The original motto of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1856, God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, Man Our Brother, was included in the creedal statement of the denomination, and on the Episcopal Seal. In 2008, the motto was revised to God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, The Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family to reflect the times, and to be more inclusive.
Daniel Alexander Payne, the sixth Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Charleston, South Carolina on February 24, 1811 to free colored parents, London and Martha Payne.
He attended a private school in Charleston, South Carolina and Gettysburg Seminary in Pennsylvania. He also did a great deal of studying on his own. Payne was the first Bishop to have formal theological seminary training. He, more than any other individual, is responsible for the A.M.E. Church’s attention toward trained ministry.
Bishop Payne was ordained an elder in the Lutheran Church in 1837. He was admitted to the Philadelphia Annual Conference in 1842. He pastored churches in Washington, New York and Baltimore. He was elected the Historiographer of the A.M.E Church in 1848. Payne was elected a Bishop at the General Conference in New York City on May 7, 1852. During his tenure, he presided over the 1st, 3rd , 2nd and 7th Districts. He organized the South Carolina Conference in 1865, and founded Wilberforce University in 1856 where he became the first Black President of a college in America. Payne served as the President of Wilberforce University for 13 years.
He was an author of considerable merit. His book, “History of the A.M.E. Church”, is his greatest work and has been an authoritative source of history of the first 75 years of the Connectional Church. Bishop Payne spent twenty years gathering material for his book.
Payne was married to Eliza Clark Payne. He was the father of one child and the stepfather of four children- Julia, John, Laura, Augusta and Peter.
Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne died on November 2, 1893.