The Right Reverend Vashti Murphy McKenzie - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Roderick D. Belin, Publisher
Mr. John Thomas III, the 21st Editor, The Christian Recorder


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

I want to remind us again about church musicians, which include the choir directors, organists, pianists, other accompanists, choir members and soloists.

Music is an important part of worship. Music can wreck or enhance a worship service.  Liturgically, the choir selections should compliment and be an “anchor” that inspires and compliments the sermon. The choir music should not be a “stand-alone” and entertainment-focused entity of worship. The music should have some connectivity to the liturgical event.

If the musician doesn’t know how to “connect” the musical selections to the worship event, the musician should coordinate and learn from the pastor how to do so; and hopefully the pastor would be knowledgeable to provide guidance.

Musicians should be familiar with the AME liturgy (or whatever denomination he or she plays for) and understand the appropriateness of the selection of hymns or gospel music at particular points in worship. For instance, and I have said this more than once, the opening hymn and the opening part of worship is always in adoration of God. “Jesus Be a Fence All Around Me” or “I Been ‘Buked and I Have Been Scorned” are not appropriate opening hymns.

Traditionally, we kneel for prayer in Methodist churches, so musicians should know what a prayer response is and not attempt to “sneak” in another choir selection during the prayer response. The prayer event is not concluded until the end of the prayer response has been sung. And, to keep clergy and those who are kneeling in prayer for long periods of time is inconsiderate.

A Hymn of Invitation should be carefully selected. A rousing gospel song might work, but sometimes an appropriate selection that allows parishioners to reflect on the sermon and the challenges of the message might yield more decisions for Christ and encourage people to live more Christ-like. In other words, the music needs to be appropriate for the entire worship setting – from beginning to the end.

How many of us have seen choirs “wing it” and sing their favorite selections over and over again and the selections had nothing to do with the worship event?

I suspect some pastors need training in the area of music and the appropriateness of music in liturgy. 

I do not regularly watch televangelists, but sometimes I surf the channels and watch a portion of a program and I notice their music is appropriate to their worship style and that some thought went into the selection of music.

Sad to say, some of our churches are missing the appropriate music link that augments liturgy and sometimes the result is disjointed worship.  When worship is disjointed, parishioners can meander in at any point of worship and leave at any point without missing the liturgical connectedness of worship.

Back in the day, I played for a church and it didn’t matter when parishioners arrived or departed. The worship was designed in such a manner that parishioners could come and go at any point in the service; a parishioner could “get his or her shout” and be on their way. The church sold dinners every Sunday and that was a part of their stewardship ministry. The dinners were outstanding! Parishioners could get something to eat before, during and after worship. The meal ministry was a part of the church’s program.

Methodist churches do not, and should not function in such a casual manner. The AME Church has a liturgy crescendo, which should reach its apex at the sermon. Music plays an important part in the worship event. 

Just a reminder, music is an important part of worship. It can wreck or enhance a worship service. I suspect church attendance is affected more by the music than the sermon.

A church with a mediocre music ministry probably experiences mediocre attendance.

I have put together some thoughts entitled:

“The Sins of the Church Musician.” 

1.  The musician who is always late for worship.

2.  The musician who decides what the choir is going to sing after the worship service has begun.

3.  The musician who has not familiarized him or herself with the African Methodist Episcopal liturgy.

4.  The musician who tries to “make something happen in worship” by playing the so-called, “Pentecostal shout chords.”

5.  The musician who does not know how to teach the choir members their parts, i.e., S.A.T.B., who encourages loudness rather than teaching choir members their musical parts.

6.  The musician who has to always leave early and can’t stay until the end of the worship service and who probably arrived to worship late.

7.  The musician who doesn’t remain in the sanctuary during the sermon. They leave the sanctuary and return after the sermon has been preached.

8. The musician who doesn’t know how to coordinate the music with the sermon text or the liturgical season. (Of course the pastor has some responsibility in sharing with the musician the biblical text and the liturgical emphasis that the pastor would like to musician to follow).

9.  The musician who gets angry with the pastor and “sits down” on the pastor in worship, and tries to dampen worship.

10.  The musician who does not arrive in time to play a prelude and/or in a rush to depart that he or she does not bother to play a postlude. And, choir members who meander to the choir loft, chatting and jostling with each other as they amble their way to their seats. And they meander out of the choir loft at the end of worship.

