Methodist History: Mother African Zoar’s Legacy

February of each year is observed and celebrated as Black History Month. The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) contains many hymns, songs, spirituals, choruses, prayers, litanies, Psalm settings, and other worship resources by African Americans and many resources from Africa.

Thank to you to the United Methodist Communications for this information about Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, PA.

In the Bible, the city of Zoar was a place of refuge where Lot took his daughters after the destruction of Sodom. Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church in Philadelphia has also served as a refuge for more than 220 years.

For 220 years, Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church has nurtured her community. Zoar served African Americans in Philadelphia as a stop on the Underground Railroad; the first well-baby clinic for African Americans; a school; and a source of credit for home loans.

Betty Henderson is a lay leader and the church’s chief historian.

Betty Henderson: “We have a long history of being conscious of educational needs, social needs and the economic development of our community.”

Betty Henderson, Member, Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church: “We came out of St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. And the name ‘Mother’ is significant because we birthed five other churches.”

Betty Henderson: “Francis Asbury did the service of institutionalizing or forming of Zoar. The early pastors were assigned to Zoar through St. George’s.”

The story started in 1787.

To read the entire transcript, click on the link to


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