Ellen Odin and Moses Green, two members of the Abyssinian Church, wanted to bring the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion denomination to Portland. Because of the small number of African Americans in Portland, they decided to band together to share resources and give each other strength to survive in a racist world. Odin and Green made a special trip to New Bedford, Mass., to petition the Bishop to send a representative to Portland, and they founded the church in 1891. The congregation opened its new building in 1914. The women organized groups for self-improvement, including the Health Culture Society and a Big Sister Circle to mentor young girls. One of the most successful fundraisers for the church was the Thursday night chicken dinners prepared by the women of the church and open to the public. The Rev. Margaret Lawson was the first woman minister of the Green Memorial.