11.  The musician who day-dreams, engaged / engages in conversation with choir members during the worship service, and especially during the sermon and during the Communion Service and as a result hinders the liturgical or spiritual movement of the worship service.

12. The musician who doesn’t know how the play hymns and who doesn’t practice or learn to play hymns and anthems. And, also the musician who doesn’t know how to play gospel music and who doesn’t practice or learn to play gospel hymns.

13.  The musician who doesn’t know how to play in all of the musical keys; who only plays in a couple of keys like C major, F major, G major, major (?) and B flat. Hymns, particularly, are written in certain keys because the hymn can be sung better in certain keys. Ever wonder why some musicians carry their own keyboards when the choir goes out sing?  If, during worship, another musician plays in a key that they can’t play in; they can transpose the key on their keyboard.

14.  The musician who only teaches, what I call, “7-11” songs; seven phrases sung 11 times, over and over and over again.

15. The musician who is excited when the choir is singing or when he or she is playing the musical instrument, but tunes out during the sermon and other parts of the worship service.

16.  The choir director / musician who allows choir members to sing even when they fail to attend choir practice.

17. The musician who allows choir members to sing even when choir members arrive after the worship service has begun and allow choir members, “who have something to do” to leave worship services early.

18. The musician who doesn’t insist on having choir rehearsals.

19.  The musician who is engaged in his or her cellphone during the worship service.

20. Musicians who chew chewing gum throughout worship. If they struggle with halitosis (bad breath); a mint, used discreetly, might be a better option.

21. The musician who thinks that he or she, instead of the pastor, is the leader for worship.


Episcopal District Assignment / Name / Retirement year

Ecumenical Officer – Bishop Frank Madison Reid III - Frank Madison Reid III - 2024

1 - Bishop Gregory Gerald McKinley Ingram - 2020
2 - Bishop James Levert Davis - 2028
3 - Bishop McKinley Young - 2020
4 - Bishop John Franklin White - 2024
5 - Bishop Clement Willie Fugh - 2024
6 - Bishop Reginald Thomas Jackson - 2028
7 - Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green, Sr. - 2036
8 - Bishop Julius Harrison McAllister, Sr. - 2024
9 - Bishop Harry Lee Seawright - 2032
10 - Bishop Vashti McKenzie - 2020
11 - Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. - 2024
12 - Bishop Michael Leon Mitchell - 2036
13 - Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath - 2032
14 - Bishop E. Earl McCloud - 2028
15 - Bishop David Rwhynica Daniels - 2032
16 - Bishop Anne Henning Byfield - 2024
17 - Bishop Wilfred J. Messiah - 2028
18 - Bishop Stafford Wicker - 2036
19 - Bishop Paul Jones Kawimbe - 2036
20 - Bishop Ronnie Elijah Brailsford - 2032


From the Director/Consultant of the Commission on Social Action and Former Commission Chair, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson

50th Quadrennial Session AME Church General Conference

Please see the link below to the video and to a recent story in the Guardian.  Again, we give thanks to the AME Church leadership and delegate body for catching the vision and making the commitment to take leadership for our communities and people.

Here is the link to the video now posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul0kPE4siOk&feature=youtu.be

Please watch and help us tell the story to all those who were not at the General Conference, and those who were there, but missed the action taken.

From the Director/Consultant of the Commission on Social Action, Mrs. Jacqueline DuPont Walker and Former Commission Chair, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson


Erika Bolstad, E&E reporter
Published: Friday, July 15, 2016

Read more:

The African Methodist Episcopal Church pledged this week to support climate policies that will protect people and build a clean energy future, part of the growing movement by faith-based organizations to bring attention to the social justice inequities in adapting to climate change.

The AME Church, a predominantly African-American denomination of 2.5 million members and 7,000 congregations, has a "deep history of ministering to the social, spiritual, and physical development of all people," church officials said in a statement.

"Damage to our climate puts the health of children, elderly, and those with chronic illnesses at greater risk and disproportionately impacts African Americans," Bishop John White, president of the Council of Bishops of the AME Church, said in a statement. "We believe it is our duty to commit to taking action and promoting solutions that will help make our families and communities healthier and stronger."

