The inauguration ceremonies of the buildings will take place from May 20 to 22, 2022.
NASHVILLE, TN — Storytelling, in all its forms, is a hallmark of the African continent and the diaspora. From griots and folk storytellers to poets and singers, crafting and sharing a story is an integral part of Blackness’ rich heritage. This could not be more evident than in the design and execution of the new African Methodist Episcopal Church Publishing House set to be dedicated this month in Nashville, Tennessee. The AME (Sunday School Union) Publishing House has been a leading force in sharing liberating stories and religious publications since the late 19th century, one of the earliest institutions of its kind. This new achievement, built under the direction of the Reverend Dr. Roderick D. Belin, president/publisher of the publishing house, continues a legacy of “telling the story,” both in Nashville and beyond.
The AME Publishing House, now located at 900 13th Avenue South, boasts an extraordinary building, impressive in both stature and design. The building stands at 38,000 square feet, including three floors of active workspace for the denomination and the community. Upon entering the building through a quaint two-story lobby, it is clear that only the finest materials and designs have been used in the structure, down to the finest detail.
In addition to the construction of the building itself, the publishing house presents a curated collection of artistic expressions, accentuating its capacity for storytelling across borders. Various gallery spaces throughout the building feature artwork by Memphis-based visual artist and dedicated AME Church member Terry Lynn, which will be part of the publishing house’s permanent art collection. The space also includes a series of quilts in the two-story lobby by fiber artist Dr. Judi Wortham, and a significant portion of the exterior facade will feature the work of Brandon “BMike” Odums, a muralist based in New Orleans. All aspects of the building were designed under the direction of the Reverend Dr. Roderick D. Belin, also known in the city of Nashville for his similar leadership in constructing a new edifice for the Lee Chapel AME Church in 2015.
Serving both the AME Connectional Church and the Nashville community, the new publishing house is designed to be a combination of work offices and gathering spaces, an impressive triumph suited to the changing city. The publishing house will remain the center of publishing operations for the African Methodist Episcopal Church and house eight other denominational departments, including the chief financial officer, chief information officer, research and information department. scholarship, The Christian Recorder – the oldest continuous periodical by people of African descent in the country, the departments of Church Growth and Development, Retirement Services and Global Witness and Ministry, and it will house the resident bishop and seat of the 13th Episcopal District. Each of these AME departments will be housed in individual office suites and will benefit from shared and collaborative spaces such as high-tech conference rooms and a shared print/copy center.
The wider Nashville community is also set to benefit from the publishing house and its new building. In addition to offices and departments, the structure includes spaces that the public is invited to enjoy and engage with. “The publishing house is about ministering to the community,” says publisher Belin, “and, therefore, working to build real relationships with those who live in the community and who are s care about it. A permanent art collection will be displayed in the building, and many works will be displayed in a dedicated gallery space on the first floor for people to take turns engaging. The hall is designed to be a multifunctional space equipped to hold chapel services, chamber concerts, literary readings, community meetings, lectures and even theater productions. When this space is not booked, the lobby will remain open as a community reading room, equipped with seating, plenty of outlets and chargers, and WiFi for community members to enjoy. . The building’s third floor also offers banquet space, designed for community functions, galas, and celebrations – including private balcony space that overlooks Nashville’s sights.
African Methodists will gather on the weekend of May 20-22, 2022 for dedicatory services for the new publishing house, which the Nashville community is also invited to share in celebration. A Thanksgiving Service will be held Friday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Greater Bethel AME Church, 1300 South Street, featuring preaching by Bishop David R. Daniels and musical selections from the First AME Church-Bethel Choir, Harlem, New York. The grand opening of the building will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m. at the publishing house site, 900 13th Avenue South, followed by tours of the building for the community. And AME Church School, an internationally broadcast weekly gathering, will be held live on Sunday, May 22, starting at 7:30 a.m., and will feature a lesson from Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie in the lobby of the editing.
For a changing city and for a changing church, the AME publishing house is a signal of what the future holds. The publishing house’s mission is “to produce high-quality resources to empower Christian believers to spread the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ, pursue justice, and enhance the social development of all peoples. “. And for Nashville and beyond, this new building marks an important milestone in this mission and in this city.
African Methodist Episcopal Church Publishing House
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