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

This week’s issue of The Christian Recorder Online is a modified vacation version. I am out of the office and am not in Tennessee. We wanted to post the AME Church Statement regarding the killing of unarmed black males and the Bereavement Notices.


(August 16, 2014)   The African Methodist Episcopal Church joins with citizens across the United States and around the world in condemning the unjust and merciless shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old African-American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th by a local police officer. We extend our sympathy, prayers and support to the Brown Family and the residents of Ferguson, Missouri as they bear this tragedy and bid farewell to a son, family member, friend and loved one.  But we can and must do more.

As pained, hurt and outraged as we are over the shooting of Michael Brown, the national outrage about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri is about more than Michael Brown; it is about what is happening to black males all across the United States.  This young Black man joins a long list of unarmed Black males shot by police - our law officers sworn to protect us.  News outlets report the killing of three other Black men by police within the last month. Eric Garner (age 43) was strangled in Staten Island, NY on July 17th.  John Crawford (age 22) was gunned down in Beavercreek, Ohio on August 5th. Ezell Ford (age 25) was shot and killed in Los Angeles, CA on August 11th.  There may be others now known only to local communities and/or those who acted under the guise of “standing their ground” which has resulted in taking the lives of young Black males.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church speaks out because this list of fatalities must end. We cannot and will not allow it to continue to grow. Law enforcement and those who claim to act within the bounds of the law must be brought to justice for unjustly taking the lives of our sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. Over at least the last decade, it has happened far too often. Black males of all ages have been shot and killed, while unarmed. There have been too many Mothers burying their young, spouses left alone, children left without a father, and too many communities left with too few men. The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first protestant denomination formed on American soil, speaks out because the issue at hand is about a system of modern day injustice, mass incarceration, and ultimately disenfranchisement of a group that has born the brunt of systematic discrimination in the 227 year history of this country.

The pattern of justifying “the shoot” after the fact played out again on yesterday as the Ferguson Police chief was not satisfied that a life had been taken, but sought the ultimate “kill” with an effort to destroy the character and reputation of the deceased. In other words make the victim, the villain. Ferguson Police yesterday said that Michael Brown robbed a store in town of some cigarettes before being stopped by police and killed. The attempt is to make people see Michael Brown as the villain, and the police officer as protecting the people when in fact this is only an allegation, and the police chief himself later said, what happened to Michael Brown had nothing to do with the robbery. The suspicious “six day later claim” made by the police does not change the fact that police for no reason at all, stopped Michael Brown and  killed him.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church demands justice in the Ferguson, Missouri matter. We refuse to let this be “another whitewash”, another cover-up, another instance where those in law enforcement do not face justice. This will not be another time when after a few weeks, we go back to business as usual. We also demand justice on behalf of our other brothers who also were unarmed and unjustly killed, including Marvin Louis Booker beaten to death by Denver police almost 5 years ago, Treyvon Martin, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford. We call upon the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the FBI to insist that justice prevails by supplementing the investigations of state and local officials in Missouri, New York, Ohio, and California.  If necessary, we urge separate investigations to protect the civil rights of these American citizens whose human rights are being violated.

In the next twelve months, supporting the urging of President Obama, “We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wound”.  It is also appropriate and necessary that law enforcement at every level - local, state and federal have training in key areas – community relations, military equipment deployment, crisis management, etc. More importantly, the role of law enforcement in understanding the American values that are a valuable part our multi-cultural base calls for cultural sensitivity training, diverse police forces (racial, gender, age, language, ability, etc.). Accountability can also be insured if we install cameras on police vehicles, in jails/prisons, and work to insure just sentencing in our courts.

While we demand and end to the killing of unarmed Black men and boys by police force, we also recognize our own responsibility to end the senseless and tragic killing of blacks by blacks. One does not excuse the other. Parents, churches, schools and communities must do our part and share responsibility to end these unnecessary deaths.  The African Methodist Episcopal Church commits to do our part to be our brothers’ keeper.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church will continue to work in partnership with the other faith, civil rights, and human rights groups who are consistently and valiantly attacking these issues in the legislative, judicial, and administrative arenas.  Together, we call upon the United States to practice the social justice and human rights principles that we demand of other nations – here at home. Today, we not only ask, but we challenge our democracy to require justice for Michael Brown and his many other brothers, who died unarmed, needlessly and tragically at the hands of law enforcement.
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Chair
Social Action Commission

Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath, President
Council of Bishops

Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, President
General Board

Bishop John Richard Bryant, Senior Bishop
For more information, please contact the Social Action Commission:
Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director; telephone: 213-494-9493; email: jdupontw@aol.com; websites: www.ame-church.com, www.ame-sac.com

Joint Statement of Heads of historic African American Church Denominations, independent churches, the National African American Clergy Network, and Faith Partnerships, Inc. regarding the brutal killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

August 16, 2014

In light of the long and bloody trail of lynchings, deaths, and killings of African American youth from Emmett Till, to Trayvon Martin, to Michael Brown, and scores of others throughout our nation, we call for action, justice, and transformation.  Michael Brown is dead.  Justice must not be buried with his young body.

The following is a statement regarding the untimely and unjust death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, who is spiritually "our child;" and a child of the African American and concerned American community.  We speak in the spirit of redeeming love, nonviolence, and reconciliation, in solidarity with the suffering community of Ferguson, Missouri.

In light of the injustice perpetrated by the Police Department of Ferguson, Missouri, the cover up, and late release of the "shooting" policeman's name (now hiding elsewhere in America, due to fear of reprisals), we recommend the following actions as a Joint Statement of heads of historic African American Church Denominations and Independent Churches, the National African American Clergy Network and Faith Partnerships Inc., concerned clergypersons of color, minorities everywhere in America, and clergy of goodwill.

Our moral outrage is expressed for the lack of justice, and an immediate call for true justice is issued in the death of Michael Brown.  Mr. Brown was a promising African American male in Ferguson, Missouri, who will be buried at the time he would have entered college.

We share an appreciation for the work done by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, local churches, legal experts, and all people of goodwill, who are working to resolve the inequities of this senseless murder.  We lift our voices as well against the senseless murders of so many young black youth and men, from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, now Michael Brown and nameless unarmed others who have been cut down in their prime for being “young, gifted, and black”.

We are family-oriented in our values in the African American community and believe that every child is our child.  Michael Brown has been and is our child, now in death as he was in life in Ferguson, Missouri.   We, therefore, pledge to help the Brown family - Michael's biological family of origin - with burial costs.  We also support the establishment of an Educational Memorial Fund in Michael's name...so that he, and young men like him, will not be forgotten.

We will remember prayerfully all the young men who have lost their lives in senseless killings by insensitive police, who are untrained in community relations, lacking in cultural competency, or have chosen to pull a trigger prematurely, rather than exercise good judgment.

We request a meeting with United States Attorney General Eric Holder in support of his efforts to bring an end to this brutal pattern of injustice.

We call on all churches in the faith community, especially those representing the African American Diaspora, to hold Memorial Services this Sunday or next Sunday in honor of the memory of Michael Brown, in accordance with church calendars.  We call for an end to the cutting down of precious God-created lives like his and so many others.

All active denominations and non-denominations in the Faith Community must "push" for robust voter education, voter registration, and voter participation beginning in 2014.  This will ensure that those who are in office and choose to do wrong can be replaced by those who will represent the preservation of life in ethnic communities where a disproportionate amount of killings, unsubstantiated sentencing and jail time are unwarranted means for perpetuating racism and bias against ethnic minorities.

As a move toward community reconciliation, we urge the dropping of all charges against those who protested and were arrested for exercising their First Amendment Rights to lawful assembly.

In order that all of these actions are promptly accomplished, we pray to God that "justice roll down like water and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream" - Amos 5:24.

This document is signed by....


Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network

Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network

Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Chairman, Faith Partnerships, Inc.
African Methodist Episcopal:

Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath
President, Council of Bishops

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Presiding Bishop
Office of Ecumenical and Urban Affairs

Bishop Cornal Garnett Henning, Sr. (Retired)

African Methodist Episcopal Zion:

Bishop George E. Battle, Jr., Senior Bishop

Christian Methodist Episcopal

Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, III, Senior Bishop

Church of God In Christ

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop

Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International:

Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III
Presiding Bishop-Elect

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, President

Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Dr. James C. Perkins, President

Independent Church Leaders

Dr. Cynthia D. Hale, Pastor
Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, GA

Dr. Frederick Haynes, Pastor
Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX

Dr. Otis Moss, III, Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL

Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, Pastor
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, G


Arrangements for Mrs. Adrenis Carter Reid, the mother of the Rev. Dr. Frank M. Reid III, Senior Pastor of Bethel AME Church Baltimore, Maryland passed away on Friday, August 15th, 2014. Mrs. Reid is also the mother of Stephanie D. Reid of Washington DC and Vanessa Lewter of South Carolina.

Mrs. Reid's body will lie in state at Bethel Baltimore, Saturday, August 23rd, 2014; 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Family Visitation Hours are from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

The Celebration of Life Service, 10:16 a.m.-12:01 p.m.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Frank M. Reid III:

C/O Bethel AME Church
1300 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore, MD   21217

Telephone: (410) 523-4273

The Body is entrusted to:
Taylor's Funeral Home
108 W North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21278
Telephone: (410) 962-8290

Cemetery: Arbutus Memorial Park

Funeral services for Mrs. Adrenis Carter Reid to be held Saturday August 23, 2014:

Bethel AME Church
1300 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore, MD

The Celebration of Life Service, 10:16 a.m. -12:01 p.m.

The Homegoing Celebration will be live-streamed. Login to www.bethel1.org and click the arrow that says "Watch Us Live!"

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
1300 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore, MD   21217

Telephone: (410) 523-4273


We regret to inform you of the death of the Rev. F. Bernard Lemon, Presiding Elder of the "Lively" Lakeland District, West Coast Conference, 11th Episcopal District. He was the husband of Mrs. Laurastine Lemon and the father of Michelle Murphy, Marcus Lemon, Bridget Giles, Tonja Webb, Anita Lemon and Ryan Lemon and also a loving grandfather.

Services for Presiding Elder F. Bernard Lemon:

Friday, August 22, 2014
Viewing - 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Wake - 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Hurst Chapel AME Church
875 Avenue O, NE
Winter Haven, FL 33881

The Rev. Ronnie Clark, Pastor

Funeral: Saturday, August 23, 2014, 11:00 a.m.
New Bethel AME Church
2122 N. Martin Luther King Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33805

The Rev. Eddie Lake, Pastor
Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr., Eulogist

Burial: Monday, August 25, 2014, 11 a.m.
Lakeside Memory Gardens
36601 County Rd 19A
Eustis, FL 32726

Final Arrangements by:
Postell's Mortuary
811 N. Powers Drive
Orlando, FL 32818

Telephone: 407-295-3857
Fax: 407-295-0307

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:

Mrs. Laurastine Lemon
794 Whisper Woods Drive
Lakeland, FL 33813

Email: thelemonteam@yahoo.com   

Hotel Accommodations:  Hampton Inn, 3630 Lakeside Village Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33803

Telephone: 863-603-7600 - Ask for Lemon Family - Please make reservations by Thursday, Aug 21, 2014:


We regret to announce the passing of Mr. Lloyd M. Price, the brother of the Rev. Paula Dredden, pastor of Bethel AMEC, Bristol, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Conference, Philadelphia District). The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

Mt. Raymond UAME Church
341 Stuart Avenue
Downingtown, PA 19335
Telephone: 610-269-8170

The Rev. Esther Brown, Pastor

Expressions of Sympathy can be sent to:

The Rev. Paula Dredden
11 Golfers Way North
Thorndale, PA 19372


We are saddened by the loss of Brother Robert J. Mosby, the brother of the Rev. Anna E. Mosby, Pastor of Mt. Gilboa AME Church. Please keep the Rev. Mosby and her family in your prayers.

The funeral arrangements:

Celebration of Life Memorial Service
Friday, August 22, 2014
Visitation - 10:00 a.m.
Service -10:30 a.m.

Fort Lincoln Funeral Home
3401 Bladensburg Road
Brentwood, MD 20722

While words may fall short, at such a time as this, our heartfelt expressions can and will go a long way.  Your cards, condolences and expressions of love may be forwarded to Reverend Mosby at the address listed below.

The Rev. Anna E. Mosby
13117 Brussels Way
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Daphne Green, the sister of the Rev. Benita Keene, pastor of Bazil AME Church, Cockeysville, Maryland.

Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Daphne Green:

Tuesday, August 19th 4:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.


Wake - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 10:30 a.m.
Service - 11:00 a.m.

Interment: Garrison Forrest Veterans Cemetery

All funeral guests are welcome to attend the interment

Professional Services:

John L. Williams Funeral Home
4517 Park Heigts Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21215

Flowers can be sent to the funeral home, address listed above.

Other expressions of sympathy may be mailed to:

The Rev. Benita Keene                 
P.O. Box 663
Riderwood, MD 21139

Telephone: 443-691-4871


Regretfully We Share The Following:

Fannie Mae Edwards Beatty-Clayton, 81, of Tulsa, Oklahoma passed away on Sunday August 17, 2014.   She served as the Initial Treasurer of Connectional Lay Economic Development Corp (CLEDC) - AME Church; President of the Central-Northeast Oklahoma Conference Lay Organization -12th District AME Church and as a Trustee of Shorter College in Little Rock, Arkansas.  She was instrumental in assisting the former 12th Episcopal District Lay President, Mr. Rucker Clayton host the 20th Lay Biennial held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The family will receive friends on Thursday August 21, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and the Funeral Service to honor the life of Fannie Mae Clayton will take place on Friday August 22, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel of Serenity Funeral Home - 1470 E. Admiral Place - Tulsa, OK. 74115. 

The Eulogist is Reverend Dennis J. Hampton, Pastor of Bethel AME Church - Claremore, OK

Green Acres Memorial Park
12410 N Yale Avenue
Skiatook, OK 74070

Professional Services Entrusted To:

Serenity Funeral Home and Chapel
4170 E. Admiral Place
Tulsa, OK 74115
Office: 918-292-8411
Fax: 866-610-7421


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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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 want to finish up Part 1 of this editorial before moving to Part 2, so I need a minute or two with the presiding elders.

Presiding elders are middle managers and their ministry is extremely important and it is imperative that they understand all of their duties, but it is important that they understand one of their most important tasks.

