Bethel AME marks Founders Day
Leavenworth Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church rejoiced in song and scripture this past weekend as the congregation celebrated Black History Month, the founding of the church and the homecoming of author and motivational speaker Michael Joseph Brundy.
"The boy's come home!" announced Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Betty Hanna-Witherspoon, to the congregation Sunday, referring to Brundy.
Brundy, a Leavenworth native, currently lives in Mansfield, Texas, but returned to his hometown to take part in the church's recognition of Black History Month.
During the service, members of the church expressed their appreciation of and admiration for strong black figures in history with a presentation called "The ABCs of Black History." The program showcased black history-makers like Isaac Hayes, a versatile and noted black entertainer, and Barbara Jordan, who was the first black woman to give a keynote address to the U.S. House of Representatives. Local church leaders like Rev. Simon Holly also were recognized.
In addition to celebrating Black History Month, churchgoers commemorated the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal church.
"Founders day isn't only about the church's history, it's about black history," Brundy said in his speech. "I'm proud to be black, and I'm most happy being a child of God."
The AME was the first major religious denomination in the Western world to put more emphasis on a sociological unity rather than theological beliefs. In the late 18th century, African preacher Richard Allen led a revolt against members of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. In 1787, he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His story and the story of the church's origin were major parts of Sunday's festivities and worship.
Bethel AME Church is located at 411 Kiowa St. in Leavenworth.