The AME Church said that the goal of its resolution is to reduce damage to the climate as well as to inspire others to lead on climate solutions in their homes, congregations and communities. In its resolution, the church noted that about 39 percent of the people who live near coal-fired power plants in the United States are in low-income communities and are people of color. They are most impacted "but not fairly represented in the decision making processes that would lead to a clean, healthy, and prosperous environment," the resolution said.

The church also points out in its resolution that its members in Africa face many of the most adverse impacts of climate change, including floods, droughts, the increased spread of infectious diseases and changing weather patterns that challenge their ability to provide food. In the Caribbean, its members are especially vulnerable to more extreme storms and rising sea levels. Such conditions especially impact the rural and urban poor, the resolution notes.

The AME Church is a founding partner of Blessed Tomorrow, a climate leadership program for faith organizations that will help with resources for future engagement and action. Blessed Tomorrow's partners include organizations like the Catholic Climate Covenant, Disciples of Christ Church and U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs.

Blessed Tomorrow, in a list of talking points to help churchgoers discuss climate change in their communities, acknowledges that the church wasn't always a leader in climate change. But its leaders "have come to realize that addressing climate is an essential part of how we fulfill our responsibility to protect and provide for our congregation, children and country."

The AME Church joins other U.S.-based denominations and world religions that already have come out in support of the mitigation and adaptation goals in the Paris climate talks. Pope Francis last year called on Catholics worldwide to embrace action on climate change, and Muslim scholars from 20 countries also issued the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, calling on the globe's 1.6 billion Muslims to be stewards of the environment.

In May, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed a resolution updating the Jewish community's climate change policy that supported the Paris Agreement and reiterated its support for renewable sources of fuels that threaten security in the Middle East. The council framed the issue not just as one of a moral obligation, but one of national security.

"Clean energy is critical to ensuring global and national security while climate change continues to threaten our pursuit of peace and economic stability, in the U.S., Israel and around the world," said Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, chairman of the council's Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

Many religious leaders and movements, including the AME Church, have begun to frame climate change as a moral challenge that people of faith have a responsibility to address. It's notable that the AME Church, which is a mainstream denomination with deep roots in African-American communities, has taken this on, said the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of Green Faith, whose mission is to "inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership."

The move by the AME Church adds a "distinctive voice" to the issue in America, Harper said.

"We know that the African-American community is disproportionately impacted by climate change," he said. "And we know that it is very legitimate to frame civil rights as a civil rights issue and a human rights issue, as well as an environmental issue. By the church speaking out and recognizing it in the way that they did, it is an important way of featuring or raising awareness within their membership that this is something that's important to them."


*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins

Dr. Watkins’ column will resume in the next issue

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


*Dr. Oveta Fuller

The 50th General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) held July 2016 in the birthplace of America—Philadelphia— is in the annals of history. It was monumental in many ways!
The stature of Bishop Richard Allen was dedicated. The beautiful intricate mural featuring our first bishop was unveiled. Faithful-serving general officers and bishops retired. Anointed new general officers and bishops were elected. Members were trained and old friends greeted. The worship services—singing, dancing, praying, and preaching— were phenomenal. And new legislation was passed.

We Move Forward to Stop HIV

Two of the proposed bills passed by delegates to the historic 50th General Conference, labeled HALT-1 and HALT-2, address how the connectional AMEC can help to eliminate HIV/AIDS. These bills also are directly related to the great legacy of Richard Allen and the first members of the Methodist Society. They bravely moved forward in service to impact lives during the 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic.

The Methodist Society and the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic

Yellow fever epidemics are caused by mosquito bites that transfer the yellow fever virus. In the summer of 1793 death and sickness from yellow fever shut down city and national governments. People, who could, fled out of Philadelphia to other places. That summer yellow fever killed over 5,000 people.
The then Rev. Richard Allen, Sarah Allen and the early members of the Methodist Society were asked to remove and bury the onslaught of dead bodies and to nurse the sick. In these pre-emancipation years, there was a misconception that “the Negroes were immune to, not affected by the fever, aches and agonizing death from yellow fever.”

Although this is false (yellow fever virus carried by mosquitoes is an equal opportunity pathogen), early members of the Methodist Society served bravely in Philadelphia to care for the living and bury the dead. They did not leave the city, but served faithfully until the epidemic ended in late October with the onset of colder winter temperatures when mosquito carriers did not survive.

