The Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder


Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III
The 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder

I am writing another editorial with a heavy heart.

When will the lack of common sense and dumb actions of policemen and racism be corrected? When will people be safe from idiocy? What are some policemen using for brains?

My grandmother used to tell me “Common sense will get you to most places you need to go. It’s not book learning, its common sense. No matter how much education you get, don’t forget common sense.”  

When I heard and read about 28 year old Sandra Bland, my heart sank. She was stopped by State Trooper Brian T. Encinia because she changed lanes without signaling. A routine unnecessary traffic stop seemingly escalated by him, ended up in a shouting match and allegedly Trooper Encinia throwing Sandra Bland to the ground with his knee in her back, handcuffing and arresting her.

The officer’s demeaning and hostile response to her refusal to put out a cigarette was beyond normal. 

But, let’s back up

Sandra Bland changed lanes without signaling the lane change. I should have been stopped hundreds of times and probably all of you reading these words should have been stopped hundreds of times.

You mean the police in Hempstead, Texas with a population of about 6500 have nothing better to do than to stop drivers who change lanes without signaling.

I mean, wow, I would like to know how many other drivers Officer Encinia has stopped for changing lanes without signaling. I wonder how many drivers he has arrested and jailed for failing to signal when changing lanes. Has he ever threatened to send any driver to jail who failed to signal a lane change?

I did not know Sandra Bland, but I am sure, when she was stopped for failing to signal before changing lanes that she must have been slightly angry. I would have been. She was driving through a small town, minding her own business, excited about her new job, perhaps listening to her favorite music and she is stopped and detained for failure to signal when changing lanes.

Officer Encinia takes her driver’s license and returns to his police cruiser and spends about 5 minutes checking her license. I would have been incensed.  His response and actions appear to be passively abusive. Of course she would be angry! 

The situation got out of hand when he asks her personal questions not related to the traffic stop.  What was the probable cause and comment about her seeming to be irritated? A lot of drivers, whether innocent or guilty, are irritated when stopped by a state trooper. What took almost 5 minutes, according to the police video cam for the state trooper to check her credentials? I assume he was checking her license and vehicle registration. 

The police video cam showed the end of the previous stop by Officer Encinia in which he was courteous and gave the driver a warning instead of a ticket. He advised the young driver to follow the posted speed limit so I wondered if the young driver had violated the speed limit. Officer Encinia was courteous and sent the young driver on her way.

A demeanor change

After stopping Sandra Bland and after checking something for almost 5 minutes, his demeanor was radically different when he approached her vehicle. 

It almost seems, in the video, as if Officer Encinia was trying to passive-aggressively provoke Ms. Bland. It appears to me that he was harassing her, but doing it in a passive-aggressive manner, which would anger a lot of people. In fact, Ms. Bland admitted that she was irritated by the traffic stop. 

She was pulled over, had to wait; she knows she hasn’t committed an egregious crime and the officer knows she hasn’t committed a crime. She was pulled over because she failed to signal a lane change.

By the way, in the police video cam, I noticed as least 2 other drivers that changed lanes without signaling lane changes.

As Sandra Bland waits, she lights a cigarette, which was her right; he approached her vehicle after an inordinate amount of time checking her registration, driver’s license and whatever else he was checking and for whatever reason asks her to put out her cigarette.

She was smart enough to know that she didn’t have to put out her cigarette and he knew she was irritated, but he was baiting her.  How do I know?  He could have let her smoke her cigarette, taken her license, given her a ticket or a warning and he would have been on his way and she would have been on her way. She would be alive and he could spend taxpayers’ money pulling people over for changing lanes with signaling lane changes. I would like to have that job!

Why was he insistent that she step out of the car?  What was he going to do after she stepped out of the car?  Arrest her?  For what? Changing lanes without warning? Arresting a driver for changing lanes without signaling doesn’t seem proportional to the offense. He could have just given her a ticket. He could have given her a warning.  He could have let her go with a verbal warning to use her turn signal when changing lanes. He had a lot of options, but he chose the dumb option. He chose to make a “mountain out of a molehill.”

Officer Encinia must have had other more pressing police work that he could have been doing; instead he chose to stop a lady because she failed to signal a turn, even though no other vehicles were in the area.

What could have been a quick stop turned into a nightmare because a police officer failed to follow protocol.

“Ma’am I noticed that you didn’t signal a turn, you might want to be more careful in the future,” but even taking time to say that would have been a waste of time.

What was the probable cause to stop her?  She wasn’t driving erratically. Apparently there was nothing in her driving record that warranted an arrest. What was he checking for 5 minutes?  If he didn’t find any criminal warrants, why didn’t he just give her a ticket or a warning?

It seems to me that he wanted an excuse to arrest her.

He probably thought she was too uppity and he wanted to teach her a lesson. Officer Encinia fits the profile of a police officer who is not properly trained and who has anger and maybe racial issues, especially when you view and listen to how he treated the driver prior to his interaction with Ms. Bland.

And added to injury, he writes a “cock and bull” story in his police report about how Sandra Bland, handcuffed, swung her elbows, kicked and injured his shin.

"In an affidavit released by the trooper, he said that after handcuffing her for becoming combative, she swung her elbows at him and kicked him in his right shin."

A FaceBook entry asked, “Put your hands behind your back, crossed at the wrist, as though you are handcuffed. Now try to swing your elbows. How far is your range of motion? Well, was he laying on top of her on the ground at the time? Kneeling or standing behind her, to the side or to the front of her? I'm trying to figure it out. I could not move far, and when I did, it was with very little force.”

I tried it and I am U.S. Army Airborne qualified (though retired) and I couldn’t swing my elbows in a wide range of motion. I couldn’t do much kicking with my hands bound behind my back.

Fast forward

Sandra Bland was arrested and three days later was found dead in her cell.

The police officials said she had hung herself. Talk about escalation! A simple traffic stop that should have taken about 8 minutes total ends up in a scuffle and the death of a young black woman, who should have never been put in jail for the offense that she allegedly committed; changing lanes without using her turn signal. Or was she put in jail because she didn’t put out her cigarette?

I suspect she was put in jail, not for changing lanes without signaling and not for refusing to put out her cigarette, but because she dared to talk back to the policeman.

And to add insult to injury
Some news media outlets raise questions about Ms. Bland’s mental state and it was reported that she may have been suicidal after she lost a baby. Also, the coroner’s report showed evidence that marijuana was found in Ms. Bland’s system.

So what did any of that have to do with the traffic stop, which should not have escalated to putting Ms. Bland in jail? What do oranges have to do with Apple pie? If you haven’t figured it out – “Nothing!”

The questions about Ms. Bland’s mental state and the notion that marijuana was found in her system are a “smokescreen” of blaming the victim. Again, I ask, “What do oranges have to do with Apple pie – “Nothing!”

And one more thing

Ms. Bland’s death needs to be fully and thoroughly investigated. The actions of Officer Encinia need to be thoroughly investigated.

It’s too late now, but viewing the police video cam, Officer Encinia should have been tested for drugs because his agitated demeanor when he approached Ms. Bland’s vehicle and his actions and interaction, with Ms. Bland, according to state officials were not consistent with departmental procedures.

He could have just given Ms. Bland a ticket or a warning through the window and let her drive away.

Or better yet, he could have treated Ms. Bland with the respect that he gave the previous driver he stopped.

Police and other service providers get in trouble when they decide to treat people differently. 


-- Emanuel AME Church and The Beach Company Collaborate to Create a Permanent Memorial

The Beach Company began its partnership this month with Mother Emanuel AME Church to create a permanent memorial in honor of the nine victims...
Emanuel AME memorial fundraising begins…

-- Emanuel AME Church in need of repairs, leaders say - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News… ABC NEWS 4

Clementa Pinckney started at the church in 2010. There was a list of projects, some of which have already been completed. Now it's just following...
Donations continue in wake of church shooting


Again the African Methodist Episcopal Church grieves the death of one its members in a manner that sounds more alarms and raises more questions. The Council of Bishops and our connectional church extend our sympathy to the family of Sandra Bland, and lift them in prayer in their very great and painful loss. We also assure them of our support and commitment to seeking truth and justice in the loss of their loved one.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church demands an independent and thorough investigation into the arrest and death of Sandra Bland. To begin with there are questions which must be answered about the arrest and treatment of Ms. Bland. Second, there are many questions and few answers about how Ms. Bland died. Let us be clear, we are not satisfied with the explanation that she committed suicide. A young woman having just received a job at her alma mater, Prairie View University, something she was excited about and looked forward to, is not the attitude that would suggest suicide. Waller County, Texas has a questionable history when it comes to matters of race. This incident only increases that questionable history.

While the AME Church continues to mourn the loss of the Emanuel Nine in Charleston, South Carolina, we remain committed to ensuring that all Americans, regardless of race, are treated fairly and that justice prevails. Additionally, we remain determined to end the prejudicial manner in which many Blacks are treated by some in law enforcement. We wholeheartedly support good and unbiased law enforcement, but vehemently and determinedly oppose and seek to end biased law enforcement and all forms of discrimination.

The death of Sandra Bland, 28 years old, with a new job and promising future demands and requires that her treatment by police and the cause of her death be made known. We will remain vigilant and supportive of her family as they seek the same.

-- The African Methodist Episcopal Church Call for Action in the Death of Sandra Bland

“The death of Sandra Bland, 28 years old, with a new job and promising future demands and requires that her treatment by Waller County Police and the cause of her death be made known. We will remain vigilant and supportive of her family as they seek the same”, declares the Council of Bishops.

