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Organized in 1836, Bethel AME is the oldest Black congregation in Indianapolis. Recently, they moved from downtown and built a new church at 6417 Zionsville Road.

Dr Perkins says, "“Gospel music plays a major role in the black church experience. Black gospel music typifies our collective theologies of the liberating gospel. Music is powerful, and gospel music is even more powerful because it captures our pain but speaks of our promises through the word of God". Watch L. Lebron Wilson perform "Nobody Greater/How Great is Our God" from Bethel's January 3, 2021 service.

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Organized in 1836, Bethel Cathedral AME is the oldest Black congregation in Indianapolis. Originally located downtown near the current IUPUI campus, the prior church building was built in 1869. It was sold in 2016 to be used for commercial development. Bethel's new cathedral was built in 2018 and is located on Zionsville Road in northwest Indianapolis.

Watch a sermon from Bethel AME. Sermon Description: "Join Rev. Carlos W. Perkins and the Bethel family as we celebrate the goodness of the Lord as we lift our voices and proclaim, "I Am Blessed!" Numbers 6:22​-27".

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The leader of the church and their family are known as "The First Family". Dr. Carlos Perkins is the Senior Pastor at Bethel. He is a native of Jamaica and has several degrees in theology, counseling and education, as well as politics and sociology. Dr. Perkins is married to Reverend Carla Sharon Perkins. Carla is also an ordained minister in he AME church and sometimes assists in leading worship. She is the Director of Children and Youth Ministries and often helps to lead children and teen church during a typical worship service. Carlos and Carla have two children, Jebron Carlos and Jemila Carla. At Bethel, the first family sits in the second row.

The pipe organ at Bethel AME was moved from the church's downtown location. It was manufactured by the A.B. Felgemaker company in Erie, PA in 1905.

Bethel's Senior Pastor, Dr. Carlos W. Perkins, describes how the African Methodist Episcopal denomination was founded.

Senior Pastor, Dr. Carlos W. Perkins, describes Bethel's long history as Indianapolis's oldest Black church. From log cabin, to historic landmark, to its current modern cathedral, Bethel continues to serve the community.


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