AMEs Get “Back to the Future”

It seems fitting that 200 years after its official birth in 1816-- also in Philadelphia, the AMEC should faithfully and bravely move forward towards ending the pandemic from infection of another virus-- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is fitting that we commit to actions that will help reduce preventable loss and deaths from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

At this 50th General Conference, in the birth city of this denomination, we honored the great legacy of visionary leadership, brave engagement and faithful service of the AMEC.

This July 2016, the AMEC proposed, carefully examined, vetted and almost unanimously approved revolutionary HALT legislation that will apply throughout the Connection. We have agreed to do what, to my awareness, no other denomination has done.

What is HALT?

HALT-1 and HALT-2 (HIV/AIDS Legislation Team) are the culmination project of eighteen members of the March 2016 week long CM243 intensive class at Payne Theological Seminary (PTS). Interestingly, rather than coming from several denominations, all eighteen members in this class were AMEC clergy or lay officers.

After they understood the global and USA impact of HIV/AIDS as “our disease” and that this is a fragile virus that can be transmitted by only four fluids, they wanted to know what they could do in addition to working in their own family, church and community. They organized to write and submit legislation to put into action what a forward-thinking AMEC is uniquely situated to do.

The proposed HALT legislative bills were among the first introduced to the great assembly gathered on the floor of the ballroom of the Pennsylvania Center for the 50th General Conference. Each proposed bill was read the required three times. Questions from the floor were addressed. Delegates from over 40 countries voted. Both HALT bills were passed into official AMEC policy on the first vote!

Content of HALT-1 and HALT-2 Legislation

The two HALT bills are independent, but related. They require no associated additional cost. They are modeled after ideas that have been successful policy in our Zion for many years.

HALT-1 that was voted into AMEC legislation states: “We propose adding the following question to be answered on the required Annual Report form submitted by the pastor and steward board of each charge/church to their Annual Conference:

New Question:  Health Ministry

a. Does your charge/church have an active Health Ministry?   Yes___  No___  In progress____

b. Did your charge/church engage in ministry or awareness events towards eliminating or addressing congregation or community needs associated with the HIV/AIDS pandemic?  

Yes ___ No____       Optional to provide info on event(s):

HALT-2 that was voted into AMEC legislation states:  “We propose that: Clergy, at all levels, and appointed or elected officers shall be required to obtain a basic scientific foundation to understand HIV/AIDS. This can be summarized as 'What effective religious leaders should know about HIV/AIDS' (see content below). Mandatory training shall be provided annually throughout each Episcopal District, at ongoing or special planned sessions as directed by the Presiding Bishop and Presiding Elders. Each clergy person or officer is required to be certified and/or updated at least once every four years through this offering.”

Further, “The annual training should provide at least three or more contact hours about HIV/AIDS. Content should provide understanding of: (1) current prevalence and impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in local communities and globally, (2) the biology of the virus and its disease, (3) community resources available and (4) practical ways religious leaders can help to eliminate HIV infection, AIDS and death from AIDS-related causes."

A Simple Question to Our Zion

The content of a G20 column in January 2016, suggested that “the AMEC is ideally structured and situated to make a substantial difference in eliminating HIV/AIDS especially in African and African-American communities that we serve. The AMEC connectional structure, leadership opportunities and key Commissions and Departments (e.g. Health, Church Growth and Development, Social Justice) are in place. Multiple local and connection conferences and meetings throughout the year provide an established network to move what we know into practical use.”

It further stated, “We know the issues. We have the means to deal with the issues. Do we have the will to get it done?”

“New legislature will be instituted at the historic General Conference in Philadelphia as part of the Bicentennial Celebration. We could use the knowledge gained and demonstrate the will that is consistent with our founders by approving legislation to require each church to engage in addressing HIV/AIDS. This expectation could be fortified through two simple questions added to the annual conference report form completed by the pastor and officers of each congregation. These two simple Yes/No questions are:  1) Does your church have an active health ministry or health focus? And, 2) Did your church have an event or ministry to address HIV/AIDS this conference year?”

“Yes, we have the means. Among the multiple issues confronting our people, here is ONE that we (not dependent on some other entity) can do something about. Do we have the will in the historic year of 2016 to get such legislature in place so to move closer toward zero with HIV/AIDS?”

