"A" is for African Methodist Episcopal Church. The African Episcopal Church [AME] is the oldest African American denomination in the country. In 1817, after white Methodists in Charleston tried to control their worship, 4,000 black Methodists organized themselves into an AME congregation—the second-largest in the denomination and its southernmost branch. Following the Denmark Vesey conspiracy, the church was demolished and its membership dispersed. In 1863 the denomination returned to South Carolina and became a major presence in the state. Church leaders used their offices to articulate community grievances and to protest against lynching and racial discrimination. Today the African Episcopal Church in South Carolina uses its resources to address a wide range of social issues and problems including health-care disparities and affordable housing.