Collecting funds for the Connectional budget or apportionment is a necessary part of the job. It is an important part of the presiding elder ministry.  It’s not the most important part, because somebody else could do that task. Any preacher on the district could be tasked with collecting and collating the funds for the annual conference.

It is important for the presiding elder to know pastors and possess detailed information about each charge in his or her district.  It is important because, in a perfect world, the presiding elder makes recommendations to the bishop concerning the pastoral appointments. Making recommendations about pastoral appointments is an extremely important part of the presiding elder's ministry because it is so closely connected with the lives of pastors and their families. Presiding elders have to “know” and be intimately aware of a pastor’s ministry, gifts and graces and what’s best for the local church. A presiding elder’s relationship with his or her pastors is important. We certainly don’t want to think that a presiding elder is making recommendations on pastoral appointments based upon insufficient data or an “old boy" or “old girl” network. Getting to know and analyze a pastor’s performance takes time, wisdom and a bit of godly judgment.

Presiding elders need to be fair and impartial with those for whom they have supervisory responsibility. “Fair and impartial" is also an attribute needed by presiding elders. When they are elevated to the presiding eldership, they cease to be “one of the guys” or “one of the girls.” The presiding eldership is a sacred office and should be treated as such.

The biggest and most important job of a middle manager in any profession is that of leading and managing subordinates and providing resources; and in the case of ministry, providing resources for ministry.

If a pastor says, “Elder I do not have my budget assessments," it is not the job of the presiding elder to “run” to the bishop and “squeal” on the pastor and recommend that the pastor be removed from that pastoral assignment.  It’s not for the elder to bad-mouth the pastor.

The work or ministry of middle managers, read “presiding elders,” is to provide guidance; and more importantly, resources. If a pastor says, “Elder I do not have my budget assessments” or discloses some other shortcoming, that’s when a presiding elder starts earning his or her salary. The presiding elder sits with the pastor and together they strategize a plan to resolve the problem. A presiding elder is expected to have experience that a pastor might not have. Middle managers provide resources. Presiding elders should see their mission as assisting pastors to navigate through the “sunshine” and the “storms” of the ministry.

A presiding elder should be available to the preachers on his or her district because the presiding eldership is a ministry of leadership and management.

Well, enough about the duties and responsibility of presiding elders.


Your election and consecration did not invest you with some magical powers of instant increased knowledge and wisdom.  You have been elected and consecrated for awesome responsibilities.  You stand at the helm of a great institution that needs your 100% attention. You do not have time for mistakes and missteps because you hold the keys to the lives of so many individuals and their families.

With your signature, without saying anything or consulting anyone, you can change a person’s zip code, promote or demote an individual and by extension, his or her family; and that’s power! 

If anyone should depend upon godly judgment and prayer, it is the responsibility placed on those who serve in the episcopacy.

In my opinion, the most important episcopal task and ministry is that of being a “gatekeeper” for the AME Church.  You are the “gatekeeper” for people coming in the ministry, remaining in the ministry and for ministers receiving pastoral assignments.

In The Order for the Consecration of a Bishop, you are asked, “Will you be faithful in ordaining or laying hands upon others?”  Every elected and consecrated bishop answered in the affirmative!

The care and supervision in ordaining or laying hands on applicants for the ministry is serious business. 

If you know a candidate is not academically, theologically, psychologically, mentally or socially qualified for ministry, don’t give “breaks and hope for the best” - Just say, “No.”  Please take more care in the oversight of vetting candidates for the ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Please do not keep ordaining folks if there is not a ministry for them. We need to tighten the ministerial qualifications to get the best applicants for ministry who will remain in the active AME ministry over the long-haul.

Anecdotal evidence seems to show that a number of ordained clergy defect to other denominations, seem more prone to activate lawsuits against the AME Church and support disaffected churches that want to withdraw from the denomination.

Carefully vet and select qualified presiding elders

The United Methodist hymn historian, the Rev. Dr. Ernest K. Emurian, wrote a song about the selection of district superintendents in the United Methodist Church, entitled, “Flip-Flop to the Top” in which he parodied the notion that district superintendant positions were filled by pastors the bishop didn’t know what to do with and the result was, “low-functioning pastors flip-flopped to the top.” I hope the UMC has corrected that perception.

Appoint presiding elders you trust and who you know are efficient, competent, and fair and will function superbly in the job and ministry of being an outstanding presiding elder.

Trust the presiding elders you appoint. If you don’t trust them, don’t select them.

Train your presiding elders and do more training with them; stress and demand professionalism. They should look, act and be treated as professionals.  And, please don’t fill the PE slots with folks you don’t know what to do with.

Promotion of pastors to larger churches and promotion of pastors to the position of presiding elder should not be entirely based on past performances or upon what they have done, but on their potential to serve in a higher position. Promotion should not be a reward for past ministry. Promotions should be based upon potential. 

A person who is a successful pastor of a large congregation and oversees an enormous budget and an effective religious program might be functioning at his or her level of competence. They might not be suited to be a presiding elder, general officer or bishop; or promoted to a larger church. 

“The Peter Principle” is a management theory that explains why some organizations fail.  They fail because a person is promoted as a reward for his or her past performance to a level of incompetency. A person does well in his or her current job and decisionmakers reward him or her with promotions and eventually the person is promoted to a level beyond his or her competency. 

For instance, a person might be an outstanding classroom teacher, but might be a horrible principal.  Classroom skills are different from administrative skills.  

The Peter Principle" got its name from Laurence J. Peter who co-authored a book in the late sixties: The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong with Raymond Hull. The authors suggested that a person tended to be promoted until he or she reached his or her "level of incompetence."

Getting back on point

When you interview persons to be a presiding elder ask them if they are competent in the area of technology and ask them if they know how to use MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.  Ask to see their cellphone or smartphone. If they show you a flip phone or don’t have an email address, that should be the end of the interview.

In today’s world, presiding elders need to be well-versed and up-to-date with the use of technology.

Get all of that straight upfront. Tell your clergy that technology will be what you and future bishops will be looking for when selecting presiding elders; now and in the future.

Be clear with guidance and let subordinates know what you expect. Reinforce your expectations in writing. Insure that your presiding elders are excellent writers and effective communicators.

And please before talking to pastors who call you to complain about something, ask them if they have spoken to their presiding elder. Don’t let pastors or church members “skip the chain of supervision.” Problems should be handled at the lowest level. Trust your presiding elders to handle conflict at their level of supervision.

Bishop, women are here to stay, they are not going anywhere.

Most women are competent and fully trained for ministry.

Promote men and women who have the potential to be outstanding pastors, regardless of gender.  It might be that you or the presiding elder needs to visit churches and explain the “facts of life” of women in ministry. The day should be far past when churches have the nerve and the audacity to say they don’t want a woman pastor. Treat women with respect and equal consideration in terms of pastoral appointments.

Sometime in the future we are going to experience the reverse problem when churches will say they want a woman pastor. You should not tolerate either of those expressions of gender bias.

Ask potential presiding elders about their hobbies.  Are they well-rounded?  What books have they read? Have they taken the time and opportunity to broaden their lives?  Have they taken any courses?  What do they do for relaxation? Where did they go on their last vacation? 

And, while you are asking potential presiding elders all of those questions, you should ask yourself the same questions to insure yourself that you are being well-rounded and that your life is being broadened with activities other than the church.

And, one more thing, you have a management function too. You have the responsibility to provide resources, especially for your presiding elders and sometimes for pastors and local churches.
Oh, and another thing, an old saying once often heard, "50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong."  Well 50 parishioners may not be wrong when they complain to the bishop and presiding elder that a pastor is neglecting his or her duties, misappropriating funds, behaving sexually improperly, or otherwise violating his or her duties and responsibilities to detriment of their church.  Act promptly and swiftly upon receipt of properly drafted and signed complaints, to refer the pastor to the proper ministerial efficiency or judicial committee and get those wrongdoers out of the church.  Make certain that you appoint members to those ministerial efficiency or judicial committees who are properly oriented and trained to conduct fair and impartial proceedings.   Do not let misbehaving pastors remain in a church for 4 to 8 years, until they have chased away most of the membership to the Baptist or COGIC or nondenominational church “down the street.”

The ministry of a bishop’s job is hard because you can never please everybody.  Almost every decision you make will please a few and anger the rest.

- To be continued in the next issue – Part 3.

TCR Editor’s Comment: I need to practice what I preach and Charlotte and I need a vacation. I have planned a week’s vacation; no preaching, no computer, just need a rest. I will plan to post the next issue of TCR Online on August 28. Continue to send messages and I will read and respond to them when I return to Nashville.

TCR Editor’s Comment: We will provide coverage of the funeral of the late General Officer, the Rev. Dr. Anderson Todd in the next issue of TCR Online


*The Rev. Dr Timothy E. Tyler is the pastor of Shorter Community AME Church in Denver, Colorado

As one who served the St. Louis area for seven years, I have been reflecting on the incidents of the last few days in Ferguson, Missouri. I keep coming to the same conclusion: this is the Church's opportunity, specifically the African Methodist Episcopal Church's opportunity, to find the courage to lead. The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown has been a horrific and terrorizing blow to our community. It has engendered fear and uncertainty, and our people are wondering, "Will the prophets speak? Will the Church step up? Is there a word from The Lord?"

The historical significance of St. Louis and Ferguson is not apparent to most members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, but nevertheless, the history is significant. Missouri is the gateway to the West for our denomination. St. Louis has always symbolized leadership for our church. St. Paul AME Church, the oldest AME Church west of the Mississippi, has elected nine Bishops out of her walls. That's more elected Presiding Prelates than any other congregation in our Zion. This fact alone establishes the culture of leadership of the AME Church in Missouri.

The uprising in Ferguson is long overdue. The St. Louis area is one of the few major African American populated areas in the United States never to have experienced a major uprising. Back in the 1960's, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited St. Louis, he came only to preach. He didn't lead a movement. He didn't protest. He preached. We are now experiencing the shifting of history where people no longer want preaching alone. They feel the call to protest.

A generation of African American young people watched in real time on CNN and Facebook as a young child was gunned down in cold blood by a yet to be named police officer. We watched as one of our babies lay lifeless in the street for four hours. The next day, church leaders gathered to pray in front of the police station. Not too long after the prayer, the preachers scheduled a meeting and left and the community began to commence the uprising.

Many people criticized the actions of the protestors, but I couldn't help but feel that the response of the crowds on that night was a critique of the failure or hesitation of the church to lead, truly lead. Sometimes leading means acknowledging the anger and hurt of the people first, then, at some appointed time later, holding the proverbial prayer meeting. The courage to lead means leading in reaching healing and helping with community hurts long before the big event occurs. I contend that, if the Church doesn't take the time to encourage and give hope in times of peace, then we lose the moral authority to criticize and shame the community for how they respond in times of upheaval.

There are many progressive AME Churches and Progressive AME pastors and lay people in the St Louis area. This is our moment and our time as a denomination to pick up the mantle of prophetic witness and lead. It made me proud to see AMEs protesting in Ferguson just a few days ago. As we move forward in the days ahead, let's keep up the fight. Let's protect our children, come up with initiatives to curb police violence and be the church of Richard Allen.

The African Methodist Church worldwide must join in the fight in Ferguson and wherever injustice exists. I am certain that the community will not come looking for us to lead. They will not recruit or send us an invitation to lead. If African Methodism desires to survive and live out her claim to be a reconciling and liberating church, then we will have to first find the courage to lead. And then, we will have to lead.

*The Rev. Dr Timothy E. Tyler is the pastor of Shorter Community AME Church in Denver, Colorado


The Rev. Dr. Anne Henning Byfield

The murder of Michael Brown and the subsequent civil unrest in Ferguson is disturbing at best.  One does not have to condone riots or like them to understand the level of anger and hurt in the human spirit.  While there are some persons who do not mean well, we are watching persons who are tired of being mistreated while black and seeing friends killed.

Ferguson has been painful to watch and comprehend from many levels. Yet, in the midst of it all, we have seen local preachers, many of them African Methodists, taking the leadership in bringing some level of sanity to a desperate measure.  Rev. Traci Blackmon, a former AME has most often been seen along with Rev. Spencer Booker, Rev. Renita Lamkins, Rev. Karen Anderson, Presiding Elder Brenda Hayes, Presiding Elder Edmund Lowe, and many others whom we do not know to name.  We salute them and pray for their wisdom, strength, and leadership.  We thank them for demonstrating courage in the midst of chaos.

Last night, while disobeying the police to leave, Rev. Renita Lamkins was shot with a rubber bullet.  She refused to leave because she saw the escalation of emotion and violence, and knew someone had to speak calm to the residents.  Rather than allowing her voice to be utilized for peace, she was shot.  In the words of Rev. Lamkins, “I am fine but sore, and there are times a soldier has to be wounded for the cause.”

In light of Michael Brown’s death, the Rev. Lamkins’ shooting pales.  In view of the way police have handled the murder, unrest, pastors, and reporters, her shooting should outrage us.     We may not be in St Louis, but we are comrades in ministry, and we denounce the escalating violence and the escalating reaction by the police.  

While prayer, I hope, is a given, I implore the AME Church in general, and especially the Women In Ministry to respond to those on the front lines, and those working behind the scenes.  Let us cover them, mobilize in our areas, and in the least, focus our worship services and congregations on the healing of Ferguson, which means the healing of our nation and people.  

Let us not work to simply still the anger, but still the vicious acts of terrorism continued against people of color.  As a church we must seize this moment to truly bring in the reigndom of God, and to empower and protect all of the new Michael and Michelle’s, Eric and Erica’s, Trayvon and Trina’s. We must empower and protect our sons and daughters from genocide of any kind.  Let us certainly raise our voices in a roar against what is happening in Ferguson, and what has happened to Rev. Renita Lamkins.    The time is always now.

The Rev. Dr. Anne Henning Byfield is the Presiding Elder, North District Indiana Annual Conference of the 4th Episcopal District, AME Church


*The Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters

Another day, another unarmed Black man killed by police. We grieve their loss and pray God's strength for their families:

Eric Garner, 43, strangled to death on a Staten Island sidewalk.

John Crawford, 22, shot to death in a Beavercreek Walmart.

Michael Brown, 18, shot to death, reportedly with arms raised, on a Ferguson street.

How often must we drink from this bitter well?