The AMEC Answers in July 2016

A response resounds from the CM243 class of March 2016, PTS leadership, members of the Revisions Committee, the General Secretary, the Judicial Council, bishops and officers who examine all proposed legislation, and importantly the plethora of delegates from all 20 Episcopal Districts who voted on behalf of AMEs that they were elected to represent. We have the will!

We have the will to do what we are uniquely prepared and situated to do. We received and passed pioneering policy. As the answer is implemented, the resulting actions will positively impact lives our clergy, officers, members and people in communities around the world.

Into an Incredible Future

First, we are profoundly grateful to God for guidance in the past and in these times. Second, we take a moment, only a moment-- to breathe deeply and celebrate the pioneering move forward of the AMEC to propose, adopt and now implement HALT-1 and HALT-2.  It is the right action for such as time as this. We are the right people.  

The new HALT policies of the AMEC approved at this historic 50th General Conference stand on the foundation laid by many known and unknown-- missionaries, clergypersons, laypersons, family and church members-- who have battled HIV/AIDS as they knew how to do from the early 1990’s so we can get to this monumental move of God.

Third, now we must prepare together for what is required to effectively implement the HALT policies throughout our Zion to make a difference in lives affected by HIV/AIDS.   

Looking Forward

At this historic time of transition for our beloved Zion, I do not know what is next for the Getting to Zero column. I thank the editor, The Rev. Dr. Calvin Sydnor, for his stellar service and his vision of publishing a weekly column on HIV/AIDS as part of The Christian Recorder. I am grateful to the many Masters of Divinity students from across the USA and to the leadership of Payne Theological Seminary for responding to what is taught about HIV/AIDS in the CM243 intensive class. I am grateful to friends, family and colleagues in Zambia and South Africa who have faithfully embraced research to establish the Trusted Messenger Intervention for stopping HIV/AIDS. I am grateful to each person who has ever read, commented on or shared any part of the content of this column.


Now, by the Almighty power of God, let us together use all that is available already to move forward day by day, person by person to stop HIV/AIDS. It is done! Let us move towards an AIDS-free generation and into an incredible future.  

*The Rev. Dr. Oveta Fuller is finishing up her Sabbatical leave from the
University of Michigan and has recently returned to the U.S. and will submit her column as her schedule permits.  She is the incoming Director, African Studies Center Associate Professor Dept Microbiology and Immunology University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan


*Brother Bill Dickens

Key Verse: Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NRSV)

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (née Godwin) was an early 19th century English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer.  She was best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein published in 1818.  The focus of her thought provoking novel was to highlight the advantages and unintended consequences of scientific curiosity “making” life from death.  The central character of the book is the mythic monster named after his “creator,” Dr. Frankenstein.   Dr. Frankenstein’s creation is a motley collection of cadavers and organs recovered from deceased humans.  With the proper voltage from electrical storms the patient is reborn.  However, much to the chagrin of Dr. Frankenstein his creation is not a benevolent creature but embodies fear and terror for people in the mythical British town.

The topic for the Adult AME Church School Lesson for July 31, 2016 is Death Becomes Life.  Paul’s commentary in Chapter Six of Romans illustrates how we can obtain life thru death.  Unlike Dr. Frankenstein, Paul has no aspirations of creating life.  That enormous task is way above his “pay grade” and beyond his area of expertise.  Instead, the great bard of the Gospel uses convincing allegory to demonstrate that we can live because of the voluntary death provided by Jesus.  Let’s see how Paul develops this position in our next section.

Bible Lesson - Power of Baptism

Our lesson text intersects the role of baptism, sin and eternal life.  Baptism represents an important rite in our Christian odyssey.  Romans 6:1-4 metaphorically describes the act of baptism as an act where we are participants in Christ’s death.  Our sinful character is submerged and we are freed of the power and penalty of ungodly behavior.  In short we are dead to sin so that we might experience life when we honor the sacred sacrament of baptismal.  We can now walk with confidence in our new life (Romans 6:4)

Power of Self-Control

Discipline is a quality trait admired by many, practiced by few.  Discipline separates the great athletes from the average athlete.  Discipline differentiates a great army from a rag tag militia.  Paul understands the importance of discipline in verses 5 -16.  Since we are now dead to sin we have life in Jesus.  However, this does not imply we should have a pass to sin without consequence.  We should remain resistance to sin. Sin is now in the proverbial “rear view mirror.”  Reject who you were or what you used to do.  This can only be achieved with a disciplined lifestyle.  Discipline promotes maturity.  Maturity promotes obedience.  Obedience promotes character.