On behalf of the AME Church, the Social Action Commission offers the following possibilities as we mobilize and take action to insure that Sandra Bland’s incarceration and death while in custody is thoroughly reviewed.  Please see below:

-- Message to the Rev. Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas

Good morning!  While we continue to be in the midst of unraveling the mystery of Sandra Bland's last hours on life on earth, I wanted to stop to say "thank you" to those who have supported us in getting justice.

I met Rev. Hannah in Dallas at the CUIC (Churches Uniting In Christ) forum to discuss and craft a plan/strategy for young adults to "live out their faith" and be true witnesses to the world as we face the growing encounters between residents and police across the nation. During her testimony about the calling on her life, I was struck with her passion of action and determination to NOT enjoy whatever privileges might be afforded to her, because of her skin color, at the expense of others.

I now know that it was no accident that God placed us in Dallas at that forum, where I remember her self-description as the "random white lady". When I learned that she was committed to be a presence at the Waller County Sheriff's Office - it was an answer to prayer. She has stood in the gap for the members of the AME Church who were away from the area at a meeting. She has partnered with those still in the Houston area, who also wanted to insure that this incident was not sweep under the rug. Rev. Hannah has modeled my motto - "Stand, even if you must stand alone!"

We know that it is the spirit of this local congregation - St. John's, and your leadership which allows and embraces the devotion of hours and days to this vigil for Sandy Bland. My phone calls, texts and emails from Los Angeles seem so minuscule when weighing the load Rev. Hannah has borne over this period. We are still in the midst of the battle, and we know not when, but with support like that of St. John's associate minister, nothing will be impossible.

We are confident that our obtaining "thanks" from us is insufficient for the sacrifices made thus far and neither the goal of Rev. Hannah nor that of St. John's, we want to express our gratitude. So on behalf of the Social Action Commission of the AME Church, we thank you for standing with us, as fellow Methodists, as co-laborers in CUIC modeling the fight against racism, and for just helping to lighten our load. Your actions are a model that would give Richard Allen and John Wesley shouting rights over yonder!!

Whatever we might do in the future count on us, and count on us to pay it forward. Be well!

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director of the Social Action Commission and Bishop Reginald T Jackson, Chair, Social Action Commission - AME Church


Bishop Bryant will be addressing a National Press Club Luncheon in Washington, DC on August 12, 2015. As a member of the National Press Club I encouraged this prestigious organization to invite Bishop Bryant, to its platform, to discuss the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. I am a son of an AME minister and childhood friend of Bishop Bryant. I could not see anyone else who can better discuss this matter and inter alia.

Please get the word out regarding this historic event. As Martin Luther King, Jr. was the first African American, in 1962, to address the National Press Club, Bishop Bryant will be the first AME Bishop to address National Press Club.

To purchase tickets for the luncheon go to the website:

With regards,

George C. Thompson
National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW
13th Floor


The Rev. Herman Kelly serves as the pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and also serves Adjunct Instructor in The School of Education and The African and African American Studies Program at Louisiana State University. He is an avid swimmer and is committed to keeping himself in great physical shape by swimming and eating healthily. 

The Rev. Kelly said, “I have easy access to Recreational Program on campus. I joined the University Recreational Complex about three years ago. I got serious about my wellness when my doctor told me I needed to implement preventative measures in my life to avoid some serious medical issues.”

The Rev. Kelly got on task about his health and shared, “I have improved my overall health. I have a checkup in a few weeks and my goal is weight loss and a lower cholesterol count. I encourage pastors and servant leader's to minister to themselves with the same intensity that they help others.”

A Baton Rouge community member with a love for LSU, Herman Kelly is seen day after day at the Student Recreation Center (SRC). He interacts with students and swims every day. When asked about the SRC at LSU as opposed to other facilities, he responded, “Easy access before or after classes.”

He was asked, “What is something your fitness goals have helped you to achieve?”  He responded, “Lose weight and swim 5000 yards a week.”

He was asked what motivates him to work as hard as he does and he replied, “My overall fitness and being in shape and feeling that I have accomplished something.”

When asked his best advice, the Rev. Kelly responded, “Make a goal and work towards it.”

Dr. Herman O. Kelly, Jr. was nominated to be featured in the University Recreation Center for the July spotlight member. He is an adjunct Instructor in the African and African Studies and the School of Education. Each month a member of The University Recreation Program is nominated to be featured on the website to promote overall health and wellness. Pastor Kelly has been motivated to participate in distance swimming two/three times per week.

The overall goal as stated by Kelly, "I want to achieve fitness and wellness." Kelly was a former college swimmer at Morehouse College and the team was known as The Tigersharks. They were Black National Champions in the 70s.

The Swimming ministry of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is named for his former Coach, Dr. James "Pinkie" Haines. Dr. Kelly was motivated to continue his fitness partly due to a great piece by Dr. Sydnor regarding wellness and fitness for servant leaders.


By Rev. Andrew Rollins

A.M.E.’s are you ready for the twenty -first century?  Are you ready for the challenges, the struggles, the social-political shifts and the spiritual battles of these times? Are you ready to face persecution and martyrdom?  Are you ready to do what needs to be done in the wake of the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina?  Are you ready to carry on the mission our ancestors initiated over two centuries ago?

The seed from which the African Methodist Episcopal Church emerged was planted in Philadelphia in 1787 when Richard Allen and Absalom Jones founded the Free African Society which gave birth to the A.M.E. Church. If Mother Bethel in Philadelphia is the fountainhead of the A.M.E. Church, then Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston is the heart of the A.M.E. Church.  Mother Emmanuel is the oldest A.M.E. Church in the south, the region of the country where black people suffered the longest under slavery in its cruelest form below the Mason-Dixon Line. This church has been a symbol of resistance to oppression for generation, standing tall under the oppressive shadow of the Confederate flag.

On June 17, 2015 the forces of satanic inspired racism stabbed us in the heart when the Rev Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emmanuel, and eight faithful members of this historic congregation were slain by a white supremacist gunman during prayer meeting and Bible study.  Those who know their A.M.E. history know that this is not the first time our heart has been stabbed. 

In 1822 Demark Vesey, a member of Emmanuel A.M.E. Church, and 36 of his followers were executed for planning a slave revolt. In retribution Emmanuel Church was burned to the grown. This recent shooting is another chapter in the long history of racial violence and persecution this church has endured. Thank God for the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that can give new life. It was that power which enabled the people of Emmanuel to rebuild the church in ten years. 

However in 1834 all black churches were outlawed in Charleston and Emmanuel was forced underground where it thrived until the end of the Civil War in 1865.  Emerging from underground by 1872 this longsuffering and industrious congregation had built a new church structure. Down through the years Mother Emmanuel has been a “beacon of light and hope for African Americans in Charleston and throughout the region.” 

Today in spite of the most recent attack by evil and racism the doors of the church are still open and the light still shines forcing back the darkness that seeks to overtake the church and the world.

After what has taken place in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore and Charleston it is obvious that racism is alive and well in the United States.  Fifteen years into the twenty-first century it is now evident that we have not entered an age of post blackness and are not living in a post racial society.  These concepts are illusionary. They promote a flawed type thinking the existentialist call bad faith (self-deception and misrepresentation of what it is to be for self) and false consciousness (the inability to understand the true nature of the situation and accurately interpret the means of oppression).  Thinking like this will result in the demise of the black race. For the sake of our survival in these foreboding times it is necessary for us to face the harsh reality. The problem of the color line W.E.B. Dubois wrote of in 1903 as the problem of the twentieth-century was not solved in the twentieth-century and has spilled over into the twenty- first century with greater ferocity. There is a powerful element in the United States that is planning the annihilation of black people. Therefore we must be careful not to make the mistake the Jews made in Germany. The Jews thought that they had been accepted as Germans. They had risen to high positions in the government, the military, the academia, the business community and in the arts. Then the Nazi’s came into power and implemented genocide against them. The Jews made the mistake of not really understanding the system they were dealing with in Germany. There is revelation in the words of wisdom spoken by W.E.B. Dubois a hundred years ago concerning the system black people have to deal with that can help us survive.  Dubois said, “A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.”

Having presence or position in a system doesn’t mean that the system is yours. The system in the United States was not designed for our benefit. Now I am not saying don’t work in the system at all. We have to be practical. Therefore we must get everything we can get out of the system. But we must bear in mind that it will take more than that for black people to make it. Having a black president of the United States is not enough.

Remember that Benjamin Disraeli who was Jewish served as the Prime Minster of England in the nineteenth century. However having a Jewish Prime Minister of England did not eliminate anti-Semitism in Europe. The discrimination and persecution continued on for years to such a degree that the Jews finally gave up on Europe as a place to live.  Today most Jews have left Europe living mainly in the Israel or the United States.  Richard Allen, Morris Brown, Daniel Payne and Henry McNeal Turner lead the mothers and fathers of our church to formulate a plan for black people’s survival in their day. We must formulate a plan for the survival of our people in this day. If we don’t formulate a plan and develop the infrastructure to implement the plan than we probably won’t survive as people in the next century.

