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

The Homegoing Celebration of the Life for the Reverend Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. was held at St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 12 Noon.  The Rev. James E. Arnell, the pastor of St. John was the worship leader.

The Right Rev. James L. Davis, Presiding Prelate of the Ninth Episcopal District, was traveling overseas. The Rev. Albert L. Hyche is the Presiding Elder of the Montgomery-Selma District.  

The Right Reverend Philip R. Cousin, Sr., retired Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, delivered a stirring eulogy that comforted the family and helped the parishioners attending the service to have a deeper appreciation of Dr. Todd’s ministry and an appreciation of Anderson Todd, Jr. as husband, father, grandfather, uncle and “man of God.”  Bishop Philip R. Cousin, in his eulogy, likened Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. to the salt of the earth.

The Homegoing Service was held at beautiful St. John AME Church and there was not an empty seat; the sanctuary was full.

Family friends and acquaintances from Episcopal Districts across the United States attended the Celebration of the Life Service. Bishops, general officers, connectional officers, presiding elders, pastors and laity gathered to honor Dr. Todd’s ministry and work.

It was obvious that Dr. Todd was a dedicated and capable clergyman, but it was also evident that he was a man who was dedicated to his family, to young people and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

His daughter, Denise Todd Cottrell, said her father was committed to his family.  She said, “Daddy loved my mother and his children and he doted over his grandchildren. As we were growing up, he was a stern disciplinarian, but he mellowed as he got older.  Our mother used to say, ‘I am going to tell your dad’ and that stopped any misbehavior.”  “Sometimes he appeared gruff, but he was always kind and loving,” she said. Cottrell went on to say that her dad loved the AME Church and was a statesman for the Ninth Episcopal District. He especially loved mentoring young ministers.

The Reverend James E. Arnell, pastor of St. John, was the chief celebrant and Dr. Joel Jones served as the minister of music.  

The Prayer of Comfort was given by the Rev. Farrell Duncombe and the scripture lessons were read by the Rev. Michael A. Todd, Sr., son of Dr. Todd; the Reverend Oliver Allen;   and Mr. James C. Bonner, Jr., President of the Ninth Episcopal District Lay.

Ms. Fronzena W. Webster and Mrs. Cherrye B. Todd sang solos. Mr. Winfred Nicholas, minister of music at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church-Avondale, Birmingham, Alabama, accompanied Mrs. Cherrye Todd.

Reflections were given by the Rev. Dr. Jerome V. Harris, Executive Director of Annuities Investments and Insurance; the Rev. James E. Arnell; and Mr. Anderson Todd III, son of Dr. Todd.

The celebration ended with the singing of Andrae Crouch’s version of “Let the Church Say Amen”

The Trustees & Stewards of St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church served as the pallbearers.

His life

The Rev. Dr. Anderson Todd Junior was born in Birmingham, Alabama on May 28, 1929 to the late Anderson and Annie Bell Murphy Todd.

Dr. Todd was educated in the public school systems of Birmingham and received his Bachelor of Theology degree from Daniel Payne College.

Dr. Todd was a member of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church (Avondale) in Birmingham, Alabama when he accepted “the call” to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was admitted to the North Alabama Annual Conference in 1956 and was ordained an Itinerant Elder by Bishop Carey A. Gibbs in 1959. His first pastoral appointment was to Gaines Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1958 where he served for seven years. Dr. Todd was appointed to Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Florence, Alabama where he served for over nine years. While at greater St. Paul the Lord blessed his ministry as he led the congregation in relocating to a new sanctuary and purchasing a parsonage.

In 1974, Bishop Vinton R. Anderson (deceased) appointed Dr. Todd to St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Montgomery. He served the congregation for 16½ years. His leadership and dedication allowed the congregation to grow spiritually, physically, numerically and financially. During those years, a new concept of stewardship via tithing was implemented, the physical plant of the church was expanded, the property adjacent to the sanctuary was purchased, extensive renovations were made to the sanctuary and the parsonage was converted to the church annex.  He oversaw the expansion of the Youth Department of the church and the Good Samaritan Ministry Organization. Dr. Todd also helped the congregation to grow spiritually as they grew in numbers.

