Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month celebrations are continuing in the Pine Belt.  And one Hattiesburg church congregation is combining a recognition of African-American history with the story of the founding of its own denomination.

The members of Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal church hosted a Founder's Day today.  It included an overview of the 18th century beginnings of the A.M.E. church.

It also featured an annual dinner on the grounds.  Many church members celebrated by wearing pioneer clothing from past generations, such as bonnets and overalls.  "In February of each year, A.M.E. churches across the nations celebrate," said Reverend Charles Bartley, pastor of Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church.  "I mean, this is an annual affair.  Right now, in New York, New Mexico, The Bahamas, Africa, all across the world, people are celebrating the founding of the African Methodist Episcopal Church," Bartley said.

The A.M.E. church was founded in 1787 in Pennsylvania.