The disturbing nature of the frequency of recent news reports in which unarmed Black men have been killed by law enforcement officers is only exceeded by this fact: the act itself is deeply embedded into the racial fabric of our nation. Fifty years removed from the Freedom Summer murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner -- a conspiracy allegedly enacted by Neshoba County sheriff Lawrence A. Rainey -- we still face the difficult reality that for generations unarmed Black men have met their demise at the hands of those sworn to serve and to protect all citizens.

On the night of June 21, 1964, a year after the brutal assassination of Medgar Evers, three courageous young men were also killed in Mississippi. The two white men, Goodman, 20, and Schwerner, 24, died of a single gunshot wound to the heart. The lone Black man, Chaney, 21, was tortured, then tied to a tree and beaten with chains, before ultimately being shot three times. Here, even amid brutalities, a clear distinction was made concerning the value of Black life, the white lives ended immediately, with diabolic mercy, the Black life made to suffer greatly before finally being terminated. In the search for these three men after their disappearance, eight more Black bodies were found having been discarded like rubbish across Mississippi lakes, forests, and plains. Undoubtedly, law enforcement had a hand in these deaths as well, Sheriff Rainey notorious for intimidating and killing Blacks.

Mine is not an indictment of all police officers. There are many men and women who put their lives on the line for the public good each day. Some I have been blessed to call mentor or friend. Many officers themselves have lost their lives. I honor their memories and ultimate sacrifice even as I offer gratitude for those who continue to work with great integrity to keep us safe.

Yet, unquestionably, there is cause for great concern as I believe that a critical mass of law enforcement officers find Black lives expendable. Towards this, I see this likely cause: there is a racially-motivated culture of fear that over-assigns threat to Blacks, especially, but not exclusively, to Black males, even when no justifiable threat is present. Recent findings from the American Psychological Association supports this fact stating, "Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime."

Historically, Black bodies have been considered expendable and easily replaceable. Tens of millions of Africans were brought to this nation as slaves because Black life was considered expendable. If an African became gravely ill or died while in forced voyage to the "New World," they were just thrown into the sea. While Black life was considered expendable and the supply of other Africans on the continent was considered inexhaustible. Other Black bodies would substitute for any losses in future voyages.

During American slavery, Black babies and children were used as bait to lure alligators from the swamps for capture. This sometimes resulted in the maiming or death of these Black children because Black life was considered expendable. The United States Public Health Service used Black men to test the impact of untreated syphilis from 1932-1972 resulting in the death of many Black men and in the infection of their partners because Black life was considered expendable.

Environmental racism places the urban poor near landfills and factories that cause increased rates of cancer and other diseases because black and the lives of the poor are considered expendable. Levies in New Orleans were poorly maintained and constructed near poor Black communities resulting in massive flooding after Hurricane Katrina because Black lives are considered expendable. Blacks receive harsher penalties for the same crimes, and, according to a recent Stanford University report, the disproportionate rate of Black imprisonment may actually encourage white support of racially-driven tactics such as stop-and-frisk because Black lives are considered expendable.

The expendability of Black life also extends to our national foreign policy. America's response to acts of genocide, religious persecution, and the spread of infectious disease on the continent of Africa today is oft times delayed, if acted upon at all. When it comes to foreign policy, African Black lives are especially considered expendable, their difficulties rarely considered our priority.

Of course, Black life is not expendable! No life is, for all life has great value. Yet, the treatment of Black life as expendable reveals our deep and abiding malfeasance. We often fail to see the face of God in the face of our neighbor, especially if that neighbor is darkly pigmented. Since all human life was created in the image of God, we are guilty of no less than the desecration of God's image when we ignore the brutalization of our neighbors, who we are commanded to love as ourselves (Mark 12:31).

It was while traveling the road to Damascus that Saul had an encounter with the resurrected Christ, himself a victim of fatal brutalities at the hands of law enforcement. To Saul, Jesus posed this powerful inquiry; "Why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4)

For the recently fallen, Jesus surely weeps and asks his question, anew; "Why are you persecuting me?" Maybe it is because we see Christ as we increasingly see each other, and Black life; as expendable.

*The Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas


--To the Editor:

Re: TCR Online

My sadness in your leaving, and my gladness in your assuming the Editorship are the same: Your impeccable integrity, and the audacity to speak truth to power(s).  This ability was enhanced by your many years of commendable service to our country as a military chaplain.

Your editorials and the responses to them are a blessing to African Methodism, in that there is an air of openness.

Your stories of Paris, Kentucky and the Kentucky Annual Conference bring fond memories. 

May you remain a formidable voice in our Zion, even in retirement. 

But until the General Conference of 2016, may you continue to "Speak the Truth." 

I pray that the next Editor will bring a strong pen.


Patrick Ann Clay-Joyner, M.Div.
Superannuated Elder, Tennessee Annual Conference

-- To the Editor:

RE: TCR Editorial, "An Opportunity to Say Something"

I want to compliment you on your recent editorial in The Christian Recorder.  It was so true, so well-stated, and a most timely message.  It contained so many things that I believe are necessary for the AME Church to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  Your words are targeted focus that all AMEs need to hear.

I absolutely agree with you that we cannot/should not say everything that comes to mind and this is particularly true for those in the ministry. But what you said needs to be said and re-said.  The best way to get your message across and imbedded is I believe for it to be included in the curriculum for training new ministers and for a series of workshops to be developed and presented across the AME Church.  Even if there are naysayers, your editorial needs to be wide-spread and discussed.

Thank you for holding your tongue, but being empowered to speak it now.

Yours truly,

Dr. Sandra E. Gibbs
Executive Consultant
Champaign, IL

--To the Editor:

RE: TCR Editorial – An Opportunity to Say Some Things

I loved your editorial!

One thing pastors need to understand and remember is that the church is also a business, but so often churches forget they are businesses. 

If pastors don't like people, maybe the “call” to ministry is not their calling.

Pastoring is a people business. My former pastor, the late Rev. V. L. Brenson loved people. He was one among millions.

Sister Marsha Byrd


The Christian Recorder has received information about AME Churches and other churches of other denominations that might have unclaimed funds.  There are several websites where one can get started.  http://www.missingmoney.com/ or simply Googlewww.unclaimed money for, and list the state.

For example, I listed Georgia and this web address popped up. I listed https://etax.dor.ga.gov/unclaimedproperty/main.aspx.  I simply listed “AME Church – Atlanta, Georgia” and six listings popped up.

I also searched for lost income for myself and have found some in the past and see that I have unclaimed money in Hampton, VA and Lake Ridge, VA.

Google-search your church and do your own personal search for unclaimed funds.

One testimonial: Every state has an unclaimed property section. I also looked up Georgia and found 30 churches.

The states are not allowed to spend unclaimed money. Search and you may find your unclaimed funds.


Beginning in October 2014, The Christian recorder will introduce the column, “The College Corner.” This new and exciting column will feature campus news and articles submitted by AME students attending institutions of higher learning.  Readers will have an opportunity to read the latest campus, news, sports, and activities and to read about “just plan ol’ college life written by one of our very own students.

Those are interested in participating in this new venture as column-writers, have journalism experience, or  are interested in becoming a AME College Corner support staff person can contact Mr. Joe Turner, coordinator: jturner943@aol.com  or Editor Sydnor: chsydnor@bellsouth.net 

August 11, 2014. The Social Action Commission of the AME Church has been in communication with the AME Churches in the St. Louis area that are working collaboratively with the NAACP, United Methodist Church and other community stakeholders to obtain a fair and impartial review of the circumstances around the shooting and death of Michael "Mike" Brown.  "The quick response of the pastors and laity in our St. Louis area churches is evidence that we take seriously our legacy of speaking truth to power and being a champion for those whose voices are not being heard," says Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District which includes the Ferguson, Missouri area.

The AMEC Social Action Commission is also encouraged by the statement of US Attorney General Eric Holder.

Presiding Elders, the Rev. Brenda Hayes and the Rev. Edmund Lowe said, "We, the Missouri Annual Conference of the AME Church concur and agree with the FBI involvement in the investigation of this incident.  We will continue to be engaged and peacefully vigilant until justice is done." 

The Rev. Spencer Booker, pastor of St Paul AME Church in St Louis issued a plea on behalf of the Brown family, “We encourage any witnesses or anyone with information to refuse to be intimidated by coming forward to shed light of this tragic incident."

"As designated by the AME Church, the Social Action Commission stands ready to undergird our AME Churches in the St Louis and vicinity area as they advocate for justice," concludes Bishop Reginald T Jackson, Commission chair. 

*Submitted by Ms. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director of the AMEC Social Action Commission


WASHINGTON— Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Monday regarding the shooting incident that took place Saturday afternoon in Ferguson, Missouri:

“The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend deserves a fulsome review. In addition to the local investigation already underway, FBI agents from the St. Louis field office, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office have opened a concurrent, federal inquiry. The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right. I will continue to receive regular updates on this matter in the coming days. Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”


August 11, 2014

(Washington, DC) – The NAACP has released the following statement on the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri

-- From Cornell William Brooks, President & CEO, NAACP:

"Our prayers go out to the family and friends of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. The death of yet another African-American at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the community where he lived is heartbreaking. Michael Brown was preparing to begin college, and now his family is preparing to bury their child – his life cut short in a tragic encounter with the police.

As the NAACP’s Missouri State Conference and St. Louis Branches seek answers about the circumstances surrounding Michael Brown’s death, the National office will remain vigilant until accountability and justice are served for the countless individuals who lose their lives to misguided police practices throughout the country. Even as we call for accountability by those charged with protecting the community, we call on the community to act--collectively and calmly until we secure justice for the family of Michael Brown."


The Rev. Renita Lamkin, an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor said she was "standing in the middle of the street, with people behind me, and the police were in front of me. And then there was a pop!" she said, as a rubber bullet struck her stomach.

Photos of her injuries have added to protesters' questions about the use of such projectiles, which can cause serious wounds.


By Don Terry

-- This article appears in the Southern Poverty Law Center Blog.

The one thing the racially charged and besieged city of Ferguson, Mo. does not need or want to add to the combustible mix of rubber bullets, snarling police dogs and clouds of tear gas that have filled its streets for three days is the Ku Klux Klan.

But the Klan –– desperate for publicity and any opportunity to spread hate and terror –– is climbing atop the powder keg that Ferguson has become following the police killing of an unarmed college-bound black teenager last Saturday.

Protesters confront police during an impromptu rally on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, following the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police in Ferguson, Mo.(Photo: Sid Hastings, AP)
The South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says its Missouri chapter is raising money for the still unidentified white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, who was scheduled to begin college classes this week.

“We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” the Klan group said in an email. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place. Most cops are cowards and do nothing while 90% of interracial crime is black (and non-white) on white.”

In a Tuesday editorial about the case headlined “The Death of Michael Brown: Racial History behind the Ferguson Protests,” The New York Times expressed hope that the FBI will be able “to answer the many questions surrounding the death” of the teenager” while focusing on St. Louis’ history of racial problems.

“[I]t doesn’t take a federal investigation to understand the history of racial segregation, economic inequality and overbearing law enforcement that produced so much of the tension now evident on the streets,” the editorial said. “St. Louis has long been one of the nation’s most segregated metropolitan areas, and there remains a high wall between black residents – who overwhelmingly have lower incomes – and the white power structure that dominates City Councils and police departments like the ones in Ferguson.”

Brown –– dressed in shorts and flip flops –– was reportedly shot multiple times in broad daylight after he and a friend were confronted by the officer for walking in the middle of the street in Ferguson, a predominately African American suburb of St. Louis. Police officials say Brown assaulted the officer and tried to wrestle away his gun before fleeing and being shot. At least one shot was fired in the police cruiser during the struggle, police say.

Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, told a radically different version of events. He told reporters that he and Brown were close to their destination when confronted by the officer, who angrily told them to get out of the street. Suddenly, the friend said, the officer grabbed Brown by the neck and tried to pull him into the police car. Brown broke free and both young men began running away when Brown was struck by a bullet. He turned and raised his hands in surrender only to be shot several more times, dying where he fell.

Brown’s body lay in the street for several hours as police gathered evidence and the neighborhood’s shock turned to rage. Three days of protests, some of it violent, followed. A gas station/convenience store was burned. There was some looting. Police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of mostly angry African Americans. But there were whites marching in some of the protests as well, holding up their hands in surrender as Brown had reportedly done, chanting, “Don’t shoot.”

The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Brown was unarmed, a fact that prompted President Obama to call Brown’s death “heartbreaking” while urging calm. The Justice Department has begun an investigation into the killing.

The social turmoil that has erupted around Brown’s death has proven too appealing for the Klan, which in recent weeks has been quick to capitalize on a series of racially charged news events. Last week, for example, a Klan chapter in Arizona called for “corpses” in response to a feared influx of children seeking asylum as violence in Latin America forced their families to send them northward. But about St. Louis, their rhetoric has turned vile and predictable.

“We know that Michael Brown was nothing more than a punk. The media and others are painting him out to be a ‘good son’ and ‘great kid.’ The blacks of Missouri are showing their love of him by rioting, attacking and shooting people. Nothing new,” the chapter wrote on its blog.

Email requests to Imperial Wizard Chuck Murray on Wednesday were not answered.

Activists in St. Louis, however, have been focusing on calming tensions. There were two separate rallies for peace and justice held in the area Tuesday night, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. At one, attended by about 400 people, including a large number of local ministers, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told the standing-room only crowd, “Justice must not simply be pursued, but in fact achieved.”

The other rally was held by Rev. Sharpton, who told Hatewatch there were about 1,500 people in attendance at the Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church just east of Ferguson. At one point, Sharpton asked for 100 young men to volunteer and join what he’s calling the Disciples of Justice –– the DJs –– “to do our own unarmed patrols.” At least 170 men signed up.

Sharpton told Hatewatch today that he has found, especially among the young black students in Ferguson, “a lot of outrage, a lot of it could have been me, a lot of, this was an execution.”

Sharpton said he was returning to New York City today to prepare for a march in the borough of Staten Island to protest the death there of Eric Garner, 43, a black father of six, who died after a white police officer applied a banned chokehold even as Garner pleaded 11 times, “I can’t breathe.”

“You cannot have racial profiling as a police strategy and not end up with this as a result in Ferguson and Staten Island,” Sharpton told Hatewatch.


*The Rev. Dr. Timothy E. Tyler

While attending the Connectional AME Women in Ministry Conference in Charleston, one of the preachers walked up to me and said, "You've been hanging with us a long time." My response to her was, "I've been hanging with Women in Ministry all my life." Of course I was referring to my upbringing in the house of one of the early members of AME/WIM, Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry.

