The African Methodist Episcopal Church, whose founders affirmed their humanity in the face of slavery and racism, stands in defense of disadvantaged and oppressed peoples in the 21st century. From the origins in the Free African Society through the involvement of the AME clergy and lay in the Civil War of the 1860s and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the AMEC has preached salvation from sin and deliverance from bondage. The mission expanded to others within the African Diasporas in the Americas, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Whether in schools, seminaries, hospitals or social-service centers, the AME Church has lived the gospel outside its sanctuaries. This mandate still informs its ministry, vision and mission in the Church's third century of existence.