard Allen (1760-1831) ordained two African American Christians in the 1820s and sent them as missionaries to Haiti. Rev. Richard Robinson was one of them who served as missionary in Haiti for seven years. Rev. Scipio Beans of Maryland, the second missionary, succeeded Rev. Robinson in 1832; he assumed the leadership of the A. M. E. Church in Haiti (Saint Peter’s).

In 1830, Haitian Methodist Christians made a request to the Head of the A.M.E. Church to incorporate Haitian Methodism into the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Below, you will find a popular song composed by African slave Christians who immigrated to Haiti in 1820:

“Sailing on the ocean.
Bless the Lord,
I am on my way,
Farewell to Georgia,
Moses is gone to Hayti”

For those interested on the subject, read this important article, Effie Lee Newsome, “Early Figures in Haitian Methodism” (1944)

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