While a member of the North Alabama Conference Dr. Todd served as Treasurer of the Conference. He also served as the accountant for the Ninth Episcopal District, was a member of the Board of Directors of Daniel Payne College and served three terms on the Episcopal Committee of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and as Vice-Chair of the Commission of the Pension Department of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1990, Dr. Todd was elected to serve as a General Officer in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the position of Director of the Department of Ministerial Annuities. He served ably and admirably in this position for 14 years. When he began his tenure, the pension plan had 13 million dollars. Under his leadership, it grew to 47 million dollars.

Early in his ministry, Dr. Todd was the first African American appointed to the Florence City Board of Education, serving terms as Vice-Chair and Chair. Dr. Todd’s contributions in the community and the church afforded him recognition from the House of Representatives of the State of Alabama, the City and County of Montgomery, and the NAACP. He was recognized by that body for distinguished service in 1974.

On November 27, 1964, Dr. Todd married Ms. Verla L. Marks. They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November.

Dr. Todd transitioned this life’s journey on Saturday, July 26, 2014, at South Haven Health and Rehabilitation Center in Montgomery, Alabama.

A testament of his ministry

Several Bishops and General Officers who did not have an opportunity to speak at the Homegoing celebration wanted to share their reflections about the Reverend Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. in the order received.

-- Bishop A. J. Richardson, Presiding Prelate of the 11th Episcopal District

There is no way, in my opinion, that anyone could have a legitimate beef with Anderson Todd. He was gentlemanly, down to earth, conscientious about his work, and serious about his faith. He had an enormous capacity for good humor, especially with his seeming endless repertoire of stories about former presiding bishops, presiding elders, and pastors in his beloved Alabama. Our gracious God blessed him with a long and fruitful life. I am grateful for his service and gift to African Methodism and consider my wife and me to have been among his friends.  

-- Dr. George F. Flowers, Executive Director of Global Witness and Ministry

Dr. Anderson Todd, served the African Methodist Episcopal Church on many levels, but his distinguished service record as Secretary-Treasurer of Pensions was appreciated by many clergy and their families. He will be remembered for his steadfastness to Christ and the church!

-- Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Executive Secretary, AMEC Sunday School Union

Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. was committed to insuring that ministers had the opportunity to have a retirement income on par other denominations.  He loved the ministry and cared for the clergy and their families.   His commitment to clergy and their families was a blessing to the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

-- Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Presiding Prelate of the 17th Episcopal district and AMEC Endorsing Agent

Dr. Todd had a genuine interest in the well being of pastor's and their families. Constantly he reminded and admonished us to prepare for our and our families futures. I thank God for his commitment and dedication to the well being of the foot soldiers in our Zion. He has earned the reward of the faithful.

-- Dr. Jerome V. Harris, Executive Director, AMEC Retirement Services

Having been lifelong member of St. John’s AME Church in Montgomery, Alabama; I was privileged to know Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. for many years, both as my pastor and as my personal friend. He was a devoted servant of God that stood tall in physical statue, but he stood even taller in the eyes of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Because of his influence throughout the church, as well as his vast knowledge of the “inner workings” of the church, he was sought out by many in the church leadership to be a wise advisor and a trusted confidant.

Over the nearly 30 years of my ministry during which I was honored to serve seven (7) churches as a pastor, Dr. Todd was always available to me as a caring counselor and a much appreciated mentor. Ours was truly a friendship nurtured by mutual admiration and respect one for another.

Upon his retirement as a General Officer in the year 2000, it was largely because of that friendship and his recommendation that I was chosen to be his successor and was elected a General Officer and the seventh Executive Director of the department in which I am now privileged to serve.

I will forever remember Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. and the positive impact that he had on my life and my ministry.

And as I write these few words, I am humorously reminded of the words of a favorite expression that he would so often use: “I don’t make the news, I just report it.”

Well done thou good and faithful servant. Rest in Peace.

