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Abyssinian Baptist Church

Central Harlem

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In 1808, a few African-Americans, armed with their faith in Jesus and strengthened by mercies already seen, left the worship service of the First Baptist Church of New York City. These African-Americans, accompanied by a group of Ethiopian merchants, were unwilling to accept racially segregated seating in God's house and determined that they would organize their own church. They established themselves in a building on Anthony Street (later Worth Street) calling themselves the Abyssinian Baptist Church - a name inspired by the ancient name of the nation from which the merchants of Ethiopia had come, Abyssinia. The Rev. Thomas Paul, a minister from Boston, aided the new congregation in becoming organized as the First African-American Baptist Church in the state of New York.

On December 30, 1908, God brought together the congregation of Abyssinian Baptist Church and the Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. (1865-1953). As he recalled in 1928, Powell, Sr., became ''heir to the financial, moral and spiritual progress made by Abyssinian for one hundred years under the leadership of sixteen noble ministers (pastors and assistants) of God.''

Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. preached about and promoted the idea of a model church in Harlem. By the spring of 1920, Abyssinian had purchased lots on 138th Street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues, and in the summer of the same year initiated a tithing campaign - at the close of an evangelistic meeting - through which eventually 3,000 members pledged to give one-tenth of their weekly income. The loyalty of ninety-five (95%) of these members made possible the ground breaking for construction of the present Abyssinian edifice on April 9, 1922.


Sites & Attractions: Churches Music: Gospel Sites & Attractions: Historic Sites & Attractions Music Central Harlem


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Our Sunday morning worship services are at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary.
Given the volume of requests and the needs of our members we apologize in advance if we can not accommodate your group. May God bless you, and we look forward to seeing you.

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