The African Methodist Episcopal Church is organized on a connectional model where each church is part of a larger organization referred to as a connection. Bishops serve as chief officers, Presiding Elders serve as regional managers, pastors are assigned to congregations by bishops and the congregations elect lay (non-clergy) members to represent them at regional and national meetings called district, annual, or general conferences at which the business of the church is conducted. This connectional model differs from a congregational model practiced by other denominations.
The chart below shows the structure of our connection from the General Conference to the local church.
AME Church Structure
The following chart shows 19 of our 20 worldwide Episcopal Districts. St Paul Des Moines is in the North District of the Illinois Conference, which is in the Fourth Episcopal District.