-- Bishop John R. Bryant, Presiding Prelate of the 4th Episcopal District /AMEC Senior Bishop

It was my pleasure to serve as Chair of Dr Todd's Commission for a Quadrennium, and during that time I grew to appreciate what a gift he was to the Connectional Church. He grew our fund from $40 million to over $70 million. He did his job in a professional manner, and his financial ministry proved to be a blessing to our entire Church.

-- Paulette Coleman, Ph.D., Retired General Officer

Dr. Anderson Todd and I had offices that were down the hall from each other in the Sunday School Union building. He was always encouraging and freely shared his wit and wisdom.

As a General Officer, he was even-tempered, level-headed, and clear-thinking.  His vision was to grow the funds entrusted to his care as Executive Secretary of the Department of Ministerial Annuities, strategically and judiciously.  He did that well!  He believed firmly, that he had a God-ordained responsibility and sacred trust to take care of the people’s money responsibly.

Dr. Todd loved Alabama, the Ninth Episcopal District, and the people of Alabama.  He cherished his family. As a pioneering school board member, he was committed to educational excellence for all of the students in the pubic schools of Montgomery. May his legacy of faithful service to God, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, his family and community be forever etched in our hearts, minds and spirits.

Jamye Coleman Williams, Ph. D. Retired General Officer

Sitting quietly and sorrowfully in the celebration of the life of my General Officer colleague and friend, I was comforted by Bishop Philip R. Cousin’s eulogy in which he likened Dr. Anderson Todd, Jr. to the salt of the earth.  The Anderson Todd I knew for a quarter of a century impressed me as a Christian gentleman of unquestioned integrity, a devoted family man, a loyal friend.  His memory is entrenched in African Methodist history because of his devoted service as a successful pastor and his ministry beyond the walls.  Although we are separated from him physically, he will be with us in our memories as one who enriched our lives.

Dr. Todd’s family legacy:

He leaves to cherish his precious memories; a loving, caring, devoted, and faithful wife, Mrs. Verla L. Todd; five dedicated children: Anderson Todd III (Cherrye), Senora Lockett (Joe), the Rev. Michael A. Todd, Sr. (Lorena); Selina G. Todd, all of Birmingham, AL., and Verla Denise Cottrell (Curtis) of  Nashville, Tennessee; spiritual son and daughter: Ira Simmons and Joyce Simmons, Montgomery AL; five grandchildren: Elena White (Kori) Birmingham, AL., Michael A. Todd, Jr. (Elida) Fayetteville, NC., Anderson Todd IV (Stephanie) Charlotte, NC., Angela Williams, and Marlon Todd, all of Birmingham; fourteen great grandchildren: Olivia White, Noah White, Jonah White, Anderson Todd V, Greyson Todd, Zion Williams, Josiah Williams, Sage Williams, Salah Williams, Zayla Knight, Karrington Todd, Michilie Todd, Mykayla Todd, TaMarla Todd; niece: Malinda Todd, Chicago, IL, and a host of extended family members and friends.

*TCR EditorialThe Most Violated Commandment, Part 2 will be continued in the next issue.



Renaissance Nashville Hotel
611 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203

Group Rate: 169/night (Single/Double Occupancy)


Call (877) 901-6632 and reference the AME Church Rook Block.

Online reservations can be made using the following link: Renaissance Hotel Online Reservation

The General Conference Commission will start at 12 noon on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 and end at Noon on Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

The WMS Quadrennial Planning Committee will meet at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

-- The deadline to make your reservation is October 15, 2014.  After that date the group rate can no longer be guaranteed.


The Music and Christian Art Ministry (MCAM) recently released the historic first connectional AME Mass Choir recording titled AME LIVE.

Please help MCAM promote the CD by calling your local radio station and requesting them to play the single release from the CD entitled, "Nobody like Our God" featuring Myron Butler and International AME Church Mass Choir.  The CD is available for your personal listening pleasure via iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify and CD Baby.

