James Varick (1750 - 1827) became a member of New York City's John Street Methodist Episcopal Church soon after it was founded in 1766 as the first Methodist congregation in North America. The African Americans in the congregation were required to have worship and prayer services apart from the white members, and in 1799 they began meeting at a separate location known as Zion Chapel. They remained affiliated with the MEC and visiting white elders preached and served communion.
Church leaders met at Varick's home in 1820 to pursue ordination of African American clergy, and resolved that they would neither join with the newly formed AME denomination nor return to white control. The congregation named Varick and Abraham Thompson elders, and within two years they, along with Leven Smith, were ordained by the MEC. Varick was then named the first Superintendent of the AMEZ Church (the title "Bishop" wasn't used until later".)
The women in mission of the AMEZ go by the acronym "WHOMS": Women's Home and Overseas Mission Society. Read more about them here http://whoms.org/