Attending the Quadrennial Meeting of Women in Ministry was a catalyst for helping me put into perspective how my firsthand look at the joys and sorrows of a female in ministry has shaped my theological approach to ministry as well as my relationship with a liberating God.

I am thankful that, in the early days of AME/WIM, my mother allowed me to eavesdrop on many of their strategy meetings to gain equal recognition and participation in the life of African Methodism. I don't think it was ever more than ten or twenty women in those meetings. As I sat in the balcony of St. Peter's AME Church in Charleston, observing a capacity crowd of female preachers, I couldn't help but praise God for how He has rewarded the sown seeds of Jarena Lee, Jaqueline Grant, Lillian Friar Webb, Carolyn Tyler Guidry and countless others.

As I reflected on the theme of the conference, "Take Thou Authority," I couldn't help but reflect on a time when my mother's authority was taken away. I can remember it like it was yesterday how the Annual Conference celebrated when my mother became the first woman in the Connection to be appointed to a major pulpit, Walker Temple AME in Los Angeles. However, the joy of this appointment was short-lived.

In 1991, when it was time to elect delegates to the General Conference, my mother was informed that her church, which was traditionally a delegate church, had lost that designation when she was assigned there. A clergy woman had never been elected as a delegate to the General Conference from Southern California, and it was apparent that it was not going to happen that year.

I saw my mother cry in disappointment that night. She spent most of the night before the election making phone calls and trying to amass enough last minute votes to be elected as a write-in candidate. Needless to say, her efforts were unsuccessful. She was slated to be first alternate, but because she was not seen as a team player, she was elected last alternate delegate.

The obvious takeaway from this one of many heartbreak moments is that my mother went from being shut out of the delegation to becoming a Bishop in the greatest church in the world. As I listened to her speak and interact with the up-and-coming women clergy, I could conclude, without a doubt, that God has favored my mother and has blessed her life fourfold.

Growing up in the home of a preaching pioneer woman doesn't make me an expert concerning the sufferings of my preaching sisters, but it certainly has given me a bird's eye perspective on a God who empowers God's servants to make bricks without straw. Even as I sit here writing these thoughts, the women of God are going forth in praise at this WIM worship service. The sisters have solidified for me the Bible truth that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

My doctoral mentor, Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor, used to tell us that our lives and our futures, good or bad, were determined by who happened to be in the room at the time of our birth. My time here at the AME/WIM meeting has served to remind me that I am who I am and that I have what I have because a called woman of determination and faith was in the room at the time of my birth. Thank you, sisters, for allowing me to eavesdrop long enough to reconnect and to remember the experiences that have shaped my relationship with God. =

*The Rev. Dr. Timothy E. Tyler is the pastor of Shorter Community AME Church in Denver, Colorado


*The Rev. Dr. Charlotte Ann Blake Sydnor

The 2014 AME/WIM Quadrennial Conference of the Connectional Women in Ministry got off to an exciting start under the dynamic and competent leadership of Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the 14th Episcopal District and Chairperson for the Commission on Women In Ministry (WIM); Bishop Richard F. Norris Host Bishop and Presiding Prelate of the 7th Episcopal District and  Episcopal Supervisor Mother Mary Norris; the Reverend Kimberly L. Detherage, Esq., AME/WIM Connectional President; and the Executive Board Officers.

The atmosphere for worship was exciting and set the tone for active participation by all who attended the conference. No stones were left unturned” in welcoming everyone to the Palmetto and Pecan State.

What three words best describe the explosive preaching and learning experience at the 2014 AMEWIM Quadrennial Conference held in Charleston, South Carolina? - “Engaging, Equipping and Empowering.”

The AME/WIM Conference kicked-off with high energy with its theme, “Positioned to Lead, Take Thou Authority; The Mission is Possible!”

Hundreds of clergy women, and yes, some brave brothers came from across the African Methodist Episcopal Church from Episcopal Districts 1-20) to celebrate and commemorate women in ministry at the Embassy Suites Hotel Area Convention Center on August 6-9, 2014. 

Spiritual expectations could be felt throughout as the Holy Spirit unfolded and revealed “herself” to move forward with joy.

The worship songs sung, old and new, such as, “Praise Him,” “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” and “We Need to Hear from You” stirred the hearts of the worshipers. 

And, whoever penned the lyrics to the hymn “Blessed Hersurrance” (Tune of Blessed Assurance) and “Her Faith Keeps Pressing On” marked a new beginning in hymnody in the AME Church.

The new songs touched on the heart, faith and fight of “Women in Ministry.” 

The first night, the ballroom-Sanctuary was filled to capacity with standing-room only as the 7th Episcopal District AMEWIM Choir lifted up worship with powerful music.

The Rev. Michelle Goodloe, Presiding Elder of the Shreveport-Monroe District of the Central North Louisiana Annual Conference of the 8th Episcopal District was the preacher for the Wednesday Evening Opening Worship; and she set our hearts on fire. Her text came from 2 Kings 7:3-9 with the subject: “Desperate Times Breed Desperate Measures; Let’s Do Something!”  She told how, “The Lepers left their “camp of desperation,” discovered their own faith and were inspired and committed to share and tell others about the good news of their deliverance.”  She exclaimed, “Let’s Do Something!”

The following day, the 8:30 a.m. Morning Prayer assembly ushered in the presence of God and set the tone for morning worship with another creative-written hymn, “Her Faith Keeps Pressing On.”

The Preacher for the day was Bishop Bonnie Hines, the 98th Elected Bishop of the AME Zion Church. The words are hard to explain and write about the energy and powerful preaching of this preacher. All can be said is, “Awesome!”  The texts were: Jer. 1:4-10, Mt. 3:13-17; and Mk. 1:9-13. The sermon title was, “You Can Stand Because He Went Under.”  The preacher said, “When we are unsure of our identity because of what others think of us, remember God has given us an identity. Herod’s identity crises came when he met Jesus and became threatened by Jesus. Jesus was sure of His identity and encouraged John the Baptist’s identity when John the Baptist began questioned himself about baptizing Jesus.”  She went on to say, “All we need to do ‘Church, Women and Men of God’ is do what God has already called us to do. Encourage one another!  God has given us Godly-identity, which has been revealed to both the world and to the devil. We are nothing without God.” The sermon put the “house in order!”

The mornings and afternoons were filled with Life Classes - “Getting in Position” – “A Heart to Heart” dialogue with Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the 117th Elected and Consecrated Bishop of the AME Church was instructive and informative.

Participation in full force discussions focused on mentoring, building relationships and networking brought about meaningful dialogue between personal life experiences of women in ministry. The metaphor of “swimming upstream like salmon, in spite of bears and other predators waiting on the edge of the rivers waiting to catch the salmon was a constant threat was used to demonstrate the challenges of ministry. The salmon keep going upstream in spite of the dangers.  It was shared that ministry takes “God, grace and guts!” 

The attendees were encouraged not to “burn Bridges,” but to maintain relationships, and demonstrate another way; the right way! No matter the challenge, dedicated preachers must risk the journey!”

The Life Class led by Bishop Teresa Snorten, the 59th Elected bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church focused on, “Leading them, without losing Me,” introduced a much-needed pastoral care model: “The Mathematics of Self-Care.”

Bishop Snorten’s presentation was a practical and relevant model for all clergy. Her presentation was based on Exodus 17:8-13; 18: 1-9, 13-26. Bishop Snorten began sharing her personal story of the need for self-care (rest, relaxation, health). She said, “Self-care is not selfish. Like Moses, you will need help in creating balance and valuing the whole-person.”  She went on to share, “Don’t allow the clergy identity of who you are; be your whole identity. Use the mathematics of self-care: Subtraction – Reduce and don’t replace. Look at what you can subtract by prioritizing and organizing; Addition- See who is on your team by matching a leadership style to match the work and the people and by asking, “What is your work? Division: Ask, ‘what I am doing that could be delegated to other team members?’ Be aware of who is being left out! It takes time to teach people! Multiplication: Trust God for the results. Do not be satisfied with the status quo!”  She closed out with, “Don’t worry! (Luke 2:25-56). Do what God asks! (Acts 2:42-47). God gives the increase! (I Cor. 3:6-9).”

The finale for Thursday evening was a Cultural Event with presentations given by Ms. Vera Maniqault, “Sweet grass Basket Maker.” She is a preserver of the dying art of basket-weaving and sewing.

The Gullah Geechee Explosion Performance by Chorales Music Club of Charleston founded in 1959 provided a full program of Gullah music and skits. The event shared stories, art work, musical performance and laughter.

The history of the state of South Carolina is rich with black history and the African American religious experience in America.

Friday morning started with prayer.

Life Class discussion sessions were held with Presiding Elders from across the connectional church. 

Presiding Elders Ann Henning-Byfield, 4th Episcopal District; Michelle Goodloe, 8th Episcopal District; Jocelyn Hart, 1st Episcopal District; Allan Parrot, 7th Episcopal District and Margaret Fadehan, 14th Episcopal District shared in a panel discussion on “Stretching the Boundaries of Leadership.”

Many clergy women expressed their desire to minster “beyond” the traditional role of pastoral appointments to include, the chaplaincy, higher education, health care and community ministry.

The presiding elders provided encouraging and helpful insights to the importance of other forms of ministry needed within the AME Church and for the African American Community.

The Mid-Morning Life Class allowed for discussions with Bishops Clement W. Fugh, Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Bonnie Hines, Teresa Snorten and Gregory G. M. Ingram offered a heart to heart reflection on “How to “Take Thou Authority.” 

The open and transparent conversation provided spiritual support and healing for Women In Ministry and for individual clergy women who desire to serve in the church as pastors and in specialized ministries. The bottomline was to be authentic and to “Be who you are! You can’t take the mantle when you trying to debate the issues.”

 After lunch, an inspirational and strategic Life Class Session was facilitated by retired Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry. The theme was “Mission Possible: Haven’t I Been Given a Job to Do?”

Bishop Guidry kept it real! Drawing form the Book of Judges, Chapters 2:11-16, 4:1-5 and 5, her emphasis was on the importance of the willingness to be used by God. “With God it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. The mission is possible when we work together. Victory is ours when the battle is God’s. There is no such thing as a half-miracle. We have not allowed our collective voices to be heard. Dialogue and tolerance are necessary to do the work of ministry.”

The wonderful people of St. Peter’s AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina provided transportation and a delicious meal, which helped to prepare for our hearts for worship. The church was packed to capacity for the evening worship.

The 7th District AME/WIM Choir filled the loft with 40-voices in praise and worship with musical selections by the Rev. Carolyn Brailsford of the 7th Episcopal District.  The Call to Worship to “the Call to Surrender” took us to a higher level of commitment for ministry.

A brief Video was shown of the late Bishop Sarah Frances Taylor Davis giving a dynamic and challenging message at the Duke Divinity School’s “Faith and Leadership Conference.”

The Bishop Sarah Frances Davis “Mission Possible Award: Influencing the World for Christ, Living the Great Commission” was given to Presiding Elder Beatrice Menlor of the 14th Episcopal District. Presiding Elder Menlor travels as far as 2 to 4 hours to hold her Quarterly Conferences. The proceeds from the worship offering will be used to purchase a “motor scooter” to help make Presiding Elder Menlor’s travel to her quarterly conferences easier.

The award was accepted by Bishop Clement W. Fugh on her behalf.

The preacher for the hour was the Rev. Kimberly Detherage, AME/WIM Connectional President whose message was entitled, “Surrender.” Her text was taken from Mark 10:17-31. The sermon subject was, “All.”  The message “hit home and struck fire!” The preacher said, “God has called us into a new priority of “surrendering all” and she explained that it is not easy selling all that you have; nevertheless, God knows what God is seeking from each one of us. We have to let some things go. When we discover God’s power then we won’t give up. There is freedom in Christ.” The sermon closed with an altar call for us to “surrender all.”

God saved a needful word for the end!

Presiding Elder Jocelyn Hart of the Philadelphia District of the 1st Episcopal District, proclaimed a mighty word at the Jarena Lee Appreciation Awards Prayer Breakfast. She preached from Exodus 15:20-22, “You Cannot Stay Here!” The preacher said, “We can’t camp out at our place of deliverance. Get stepping and keep moving! There are some things we have to leave at the altar.” Everyone stood on their feet praising God for their spiritual breakthrough in response to the message!

The Jarena Lee Award recipients included, Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate of the 13th District who was the 2008-2012 WIM Commission Chair. The Supervisor Award was awarded to Supervisor Claytie Davis Jr, 16th Episcopal District; Presiding Elder Ida Willis Keener, San Antonio District, Southwest Texas Conference, 10th Episcopal District, and Ms. Misbrew Times, 7th Episcopal District, a member of the WIM Commission.  All hearts and minds were on one accord!

The 2014 AME/WIM Conference was truly a blessing from start to finish! “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow."

The AME/WIM planned the work and God worked the plan.  Let those who have ears, hear!

Visiting Bishops who attended were Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram and Episcopal Supervisor, the Rev. Dr. Jessica K. Ingram, 1st Episcopal District; Bishop Julius H. McAllister and Supervisor Joan McAllister, 8th Episcopal District; Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, 13th Episcopal District; Bishop David R. Daniels Jr., 15th Episcopal District; Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr and Supervisor Dr. Patricia McCloud; and retired Bishop Henry Allen Belin Jr.; General Officer, Dr. George F. Flowers, Executive Director, Global Witness & Ministry; and General Officer, Dr. Daryl Ingram, Executive Director of Christian Education.

Several candidates for episcopal service and general officer seeking office were also in attendance and acknowledged by AME/WIM.

Reporter: The Rev. Dr. Charlotte Ann Blake Sydnor, 13th Episcopal District


On Sunday, August 3, 2014, at 1500 (3:00 p.m.), Chaplain (Captain) Samuel D. Siebo, Battalion Chaplain of 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment and Senior Pastor of the Progressive Camp Marmal Gospel Service, at Camp Marmal, Northern Afghanistan, brought a wonderful atmosphere to Camp Marmal Christian Community when he baptized four individuals (three soldiers and one Department of Defense civilian).

The four persons baptized accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior, through the power of the Holy Spirit and by the preaching and teaching of Chaplain Siebo, who provided counseling and baptismal classes for the new converts before their baptism.