Click here to listen to the CD: https://itun.es/us/Aa-R1

Submitted by the Rev. Anthony B. Vinson, Sr, Director
Music and Christian Arts Ministry, AMEC


*Mr. George Stephen 

The 131st Session of the Canadian Annual Conference was held in Windsor, Ontario August 7-10, 2014.

The Annual Conference was hosted by Bethlehem Fellowship AME Church, the Rev. Larry Wilson Jr., pastor; and Price Memorial AME Church, the Rev. Tracy Thomas pastor and Presiding Elder.

Bishop John Richard Bryant, Presiding Prelate of the 4th Episcopal District and Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church presided over the Conference and greeted clergy and laity as he opened the session.

The conference was organized with the appointing of the conference secretaries and marshals and the finance and judiciary committees were put in place.  The Rev. Cory Millben from Grant AME Church in Toronto, Ontario addressed a piece of the new legislation that came from the Canada Revenue Agency that affects the structure of the AME Church in Canada.  He went on to say that the physical property of the church is to be treated as a non-profit entity and the local church has to have its own Board of Directors, which must be made up lay persons, no clergy. 

The Bishop in his address to the conference mentioned that the headquarters building of the Fourth District office has been restored. During the Bishop’s overview of upcoming events, he stated that the Fourth District Christian Education Congress will not be held in 2015 due to the convening of the WMS Quadrennial.  Bishop Bryant also said that we must pray that God will raise up preachers with zeal.  He then spoke of the growth of the AME Church in India, which now has 105 churches.

Bishop Bryant introduced the Rev. Dr. Cecelia Williams - Bryant the Senior Episcopal Supervisor of the AME Church, who told us that the next Quadrennial will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2015. The Rev. "C" explained to us in detail, what she is expecting from the Canadian Conference.  

The speaker of the “Hour of Power” was the Rev. Wayne Anthony Lewis from The Word Incorporated AME Church in Malton, Ontario.  The Rev. Lewis gave a powerful word and moving sermon about trusting God, putting your faith in God and not leaning on your own knowledge.
The reports from the local churches were held following lunch.

The preacher for the opening worship service was the Rev. Randolph Phillips from Robinson AME Church in Montreal, Ontario, who preached on the topic, “How Thirsty are you?” taken from John 4:14, based on the account of the “Woman at the Well.”

The WMS held a fundraising walk-a-thon in support of Marissa Alexander, to assist with her defence and legal fees prior to the start of the Friday morning session.

The Conference Trustee Board met to deal with some of the topics at hand and we heard from the Board of Examiners.

Brother Tommy Wilson of Bethlehem Fellowship in Windsor, Ontario was presented to the Conference to be considered for his second year and to be ordained a Deacon at the Saturday Ordination Service. The Rev. Canute Davis was moved on to the 4th Year Studies.

Friday’s noontime "Hour of Power" was led by the Women In Ministry (WIM). The Rev. Celia James from Robinson AME Church delivered a moving and powerful sermon.

Following the lunch break we continued with reports. Bishop Bryant gave a brief report on Camp Baber and encouraged church members and their families to make use of the camp.  The Rev Brian Warren reported on the State of the Nation and the Rev. Denise Johnson reported on the State of the Church.

Following the reports the Bishop asked the Disciplinary Questions. Bishop Bryant directed all the ministers who did not have an organized Lay Organization or Missionary Society to return to their respective churches and see that they are established.

Friday evening Lay Night service under the direction of Conference President, Sister Wendy St Cyr was powerful and the Spirit was high.

We were blessed by the music ministries from Robinson AME Church and the "Men of Praise" from Grant AME Church in Toronto, Ontario.  The Rev Canute Davis ministered for the service and was recognized by the Bishop for his willingness to serve and gifted ability to play the piano.  The speaker was The Rev. Cory Millben from Grant AME Church who delivered an inspiring and moving sermon entitled, "This is what I want."  The scripture was taken from Mark 10:46-52. He said when Jesus asked the blind man, "What do you want me to do," the blind man said "Give me vision."  It is the vision of the AME Church to get the Word of God to the people to fulfill the Commission of Jesus Christ. 

