Our History

African Methodist Episcopal Church


The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) was established through the Free African Society, which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787.  The Free African Society played an integral role in the Philadelphia community especially for people of African descent.  The Free African Society was a place for people to gather and to get assistance.


The Free African Society had its beginnings after an usher at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia pulled blacks off their knees while praying.  During that moment they realized a change needed to happen because of the way they were treated while praying.  Therefore, Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, Jane Ann Murrary, and others walked out of St. George Methodist Episcopal Church.

After becoming the Free African Society they made plans to transform their mutual aid society into an African congregation. Although most wanted to affiliate with the Protestant Episcopal Church, Allen led a small group who resolved to remain Methodists. In 1794 Bethel AMEC was dedicated with Richard Allen as pastor.


There were other African Methodist churches dealing with the same issues as Bethel in Philadelphia.  It was decided for these churches to come together. 


Reverend Richard Allen and sixteen representatives, who organized the African Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and African Churches in Baltimore, Maryland, Wilmington, Delaware, Attleboro, Pennsylvania, and Salem, New Jersey met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and established the “Connectional” Church as the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.C.).


Bishop Richard Allen was born a slave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 14, 1760, and was one of the first African-Americans to be emancipated during the Revolutionary era.  In 1777 he converted to Methodism, was ordained the first African American deacon of the Methodist church by 1789, and remained a staunch Methodist throughout his life.   He was married to Sarah Bass Allen and together they had six children.


 Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church


Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1800 in Ridgely, Maryland.    A small group of men and women in Ridgely started having services in a tent until enough money was raised to buy a building. The building was bought from Mr. Frazier, owner of Frazier Farm.


In 1904, the newly purchased building was then moved to the present site of Trinity under the pastoral leadership of Reverend Brantly.  A parsonage was built under the leadership of the Reverend Columbus Wheatley.  Much has been added to the original building by various pastors.  The Reverends J. F. Crawford, C. E. Walden, Jr., Cooper, Lepper, Leak, Banks, Collins, Sinkfield, Barrow, Armstrong, Ward, Chaney, Pritchett, Edwards, Pernell, Johnson, Butler, Stansbury, Hughes, Thomas, Barnes, Holder, Manuel, Turner, Foreman, Burrus, and Hinsely are among those who have served as pastors at Trinity, each making his individual contribution.

Since its inception Trinity Ridgely has served the people of the area in many ways by providing food, clothing, and shelter to those in need.  Its men and women have served most of the wars of the United States.

During the 1940s, when the local school serving the Black citizens of the area was being renovated, the Sunday School area of the church provided space for regular classes.  The officers and members of the church were very active in the Caroline County Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. including the Civil Rights marches and demonstrations in the Sixties.  When the public schools of Caroline County were integrated, members of the congregation were among the first to participate in the integration of the schools.  Mrs. Hannah Henry, a member of Trinity was selected as the first Black educator assigned to the local elementary school.  Several Black youth of Trinity were selected to be the first to attend the integrated high school in the County.

The men and women of Trinity were instrumental in the organization of the People’s Rescue Association, Inc., an organization devoted to providing financial aid and material to the citizens of Caroline County. The pastors and members have participated in many joint Easter Sunrise Services, Thanksgiving, and other worship services, and joint Vacation Bible Schools with other churches in the area.


During the pastoral leadership of the Reverend John T. Chambers the congregation accomplished the following improvements, modern bathrooms, kitchen, central heating, interior and exterior painting of the church and social hall, pulpit chairs, choir box railing, and a new roof on church.  The Late Reverend Lawrence E. Hunt pastored Trinity for 21 years until he was called from labor to reward in September 2010.  During part of his pastoral service, The Late Reverend Lawrence E. Hunt had a Radio Ministry.  We thank God for his faithfulness to the ministry.

The Reverend Monique Upshur Davis was appointed pastor of Trinity in April 2011.   The Reverend Davis served the Trinity Church Family and Ridgely Community for eight years and was the first female pastor.  During this time, Trinity and Pastor Davis refurbished the floor in the sanctuary, installed two vent less air conditioning units, updated the lighting in the sanctuary and restrooms, and installed a new roof on the church and fellowship hall.  The Praise Dance ministry was birthed and they expanded their outreach ministry in partnerships with Queenstown Bank and Thrivent Financial where they do large Food Giveaways to meet the needs of the community.

In March 2019, the Trinity Family was blessed to receive a new pastor.   The Reverend Lydia Martin Godje.  This is Pastor Godje's first pastoral appointment.  Pastor Godje and the Trinity Family are committed to furthering the tradition and legacy of their predecessors by leading people to Christ and helping God's people in the local and surrounding communities.

Bishop Richard Allen

Sarah Bass Allen