We are living in an era that is frightening to many white people. People of color are asserting themselves and casting off the shackles of oppression. The Dark World is rising. Pan Africa and Pan Asia are ascending. The Spirit of Bandung lives. And black people in America are part of this movement. Over the last seventy years (since the end of World War Two) colonialism in Africa and Asia was dismantled in the international sphere and in the domestic sphere institutional racism in the United States has been seriously challenged and pushed back. The days of white hegemony in the world are over. This change in global power dynamics has generated a strong white racist reaction.  Many whites are scared of being over taken by what philosopher of history Lothrop Stoddard wrote about in his 1920 published book titled “The Rising Tide of Color against White World Supremacy”. “Stoddard argued that race and heredity were the guiding factor of history and civilization and that elimination or absorption of the ‘white’ race by ‘colored’ races would result in the destruction of Western Civilization”. He also “postulates the collapse of white world empire and of colonialism because of the population growth among colored nations”.  As a result of these geo-political changes, there is lots of talk by a reactionary group of whites about “taking our country back”. These people are frightened because the population in the United State in the very near future will be majority nonwhite.  The white racist element in American is afraid that if people of color gain power they will treat whites the way they treated people of color when they had the upper hand.  These days there are some whites who are even contemplating genocide as the solution to what they see as the “problem” of the rising influence of people of color. Therefore black people must be vigilant.  There may be those who think the prospect of genocide is farfetched. Those doubters of the possibility that members of the American power structure would consider such a diabolical action should take note of a statement made in 2008 by Zbigniew Brzezinski former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. This influential political scientist, geo-strategist and consultant to the elite stated, “… in early times, it was far easier to control a million people, literally it is easier to control a million people than physically kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people. It is easier to kill than to control.”

Above and beyond all the social-political aspects of what took place in Charleston as people of God we must keep in mind that there is a more important spiritual dimension to this matter.  The murder of the Emmanuel Nine was directed by the devil from a high spiritual level. Scriptures teaches that, “… We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. (Ephesians 6:12) So as we fight on the social and political front against evil we must also fight on the spiritual front.  Dylan Roofs expressed intension was to start a race war in America but disturbingly he was not the first to do so. He is just the latest person who attempted to ignite a racial conflagration.  This has been an aim of the devil for many years. Roof’s objective was the same as cult leader, Satanist and white supremacist Charles Manson, who was used by Satan forty-six years ago as an agent to implement this evil plan.  Manson tried to start a race war with mass murder on two bloody nights in the summer of 1969 when his followers killed seven people. Roof was actually emulating Manson. In fact Roof considers Charles Manson as one of his hero’s along with Adolph Hitler. In his diary Roof wrote that he liked Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson --- calling them “real warriors for the fight.”

A few weeks ago there was a shift in the heavens and a corresponding shift on earth. God’s voice thundered forth calling the AME Church into service for the Twenty-First Century just as our Zion was first called into service by God in the eighteenth century. In the midst of this divine movement of God Satan raised his ugly head at Mother Emmanuel.  Just as Satan entered into Judas to make him betray Jesus and bring about our Lord’s arrest and crucifixion, demons entered Dylan Roof to use him as an instrument to kill Rev. Pinckney and eight beautiful members of Mother Emmanuel Church. But just as Satan was not victorious in using Judas to derail God’s Plan of Redemption and Salvation, the forces of Satan were not victorious though they engineered a massacre at Mother Emmanuel. What Roof did not understand is that he could not stop God’s Plan. ‘… We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.’ (Romans 8:28)

God has called the AME Church to serve “this present age”. Satan saw what God was doing and tried to stop the move of God by the attack in Charleston. However Satan’s maneuver did not accomplish its intention.  God’s message not only went forth but it went forth to a greater degree. The history and mission of the AME Church has been magnified and broadcasted more than ever before as a consequence of the attack at Mother Emmanuel. 

A long time ago in the days of slavery and colonialism God placed a special calling on the A.M.E. Church. It is our duty to live out that calling. Lately far too many AMEs have been advocating that we imitate other folks and adopt the ways other denominations in order to breathe new life into our church. That recommendation certainly is not the solution.  Our renewal will come by being who we are and living out our calling. The nation, indeed the world, needs to hear the message that God has placed in us. We are living in a time when black churches are being burned; and the sales of Confederate flags are increasing; and the Klu Klux Klan is calling for a pro-Confederate flag rally at the South Carolina State Capitol demonstrating that though the Confederate flag can be taken down from government builders it still is being raise in the hearts of many. In this day when racism is manifesting itself at an all-time high the apolitical gospel that does not have any social justice component or the materialistic prosperity gospel that have been made popular on television won’t do. What is needed for such at time as this is the black liberation gospel of the A.M.E Church that speaks truth to power and sets the captives free.  Therefore we must take heed to the words of the prophet Isaiah to, “Cry aloud, spare not” and  lift up our voices like trumpets prophesying to a land that is dying because of racism, selfishness and greed and to a people who need Godly intelligent leadership. It is our duty as AMEs in the twenty-first century to walk in our calling and to live out our divine destiny to be the spiritual and social vanguards of an oppressed people just as Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery.
The Rev. Andrew Rollins pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church in San Jose California.


*John Thomas III

June 17, 2015 is a day that the AME Church will never forget.  Nine people—clergy and lay, young and old—were assassinated after a midweek Bible study.  Long after the political pundits, well wishers, and news media have dissipated, we will still have to live with the reminder of names no longer answering roll calls or familiar faces no longer greeting us at meetings.  The AME Church is a Connectional family and all of us are still grieving.   In the midst of our grief, we are beginning to process what this tragedy means for us as Christians and for the United States.  

First, this is not an isolated occurrence.   In the wake of the shootings, stories appeared in various news media outlets describing the violence heaped against African-American churches over centuries.  Who can forget the four little girls of Birmingham?  Mother Emanuel itself has been attacked, torched and rebuilt.  In attacking a “Black Church”, the perpetrator knowingly tried to stab a dagger into the symbolic heart of the community.  The academic discussion, “Is the Black Church Dead?” would appear to be moot.  It is very alive…and very much a threat to some. 

Second, “institutional racism” is a phrase that needs to be salient in our vocabulary.  The removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse in Columbia was a welcome and necessary outcome of the Mother¨¨ Emanuel tragedy.  But what about the other issues that Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney advocated for? Economic empowerment for impoverished African-Americans?  Eradicating disparities in state allotments to HBCUs? Policing reform?  We cannot allow symbolic victories to deter us from advocating for substantive gains.  It is far easier to remove a flag than it is to create a fairer state.   “Institutional racism” gets at the fact that African-Americans since their arrival as chattel slaves in this country have always been at a disadvantage.  This does not mean that we are any less hardworking than any group.  What it means is that the problems afflicting our communities did not occur yesterday and will not be solved tomorrow.
Third, the AME Church must realize the special burden that it has.  This massacre probably would not have occurred at the Potter’s House, Cathedral International, or West Angeles.   The perpetrator intentionally went after Denmark Vesey’s Church on the day of his rebellion and had planned this attack for months.  We say we are the church of Richard Allen, Henry McNeil Turner, and Rosa Parks.  At times it would appear that we do not understand the power we assume and the burden we shoulder when we invoke those names.  The Mother Emanuel Nine should remind us that the AME Church is no normal church.   We have a legacy and a story.  Practicing your faith in the AME tradition is more than just hymns and meetings.  We were born out of a passion for social justice.

Fourth, the tragedy at “Mother” Emanuel is a heart-rending lesson in forgiveness and what being a Christian means.  Pundits and academics responded in disbelief when the families of the victims openly forgave the perpetrator for maliciously robbing them of their loved ones.  He even commented that he almost could not kill them because they had been so nice to him.  Forgiveness does not mean that we forget.  Forgiveness does not mean that we are weak.  Forgiveness means that we understand what it truly means to be Christians and forgive others even when they take what is most precious and dear to us.  Only God’s grace allows us to be this way.

Fifth and lastly, the AME Church must realize that it has friends in places that it did not realize.  At the General Board meeting in June, Senior Bishop John Bryant told the church that we had been contact by diverse faith communities ranging from Quakers to Muslims to Jews in the United States and from all over the world.  People were waiting on what we as AMEs were going to do.  The Council of Bishop’s plan to hold major press event at the National Press Club in Washington DC and advocate for a Sunday where we ask all our partners to preach and share on issues of race and racism are bold steps.  We must continue to think broadly on issues of racism, immigration reform and economic justice.  We cannot shrink back from where we are and must realize that we have an important part to play as this country continues to grapple with the ghosts of its racial past and the demons of today.

John Thomas III is a member of the General Board and PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago.


By John Thomas III

Thousands of AME youth from around the world journeyed to Indianapolis, Indiana from July 12-16, 2015 for the YPD Centennial Celebration and 18th Quadrennial Convention of the Young People’s and Children’s Division (YPD) of the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church with the theme “Keeping it 100: Celebrating a Century of Global Service”. Under the capable leadership and guidance of Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie (Chairperson, General Board Commission on Global Witness and Ministry), Rev. Dr. George F. Flowers (Executive Director, Global Witness and Ministry)., Dr. Sherell Vicks-Crawford (Connectional YPD Director), and Mr. Jon A. Ingraham (Connectional YPD President), the youth of African Methodism truly shone.  Hospitality was extended by the Fourth Episcopal District under the leadership of Senior Bishop John Bryant and Supervisor Rev. Dr. Cecilia W. Bryant.

The Quadrennial opened on Monday July 12 with the Opening Worship Service with an eclectic mix of worship music from contemporary praise to traditional gospel songs. Bishop John F. White, Presiding Prelate of the 16th and 18th Episcopal Districts appropriately preached a sermon entitled “A Call to Keep” drawn from Hebrews 13:7-8. 

