Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church will participate in its first ever “Founder’s Day Walk” followed by a conversation on the impact of African Methodism on racism Saturday morning.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, church leaders outlined the program for this year’s festivities commemorating the February 14 birth date of African Methodist Episcopal Church founder Richard Allen.

The 31 member congregations of the South Carolina AME Edisto District will join Mother Emanuel for the Founder’s Day walk, meant to “convey the ‘strong’ presence of the AME church in the region, unity, and the continued commitment to issues of social justice,” according to a statement from the church.

This weekend’s events will also commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the official founding of the African Methodist Episcopal church in Philadelphia. Churches across the country celebrated the 200th anniversary of the church in 2016.

The walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Liberty Square near the site of the planned International African American Museum at Gadsden’s Wharf. The church will be accompanied by Burke High School’s percussionists and drum line. Once walkers reach Mother Emanuel, they will be encouraged to attend the 11 a.m. symposium titled, “The History and Legacy of African Methodism in America: Its Impact on Racism and Reconciliation Since 1818.”

Mother Emanuel became a nationwide symbol of both racial strife and unity after a white supremacist gunned down nine people during a bible study inside the historic church on June 17, 2015.

Panelists will include S.C. Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston), College of Charleston history professor Bernard Powers, Rev. William Miller, Mother Emanuel churchgoer Willi Glee, and businesswoman Carolyn Hunter, who CP profiled in December thanks to her half-a-million dollar donation to the IAAM.

A worship service is planned on Sunday at 4 p.m. The preacher will be Rev. Samuel L. Green, who presides over all AME churches in South Carolina.

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