The individuals who were baptized participate in the Camp Marmal Gospel Service and two of them currently serve as members of the gospel choir; a very powerful choir at Camp Marmal with over 20  voices.

In June 2014, Chaplain Siebo baptized Staff Sergeant Paul on his hospital bed as he received treatment at the German Field Hospital at Camp Marmal.

In another praise report, following Chaplain Siebo’s sermon on Sunday, August 10, 2014, two individuals, a soldier and a civilian answered “the call to preach” the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God’s power is moving at in the life of the Gospel Service at Camp Marmal.  Chaplain Siebo, who is the pastor of the Gospel Service, is an Itinerant Elder of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Gospel Service is growing immensely, with many worshippers giving their lives to Jesus Christ.

The service affords over two hundred persons the opportunity to worship the Creator on a regular basis.

Chaplain Siebo asks the members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to “Kindly keep Chaplain Siebo and Camp Marmal Gospel Service in your prayers, for God’s continued favor and blessings upon the ministry, as he strives to reach the entire Camp Marmal Community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Chaplain Siebo extends special thanks and appreciation to the Rev. Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., President / Publisher of the AMEC Sunday School Union and his staff and Chaplain (Colonel-retired) the Rev. Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder  for their timely and generous support in sending Chaplain (Captain) Samuel D. Siebo the AME literature to include  The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church - 2012; the AMEC Hymnal, and AMEC Book of Worship, etc.). The literature was needed to do effective ministry.

The AMEC Liturgy is used when Chaplain Siebo does baptisms.


*Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, Ed.D.

Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church, located in South Nashville, held its inaugural EDGE Program as an enrichment and tutorial service for the youth in the community and members of the church.  EDGE, (Education and Development toward Growth and Excellence), is the brain child of Rev. Edward L. Thompson, Pastor of Greater Bethel.  “Our goal is to give children the extra edge for academic success in school,” he said.

The overall goal of the program was to help children improve their performance in Grammar, Reading, Writing and Mathematics, and to provide extra-curricular activities for students in first through sixth grades.

“We strive to help the students develop skills to problem solve, think independently, improve their grades and test scores, build self-confidence and self-esteem and to always acknowledge the Creator, God, said Rev. Thompson.

Field trips and other fun-focused activities were developed to round-off their studies.  Marcia Fugh Joseph, coordinator of the program, said “The message to the students and the community was one of helping children be successful in their academic activities and to guide them in a path for a successful school experience”.

“The church and community rallied around this program in an effort to send a message to the children that success in school is paramount,” said Novella Page, program supervisor.

One student who participated in the program, Eli Brown, who will be entering the sixth grade this fall, wrote a letter to the church thanking them for the program and said, “I am glad I was in it.”

With school starting, the EDGE program at Greater Bethel is expected to show positive results in those children who attended, with plans for more programs in the future.

In addition to the EDGE program, Greater Bethel hosted its annual Vacation Bible School, Youth Retreat and had children in other district-wide and connectional programs.  “The reality is that we must invest our time and resources in our children to help them be successful in every possible way.  We can do this and we must,” said Rev. Thompson.

For more information about this program and other activities at Greater Bethel, contact the Church office at 615.256.1509.

 *Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, Ed.D is the Executive Director for the Tennessee Economic Council on Women and is a member of Greater Bethel AME Church


The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Marysville, California recently celebrated its 160th anniversary. Anniversary Week was kicked off on the proceeding Wednesday evening with a special “Old Fashion Prayer Meeting and Worship Service.”

The Reverend Godfrey R. Patterson, the pastor delivered a dynamic message taken from Mark 16:15-20 entitled, “Closing the Gap,” encouraging and challenging the congregation to “dedicate ourselves to decreasing the space between where we are and where we should be.” All who were present were blessed. It was truly an edifying experience.

Reflecting the determination of the Anniversary Committee to pay homage to the past while remaining intently focused on the future, our banquet on Friday night was highlighted by speech presentations from two young people who grew up in Bethel. Both, now immensely successful in their chosen fields of endeavor, shared how much Bethel has meant to them and articulated the ways in which their church experience has so tremendously and positively impacted their lives.

The culminating event of Anniversary Week was the Sunday afternoon service featuring Dr. Harold Mayberry. Following the spirit-filled singing of the host and visiting choirs.

Dr. Mayberry, Chairman of the Episcopal Committee of the AME Church and is the pastor of First AME Church of Oakland, California for the past 19 years, preached a powerful sermon which left joy bells ringing in our hearts, minds, and souls! It was the conclusion of an absolutely magnificent and glorious week in the life of the oldest African-American congregation in Yuba County, California.

Among those in attendance at the Sunday afternoon service was Congressman John Garamendi, (D-3rd District) who presented a Proclamation, as did Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent Nancy Aaberg.

The 160th Anniversary Committee was chaired by Brother Howard Wheatley.

Our pastor is the Reverend Godfrey R. Patterson (formerly of the 2nd Episcopal District) and the Rev. Dr. W. Bartalette Finney is the Presiding Elder.


By Ida Tyree Hyche, Esq.

State ethics laws require lawyers to practice with high ethical standards – placing the client’s interests ahead of their own.

I believe that we are called to work and fulfill our purposes, that we are called to serve God and neighbor with everything that we are, have and do.  That includes our professional, spiritual and religious lives.  In my practice, work represents a sacred act where we become servant leaders attending to the legal needs of our clients.  Sometimes it is a tough balance, but showing spirituality while practicing law is possible if one follows the assumption that spirituality gives law its essence thereby stirring it deference to ritual and justice.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus was asked by a lawyer, which was the greatest commandment, to which Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:36-40).

It can be argued that the first great commandment from Jesus encompasses the first five of the 10 Commandments from the Old Testament and the second encompasses six through ten.  Muhammad commanded his followers to “do goodness to relatives, parents and neighbors.”  The Dalai Lama teaches that compassion was not “religious business, but human business.”  Buddha admonished people to “light a lamp for others.”  Indeed, through time and across cultures, religious teachings stress loving others as ourselves.  Given the above, it follows that women of faith find it not only easy to balance spirituality with the practice of law, some may even consider it a way obeying the laws of their faith. 

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Georgia Lawyer, author, and President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Attorney-CPAs, balancing her spirituality and real estate law practice through pro bono service.  “I do not announce that I am a Christian lawyer,” Mitchell-Blackwell says, “but I conduct my practice in such a way that most of my clients know that I am a Christian within the first few minutes of our encounter.  Courtesy, respect, volunteerism and professionalism go a long way in demonstrating to the world that we are living a spiritual life.”

Spirituality is a state of intimate relationship with the sacred in one’s life.  It depicts higher values and morality and recognizes the inner nature of others.  It gives inner meaning and purpose in daily life. Spirituality is experienced through personal contemplation, work, relationships, creation, sacred practice, art and music, and is reflected in our behavior. We deprive ourselves of an essential component of our being by ignoring our spiritual dimension.

Traditionally, the term “religion” has been associated with an institutional community that practices faith in a specific tradition or creed.  In contrast, the word “spirituality” in the workplace is being treated as an alternative or, in some cases, a complement to religion that involves focusing on a particular way of thinking about self, others, work and organizations.

The roots of spirituality in the workplace began in the 1920s as individuals sought to live their faith and spiritual values in the workplace.  The concept of workplace spirituality draws on the ethics, values, motivation, work/life balance, and leadership elements of a law practice. Workplace spirituality is not about organized practices, nor is it about the theology of one’s spiritual leader.  Rather, workplace spirituality is about recognizing that spirituality takes place in the context of an organized community.  A spiritual culture in the law practice acknowledges that lawyers and staff have both a mind and a spirit; and that they seek to find meaning and purpose in their work as they connect with others in the practice community.
As an Alabama attorney integrating spirituality into her legal thinking and counsel, Denise Blue-Poe, says “I practice law basically from the 10 Commandments. That’s my principle for serving the “least of these” – those who can least afford legal representation, those who might, without my law firm’s commitment and others like us, be taken advantage of or without legal representation.”  Helping those in need is one of the major themes of spirituality. Through service, we give others the things they lack, and, in turn, find meaning and fulfillment for ourselves. 

 While pro bono assistance to the poor is not a condition for practicing law, the American Bar Association (ABA) and many state bar associations have adopted voluntary pro bono "aspirations" like those set forth in Model Rule 6.1, which states:   "A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono public legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should...provide a substantial majority of the...hours without fee or expectation of fee to persons of limited means...In addition; a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means."   Both non-denominational spiritual practices and world religions all are fundamentally based on hope/faith in a vision of love and service to others.

In response to questions about what the legal profession could do to promote a more positive public perception of attorneys, 43 percent of the people surveyed by the American Bar Association said that providing pro bono legal services would improve the public image of the legal profession. Indeed, one writer characterizes pro bono as "a vaccine which can render a lawyer immune to lawyers’ jokes and ... reverse the negative, distorted image which many people, including lawyers themselves, have of the legal profession."

For some lawyers, law and religion balance each other by counteracting the weight of fairness and compassion, law and equity, chastisement and love.  The spirituality of loving God and others, pursuant to the greatest and second greatest commandments in law, changes how we behave and relate to others.  Some lawyers seek a close distinctiveness between the causes and clients they represent and their spirituality. 

“I am never separated from my spirituality, “ says Harriet Patricia Birk, a practicing attorney in Florida who once testified before the U.S. Congressional sub-committee on Education advocating for amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. “It allows me to view the world from a place of compassion, understanding and acceptance.”  She said compromising her values is never an option.  “I do believe a lawyer can zealously represent her clients, and not let her principles overshadow her decisions.  This is done simply by following the precepts of the law and putting everything into perspective.”

The professional world of lawyers is, at times, complex and morally hazy.  Some may call it downright cruel, cutthroat, and horrid.  Drawing on one’s spiritual strength may be in the midst of complexity – yet this place called “law practice” is a hallowed place. Many areas of the law are based on Judeo-Christian morality and have been for centuries. Western civilization is based on morality and cannot exist without it. 

There are times when lawyers find it difficult to reconcile their personal ethics with professional standards.  As Joseph G. Allegretti explained, “I believe that ethics is more a matter of deciding who you are and who you want to be than it is a matter of learning external codes or rules. Codes serve a useful purpose, of course, but they are only a part (and a small part) of the moral life.” 

A budding young Georgia entertainment lawyer, Shade’ A. Dixon does not perceive law and religion or spirituality as integrated.  “I think it’s more of a morality issue…what’s right or wrong…as opposed to religious or spiritual needs in the workplace.  I basically plan to stay grounded in my beliefs and do what I feel is the morally right thing to do,” she said.

For me, spirituality in law practice is really a matter of the heart.  The two greatest commandments point to loving God and loving others.  Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the Law.

 Strategies that integrate spirituality as one of the core business functions can help bridge the generational gaps, empower people through a spiritual intelligence of gained wisdom, inspire and retain a loyal work force, create outstanding customer service, contribute to the development of a global future story and ensure financial sustainability.  Spiritual leadership can be implemented and practiced with or without religious theory, beliefs, and practices.  Those qualities of the human spirit – such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility and harmony – bring happiness to both self and others. 

Ida Tyree-Hyche is managing partner of Tyree Hyche & Dixon LLC, with offices in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. Her major practice areas are Workers’ Compensation/Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, Probate & Estate Administration/Estate Tax Filing in Alabama and Trademark/Copyright, Entertainment, Non-profit 501c(3) in Georgia. Tyree Hyche entered law as a second career after she retired as Chief Human Resources Officer for the Army Reserve and a Federal Human Resources Division Chief. She is the author of Bar Studies Inspiration, Daily Christian Devotions for Bar Marathon from Start to Finish, a daily motivational devotion for Bar Exam study. It begins with the first day of a student’s study program and ends on day two or three of the exam.

Notes: Interviewees Attorney Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell is an AME Pastor’s wife, Attorney Harriet Birk is an AME missionary and former Episcopal WMS President, and Attorney Shade’ A. Dixon is the former Connectional Young People’s Division Communications Secretary.

**This article is reprinted with permission from the National Association of Women Lawyers®. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.


June 21st, 2014 was a historic day in Ormond Beach, Florida; the Reverend Willie W. Branch, Jr., a retired African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor, and associate minister at Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Daytona Beach, Florida was installed as the first person of color to be the commander of the American Legion Cassin Young Memorial Post 267. 

In addition to his election as the commander of the local post in Ormond Beach, Rev. Branch was also appointed to serve as Chaplain for the 17th District of the Department of Florida of the American Legion.  The Rev. Branch has served the post as the Chaplain for the past six years and is well-known throughout Ormond Beach area for his volunteer service to the community. 

A native of Houston, Texas, the Rev. Branch is married to Sister Sharon Lewis Branch of Port Allen, Louisiana.


*By Angelique Walker-Smith, D.Min

Brothers and sisters, this month The United States made history this month as it hosted the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, “Investing in the Next Generation.” At its core, the purpose of the summit was to foster and celebrate economic success in sub-Saharan Africa. It served to establish “a new partnership rooted in equality and shared interests,” as President Obama said.

I am happy to see African nations being treated as equals and not charity cases. Due in part to programs like "Feed the Future" and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), ten of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa.

What breaks my heart is that, despite this economic growth, many people continue to suffer from hunger and poverty. We are called to feed those who hunger; clothe those who are naked. While seeing a country’s GDP grow is impressive, it is not the only measure of progress.

Reducing malnutrition; ensuring mothers and infants have enough to eat; making sure children are never worried about whether they will have an empty plate in front of them—these are signs of progress. These are signs of the Holy Spirit working through us.

Global leaders are at a crossroads. They can continue to provide assistance and help African countries grow, cultivating local leadership to ensure truly equal and global partnerships. Or they can ignore these past achievements and forget the least of these.

Here in the United States, we are at the same intersection. Though on a different scale, we continue to experience hunger and poverty rates that are higher than any other industrialized country.

But hope abounds. As this summit showed the United States’ commitment abroad, earlier this year at Bread for the World’s National Gathering, John Podesta, counselor to President Obama, affirmed the president’s commitment to the goal of ending extreme poverty and hunger in the United States and around the world.

At Bread, we take action in Congress when policies that impact hungry and poor people—such as the Corker-Coons bill (S.2421), which aims to make our food-aid programs more effective and efficient—are proposed. We pray for all leaders to make eradicating hunger a national priority. We stay hopeful as we see countries in African continue to make progress and continue to inspire us. 

*Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith is the new associate for national African-American church for Bread for the World


Washington, D.C., August 14, 2014–Bread for the World welcomes Bishop Jose Garcia as the new director of church relations. Garcia succeeds Rev. Gary Cook, who retired in February from the position.

“Faith motivates all of the work that we do here; it permeates our calls to Congress, it brings us together to help the least of these, and drives us to continue to work for a world without hunger,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We are excited to have someone who brings a wealth of experience to the position and truly recognizes the relationship between faith and hunger.”

Garcia just completed a 10-year appointment as California State Presiding Bishop for the Church of God of Prophecy, a worldwide Pentecostal denomination with thousands of churches. He was responsible for the organizational structure, implementation, and administration of all ministries in California.  

“Church engagement has been at the core of Bread since the beginning,” said Beckmann. “Understanding faith and legislation is key to helping hungry and poor people. With Bishop Garcia, I am happy to say that we have found someone who embodies this understanding.”

Prior to his most recent appointment, Garcia served as the executive director of the National Hispanic Religious Partnership for Community Health. There, he assisted Hispanic religious organizations in an ecumenical approach to partner with the federal government and private organizations to address disparities in health, social, and economic status.

A native of Puerto Rico, Garcia received his master’s degree in public health education from the Graduate School of Public Health in San Juan.

Please click here for more information on Bread for the World’s work to mobilize people of faith.

Bishop Jose Garcia, former California State Presiding Bishop for the Church of God of Prophecy starts today as Bread for the World’s new director of church relations. See attached for details.

Submitted by Fito Moreno, Bread for the World Media Relations Specialist


*C. Michael Hawn

"Jesus, Lover of My Soul" by Charles Wesley

The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 479; the AMEC Hymnal No. 479

Charles Wesley

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll.
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last.

“Jesus, lover of my soul” is perhaps one of the most personal hymns penned by Charles Wesley (1707-1788). The understanding that Jesus as a “lover” seems to have made many squeamish at the very idea, especially an idea that should be expressed in public worship. Is this hymn better for private devotions? Yet, according to hymnologist Kenneth W. Osbeck, this hymn is considered to be among Wesley’s greatest hymns. It demonstrates, among many other things, Charles Wesley’s vast knowledge of biblical texts, classic literature, and other intellectual sources of his era.

Wesley, always meticulous in drawing upon biblical or classical sources, continued this practice in this hymn. The apocryphal book, The Wisdom of Solomon, 11:23-26, provides the inspiration for this primary theme of this hymn: “But thou hast mercy upon all; for thou canst do all things, and winkest at the sins of men, because they should amend. For thou lovest all the things that are, and abhorrest nothing which thou hast made: for never wouldest thou have made any thing, if thou hadst hated it. And how could any thing have endured, if it had not been thy will? Or been preserved, if not called by thee? But thou sparest all: for they are thine, O Lord, thou lover of souls.

Another possible source is Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471), who often commented on the nature of love. In The Imitation of Christ, for example, he states: “A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” Another quote also addresses Jesus’ followers as “lovers”: “Jesus has now many lovers of the heavenly kingdom but few bearers of His cross.” Perhaps even more to the point is this statement cited by Dr. Carlton R. Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, in his Companion: “Most mighty God of Israel, zealous Lover of faithful souls.

The Rev. Young notes that the “hymn was written shortly after Wesley’s conversion” in 1738. English Methodist literary scholar Richard Watson notes, “From the moment of its wonderful opening, ‘Jesu, lover. . .’ on which the intimacy of ‘Jesu’ plays such a crucial part, this hymn proclaims itself as a work of unusual intensity.” Examples of this language of intimacy include: “let me to thy bosom fly” (stanza one). In stanza three, the poet states: “Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in thee I find. . .

Professor Watson also notes the role of the Psalms and other sources from which Wesley draws: stanza one states: “safe unto the haven guide” (Psalm 107:30); stanza two concludes with “the shadow of thy wing” (Psalm 91:4); in stanza four, Wesley draws upon fountain imagery: “Thou of life the fountain art. . .” (Psalm 36:9). Dr. Watson also credits English poet and diplomat Matthew Prior (1664-1721) with an image in the first stanza:

We weave the Chaplet, and We crown the Bowl;
and smiling see the nearer waters roll;
'Till the strong Gusts of raging Passion rise;
'Till the dire Tempest mingles Earth and Skies; . . .

The poem was first published in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1740) with five stanzas. An omitted stanza further adds to intensity of this hymn:

Wilt thou not regard my call?
Wilt thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sing, I faint, I fall!
Lo, on thee I cast my care!
Reach me out thy gracious hand!
While I of thy strength receive,
hoping against hope I stand,
Dying, and behold I live!

This stanza was omitted in later publications such as Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1753). John Wesley failed to include the hymn at all in his greatest compilation, A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People Called Methodists (1780). This omission has led to considerable speculation, but most, according to Professor Watson, suggest that John Wesley “disliked terms of endearment addressed to God.” Indeed, the hymn did not appear in the Collection until the 1797 edition, six years after John Wesley’s death in 1791. Watson disagrees with this thesis and states eloquently, “It is hard to see this as a valid objection: the whole point of the hymn is the tender and loving presence of the Saviour in a world where the sinner feels helpless; and Charles Wesley has not been afraid to give intense expression to that love, and to the life which it brings, so movingly described in the final verse.”

Jesus, lover of my soul” foreshadows famous hymns on a related theme including “Rock of Ages” (1776) by English Anglican turned Calvinist Augustus M. Toplady, and “Abide with me” (1847) by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. Like these hymns, “Jesus, lover of my soul” has attracted a number of stories. Some have tried to connect the sea images in the hymn to the tumultuous voyage of the Wesley brothers to America in 1736.

Rather than focusing on the circumstances surrounding the poem’s composition, there can be no doubt as to its influence and popularity on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1877), the great American preacher, stated: “I would rather have written this hymn of Wesley’s than to have the fame of all the kings that ever sat on earth.” Richard Watson does not doubt the veracity of the “story of the soldier in the American Civil War who was about to shoot a picket from the other side when he heard him singing, ‘Cover my defenseless head/With the shadow of thy wing.'”

*C. Michael Hawn is University Distinguished Professor of Church Music, Perkins School of Theology, SMU.

**Used with permission of the United Methodist News Service


The Reverend Natalie Mitchem, M.Div., Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Connectional Health Commission Executive Health Director

During the 2014 General Board and The Council of Bishops meeting the Connectional Health Commission Health Calendar was presented and adopted. The Health Calendar is available online at www.AMEChealth.org.  The Connectional Health Commission is pleased to highlight specific health issues and themes each month.

In August we are addressing an issue that has been overlooked and affects all clergy. The Connectional Health Commission has designated August as Clergy and Family Self Care & Wellness Month. The focus is on healthy clergy, healthy families, healthy singles and healthy marriages. The Reverend Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd (a licensed Psychotherapist and ordained AME Assistant Pastor) and I conducted research focused on Black and Latino Clergy Self Care. In an article written by the Reverend Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd she states the following statistics; the Barna Group reports that 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, 50% of pastors report feeling unable to meet the demands of their jobs, 70% are constantly fighting depression and 50% of pastor’s marriages end in divorce. The Ellison Research reports 71% of pastors say that they are overweight by an average of 32.1 pounds.

Our research and statistics show that a large percentage of pastors’ health and mental health is burden with stress, anxiety, burnout, lack of fitness, lack of proper rest and poor food choices. In addition our research found that it is essential for clergy retreats to include “Self Care” workshops and not only “How to succeed in ministry” or “How to build a church” workshops. While those topics are important, stress and anxiety fostered by a desire to succeed causes many pastors to ignore and overlook self care issues that can prematurely end a ministry or a life. During the month of August we invite all clergy to focus on self care and healthy families, marriages and single life. Our Connectional Health Commission Diabetes Health Monitor magazine offers an opportunity to win a Reader’s Appreciation $1000.00 Visa Gift card. Winning the Visa Gift card could help fund a clergy self care retreat or a vacation.

September is Disaster Preparedness Month. The Connectional Health Commission encourages all Episcopal Districts, Presiding Elder Districts and local churches to host Disaster Preparedness events in September. All churches should conduct a fire drill, evacuation drill, shelter in place drill and lock down drill. Church and building fire extinguishers, first aid kits and emergency lighting should be inspected. Health Commission Directors at all levels should work side by side with leadership to ensure personnel at local churches and major meetings are First Aid and CPR trained.  Additional resources and information is available at www.AMEChealth.org.

Contact Person - The Reverend Natalie Mitchem


Written by the Rev. Dr. Charlotte Blake Sydnor

-- Jonathan C. Augustine, The Keys are Being Passed: Race, Law, Religion and the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement (ROM Publishing, LLC 2014), 188 pages; $19.99 US; $21.99 Canada

As the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and looks forward to the similar acknowledgement next year of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, law professor and minister, Jonathan C. “Jay” Augustine, an itinerant elder in the Louisiana Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, has published a book on the connection between law and religion in the Civil Rights Movement.

The Keys are Being Passed: Race, Law, Religion and the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, published by ROMDigital Ink Press in Houston, examines historical landmarks in traditional and surprising ways, while also offering suggestions to continue engagement through evangelical liberalism (activism by Christians and the church in reforming social institutions) and  “social gospel” theology (applying Christian ethics to social problems such as environmental justice and economic empowerment through better schools). The modern-day “keys” to which Augustine refers are legacy and responsibility for marginalized communities.

The book’s title comes from Matthew 16 where Jesus is described as passing “the keys” to his disciple Peter, while also commissioning Peter to build the church. In doing so, Jesus gives Peter Jewish legacy of the past, but also a unique responsibility to build something new in the Christian church. The parallel is that the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement also give legacy to the current generation, along with the responsibility to address matters in the post-modern era.  In the book’s three sections, the New Orleans native examines that responsibility by focusing on a theology of civil disobedience and voting rights, religious influences on environmentalism and environmental justice, which he describes as an outgrowth of the civil rights movement, and leveling the playing field through education reform, “the great equalizer.” Each of the three sections ends with transcripts of related sermons preached by Augustine, giving a practical application of his research-based work.

The Keys Are Being Passed offers interesting background, heavily annotated, on the historical evolution of the Civil Rights Movement with its protests and legal battles – the parallel tracks of civil disobedience and civil challenge.  Some are legendary, such as the 1955 Rosa Parks bus incident that galvanized blacks in Montgomery, Alabama, to begin its famous bus boycott. Many others are less well-known, but interesting, such as Browder vs. Gayle, the 1956 federal lawsuit with four other black women as plaintiffs who were mistreated on Montgomery buses before Parks. The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in this case ended with Alabama being ordered to desegregate all its buses.

Another example is passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, introduced by President Lyndon Johnson shortly after the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, in which 600 marchers were attacked by police with clubs and tear gas. But have you heard of Brown vs. Louisiana? That case that went before the Supreme Court a year before Bloody Sunday, with the court overruling the conviction of Henry Brown and four other black males for a library sit-in at the Clinton, Louisiana regional library.

It’s through cases such as these that Augustine explains how the First Amendment was broadened as the Civil Rights Movement forced the courts to address rules governing mass demonstrations, symbolic speech and freedom of association.  For example, the courts had to address issues of administrative denial of permits and court-issued injunctions, such as the one by an Alabama judge who forbade three or more to gather for civil rights meetings. Meanwhile, protesters endured brutality to disobey unjust laws.

While few will find fault with many of the “keys” of modern responsibility Augustine recommends, including community engagement, bipartisan cooperation for better schools and education accountability, being good stewards of the Earth and a commitment to voting,  other perspectives may be open to argument.  For example, he suggests Louisiana is leading the South in a new civil rights movement and that New Orleans is “an obvious leader” in environmental justice. And the former elected school board member supports charter schools and says anecdotal evidence suggests they’re working, especially for black children. The Keys Are Being Passed makes for an interesting read as Augustine makes the case for “impatient waiting” – social action in the “urgency of now.”

About the author: Jonathan C. “Jay” Augustine is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, adjunct law professor, and social justice advocate. A former U.S. Army infantry officer, he earned a B.A. degree from Howard University, a Juris Doctorate from Tulane University and Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary. Before pastoral ministry and law practice, the New Orleans native served as a law clerk to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief (then-Associate) Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson as well as elected and appointed office in Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.jayaugustine.com. 


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Organization: Public Religion Research Institute
Location: Washington, DC

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Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) is a fast-paced and growing organization dedicated to research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life. PRRI’s mission is to help journalists and the general public better understand debates on public policy issues and the role of religion and values in American public life by conducting high quality public opinion surveys and qualitative research. PRRI research is consistently featured in top news outlets such as CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and others. PRRI is a non-partisan, non-profit research organization.