Tuesday, July 13 began early with the “Morning Glory” Worship Experience.  Rev. Ronald Slaughter, Pastor of St. James AME—Newark spoke a heart-stirring word “Can You Handle God’s Favor” from 1 Samuel 18:9.  The formal business began with the Monique Gonzales Memorial Service and moving tribute to the “Mother” Emanuel Nine.  After the business session was the “Green and White International Luncheon”.  This activity celebrated Districts 14-20 and Connectional YPD Third Vice President Enercida Rodriguez delivered an inspiring message centered on Ephesians 3:4-5.   In the evening, the “Class of 2015 Recognition” celebrated degree recipients at all levels.  Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, President of Alabama State University and the 22nd National President of Delta Sigma Theta, was the guest speaker.  In her remarks she motivated everyone to continue their pursuit of excellence.  The evening was capped by the “Go, Grow and GLOW In the Dark” Praise and Spoken Word Café.

Wednesday, July 14 started with the Social Justice Forum. Participants included: the Kenneth and Janice Johnson (parents of Kendrick Johnson), Rev. Wanda Johnson (mother of Oscar Grant), Attorney Benjamin Crump (lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s family), Dr. Cedric L. Alexander (Chief of Police for DeKalb County, Georgia and President of NOBLE), the Rev. Renita Lamkin (5th District) and the Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant (2nd District).  After the business session, the legacy and excellence of the YPD were celebrated through the YPD Academy Awards and the 100th Year Salute in which previous administrations were honored.  The evening ended with an exciting Step Show featuring teams from the various Episcopal Districts.  A few OPDers and clergy joined in the festivities as well. 

Thursday, July 15 was the final business day with attention centered on the Constitution and Bylaws as well as the Elections.  The amendments to lower the YPD age were roundly rejected by the assembly.  The election of officers went smoothly with Mr. Chinelo C. Tyler (5th District) elected as the new President.  (A complete list of the officers was previously published in this paper). Over fifty YPDers were recognized in the formal Graduation Ceremony and outgoing President Jon A. Ingraham delivered the closing message, “I Think I Need to Let It Go” from Hebrews 12:1. 

Bishop McKenzie noted that during the Convention over 140 young people gave or recommitted their lives to Christ.  To God Be the Glory!

Winners from the Spelling Bee, Know Your Church, Bible Bowl and Debate Contest were also recognized as well as 8/9 Year YPD Directors. The Outgoing Director and President received special commendations for their leadership over the last four years. The Quadrennial ended with a concert opened by Connectional Worship Leader E.J. Norris (4th District) and headlined by the renowned Walls Group.

Elected Connectional YPD Officers 2015-2019 

President: Chinelo Tyler, 5th Episcopal District
First Vice President: Loren Johnson, 6th Episcopal District
Second Vice President: Dzestinee Glenn-Bland, 11th Episcopal District
Third Vice President: Gopolang Kgaile, 19th Episcopal District
Recording Secretary: Cara L. Davis, 7th Episcopal District
Asst Recording Secretary: Roberta Benton, 9th Episcopal District
Communications Secretary: Ayanna McLendon, 4th Episcopal District
Financial Secretary: Daniel Thompson, 13th Episcopal District
Historiographer/Statistician: Darius Bonds, 12th Episcopal District
Worship Director: Birden Mitchell III, 8th Episcopal District
Editor, YPD Gazette: Claire Crawford, 6th Episcopal District
Asst Editor, YPD Gazette: Jordan DeVeaux, 2nd Episcopal District
Parliamentarian: Mychal Royal, 3rd Episcopal District


By John Thomas III

The Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church gathered in Indianapolis from July 17-July 21, 2015 for their 18th Quadrennial Convention reflecting on the theme: “Transform Lives, Build Communities and Impact the World.” (Romans 12:1-2)  The daughters of Flora and Sarah Allen assembled under the leadership of Bishop Vashti McKenzie (Chair, General Board Commission of Global Witness and Ministry), Rev. Dr. George Flowers (Executive Director, Global Witness and Ministry) and Dr. Shirley Cason-Reed (International WMS President).   Hospitality was extended by the Fourth Episcopal District under the leadership of Senior Bishop John Bryant and Supervisor Rev. Dr. Cecilia W. Bryant.

The Quadrennial Convention officially opened on Friday, July 17 with a solemn and majestic processional of Bishops, General Officers, Executive Board members, Episcopal and Conference Officers, Delegates, Life Members and YWI participants.  Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Presiding Prelate of the 20th Episcopal District and Ecumenical Officer of the AME Church, preached a convicting message, “Turning the World Upside Down” from Acts 17:5-6.  After returning, reports were heard from Connectional officers and greetings extended from Connectional leadership as well as ecumenical guests including Dr. Sandra L. Gadson, President of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society of the AME Zion Church and Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, Bread for the World.  In the evening, the retiring Episcopal Supervisors were honored through “A Celebration of Sacrifice and Service”.  Heartfelt tributes in prose and song were given to Rev. Dr. Cecilia Bryant (4th), Dr. PAM DeVeaux (2nd), Mrs. Mary Kirkland (5th), Dr. Delores Webb-Williams (6th) and Mr. Claytie Davis (10th). 

Saturday July 18 opened with more reports and business for the assembly.  One of the mesmerizing aspects of the Quadrennial Convention is the variety of Episcopal District uniforms.  One could see everything from denim and jeans to matching suits and customized scarves to traditional African attire.  The reports from the Districts spoke to the good works that the WMS does not only for African Methodism, but for the entire kingdom of God.  In the evening, the 4th Episcopal District hosted “WATER: A sacred confluence of Arts, Ecology and Activism” featuring the 48 piece Black Pearl Orchestra conducted by Ms. Jeri Lynne Johnson.  The eclectic mélange of classical music, traditional spirituals, and gospel captivated the audience throughout the concert.

Quadrennial attendees arose early on Sunday Morning for the Communion Service.  Senior Bishop John R. Bryant exhorted the missionaries to remember their calling through his message, “Missionaries on a Divine Assignment” from Matthew 28:8.  After breakfast, various reports were read into the afternoon.  The afternoon lunch featured a program honoring the International President and her lifelong devotion to the work of missions.  The highlight of the day was the Report of the International President.  Dr. Reed’s appearance on stage was greeted with spontaneous singing and ululations from the Mothers of Districts 14-20 as she appeared robed in the traditional garb of the African Mothers and the Executive Board donned leopard print scarves.  Some of the achievements highlighted in her report include:

-- 6101 new members (4514 women over 40; 1402 young women 18-40; 154 associate members)

-- Over four million dollars spent in Program Services

-- WMS Disaster Teams serving in 16 Episcopal Districts

-- Board membership in Bread for the World and Church World Services

At the end of her report, Dr. Reed unveiled her vision for a new clinic in Haiti administered by AME-SADA to honor Bishop Sarah France Taylor Davis.  She stated that US$30,000 would be needed to begin the project and she had faith that she would receive it from the assembly.  What followed is sure to be remembered as an historic moment in African Methodism.  At last count, over $100,000 dollars had been pledged onsite to assist in constructing and equipping this facility.  In the afternoon, final consideration was given to the WMS Constitution and Bylaws with key discussions held around the YPD, Life Members and the YWI initiative The YPDers spoke boldly about their desire to maintain the current age structure and the fear that other components of the Connectional Church are still not ready to receive and embrace young adults.  Their sentiments were echoed by many including Episcopal Supervisors and YPD Directors.

Monday began early with a Mission Walk for the WMS Foundation through White River Park raising US$78,866 for Districts 14-20. 

The business session continued with the reports from the various WMS components.  The Constitution and Bylaws revisions were voted upon and the election for the 2015-2019 slate of officers was held (see below).  The new officers were greeted warmly.  In the evening, renowned Christian recording artist Yolanda Adams serenaded the Quadrennial Convention in “An Evening of Excellence”. 

The Quadrennial closed on Tuesday July 21 with Bishop McKenzie delivering the empowering message “Armed and Dangerous” in the “Sending Forth” Ceremony.

Elected Connectional WMS Officers 2015-2019

President: Dr. Shirley Cason-Reed, 2nd Episcopal District
First Vice President:​​ Deborah Taylor King, 10th Episcopal District
Second Vice-President: Lesa Halfacre, 13th Episcopal District
Third Vice-President: Hilda Matshoba, 20th Episcopal District*
Recording Secretary: Tanya Trescott Harper, 7th Episcopal District*
Assistant Recording Secretary: Precious Ncube, 20th Episcopal District*
Corresponding Secretary: Yvonne Stovall, 12th Episcopal District
Treasurer​​​​: Dr. Jeanette C. Harris, 3rd Episcopal District
Director, YPD: Wanda T. Ringgold, 1st Episcopal District*
Editor, Missionary Magazine: Ida Tyree Hyche, Esq., 9th Episcopal District
Associate Editor​​​: Potlaka “PJ” Molomo, 18th Episcopal District
Director, Promotion: Margaret A. Maske, 2nd Episcopal District*
 Missionary Education: Historiographer/Statistician: Frances H. Cofield, 5th Episcopal District
Worship Director: Marlyce McCants-Roberson, 3rd Episcopal District
Member at Large: Sylvia C. Blake, 7th Episcopal District*

*denotes new officers

The author acknowledges with great appreciation the Editor of the Missionary Magazine Mrs. Ida Tyree-Hyche, Esq. and the WMS Quadrennial Media & Public Relations Committee for assistance in compiling this report.


*Sister Angelena Spears

The campaign slogan “Win with Wanda 2015” – turned into a victory celebration on Monday, July 20th, as hundreds of supporters from the First Episcopal District surrounded their winning candidate, Sister Wanda T. Ringgold, when she captured 53 percent of the vote to become the Connectional YPD Director for the AME Church.