Raishaun Provo from Grant AME Church in Toronto received a scholarship of $1000 from the Canadian Conference Lay Organization Scholarship fund.  He sent a letter to the CCLO stating his appreciation, and thanks for the scholarship. Nyah Hernandez from Grant AME Church also received a scholarship of $1000 from the CCLO Scholarship fund and an additional $1000 from the 4th District Lay Scholarship Fund. The Fourth District Lay organization President Sister Marge White presented the award. Nyah Hernandez offered words of thanks and appreciation.

The WMS and YPD Conventions were held Saturday morning at the same time as the Memorial Service and Ordination.

The Memorial Service was conducted by the Rev. Alcott Germany. The following dedicated servants were memorialized: Bishop Vinton R. Anderson, Bishop Sarah Francis Jackson Davis, General officer the Rev. Dr. Anderson Todd, and Episcopal Supervisor Vida Bright.

The speaker for the Ordination Service was the Rev. Lila Martin from the Michigan Conference. Her text was from Matthew 10:16, and II Timothy 1:5. She spoke on the topic, "À Charge to Keep I Have Even among Wolves." The Rev. Martin expressed the thought of whatever you do and wherever you go, you must remember that to be a minister is the highest calling.

On the afternoon of Saturday August 9th, the Lay Organization met for their business meeting. The Fourth District Lay President Madge White addressed the meeting and gave remarks.

Daniel Brown, President of the Canadian Conference YPD did an excellent job of presiding over the Youth Night program. Bishop Bryant offered words of encouragement. The young people from Montreal presented a skit and ministered through dance. Amara Phillips delivered a powerful message to the youth. Shayne Lord from Grant Church ministered with a piano selection. The youth from Bethlehem Fellowship AME Church gave a presentation and Bible challenge and Ciara and Mariah Travis from Campbell AME sang a duet. We then closed with the benediction.

Sunday August 10th the closing worship service was held.  The letters that had been written by the WMS and others to the United Nations in support of the return of the young girls taken captive in Nigeria several months ago were blessed.  Bishop Bryant preached the closing message saying that when God is with you, God will protect you. Jesus knows His intention for you, and it’s always greater then our own intention for us.

Following the offering by the finance committee, the Resolutions were read by the Rev. Alcott Germany.

A summary of statistics for the nine churches in the Canadian Conference were read.

Prior to the reading of the appointments, the hymn, "Go preach my gospel" was sung.

Bishop Bryant read the appointments returning the Rev. Tracey Thomas as Presiding Elder for the Conference year 2014 -2015.  All pastors were returned to their respective charges.

The service closed with the benediction.

Mr. George Stephen was a delegate to the Canadian Annual Conference 


October 20, 2013

101-year old Vivien Vance Cherry graduated from Cheyney in 1960. CUNAA honored her with an award as CU's oldest alumnus at the President's Legacy Brunch on Sunday to conclude Homecoming Week.

Vivien Vance Cherry was honored by the Cheyney University National Alumni Association (CUNAA) Sunday, October 20, for being the University’s oldest living alumnus. The longtime Ardmore, PA native with a magnetic personality was unable to accept the award in person but her nephew, Television Anchor Jim Vance, who graduated from Cheyney in 1964, accepted on her behalf. He and his cousin, Cheyney University Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President Sheilah Vance, have set up a scholarship in their aunt's name to benefit Cheyney students.

“I feel very fortunate to have reached this stage of the game,” the centenarian admitted, when contacted by phone. "And I'm honored that Cheyney has given me this award."

Looking back over the years, Cherry has quite a story to tell. After graduating from Lower Merion High School in 1929, she enrolled in West Chester State Teacher’s College (known now as West Chester University) to pursue a teaching degree. Unfortunately, she had to drop out of college after a year because of the Great Depression.

“No one could afford college back then,” she recalls, especially an African American family with so many children. She pursued a number of jobs after dropping out of school, eventually settling in as a clerk for the U. S. government.
Then, in 1956, at the age of 42, the wife and mother of two decided to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. Instead of resuming her education at West Chester, she decided to apply to Cheyney.