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RACE POL is a discussion list sponsored by the Section on Race, Ethnicity and Politics of the American Political Science Association http://www.apsanet.org/~rep/


Bishop David R. Daniels, Presiding Prelate
Mrs. Irene M. Daniels, Episcopal Supervisor

The Angola Annual Conference
20 August 2014, WMS Convention
21 - 24 August 2014, Annual Conference
Luz AME Church, Kuanza Sul
Host Pastor: The Rev. lsaaque Alberto
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Manuel E. Sarmento

The Namibia Annual Conference
27 August 2014, WMS Convention
28 August - 31 August 2014, Annual Conference
Richard Allen AME Church, Swakopmund
Host Pastor: The Rev. William Balie
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Leslie Leukes

The Queenstown Annual Conference
17 September 2014, WMS Convention
18 -21 September 2014, Annual Conference
Turner Memorial AME Church, Queenstown
Host Pastor: The Rev. Phumza Nkuzo
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Tamara Mvubu

The Eastern Cape Annual Conference
24 September, 2014, WMS Convention
25 -28 September 2014, Annual Conference
St Matthew's AME Church, De Aar
Host Pastor: The Rev. Bennett Phooko
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Obakeng Jackals

The Kalahari Annual Conference
8 October 2014, WMS Convention
9 - 12 October 2014, Annual Conference
TA Gaetsewe AME Church, Kuruman
Host Pastor: The Rev. Jacob Phenyeke
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Joseph Sano

The Cape Annual Conference
21 October 2014, WMS Convention
22 - 26 October 2014, Annual Conference
St Paul AME Church, Carnarvon
Host Pastor: The Rev. Samuel April
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Quinton Liebenberg

The Planning Meeting
13 -15 November 2014
Bonner Chapel AME Church, New Brighton
Host Pastor: The Rev. Gertrude Komani
Host Presiding Elder: The Rev. Gertrude Komani


Bishop John F. White, Presiding Bishop
Mrs. Penny H. White, Supervisor

Botswana Annual Conference
August 26 – 30, 2014
Motswedi-wa-Botshelo AME Church — Gaborone District
The Rev. Tshepo David Sebakile, Host Pastor
Telephone: (+267) 75294002  
The Rev. Tiroyaone Mobea, Host Presiding Elder
Telephone: (+267) 71628437 / Email: tmobea@gmail.com and MobeaT@bpc.bw  

Mozambique Annual Conference
September 16 - 20, 2014
Bethel AME Church—Beira Central District, Mozambique
The Rev. Dionisio Mazuze—Host Pastor
The Rev. Petro Mohate, Host Presiding Elder                                                                                                                                          
Contact person:  The Rev. Santos Bussane: Telephone: (+258) 827692973 / Email: santosbussane@gmail.com   

Swaziland Annual Conference
September 23 - 28, 2014
 Collins Chapel A.M.E. Church, - Hhohho District
The Rev Bongumusa S. Qwabe, Host Pastor
Telephone: (00268) 76033077 / (00268) 24050566
The Rev. N.M. Nxumalo, Host Presiding Elder
Telephone: (00268)76058663 — Email: revnomsanxumalo@yahoo.com 

North-East Lesotho Annual Conference
November 4 - 8, 204
Allen Temple A.M.E. Church, - Nightingale District
The Rev. J.S. Badela, Host Pastor
Telephone: (+266) 58483347
The Rev. F.M. Dlukula - Host Presiding Elder
Telephone: (+266) 58388703  

Lesotho Annual Conference
November 11-16 2014
Mt. Horeb A.M.E. Church, Leribe District
The Rev. J.K. Leboela, Host Pastor
Telephone: (+266)5807804
The Rev. Mapeete Mokhosi, Host Presiding Elder
Telephone: (+266) 58424131

2014 Post Conference Planning, Christian Education, WMS, Lay Organization and YPD Convention
December 09 – 13, 2014
Botha-Bothe AME Church, Botha-Bothe District
The Rev. L.S. Libete – Host Pastor
Telephone: (00266) 58122251
The Rev. M.T. Machefo, - Host Presiding Elder
Telephone: (00266) 63135447 / 63275121; Email: taelomachefu@gmail.com


Bishop Paul J.M. Kawimbe, Presiding Prelate
Mrs. Yvonne C.M. Kawimbe - deceased

October 8 – 12, 2014
East Annual Conference
Coan Chapel A.M.E. Church, Witbank
The Rev. Chief Dipholo, Host Pastor
The Rev. Bathusang J. Motaung, Host P.E.

October 15 -19, 2014
Mm Mokone Annual Conference
Charles Rathokgwa A.M.E. Church
The Rev. Jabulani H. Monegi, Host Pastor
The Rev. Vhulahani Z. Nemakonde, Host P.E.

October 29 – November 2, 2014
Natal Annual Conference
Jozini A.M.E. Church
The Rev. Selby Radebe, Host Pastor
The Rev. Ronald Nkosi, Host P.E.

November 5-9, 2014
Orangia Annual Conference
Trinity A.M.E. Church
The Rev. Moleleki J. Makwanyane, Host Pastor
The Rev. Sefako Maboe, Host P.E

November 12 – 16, 2014
West Annual Conference
S.P. Maarohanye A.M.E. Church, Klerksdorp
The Rev. Gladwin Mogasoa, Host Pastor
The Rev. Noge Abram Tsimane, Host P.E.

December 10-14, 2014
Christian Education Congress and Planning Meeting
Bloemfontein, Orangia Conference


February 24 -27, 2015
Southern Sun Cape Sun
Strand Street | Cape Town | 8001
Tel: +27 21 488 5100

Hotel Rates
Standard Double - R2050.00 (Bed & Breakfast)
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Registration $150.00

February 24, 2015
8:00 am - 5:00 p.m. - Lay Organization Summit
7:00 pm – 8:00 p.m. - Worship Service

February 25, 2015     
8:00 am - 5:00 p.m. - Global Development Council Sessions

February 26, 2015
8:00 am – 4:00 p.m. - Global Development Council Sessions
4:30 pm – 6:00 p.m. - Candidates Forum - (Candidates forum registration fee $100.00)

February 27, 2015
8:00 am – 12:30 p.m. - Global Development Council Sessions 


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

Based on Biblical Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10: Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

In these days that seem so full of turmoil, when church sometimes seems so complicated; many Christians wish for the “good ole days” of the early church. There seems to be some romantic notion and whitewashed mental image of a church that was perfect, peaceful, pure and unified. However, when we take a more careful look we find that the Bible tells us otherwise. What we do find, that is good news, are biblical examples of how to achieve unity amidst diversity.

Our text gives us a glimpse into first-century Corinth, a city holding on to its bygone glory days. People in the Corinthian church were staking their claims, not with Christ but with individual leaders. In fact some bragged that they were followers of Apollos, some of Cephas, and some students of Paul. Not so much different than today where we boast, “I go to Pastor so-in-so’s church! I am an officer in that big church. I sing in the choir with that awesome musician!”

The battles in Corinth were about more than just leadership. We find that they were struggling to find ways to get this new movement called “Christianity” right.

For the new Christians, following Jesus presented a perplexing challenge. Each neophyte Christian wanted to be sure they were adhering to the right teaching.

There were some who desired a more traditional scholarly, philosophical approach while others were more contented being drawn to the message of the new freedom Christ had brought them. Still others were passionate about whether Jews could become good Christians, and, if so, how?

The Apostle Paul heard of the controversy and penned a missive of comfort and challenge for the young church. The letter is comforting because Paul reminded them of their unity in Christ and it was challenging because Paul refused to let them use their differences to divide them.

Paul is still challenging us today. There is so much division today among the denominations, the social classes and the generations. Far too many Christians have entered the dispute over biblical interpretation. We have so many theological differences and issues of translation and interpretation.

The question becomes, if we are so different, how can the church be unified so it can welcome people regardless of their status or generational experience?

Paul's response leaps out of the pages of scripture. It announces for us a promise as valid today as it was then. Just as Christ has no part in our petty divisions, so, too, is Christ the only hope for unity in the church.

We are challenged to embrace our experience and to claim our place in time. We are part of a chosen generation, a “royal priesthood.”  We are chosen to serve the Lord. God made each one of us on purpose, and for a purpose. God has set us apart in this given time period, at this chosen place, because He has something specific and important for us to do. We will find interwoven through all our lives a thread of divine direction, creating us more alike than we sometimes care to admit and pulling us always into a more excellent experience. It would be far wiser for us to spend our spiritual energies searching for our God-prepared task than in dwelling on our differences.

God would have us to know that unity in Christ does not require uniformity. We are not “cloned” for service. There is no “one-size fits all.” We are challenged to embrace our own time, and to open our hearts that everyone regardless of their social position, financial status or generation may find acceptance and affirmation within the church. It is a fact that, God calls each generation of new believers to specific tasks in this ongoing experimental community of faith He calls “the Church.”

In a church that embraces everyone and every generation, not all will be happy and content all the time. However we ought to achieve happiness for everyone, some of the time. We are encouraged to be hospitals of hope and genuine intergenerational sanctuaries of grace. There should be a place for all to thrive. Everyone should be invited and included, no matter when or where you were born.

Our worship experience must vary to touch the hearts of all groups and all generations. If everyone is happy, some of the time, we can move toward a welcoming graciousness of spirit. Grace allows us to embrace new ideas. Grace encourages us to learn new hymns (and old ones) even if we don’t care for them, because it may touch someone else’s heart.

As we work to bridge the social chasms and generation gaps we will encourage a broad variety of faith and action, and the reward will be an enrichment that is only possible through a process of cross-status, and cross-generation fertilization.

Yes my Beloved, God loves you the way you are but He also loves you too much to let you stay the way you are. God uses people of all ages and from all backgrounds to change us, and while He’s using us to change others, He’s changing us!  We begin to look more like Him. We are all growing in the love of the Lord!

*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr., is the pastor of Morris Brown A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C.


Fact Sheet
Bureau of African Affairs
August 12, 2014

The United States is working with the World Health Organization and other international partners to help West African governments respond to and contain the outbreak of the Ebola virus as quickly as possible.

The full range of relevant U.S. Government agencies — including the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DOD) — are increasing every possible form of assistance to the affected countries, their citizens and international organizations responding to the outbreak. U.S. assistance includes equipment and other essential supplies, public health messaging efforts, and technical and medical expertise.

- The U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Warning on August 7, 2014 against non-essential travel to Liberia. Due to a lack of options for routine health care services, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members residing with Embassy staff in Monrovia to begin August 8, 2014.

- U.S. Government employees in Liberia will remain on active duty at the Embassy and additional staff members are being deployed to assist the Government of Liberia in addressing the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.

- At this time, no Ebola-related travel restrictions have been issued by the State Department for Guinea, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone. However, CDC has issued alerts for the four countries. More information can be found at:

Our Embassies remain open and will continue business as usual in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. We remain deeply committed to supporting regional and international efforts to deliver health care as well as contain and control the transmission of the Ebola virus.

The U.S. Government is monitoring the situation very closely and will update its response and travel recommendations as needed. You can find the latest information at:

The U.S. Government has a range of steps in place to prevent the introduction, transmission and spread of suspected communicable diseases across the U.S. border.

We're working closely across federal agencies and with African partners to make sure appropriate procedures are in place for screening both in the region and here in the United States.

As the CDC has stated repeatedly, there is no significant risk to the United States from Ebola.

Basic Ebola Facts from the CDC:

- Ebola is not transmitted through the air.

- Individuals who are not showing signs of illness, even if infected cannot spread the virus to others.

- Health care workers who meticulously follow standard procedures to protect themselves from infection will be safe and able to provide medical care while protecting the entire community.

The most up-to-date information regarding the Ebola virus and its associated risks can be found on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related Links:

The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.

External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

*Submitted by Dr. Robert Nicolas


Posted By Julu Swen, On August 11, 2014

The recent waves of the Ebola virus have created fear and panic among the people of Weala area including members of the United Methodist Church who are residing in the area. According to the District Superintendent of the Weala District, Rev. Paye Cooper Mondolo, from August 6-8, 2014 the Weala District UMC lost five of its members to the Ebola virus. He also indicated that he is not sure of how many of his district members are afflicted with the virus.

The Weala United Methodist Health Center is the only health facility that is catering to new patients who have not visited the center prior to the Ebola virus outbreak. Rev. Mondolo said all of the health centers in the Weala area are not accepting patients that have not been taking treatment at these centers before the Ebola crisis. “Our health center is the only place that sick people can come to get help,” the UMC Clergyman lamented.

Rev. Mondolo told West African Writers that health centers in the county are not closed as it has been alleged, but rather refusing to accept patients who don’t have a record with said clinic. He confirmed that the Weala UMC Health Center was able to report two Ebola cases to the County Health Team since the outbreak.

He told WAW that the Weala District UMC is playing a major role on the County Ebola Task Force and it has been distributing sanitizing packages which include buckets, Clorox, chlorine, and soap. “As a district we are involved in creating awareness and sharing protective messages with the people of the community.” Rev. Mondolo concluded.

In a related development, Rev. Cecilia Burke Mapleh, District Superintendent of the Voinjama District is scheduled to distribute sanitizing packages to the people of her district. “Voinjama District is in the epicenter of the Ebola virus. This area is overwhelmed with fear, disbelief, and cultural insensitivity to the disease.” Rev. Mapleh said. “At the moment most of our preaching points stand abandoned if we do not act quickly with preventive messages to and for our members.”

**Used with permission of the United Methodist News Service


By Dana Farrington
August 14, 2014 8:29 PM ET

A man lies in a newly opened Ebola isolation center in a closed school in Monrovia, Liberia, on Thursday. The official death toll of 1,000 people in four countries is likely below the actual number, the World Health Organization says.

John Moore/Getty Images
The official count of Ebola cases and deaths may "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," the World Health Organization posted on its website.

The latest numbers from the WHO are 1,975 cases — with 1,069 deaths — from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

But, as NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff reports, WHO staff "say they're seeing evidence that the death toll and number of infections is much larger than these official counts."

The organization says it is "coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response." The WHO has already called the outbreak a global health emergency. As Goats and Soda reported Friday, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said that declaration was "a clear call for international solidarity."

Read More: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/08/14/340478753/ebola-numbers-vastly-underestimate-reach-of-outbreak-who-says?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20140815&utm_campaign=dailydigest&utm_term=nprnews


The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1848 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 1013 deaths, as of August 9, 2014. Of the 1848 clinical cases, 1176 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.

In Guinea, 506 cases, including 373 fatal cases and 362 laboratory confirmations of EVD, were reported by the Ministry of Health of Guinea and WHO as of August 9, 2014. Active surveillance continues in Conakry, Guéckédou, Pita, Siguiri, Kourourssa, Macenta, Yamou, and Nzerekore Districts.

In Sierra Leone, WHO and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported a cumulative total of 730 suspect and confirmed cases of EHF as of August 9, 2014. Of these 730, 656 cases have been laboratory confirmed and 315 were fatal. All districts are now reporting clinical EVD patients. Reports, investigations, and testing of suspect cases continue across the country.

As of August 9, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia and WHO reported 599 clinical cases of EVD, including 158 laboratory confirmations and 323 fatal cases. Suspect and confirmed cases have been reported in 9 of 13 Counties. Laboratory testing is being conducted in Monrovia.

In Nigeria, WHO and the Nigerian Ministry of Health reported 13 suspect cases, including 2 fatal cases, as of August 9, 2014.

CDC is in regular communication with all of the Ministries of Health (MOH), WHO, MSF, and other partners regarding the outbreak. Currently CDC has personnel in all four countries assisting the respective MOHs and the WHO-led international response to this Ebola outbreak.

Information based on reports from the Ministry of Heath of Guinea, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia, the Ministry of Health of Nigeria and WHO 11 August 2014.


*Dr. Oveta Fuller

Ebola Update:

As of August 12 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of Ebola disease cases was over 1,975 with 1,069 deaths.