The election was held during the Women’s Missionary Society’s 18th Quadrennial.  The event was attended by more than 4000 AME’s from all corners of the globe – including Africa, Bermuda and India.

Among those in attendance, was a full entourage of Ringgold well-wishers and prayer partners. More than half a dozen members from her home church, Morris Brown AME Church, Philadelphia, traveled to Indianapolis to support Ringgold during the election.  The group also included her bishop, the Right Rev. Gregory G.M. Ingram of the First Episcopal District and Episcopal Supervisor Dr. Jessica Ingram.  Her presiding elder, the Rev. Dr. Janet J. Sturdivant, of the South Philadelphia District, was also there.

Dr. Sturdivant says Ringgold is “well prepared to lead the YPD globally,” and adds, “What an awesome opportunity for service this is for Wanda.”

Other presiding elders from the First Episcopal District who were in attendance included the Rev. Herbert L. Eddy (Boston-Hartford, MA-CT); the Rev. Winton M. Hill, III (Dover, DE); the Rev. Richard H. Worthy (Wilmington, DE); the Rev. Dr. Henrietta Fullard (Jamaica, NY); the Rev. Howard L. Grant (Newark, NJ); and the Rev. Jocelyn K. Hart (Philadelphia, PA).

Ringgold announced her decision to run for the connectional office in January of last year.  The connectional office seemed a natural ascension to those who had watched her climb in roles of leadership throughout the AME Church.

Ringgold has been a member of the AME Church since she was a child.  At her local church she serves on the Steward Board and is a member of the Fannie J. Coppin Missionary Society – and serves as the advisor to the local YPD.  She is also the current South District area chairperson of the Women’s Missionary Society.

She served as the Philadelphia Conference YPD director for eight years and the First Episcopal District YPD director for eight years. She has held positions on the conference level in both the Christian Education Department and the Lay Organization.

Ringgold’s win makes her the second person in the South District of the Philadelphia Annual Conference currently serving as a connectional officer.  The other person is Walter C. Jeffers who is the Director of Public Relations for the Lay Organization.

Ringgold holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Temple University. 

Her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

Ringgold will begin in her new role immediately.  She follows Dr. Sherell V. Crawford, of the 6th Episcopal District, who held the position since July 2011.

*Sister Angelena Spears is the Philadelphia Annual Conference Reporter


By John Thomas III

The relationship between the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is deeply intertwined.   Dr. Sadie T. M. Alexander, the Sorority’s first National President, was the granddaughter of the Right Reverend Benjamin Tucker Tanner, 18th Bishop of the AME Church.  Wilberforce University houses the sorority’s second oldest chapter—Beta Chapter—chartered in 1914. Reverend Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, the 22nd National President, is an ordained itinerant elder.  Deltas have a strong presence in the current leadership of our denomination.   The Sorority counts among its members: Executive Director of Social Action Mrs. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker and General Officers Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams and Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown. Most notably, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie is the granddaughter of Delta founder Vashti Turley Murphy and serves as the Sorority’s incumbent National Chaplain.  

Continuing this strong bond between the AME Church and Delta is the incumbent and 25th National President Dr. Paulette C. Walker.  She is a member of Mt. Zion AME Church in Tampa, Florida pastored by the Reverend Gregory V. Gay, Sr.   In early June, Dr. Walker consented to an interview with The Christian Recorder to share her thoughts in our continuing series on AMEs in Black Greek-lettered Organization (BGLO) leadership.  Now retired, Dr. Walker has a distinguished record as an educator with twenty years in public education and twenty-one years in private education.  Her last position was as Director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida.  She is widowed with three adult children and eight grandchildren.

President Walker, could you start by telling us how you came to be a member of the AME Church?

I’ve always been a member of the AME Church.  I was born into an AME family.  I was christened and baptized in one of my home churches, St. Stephen’s AME Church in Detroit.  I was a member there until I moved to Tampa Bay in 1990 and joined one of the churches here, Mt Olive.  I have never known a time when there was not an AME Church in my life.  [The AME Church] has always been a part of who I am and what I am.  I was active and participated in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and the YPD.  (As a youngster I roller-skated at the community center connected to the church.)  I have been a trustee at [Mt Olive] since 1995.   I am definitely faith-based, word-based and a true believer in a higher being.  While I have been indirectly involved in connectional ministries, I’ve played an active role in them locally. 

Could you please share the story of your involvement with Delta and your current platform as National President?

I became a member of Delta in fall 1966 through the Epsilon Epsilon Chapter at Michigan State University.  While a member there, I served as chapter president.  In Detroit, I served as an area chairperson and on numerous committees.  When I moved to Florida, I became Chapter President of the Tampa Alumnae Chapter. I also served as the Southern Regional Director, Chair of Sorority’s Long Range Planning Committee, and eventually the National 1st VP and President.
My theme [during my term] has been: “Uncompromising Commitment to Communities: Service, Leadership, Empowerment. An “uncompromising commitment” is not questioned.  You may have hurdles.  But you go through it.  Delta exercises this in three ways: Service, Leadership and Empowerment.  For example, we have a Women Owned Business Plan, Debt Reduction and Management Challenges as well as Hazing Prevention.  Our partnerships with St. Jude Hospital and Sister’s Network show that the influence of Delta goes beyond members of our own organization.  [Delta] impacts the communities where we live and work.  It takes a whole village to raise a child.  We play a vital role in our “village” communities - advocating for positive and proactive change in our communities.

This April a piece appeared in the Atlantic Monthly discussing the political power of Black Sororities specifically relative to the stalled confirmation hearings of Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  Could you please comment on Delta’s involvement in that process?

Delta Sigma Theta is non-partisan.  We are Political and Social advocates.  We will stand behind any movement that promotes Black people—particularly Black women.  Yes, Loretta Lynch is a member of the organization.  Even if she wasn’t a member of the organization, we would have been there to support what she stood for.  Here we had a highly qualified person and yet she had not been confirmed.  The questions had been asked why she had not been confirmed.  We know that there were questions about other legislation.  We got to a point where we said, “Enough is enough!”  Our presence [at the hearing] was to show not just Black women but all women that the power of a vote is powerful.  [President] Obama believes that America goes as women go.  I believe that as Black women go, so goes America.  That’s why that picture was so powerful.  When Black women stand up and speak out, we’re heard.  We can, will, and do make a difference.

President Walker, earlier this year VH-1 aired a show called “Sorority Sisters.”  After protests it was cancelled and several organizations (including Delta) sanctioned members who participated.  Could you comment on the show and Delta’s response?

If the show focused on Black women and not just Greek organizations it would have been one take.  On that show there was emphasis on BGLOs.  It was irresponsible programming.  No one contacted us regarding the portrayal of our members and they were there [in what appeared] to be a degrading and poor image of Black women.  We have too many Black entrepreneurs who are very successful and they [didn’t] have to belittle themselves to be successful. The persons on the show…they degraded the institution.  By misrepresenting who we are as Delta, that’s why they were sanctioned.  [They] detracted from the role that black women had been trying to present for years.  Their portrayal took us back many years. It’s unfortunate. 

After the decision to not indict Darren Wilson for his shooting of Michael Brown, Delta Sigma Theta prohibited its members from wearing the sorority’s paraphernalia in the subsequent protests.  Would you care to comment on this decision?

First of all, Delta was always in the forefront of social advocacy and activism.  We were founded in January 1913 and participated in the Suffragette marches [of that year].  Delta has never, "not" been in the forefront.  I’m a product of the Civil Rights movement.  We watch the things as they were going on and taking place.   If we were to look at the picture of Civil Rights activists at that time, many were members of BGLOs.  But they didn’t wear their letters.  The issue was about social justice, not about letters.  We weren’t saying don’t protest.  But when you have a membership that is as large as we do, unfortunately, not everyone who wears a Delta shirt is a Delta.  And here we had a non-member who [was] speaking as a Delta.  [I was] concerned about the emphasis.  A lot of attention was paid to not wearing letters, but the Issue was social injustice.  Here we are in 2015 marching for some of the same issues that we were marching for in 1965.   We need to focus on what is happening to this country.  Not to focus on BGLOs, but on what we can do.  We will always be there to stand up for what is right.  Black life matters.  It has mattered and it will always matter as far as Delta Sigma Theta is concerned. 

What are some of the challenges that you see facing institutions of the Black community such as Black Greek-Lettered Organizations (BGLOs) and the AME Church?

I was born an AME and will die an AME.  Institutions in general have to sometimes step back and take a look at what is happening to the country in the time where they are.  We sometimes need to make changes in our infrastructure.  When we get larger, we may need to change.  Social media today is one of the best things and also a curse.  Now we’re expected to respond to something right now.  You used to have two weeks, but the expectation is right now.  I don’t see the AME church going anywhere.  We are going to be here because we are a strong institution.  I do think that as we are having our conventions and conferences that we might need to look at changes in the structure similar to BGLOs.  For example, in regards to the use of technology, there was a time when we sent everything via US Mail. Now, we send out very few things.  We’ve had to adapt.  We didn’t change our belief or philosophy. We had to change how we spread that word.  The AME Church will have to do the same thing.  It happens with HBCUs and other institutions that are operated by specific religious organizations.  How we do it may differ.  We must respond to the factors that are going on currently in the society in which we live.

Dr. Walker, are there any final words you’d like to leave with our readers?

As President of Delta Sigma Theta, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for being God.  I am so glad that I serve a true and living God.  Some of the decisions I make are decisions that I know people may not like.  I don’t go through a day without praying.  I understand that without God present in my life, I could not and would not be anybody, anywhere, or any place without Him.  