Power of Eternal Life
Death in Christ brings not only life but eternal life.  The penalty of sin died with Christ’s redemptive act on Calvary.  Jesus is now the propitiation of our sin so that we can enjoy eternal life  We are no longer slaves to sin but servants of righteousness. The wages or consequences of sin - death.  In contrast, the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23)!

Bible Application

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a new social movement aimed at articulating why the value of black life is important.  In addition, BLM speaks unequivocally with clarity and volume that indiscriminate killing of young black males by law enforcement officials is morally unacceptable and must cease and desist. Black lives matter is a self-evident truth.   As a community of faith we align ourselves with BLM because we understand the value of life.  Collectively, we understand and are thankful for the sacrifices (some by death) made by our ancestors to allow us to enjoy life today.  BLM because God, the authentic creator of life, values life.  Jesus values each individual life.  Let’s choose life! QED

*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 took the time while attending the 50th Quadrennial General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to do a little Philadelphia, Pennsylvania “sightseeing.”  I visited Independence Hall, where the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed and visited Mother Bethel AME Church, the congregation founded by Richard Allen and his followers who refused to accept second-class, racially tinged Christianity.

Those very different historical sites are just a few blocks apart on Philadelphia’s Sixth Street.  The members of that first Bethel included slaves and former slaves who were determined to exercise their religious freedom, while those who met right down the street at the same time were white, wealthy and influential men who sought political freedom from England - in spite of the fact that many of them “owned” slaves.

Those familiar with both movements in the late 1780s would have probably been optimistic about the possibility of a United States of America, but doubtful that a small church created by black folk would amount to much or survive.  Two hundred later, however, the United States of America and the African Methodist Episcopal Church are both alive, flourishing and affirm the truth that regardless of who you are or what you have or where you start out - as a familiar hymn says - “It is no secret what God can do.”

Remember that in a time when many of us feel that we can’t make it because of our limited resources, ethnicity, education, mistakes or relationships and when many of our young people are written off and give up because of what they think they can’t do.  The USA and the AME Church had very different beginnings, but their endurance bears witness to why the Apostle Paul told Christians in Rome, “If God is for us, who can stand against us?”

Look beyond the limitations imposed by this world and those in it.  Look to the God Who specializes in using ordinary people and Whose Christ came into this world to save us in spite of our sinful unworthiness.  When you do, you’ll see new blessings, discover new hope, claim new victories and understand why one modern spiritual says, “Little becomes much when you place it in the Master’s hands.”

*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


-- Mrs. Ella Belle Richardson Couch Celebrates 106th Birthday

On August 2nd, Mrs. Ella Belle Richardson Couch will be 106 years old.   St. Peter AME Church, Clarksville, Tennessee where the Reverend Lisa Hammonds is the pastor, celebrated her upcoming birthday along with the recently past birthday of Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District at St Peter AME Church's 150th Church Anniversary on Sunday, July 24th.

Mrs. Ella Belle Richardson Couch is the widow of the late Reverend W. T. Couch of the Tennessee Annual Conference. Mrs. Couch is currently the oldest member of St. Peter's AME Church, Clarksville, Tennessee. She continues to play the organ at the church located at 518 Franklin Street as she has done for fifty plus years.  Mrs. Ella B. Couch takes pride in being a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a Life Member of the Women's Missionary Society.

Birthday cards and well-wishes can be sent to:

Mrs. Ella B. Couch
722 Main Street
Clarksville, TN 37040

Telephone Calls: (931) 645-6965

Email Greetings: Stpeterclarksville@att.net 


We regret to inform you of the passing of Kenna Christopher Owen, age 56, the brother of Paul Joseph, husband of Marcia Fugh Joseph; daughter of the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District AMEC and Episcopal Supervisor, Dr. Alexia Butler Fugh.