The CDC has issued a Travel Warning Level 3 for travelers to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and Warning Alert 2 to Nigeria. This warning requests avoidance of non-essential travel. For example, in Liberia borders are closed and major entry points are closely monitored. See wwwnc.cdc.gov

Families of US Embassy personnel have been asked to leave the affected countries. Embassy personnel and additional US government staff are working 24/7 with local governments to trace possible infection contacts in efforts to contain virus spread.

Communities of heavy Ebola virus infection have been quarantined. Travel in and out is restricted to reduce the chance of new infections.

Restrictions on mass or public gatherings can be enforced by authorized military personnel.

We remain in prayer for the families affected; those living in the area and the health personnel who provide care and encourage support in financial or other ways possible.

Understanding Microbes:

Microbes are helpful and essential contributors to life. Microbes can be bacteria, viruses or fungi. While they often are thought of as germs, the majority of microbes are helpful.

Bacteria as normal flora are part of natural host defenses. Normal flora protects the body from invading harmful microbes. They assist with food digestion. In nature they are critical for breakdown of organic matter to basic components of carbon and minerals.

Relatively few microbes can cause disease compared to the many microbes that perform useful functions.  Some microbes can be helpful in one circumstance and dangerous pathogens under other circumstances. For example, some normal flora bacteria colonize and protect the outer skin layers from attachment of microbes that are pathogenic. If these normal flora bacteria from the skin surface get inside the body, they can lead to painful abscesses.  If they get into the bloodstream, they can lead to heart damage or potentially to sepsis that can be fatal.

About Virus and Bacteria:

Viruses differ in structure from bacteria. Bacteria generally are single cell organisms that can live independently if nutrients are available.

Viruses cannot live outside of a cell. They take over cellular machinery to make more of themselves. Thus they are obligate intracellular parasites.

The content of Getting to Zero often has focused on two human viral pathogens- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Ebola virus. Here we explore how they are similar and how they differ.

Similarities of HIV and Ebola virus:

- They are pathogenic viruses that can lead to disease.

- There is no current vaccine to prevent infection.

- There is no definitive cure for infection.

- Both are transmitted by direct contact with specific body fluids of an infected person.

- Neither virus is transmitted through the air or by casual contact.

- Both can lead to death of people infected if supportive medical care is not provided.

- The genetic material of HIV and Ebola virus is RNA.

- Replication in cells of specific tissues of HIV or Ebola can lead to severe illness in humans.

- Infection by either virus can be fatal or can severely alter human organ systems or tissue.

- Both viruses moved into humans from a natural animal habitat or reservoir. This is similar to how swine influenza transferred from pigs to humans to cause influenza disease.

- HIV adapted to humans from exposure to a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that is found naturally in chimpanzees. In some locations in central Africa, chimpanzees are a delicacy or bush meat that is hunted for food.

- SIV does not cause disease in chimpanzees. However, it causes a disease similar to AIDS in other primates such as Macaque monkeys or African green monkeys.

- Ebola virus seems to be found naturally in some species of fruit bats that inhabit caves. It does not cause disease in these bats.

-Ebola virus can infect and cause disease in small animals, deer and in humans.  It is thought that Ebola virus moves from bat reservoirs to humans by direct contact with infected animals that may be used for food.

Differences in HIV and Ebola virus:

HIV infection leads to a chronic illness that takes years for symptoms to appear.

Ebola infection causes an acute disease with symptoms appearing in 2-21 days.

HIV infects cells of the immune system to lead to immune deficiency and susceptibility to other opportunistic microbial infections.

Ebola virus infects a range of different cells and tissues. How it leads to systemic disease is not clear.

Anti-retrovirus medications can prevent or slow the appearance of AIDS caused by HIV infection. Specific medications can combat opportunistic infections due to immune deficiency.

No approved medications exist to decrease or shorten Ebola virus infection. Two experimental medications that contain antibody in serum have been used in a few cases to treat healthcare personnel.

There are no specific symptoms that appear in all HIV/AIDS infections. A range of opportunistic infections vary and depend on the person, their level of medical care and overall health.

Symptoms of Ebola disease are fever, headache, weakness, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and eventually internal and external bleeding that result in organ failure and shock.

HIV is transmitted only by direct contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. Due to its envelope, HIV does NOT survive in other body fluids such as saliva, sweat and tears.

 - Ebola virus is highly contagious through contact with even small amounts of most types of body fluids or by objects of clothing of persons infected. Ebola virus is especially high in feces, blood, sexual fluids and vomit. It is not clear how much virus survives in other body fluids. 

Since its discovery in 1981, HIV has infected over 70 million people worldwide with some estimated 36 million AIDS related deaths. It is a pandemic with high prevalence in sub-Saharan and West Africa and among African Americans in the USA.

Since its discovery in 1976, Ebola virus has caused at least 16 limited outbreaks, mostly in central African communities. Except for the 2014 in West Africa, outbreaks have been contained by isolation methods. These take a high death toll in an affected area, but stop spread of the virus.

Diagnosing HIV/AIDS occurs by completion of an HIV test to detect antibody to the virus. Antibody to HIV is made before disease symptoms appear years after initial exposure to the virus.

Ebola symptoms occur within 2-21 days with a sudden onset. Symptoms, as well as laboratory tests to detect viral antigens or viral genetic material in tissue or fluids, are used to diagnose Ebola virus disease.  


HIV and Ebola virus have high impacts on those infected. Communication of correct understanding is highly effective to reduce myths, misconceptions and fear. This communication is important to HIV and Ebola virus control.

Members of the religious community who obtain a correct understanding and have access to community members can be highly effective in reducing myths, misconceptions, stigma and fear.

*The Rev. Dr. A. Oveta Fuller is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Faculty of the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan and Adjunct Faculty at Payne Theological Seminary. An Itinerant Elder in the 4th Episcopal District, she conducts HIV/AIDS prevention research in Zambia and the USA. She lived in Zambia for most of 2013 as a J. William Fulbright Scholar. 


*Bill Dickens, Allen AME Church, Tacoma, Washington

Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold." First published as a book on 23 May 1883, it was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881 and 1882 under the title Treasure Island or, the mutiny of the Hispaniola with Stevenson adopting the pseudonym Captain George North.

Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, Treasure Island is a tale noted for its atmosphere, characters and action, and also as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality – as seen in Long John Silver – unusual for children's literature. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders.

Unlike Stevenson’s popular novel, the Christian journey for treasure will not be found in the seagoing adventures of pirates and vessels hoarding precious metals like gold and silver.

Movie viewers familiar with Johnny Depp’s performance in Pirates of the Caribbean saw no connection with God and treasure in the hit Disney movie series. Christians can gain treasure by understanding the role of personal integrity, power of preaching and persistence of faith.   

The Adult AME Church School Lesson for August 17, 2014 is “treasure-seeking,” but offers a different way to find treasure.  Paul shows his readers that the true treasure in our lives will reflect our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

In II Corinthians 4: 1-6, Paul defends his personal integrity. 

Contrary to what some of his critics have stated, Paul is clear that he has not used deception, distortion or deceit in teaching/preaching the Gospel of Salvation thru Jesus Christ.  With his integrity intact, Paul now directs attention to his calling as a preacher of the Gospel.  In II Corinthians 4:7-12 Paul points out that despite his personal afflictions and sufferings he remains focused on his preaching and calling because he knows where the rewards or treasures are found.  The apostle uses a great metaphor of earthen vessels or jars as repositories of God’s treasures.  Clay jars would probably not be the expected receptacles to find God’s grace and joy. The "jars" or our own bodies are precisely where the treasure is contained for believers.  Because of this, Paul is determined to live by faith since this is the key that can unlock the treasures God has preserved for us (II Corinthians 4:13-15).

Far too often people look for treasure in wrong places.  Whether it is playing the Powerball lottery or using a stock tip to buy an allegedly high-yielding stock or sailing the seven seas for adventure and reward, the outcome will be short-lived.  A long-term permanent source for treasure is actually closer than one might think.  Jesus indicated, “Where a man’s heart is, you will find his treasure.” There is no monetary investment needed for God’s eternal treasure.

We don’t have to be concerned about the risks borne by the pirates in Stevenson’s classic novel.  All that’s needed is to "have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about our troubles" and He will answer our petitions.  Only Jesus can provide a win-win solution.

*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 AME Church


*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby
I’m writing this week’s Meditation after cautiously making my way home through a heavy rainstorm, which can be a genuine adventure in Charleston, SC.  The city is twenty feet above sea level at its highest points, and some parts of the city sit on filled-in “wetlands” - what used to be called swamps and creeks in the days of my youth.  Heavy rain on successive days - especially when combined with high tides - can quickly flood Charleston’s streets and make them almost impassable.

That’s a problem for new residents and tourists, who sometimes have to be rescued when streets suddenly become deep ponds that cause their vehicles to stall and flood. 

As a long-time resident, I’ve learned what areas are flood prone and to either avoid them or slowly drive through the deep water.  What’s ironic and amusing, however, is that some long-time residents still drive into deep water “full speed ahead,” end up stranded at best or in accidents at worst, and incur needless aggravation and expense because they refuse to slow down.

Slowing down is a prudent thing to do, not only when stormy weather causes physical floods, but when we run into spiritual floods as well. 

Life in this world comes with its fair share of storms - storms of trouble, stress, and aggravation that can unexpectedly bring floods of sorrow and confusion that swallow up our hopes and dreams and threaten to sweep us away.

It’s tempting to address life’s storms by going “full speed ahead” - relying on this world’s avenues to make our way - but doing so can easily leave us feeling stranded, washed out and alone.  When we take the time, however, to slow down and let God lead us, we can more effectively navigate life’s “storms.” 

We’ll do so knowing, by faith that the God we serve will slow us down and teach us how to avoid life’s dangerous and deep places so that we can be safe in a stormy world, navigate life’s floods and come through victorious - moving by faith and not by sight.

Take the time in your life’s stormy times and deep places to slow down and let God lead you. You’ll find new hope, new direction, new peace of mind and new appreciation for the words of the hymn that says, “Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the solid rock,” for the words that begin that song’s chorus are right - “That rock is Jesus.”

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


-- Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District and Supervisor Stan McKenzie were among the Select Texans invites to the Africa Summit dinner at the White House

At dinner, in a huge tent on the South Lawn of the White House, guests “rubbed elbows” with the presidents of Cameroon, Gabon, Rwanda, Mozambique, Madagascar and the tiny Republic of Togo and the presidents of Coca Cola, IBM, MasterCard and the World Bank; and former President Jimmy Carter and actor Robert DeNiro.

See the complete news article below, Dallas news.

Congratulatory messages can be emailed to:
Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie: kergyma00@aol.com   
Supervisor Stan McKenzie: stanmckenzie44@aol.com 


Regretfully We Share the Following Bereavement Notice:

Sister Alice Faye Davis, the wife of the Rev. George Davis, retired/assistant minister on the staff at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta, Georgia, passed on August 2, 2014. Sister Davis was the cousin of Bishop James L. Davis, Presiding Prelate of the 9th Episcopal District.

Services for Sister Alice Faye Davis were held earlier today, 8/9/14:

Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
Big Bethel AME Church
220 Auburn Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-827-9707

The Rev. John Foster, Ph. D., Pastor/Officiant
Bishop James L. Davis, Eulogist

Services were entrusted to:

Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home, Inc.
1003 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30310
Phone: 404-758-1731

The expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. George Davis & Family
999 Hood Road, Apt. 145
Marietta, GA  30068
Telephone: 678-620-4385

Email: Bishop and Mrs. James L. Davis: JLD123Bishop@yahoo.com

We prayerfully and regretfully announce the passing of Ms. Toya Lynn Ward, sister of the Rev. Clinton E. Ward, III pastor of Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church, Chicago Conference.  Ms. Ward passed from labor to reward on Monday, August 11, 2014.

The arrangements are as follows:

Saturday, August 16, 2014
Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church
509 W. Elm Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Viewing - 10 a.m.
Service - 11 a.m.

Interment immediately following at:

Mount Hope Cemetery
11500 S. Fairfield Ave.
Chicago, IL

Services are entrusted to:

Leak & Sons Funeral Homes
7838 South Cottage Grove
Chicago, Illinois 60619 
Phone: 773-846-6567

Please send messages of condolence to:

The Rev. Clinton E. Ward, III and family
3044 E. Hickory Lane
Crete, IL 60417

Telephone: 708-672-3501


We are saddened to announce the passing of the Rev. Dr. Morris Alexander Buchanan, 91-years-old on Thursday, August 14, 2014. He was husband of the Rev. Noella Austin Buchanan, pastor of Allen Chapel AMEC – Riverside, California.

The Rev. Buchanan retired after a spirit filled pastored in 2004. He was the founding pastor of Culver City Community AME Church and later pastor of Bethel AME Church in Fontana, California where he restored a fifty-year old congregation to its former glory. He formerly served as president of the ministerial alliance of the southern California conference.  After retirement he served as spiritual advisor of St. James AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri and Allen Chapel Riverside, California.

Dr. Buchanan spent previous years as an actor, producer and director in the television and movie industries. He attended the Prestigious Pasadena Community Playhouse and has performed throughout the United State, Canada, Africa, England, and France.

Funeral Arrangements are listed below.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Viewing:  9:30 -10:30 a.m.
Funeral Service: 10:30 a.m.

Allen Chapel AME Church
4009 Locust Street
Riverside, CA 92501

Office Telephone: (951) 686-9406; Fax: (951) 686-1380; Email: allen_chapel@att.net; Web Page: www.facebook.com/allenchapelriverside

Pastor: The Rev. Noella Austin Buchanan

Officiating: Presiding Elder Norman D. Copeland
Eulogist: The Rt. Rev. Theodore Larry Kirkland

Arrangement handled by Tillman Riverside Mortuary, Inc.
2874 Tenth Street - Riverside, CA 92507
Office (951) 682-6433   Fax (951) 682- 7863

Monday viewing will be Monday, August 18, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Interment: Riverside National Cemetery

22495 Van Buren Boulevard
Riverside, CA 92518
Telephone: (951) 653-8417

Condolences and expressions can be sent to the postal address or email address listed below.

The Rev. Noella Austin Buchanan
7051 Rockspring Lane
Highland, CA 92346-5453

Cell: 314-707-8754
Email: Revno@aol.com

Fifth Episcopal District AMEC
Bishop Theodore Larry Kirkland, Presiding Prelate
4519 Admiralty Way, Suite 205
Marina Del Ray, CA 90292

Telephone: (310) 577-8530
Fax: (310) 577-8540


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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