John Thomas III is a member of the 13th Episcopal District and the AME Church General Board.


This article featured the Rev. Dr. A’Shellarien Lang, Chaplain (Captain), United States Army, Delaware Army National Guard and pastor of Bethel AME Church, Cookstown in the Camden-Trenton District of the New Jersey Annual Conference.

Chaplain Captain A’Shellarien Lang hails from the 1st Episcopal District where Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram is the Presiding Prelate and the Rev. Dr. Jessica Kendall Ingram is the Episcopal Supervisor. She is honored to serve as the first woman Chaplain Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard for the 198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. She is ecclesiastically endorsed through the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The 198th ESB, originally called the 1st Delaware Regiment, has a rich history in this country. The 1st Delaware Regiment was raised on December 9, 1775 for service with the continental army under the command of Colonel John Haslet. The regiment would see action during the New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown and the Battle of Guilford Court House. The organized Militia of Delaware was re-designated April 17, 1885 as the Delaware National Guard. The Delaware National Guard comprises both Army and Air National Guard components. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state missions. In fact, the National Guard is the only United States military force empowered to function in a state status.

Chaplain Lang was directly commissioned from civilian life on April 22, 2015. She comes with a diverse background in her religious upbringing and career. She has been a pediatric and adult hospice chaplain for 10 years. Chaplain Lang is a prolific author, pastor, professor, wife, mother, and grandmother. She is an anointed and appointed woman of God who loves to serve wherever God places her. She is the CEO of Desakajo Publishing. Chaplain Lang is the author of Does Love Cover…That: The Healing Process of the Fruit of the Spirit; Does Love Cover…That: The Workbook; Finding Me: A Woman’s Theology of Self Identification; Beside the Still Waters: Having Faith Even When….; and The Chick on the Side: From the Heart of the Wife.

Chaplain Lang is the National Director of Training for Healing Communities. She is an Adjunct Professor at Harcum College where she teaches Leadership. She is an Instructor and 4th Year Advisor at City-Wide Interdenominational Christian Training Institute (CWICTI). 

Chaplain Lang has an Associate of Arts degree from Manor Junior College in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor of Science from Geneva College in Urban Ministry Leadership, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and a Doctor of Theology in Biblical Theology from Almeda University.

She has served as a Children’s Pastor at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia. She also served as Children’s Pastor and Director of the Child Development Center at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

God called her into ministry in 1999 and she yielded to the call in 2000. She was ordained in 2003 as a Minister of the Gospel at Gate To Heaven Ministry by Prophet Carnell A. Smith Sr.

In January 2006 she was ordained in the Baptist tradition by Bishop Charles M. Hudson Jr. 

In 2014 she was ordained an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She currently serves as the pastor of Bethel AME Cookstown in the Camden-Trenton District of the New Jersey Annual Conference where the Rev. Dr. Robert C. Wade is the Presiding Elder and Mrs. Prudence Wade is the Consultant.

The military chaplaincy is a call to serve our military soldiers and their families. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is dedicated to spreading the Good News of the gospel to our military.

Chaplain Lang is a trailblazer in her own right as she rises to serve as the first woman Army Chaplain in Delaware’s 240 year military history. She has broken the “glass ceiling” in the state of Delaware. It is her honor to proudly serve “Pro Deo Et Patria” (“For God and Country”).

*Submitted by CH (MAJ) Monica R. Lawson, Garrison Family Life Chaplain at Fort Bliss, Texas


By Delanda S. Johnson

In the wake of what some may call “Domestic Terrorism or a Hate Crime,” the African Methodist Episcopal Church will stand strong in its FAITH.

This was not more evident on Saturday, June 20th in Houston, Texas at St. Paul AME Church where Rev. Roderick Dawson serves as Pastor. The Rev. Dawson stated, “With a rich history and great legacy of the African Methodist Episcopal Church still stands a vital institution that revolutionizes society and transforms lives.   “The AME Churches of Texas” project is an ongoing endeavor to provide information about the Texas African Methodist Episcopal churches, in order to encourage awareness, as well as to encourage dialogue about the historical edifices.  At the same time, the aim is to learn about those trailblazers who left legacies for each of us to dwell on. With “The AME Churches of Texas” project, the AME Churches of Texas gives us a glimpse of the works and efforts of each congregation in Texas.  With much dedication over two hundred ministries have had a profound impact on Texas for nearly 150 years and I believe the future looks better.  My prayer is that you are tremendously blessed as I am to be a Christian and an AME!”

Dr. Linda Bell Robinson a member of St. Paul AME had a vision of letting the world know about the rich, courageous, brave, and spiritual people the African Methodist Episcopal Church especially in Texas.   She solicited the help of all the churches in the great State of Texas to help with this project.  “The AME Churches of Texas project is an ongoing endeavor to provide information about the Texas African Methodist Episcopal churches, in order to encourage awareness” said Dr. Robinson.

Dr. Robinson graduated from the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at Sam Houston State University.  She received her Master and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Texas Southern University and retired from the Harris County District Attorney’s office.

There are four Conferences in the Texas: The North Texas Conference, Northwest Texas Conference, Southwest Texas Conference, and Texas Conference; all under the leadership of the Presiding Prelate, the Rt. Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie.  Bishop McKenzie was the first female to be elect 117th Bishop of the AME Church and has served Texas from 2012 until present.

As part of the North Texas Conference Tyler District under the leadership of the Rev. Darrell Caldwell, Sr., it was this reporter’s pleasure to be a part of this wonderful project.  As a member of Johnson Chapel AME Church in Malakoff, Texas where the Rev. Linda Ross is current Pastor, it too has a rich history.  Established in the year 1897 by Dan Blair, John Richardson, and Abe Johnson on his farm, Johnson Chapel has withstood moving from the country to town, high water, a storm, and being destroyed by fire.  But as the songwriter (Bishop Paul Morton) says, “We are still standing.”

The program at St. Paul AME Church in Houston had many cultural avenues that consisted with the AME theme.  Exhibits that gave achievement of all the Texas AME Bishops starting Rt. Rev. Jabez Pitt Campbell, the 8th District Bishop of the AMEC from (1866-1868) to the current Presiding Prelate Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie.  There were only seven Bishops who served Texas  eight years: the Rt. Rev. Moses B. Salter (1898-1904), the Rt. Rev. Evans Tyree (1904-1912); the Rt. Rev. William D. Johnson (1920-1928); the Rt. Rev. William S. Brooks (1928-1934); the Rt. Rev. Joseph Gomez (1948-1956); the Rt. Rev. Odie L. Sherman (1964-1972); Rt. Rev. John H. Adams (1972-1980); Rt. Rev. John Richard Bryant (1991-2000) and Rt. Rev. Gregory Gerald McKinley Ingram (2001-2012). And the longest serving bishop for fourteen years was the Rt. Rev. George B. Young (1934-1948).

The program consisted of the ladies who were in costume as a zebra, giraffe, and an exotic bird all from Africa.  The ladies of St. Paul dressed in their African attire and marched in to songs, music, and dances of Africa.

The Rev. I. B. Wells, Jr. former pastor of Johnson Chapel AMEC in Malakoff and current pastor of Stearn Chapel AMEC in Bryan, Texas stated that he was happy to be a part of two churches with rich histories and people of faith.  “As the former pastor of Johnson Chapel AMEC, the members are humble people.  They always greet everyone with a smile and they are very active in their community and in Henderson County. As for my members at Stearn Chapel AMEC, you cannot find a more gracious, caring, and steadfast set of people who are willing to go the extra mile.  It was indeed a great pleasure to be apart of this Historical Exhibit of Texas AME Churches presented by St. Paul AME Church.  We as African Methodist Episcopal Church members are empowered to help the needy, feed the hungry, and to welcome anyone into the arms of Jesus Christ whom souls maybe lost.”


Bishop John R. Bryant, Presiding Prelate
The Rev. Dr. Cecelia Bryant, Episcopal Supervisor

**The India Annual Conference, inclusive of travel dates, was held May 2 – 9, 2015 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Chennai, India

The Rev. Minnie Sarah, Presiding Elder
The Rev. Abraham Peddiny, Presiding Elder

Canadian Annual Conference
August 6 – 9, 2015

Holiday Inn and Suites Ambassador Bridge
1855 Huron Church Road-Windsor, Ontario, Canada
(519) 966-1200

Host Information:
Campbell AME Church – Windsor, ON
(519) 358-1219
The Rev. Alcott Germany I, Presiding Elder

Central Grove AME Church – Windsor, ON
(519) 738-9164
The Rev. Denise Johnson, pastor

Michigan Annual Conference
August 19 – 23, 2015

Courtyard Marriott (lodging only)
333 E. Jefferson Avenue – Detroit, MI
(313) 222-7700
Group Code: AME Michigan Annual Conference

Host Information:
St. Paul AME Church (conference site)
2260 Hunt Street – Detroit, MI
(313) 567-9643
The Rev. P. David Saunders, Pastor

Illinois Annual Conference
September 9 - 13, 2015

Holiday Inn Airport Conference Center
6111 Fleur Drive – Des Moines, IA
(515) 287-2400

Host Information:
Illinois Conference – North District
The Rev. Tyson J. Parks, Presiding Elder

Indiana Annual Conference
September 23 – 27, 2015

Holiday Inn Indianapolis-Carmel
251 E. Pennsylvania Parkway – Indianapolis, IN
(317) 574-4600

Host Information:
Bethel AME Church – Noblesville, IN
The Rev. Mallory H. Tarrance, Pastor

Chicago Annual Conference
October 14 – 18, 2015

Pheasant Run Resort
4051 E. Main Street – St. Charles, IL
(630) 584-6300

Host Information:
Chicago Conference – South District
The Rev. Thomas M. Hughes, Presiding Elder

The Fourth Episcopal District Planning Meeting
October 22 – 24, 2015

Sheraton Indianapolis Keystone at the Crossing
8787 Keystone Crossing – Indianapolis, IN 46240
(317) 846-2700

Host Information:
Indiana Conference – North District
The Rev. E. Anne Henning Byfield, Presiding Elder


*The Rev. Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.