Services for Kenna Christopher Owen:

Friday, July 29, 2016
Family Visitation: 6:00 PM
Funeral: 6:30 PM

Lewis & Wright Funeral Directors
2500 Clarksville Hwy.
Nashville, TN 37208-1060

Telephone: (615) 255-2371
Fax: (615) 255-4926

Online Guest Book:

The Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, Eulogist

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

Mr. Paul Joseph and Mrs. Marcia Fugh Joseph
588 Castle Gate Drive
Nashville, TN 37217

Or email to: MDFugh@yahoo.com


It is with regret that we announce the death and the funeral services for Mr. Eugene Victor Woolridge, of Devonshire, Bermuda, which occurred on Monday, July 25, 2016, the father of the Rev. Trevor E. Woolridge, pastor of Johns Chapel AME Church, Enterprise Alabama, Ms. Pandora Woolridge, Ms. Michelle Grimes and Mr. Marvin Woolridge all members of St. John AME Church, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda.

The following information has been provided regarding the funeral arrangements.

Family Visitation:  Wednesday, August 3, 2016
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Augustus Funeral Home
5 Elliott Street
Hamilton, Bermuda HM10

(441) 292-5251

Celebration of Life Service:  Thursday, August 4, 2016
Viewing:  3:00 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Service: 4:00 p.m.

Christ Anglican Church
106 Middle Road
Devonshire, Bermuda DV06

Telephone: (441) 236-0537

Condolences and Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Trevor E. Woolridge
601 Geneva Highway
Enterprise, Alabama 36330

Telephone: (334) 475-3840


The Third Episcopal District regretfully announces the passing of Mr. Thurman Miller, Sr., the grandfather of the Reverend Dr. Brandon A. A. J. Davis, pastor of St Andrews AME Church Youngstown, Ohio.

Services will be held Saturday July 30, 2016 at 1 p.m.

Hines Chapel Free Will Baptist Church
320 Prospect St.
Warsaw, NC 28398

Eulogist: The Reverend Braxton Fredrick

Funeral Services Entrusted to:

Garris Funeral Home
812 S Center St.
Mount Olive, NC 28365
Telephone: (919) 658-2186
Dr. Davis can be reached via email


We are saddened to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Vernadine Carter, wife of the Reverend Dr. Carrington D. Carter, pastor of Mt. Moriah AME Church in Annapolis, Maryland.  Mrs. Carter passed on Sunday afternoon, July 24, 2016.

Service arrangements for Mrs. Vernadine Carter:

Thursday, July 28, 2016
Wake: 10:00 a.m.
Funeral: 11:00 a.m.

Mt. Moriah AME Church
2204 Bay Ridge Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403

Telephone: (410) 263-8562

Maryland Services entrusted to:

William Reese & Sons Mortuary, P.A.
1922 Forest Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Telephone: (410) 268-6015

North Charleston Services:

Saturday, July 30, 2016
Wake: 9:00 a.m.
Funeral: 10:00 a.m.

St. Peter’s AME Church
4650 Sanders Avenue
North Charleston, South Carolina

Telephone: (843) 744-0688

North Charleston Services entrusted to:

Hilton's Mortuary, Inc.
1852 Montague Avenue

Telephone: (843) 619-7130
Fax: (843) 554-2119

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Reverend Dr. Carrington D. Carter & Family
9900 Worrell Avenue
Glen Dale, MD 20769


It is with great regret that we share the passing of Mr. Andrew Jackson, Jr, father of First Lady / Evangelist Peggy Jackson Wright and the father-in-love of the Rev. Charles T. Wright, pastor of Holy Trinity AME Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Homegoing Service for Mr. Andrew Jackson Jr. will be held:

Saturday, July 30, 2016 - 11:00 am
Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
224 North Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Telephone: (850) 222 8440
The Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes, Pastor

Services are being handled by:

Strongs and Jones Funeral Homes Service
551 W. Carolina Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Telephone: (850) 224 2139

Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Strongs and Jones Funeral Homes or via email to:

Sister Peggy Wright - 
The Rev. Charles T. Wright


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 Vashti Murphy McKenzie; the Publisher, the Reverend Roderick Belin and the Editor of The Christian Recorder, Mr. John Thomas 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.

Did someone you know pass this copy of The Christian Recorder to you? Get your own copy HERE: http://www.the-christian-recorder.org/

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