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Abyssinian Baptist Church

In 1808, a few African-Americans, armed with their faith in Jesus and strengthened by mercies already seen, left the worship service of the First Baptist Church of New York City. These African-Americans, accompanied by a group of Ethiopian merchants, were unwilling to accept racially segregated seating in God's house and determined that they would organize their own church. They established themselves in a building on Anthony Street (later Worth Street) calling themselves the Abyssinian Baptist Church - a name inspired by the ancient name of the nation from which the merchants of Ethiopia had come, Abyssinia. The Rev. Thomas Paul, a minister from Boston, aided the new congregation in becoming organized as the First African-American Baptist Church in the state of New York.

On December 30, 1908, God brought together the congregation of Abyssinian Baptist Church and the Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. (1865-1953). As he recalled in 1928, Powell, Sr., became "heir to the financial, moral and spiritual progress made by Abyssinian for one hundred years under the leadership of sixteen noble ministers (pastors and assistants) of God."

Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. preached about and promoted the idea of a model church in Harlem. By the spring of 1920, Abyssinian had purchased lots on 138th Street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues, and in the summer of the same year initiated a tithing campaign - at the close of an evangelistic meeting - through which eventually 3,000 members pledged to give one-tenth of their weekly income. The loyalty of ninety-five (95%) of these members made possible the ground breaking for construction of the present Abyssinian edifice on April 9, 1922.

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Our Sunday morning worship services are at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary.
Given the volume of requests and the needs of our members we apologize in advance if we can not accommodate your group. May God bless you, and we look forward to seeing you.

Visitor Information

Abyssinian Baptist Church

132 W. 138th Street (Odell Clark Place)
between Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X Boulevards, also known as 7th and Lenox Avenues
New York, NY 10030
212-862-7474 phone
212-862-3255 TTY

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Public Transportation
BY SUBWAY Take the 2 or 3 train to the 135th Street and Lenox Avenue station. Walk north on Lenox Avenue 3 blocks to West 138th Street and west toward Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard to the Church. You can also take the B or C train to the 135th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue station. Walk north to West 138th Street and east 3 blocks to the Church. BY BUS Take the M2 bus, which runs along Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard or the M7 and M102 buses, which run along Malcolm X Boulevard to west 138th Street.

Other Information
Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III, Pastor Naomi Graham, Reverend, Assistant to the Pastor 132 Odell Clark Place New York, NY 10030 Services: Abyssinian Baptist Church provides an adult education program that consists of literacy and GED preparation courses and family and housing empowerment services for all community residents.

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Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
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