Based on Biblical Texts: Acts 1:14a - These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication

Acts 2:46-47: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

The New Testament church was not perfect. The truth of the matter is the New Testament church had many flaws, many problems to deal with and many things to work through.

The membership of the various New Testament churches was made up of regular folk, with regular life concerns. The churches were comprised of folk with regular family situations and people circumstances. The various churches were populated by sanctified sinners struggling to ward off the carnal spirit; folk who in the midst of worldly concerns were trying to put on all of Christ. They were, in fact, sinners saved by grace. This imperfect body of folk was then, and is now, what makes up the church. As a matter of fact, this imperfect body of folk is very much like the body that makes up our church.

Many of us need to be reminded at times that the church is not brick, mortar, stone or wood. The church is not stain glass windows, plush carpets or cushioned pews. The church is people like you and me. The church is made up of folk who are flawed, blemished, defective, deficient, lacking and inadequate. Folk, who by the grace of God, have been washed by the blood of the Lamb.

We have said things we should not have said, done things we should not do and gone places we ought not to have gone. But, by the grace of God, provision has been made through the blood of the Lamb that we be presented, without blemish before His throne. Although we have done nothing to deserve it we have been blood washed to sanctify us and present us faultless before the throne of God.

We should be jumping for joy, exceedingly glad, and eternally grateful that perfection is not a prerequisite to membership in the body of Christ. Hallelujah, we don’t need to fill out an application for membership, highlighting our deeds, documenting our commitment and listing our references. If so, none of us would meet the qualifications.

Praise God, because of her imperfections, the church is the place where sinners come to meet the challenge of spiritual growth. The church is not perfect. The church should be more nearly perfect than it is but for some reason we seem reluctant to carry out the mandate Jesus so clearly set for us. We are intent; it appears, to put our own agenda ahead of Jesus’ agenda. Our agenda is likely the reason we refuse to seek first the kingdom of God continuing to serve only when it is convenient for us and are satisfied to let somebody else be responsible for the mission. It does not appear in some instances that we are concerned that folk can see that we are not as committed as we should be.

The New Testament Church was very much like us in that, numbers were small and people in leadership positions were only partly committed. They did not however have any of the modern conveniences we enjoy. But, with all of her faults the New Testament Church was still marvelously blessed by God.

What was the secret of the early church’s blessing from God? What qualified them for prosperity and success? What put them in position to be blessed? The Bible says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.”

“These all continued.” In the early church there was nothing in their personal life more important than the prayer meeting! This obviously begs the question, when was the last time our entire membership gathered for the prayer meeting?  When was the last time the entire membership gathered for Bible Study, Church School, Quarterly conference or any meeting or any church activity?

I am left to wonder sometimes if it could be that the church today lacks power because we have lost the fervent desire to stay in communication with the Father. “These all continued,” implies that prayer was an important part of the church’s service. Serious attention was paid to not only gathering for prayer but individual prayer as well. In fact “continued’ implies that prayer was vital to the membership as well as the community it was called to minister to.

What draws us today? Do we need a special call to come together for Jesus? Is it a choir we like to hear, a specific Sunday of the month or a meal served? The fact is in too many of our churches prayer service has dwindled. Prayer seems to be left up to a select few or in some instances prayer service has dried out all together. What would happen in our church if all of God’s children came together for prayer?

Our text says, “These all continued” then we see that they were “with one accord.” Their hearts were bound together in Christian fellowship and entwined in agape love. They had the same common purpose and need.

The people had allowed God’s love to settle their differences, solve their problems, relieve their heartaches and lift their burdens. Thus, they harbored no resentment and carried no chip on their shoulders. The love of God made a way for God’s power to bind them together for one common purpose.

“These were all continued” bound together, all praying together. They were a praying church. A praying church is a powerful church where God’s agenda comes first. A praying church is where the body of Christ is moving together to accomplish God’s vision. A praying church is a church God is pleased with.

*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr., is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina


*The Rev. Oveta Fuller Caldwell, Ph.D

July 2015 is three years after the debut of the Getting to Zero (G20) column in The Christian Recorder (TCR). This is the 3rd anniversary of G20.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share science-based insights about HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases. I am thankful to provide, receive and share effective ideas of how ministries, church leaders, families and individuals can take effective steps to help to reduce preventable diseases.

We pray that musings, discussions and insights are a blessing. Comments made to the TCR editor and to me suggest that G20 has provided enjoyable reading and stimulated discussion and action. More importantly, over the three years it has made a difference in assisting churches and members to address HIV/AIDS, to be better informed and to engage in some aspect of intentionally more healthy living. We want shift the norm for health awareness and active community ministry.

We are grateful to TCR for printing the column and to the AMEC Connectional Health Commission, members of the CM243 class on HIV/AIDS at Payne Theological Seminary and ministry colleagues and lay readers for your feedback and implementation of suggestions.

Focus on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

At this third year milestone, we join with others to encourage full use of available vaccines to safely prevent disease from encounters with pathogenic microbes. Below are the most commonly available vaccines. Unless there is a diagnosed underlying immune system issue, these FDA approved vaccines should be a part of every person’s battle for wellness.

Be sure that you and those you care for have up-to-date vaccinations to prevent these diseases. Your healthcare provider can advise on schedule, details of side effects and who should not get a given vaccine due to risks from known underlying health issues.

List of the FDA approved vaccines

DTaP - diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw) and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is given to children under age 7 years to protect against three deadly bacteria diseases. A booster is given around age 11. Booster vaccine shots should occur every 10 years, for travelers especially, and for those at high risk of infection. Td is a booster for tetanus and diphtheria, while Tdap also includes a booster against whooping cough.

Hep A and Hep B - These are different hepatitis viruses that infect the liver to cause acute (HepA) or chronic (Hep-B) liver inflammation (hepatitis). Hep B can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. These vaccines are highly effective when given in several doses typically to infants or children for life-long protection. They can be given at any age.

Hib – Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine is given at age 6 weeks to protect against bacteria that commonly causes invasive disease in children under five. Prior to Hib vaccine, these bacteria were the leading cause of death from bacterial meningitis in infants and young children.

HPV – human papilloma virus vaccine is given in three doses within six months of age to adolescents (females and also males) ideally around age 11-12. It can be given to persons from age 9-26 to prevent infection with HPV. Over 5-20 years. HPV infection can lead to development of cervical cancer and genital warts.

HZV – zoster is the recently FDA approved vaccine against herpes zoster (shingles) as the reactivated form of chickenpox virus. Zoster typically occurs in those over 55 years. Healthy adults over 60 years are recommended to get one dose of HZV to prevent herpes zoster that re-activates in 20-30% of persons who are infected as children with varicella zoster virus. 

Influenza - the flu vaccine is given annually, usually by November in the northern hemisphere, to reduce infection or severity of respiratory disease due to influenza virus infection. The “flu shot” is recommended each year for persons over 6 months of age. It is especially important for the elderly and those at any age who have underlying disease or disorders.

MMR – Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine protects against three viruses that cause serious disease in children and adults. It is given in two shots at 12-15 months and 4-5 years of age. In the USA, MMR usually is required before a child attends elementary school. Under some conditions the MMR vaccine is recommended for adults who have no immunity to any one of these viruses. There are only a few exceptions of persons who should not get the MMR vaccine.

MCV- Meningococcal vaccine is given in two doses to all preteens and teens as well as to young adults and international travelers. It prevents bacteria infection of cells of the blood, brain or spinal cord. In a short time infection can lead to meningitis with outcomes of shock, coma and death. Epidemics have occurred in recent years on college campuses. Booster shots should be given throughout life.

OPV and IPV- Oral polio vaccine is given in three doses to protect against infection and paralysis of neurotropic (nervous system-loving) poliovirus. OPV is used in the global campaign to eradicate poliovirus. In the USA since 2000, a different form of the polio vaccine- Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), is routinely given in four doses to children at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months and boosted at 4-6 years. These should provide life-long immunity.

PCV –Pneumococcal vaccines (PV13 and PPSV23) protect against infection by a type of bacteria - Streptococcus pneumonia. Infection can lead to pneumonia, ear infections and life-threatening meningitis and bacteremia (bacteria in the blood).  PCV is recommended for children under 5 years and adults that are 65 and older, or those at high risk who are between 6 – 64 years. Advise on which vaccine to get is available at your health care facility.

Rotavirus – vaccine protects against rotavirus infection that can cause severe diarrhea, dehydration and death in babies. Depending on the vaccine used, it is given in either 2 or 3 doses. The first dose occurs typically at 2 months followed by a second dose at 4 months. The vaccine series must start by 15 weeks and be completed by 8 months to be most effective.

Varicella – is a herpes virus that causes the once common childhood disease chickenpox. Two doses of chickenpox vaccine are given at ages 12-18 months and 4-5 years. Children under 13 who have not had chickenpox should get the varicella vaccine. Chickenpox can be a severe illness in teens or adults.

Yellow fever – is spread by mosquito bites, but does not spread person to person. International travelers to tropical regions should get the vaccine at least 10 days before traveling. For entry at immigration, some countries require passport and proof of vaccination against yellow fever. The vaccine is given to persons over 9 months old and comes with a certificate of proof that is needed at immigration sites.

*The Rev. Oveta Fuller Caldwell, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School, Associate Director of the U-M African Studies Center and an AMEC itinerant elder and former pastor. She lived in Zambia for most of 2013 to study HIV/AIDS prevention among networks of religious leaders.


*Brother Bill Dickens


One of the more popular expressions used in American courtrooms is the saying –“throw myself on the mercy of the court”.  Typically defendants, convicted by their own guilt, use this expression in a way to extract leniency from the presiding judge.  The defendant‘s strategy is based on a sense of shared humanity and care and combined with his own remorsefulness, will hopefully demonstrate to the judge that his plea is sincere and credible.  A struggling collegiate student in physics or philosophy who failed the Final Exam will often seek “mercy” from his professor prior to the issuance of the final semester grade.  Much like the soon to be convicted felon, the student will make an appeal to the professor’s sensibilities about fairness and a request for a “second chance”.  The Adult AME Church School Lesson for July 26, 2015 looks at another type of defendant and how God will provide mercy.  Are we guilty as charged thus warranting proper punishment or does God have something else in mind?  This fascinating question guides our understanding to the last chapter in the Book of Micah.

Bible Lesson

Chapter 7 of Micah is the climax of his great prophesies.  Chapters 1-6 reinforce judgment against both Israel and Judah for their cruel mistreatment to the poor, spiritual infidelity and dereliction of Godly duty.  Chapter 7 opens with Micah using a metaphorical tool (longing for fresh fruit) to illustrate Israel’s misery.  Verses 2-6 depict an amoral society where sin, selfishness, dishonesty and debauchery have become the norm in Israel.  Despite this descent into immorality the Prophet of God declares that Israel will rise.  Micah’s warns Israel’s enemies to not get so complacent and gloat over Israel’s misfortunes.   Verse 8 declares “though I have fallen, I will rise”.  When Israel has been restored to prominence and power the surrounding nations will look with envy and shame.  Israel’s restoration is made possible only by the mercy of God (v 18).   God doesn’t stay angry forever.  He is a God of mercy, compassion and yes a God of “second-chance”.  Because God grants us a “second-chance” Micah’s rejoices in this theological fact by penning verses 14-20 in a psalm.   The prophet’s euphoric praise signals that God’s promise to Abraham will not be broken.  For that reason we can rejoice!

Bible Application

Our existential journey is often filled with ups and downs.  One minute everything is going just fine and without any notice calamity and misfortune strikes.  A corporate executive can be enjoying a compensation package of $1,000,000 per year plus perks today but thru the vicious vicissitudes of the stock market be out of work tomorrow if his company’s stock price collapsed.  One of Donnie McClurkin’s popular Christian songs is “We Fall Down, but We Get Up.”

The song is a testimony to the believer’s sense of spiritual resiliency.  Satan and his minions may temporarily make us feel down but through the power of God we can always get up.  A boxer may be on the verge of losing his match after the second knockdown but his inner voice compels him to “get up”, finish the fight and defeat his opponent.  Israel was “down for the count” but God, being the merciful referee, gave Israel a second-wind and a second chance.  We may fall down but we can get up.  Let’s therefore rise, shine and give God the Glory!  QED (Abbreviation of the Latin phrase, "Quod Erat Demonstrandum")

*Brother Bill Dickens is currently the Church School Teacher at Allen AME Church in Tacoma, Washington.  He is currently a member of the Fellowship of Church Educators for the African Methodist Episcopal Church


*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby

I changed one of my computer passwords today, using my home phone number from my childhood years as a part of the new password.  I easily recalled that number that was retired over forty years ago, but I can’t recall the phone numbers of most of those that I regularly call today.

That’s not a product of short term memory loss, but an irony of modern technology.  I still have a “land line” at home - primarily to accommodate my DSL internet modem - but I use my cell phone for almost all of my phone calls.  Like most of us today, I store the contact information for those that I call regularly on my cell phone and when I want to make a call or send a text or an email, I just look up the person’s name and go from there.

That’s one of the reasons why I back my iPhone’s contact list up to the “cloud.”  If I lost or damaged my iPhone so that my contacts couldn’t be retrieved and didn’t have a backup list, I’d have to go to great lengths to reach most of the people I know - I know their names, but I haven’t memorized most of their phone numbers.

Remember that “object lesson” from my life as you navigate the roads of modern day life.  We rely on today’s technology to stay in touch with those that we know - often primarily by very brief phone calls, text messages and e-mails - but we seldom hold meaningful conversations with them. 

The same is true of our relationship to God.  It’s easy, in a fast paced and demanding world, to get caught up in pressing things that demand our attention and to limit our conversations with our Creator and Savior to brief, routine and obligatory prayers just to dutifully stay in touch.

When we take the time each day, however, to slow down and truly “Have a little talk with Jesus,” as the old hymn says, we’ll have more peace of mind as we face life’s challenges.  We’ll take the time to exhale on our busiest days, thank the Lord for our blessings, seek God’s presence as we face life’s routine and extraordinary challenges and be assured that regardless of what we have to face, we never have to face it alone.

Take the time, in an era of instant and often shallow and obligatory communication, to go to God daily in meaningful, Spirit-led personal prayer.  Your days will be brighter, your burdens will be lighter, and you’ll understand why many of our ancestors in the faith, in the days when most telephones were on what were then called “party lines,” used to sing, “Jesus is on the mainline, tell Him what you want.”

This Meditation is also available as a Blog on the Beaufort District’s Website: www.beaufortdistrict.org

Get Ready for Sunday, and have a great day in your house of worship!

*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby is the Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District of the South Carolina Annual Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church


-- The Reverend Rosalynn K. Brookins Former Episcopal Supervisor received Congratulatory Admissions Letter July 23, 2015 from Payne Theological Seminary for the Doctor of Ministry Program

Dear Rev. Brookins:

Congratulations on your admission into the Payne Doctor of Ministry Program. You have been assigned to the Liberation Theology: From Preaching to Praxis cohort with Bishop John R. Bryant and Dr. Ray Hammond as mentors. You will find enclosed, a brief description of this cohort along with a bio of each of the mentors. Please be informed that we will begin our first Intensive on August 17, 2015.

Now that you have been admitted into the Liberation Theology: From Preaching to Praxis cohort, you must register for the following courses:
- DMN710 FL15_02: Advanced Preparation for Ministry
- LTS701_FL15: Principles of Liberation Theology

I look forward to joining the Payne Theological Seminary Administrative Staff in greeting you at the opening session on Monday August 17, 2015.

Again, congratulations and welcome aboard.

JT Roberson, Jr., PhD
Director, DMin Program

Congratulatory expressions can be emailed to:

The Rev. Rosalynn Brookins: revrosalynnbrookins@gmail.com 

-- The Rev. and Mrs. Theodore Payne, IV welcomed newborn twins on July 21, 2015

The Rev. and Mrs. Theodore Payne IV welcomed newborn twins on July 21. The babies (a boy and girl) are named; Theodore W. Payne V and Brenson Michelle Payne. The Rev. and Mrs. Payne serve as the pastor and first lady of Quinn Community AME Church in Moreno Valley, California. The Rev. Payne is the grandson of the late Dr. V. L. and Mrs. Quintine Brenson.

Congratulatory expressions can be emailed to: 

The Rev. and Mrs. Theodore Payne IV: TheoPayneIV@gmail.com 

It is with a heavy heart that we provide the details for the Homegoing Celebration of Sister Robin Greene. Robin is the sister of the Rev. Rae-Lynn Kingeter, our Baltimore Annual Conference WIM President and Pastor of Mount Joy AME Church in Sparks, Maryland. Please keep the Rev. Rae-Lynn and the family in your prayers.

Viewing: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Estep Brothers Funeral Home
1300-1302 Eutaw Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21217
Funeral: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Family Hour: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Funeral Service: 11:00 a.m.

Payne Memorial AME Church
1714-16 Madison Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21217

Send cards and words of comfort to:

The Rev. Rae-Lynn Kingeter
Mount Joy AME Church
PO Box 823
Sparks, Maryland 21152

Cell: (410) 419-3848
Home Telephone: (410) 329-3848


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of The Reverend Kingston Clayton Malone on Thursday, July 16, 2015.  The Rev. Malone was the dedicated and committed pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas, North Little Rock/Fort Smith District of the Arkansas Annual Conference.

Arrangements are:

Family Hour:

Friday, July 24, 2015
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Ward Chapel AME Church
1301 Hanger Street
Little Rock, AR. 72202

Celebration of Life Services:

Saturday, July 25, 2015
11:00 a.m.
Bethel A.M.E. Church
600 Cedar Street
North Little Rock, AR 72114

Services have been entrusted to:

Superior Funeral Home
5017 East Broadway
North Little Rock, AR. 72117
Telephone Number: 501-945-9922

Condolences can be sent to the family:

C/o Ms. Frances Malone
3306 Boyd Street
Little Rock, AR. 72204

Telephone: (501) 680-4437


Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Email: Amespouses1@bellsouth.net      
Web page: http://www.amecfic.org/   
Telephone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Telephone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
Cell: (615) 403-7751


The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland; the Publisher, the Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour and the Editor of The Christian Recorder, the Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III offer our condolences and prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the peace of Christ will be with you during this time of your bereavement.

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