"I called the Admissions Office and asked them if they would accept someone as old as me," she recalls. Cheyney accepted all of her credits and Cherry spent the next four years commuting back and forth from the Main Line to complete her degree at America’s first institution for higher education for African Americans. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Cherry insists.

She went on to become Upper Merion School District's first African American teacher. “I wanted to help kids learn how to be better in the world,” she says, and that is exactly what she did. Always upbeat and positive, Cherry taught for 18 years at Candle Brook Elementary School in Upper Merion Township under Principal Shirley Fine and Critic Teacher Carol Aaron, both of whom told the superintendent of schools that Cherry was the best teacher in the building. Cherry retired from teaching in 1977.

She has spent her time since doing civic duties in her community, attending Bethel AME Church in Ardmore where she was honored as Woman of the Year, cooking, knitting and enjoying her family and friends.

On November 8, Cherry will celebrate her 102nd birthday with her two surviving siblings—her 87 year old sister, with whom she lives, and her baby brother who is 80.

Funeral details:

Saturday, September 13, 2014;
Viewing from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Service at 11 a.m.

Bethel AME Church,
163 Sheldon Lane,
Ardmore, PA 19003

Cheyney University National Alumni Association, Inc.


*Jaevon Williams

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few weeks in Peru to do lots of community service projects and experience some of the Peruvian lifestyles. The trip was definitely an eye-opening adventure.

I, along with 16 other students and 4 leaders, made our first stop in Iquitos for the first 8 days of this journey. Iquitos is a large city in Peru topped with an immense amount of poverty. While in Iquitos, some of the service projects we embarked on included bringing food and basic essential supplies / household items for families in need, spending time at an all-girls orphanage, and we even bought a house for a family.

One night we slept in the slums of Bélen, one of the most impoverished and dangerous cities in Iquitos, to fully experience how the Peruvians slept and lived.

The opportunity to witness and experience with my very own eyes the way the poor lived in a "third world country" was an experience I will never forget. That night was extremely difficult for me in that cockroaches were climbing up the walls, vicious hungry dogs were attacking the house the entire night and just the fear of being in a very dangerous section of Peru constantly ran through my mind. I realized that I had to dig deep within myself and pray that God would protect me and allow me to make it through the night. I had the faith to know that he would keep me out of harms' way and having that faith alone took all the worry and fear out of me to make it through the night.

Once the night was over and we were gathering our belongings and saying our goodbyes to the families that allowed us to stay in their home, I realized just how blessed I was.  The one-night stay in the Bélen home was just an “adventure” that I had to endure for only one night. Many Peruvians live that life everyday with rarely any way to escape the poverty and deprivation.
Those generous and kind people did not choose their life-style, but they are doing the best to survive and to provide for themselves and their families every single day. Life may not seem fair, but God is always there; ensuring that those people might see another day. Of course they have struggles beyond the capacity of our imagination but they remain positive and know they can do something about their lives, rather than mope around waiting for foreigners to give them a helping hand. I admired the drive and determination of the Peruvians.

After leaving Iquitos, we were able to do more of the adventurous activities of the trip. We swam in the Amazon River, stayed in the Amazon rainforest and met the Bora Bora Tribe. We even took a 22-mile hike on the Andes Mountains to see Machu Picchu, one of the Wonders of the World. While on the 22-mile trek, I realized that I was suffering from altitude sickness and it was only getting worse the higher we got up the mountain. A constant and extremely painful headache formed and I began to feel nauseous. I felt that at any moment I could break down into tears from the severe headache or experience painful vomiting even though I had an empty stomach. Mind you, it was below freezing weather and got colder the higher we climbed.

The experience of the hike up the Andes Mountain was the second time I had to dig deep during this trip. I prayed for God to release me from the pain or at least keep me from suffering and being too miserable throughout the entire hike and miss the breathtaking landscapes. I knew that there were no hospitals for miles and I also knew that there was not much I could do to treat the altitude sickness except pray and hope for relief. I was able to push through a lot of the pain with the help of Jesus and make it over the mountain peak where my altitude sickness was at its worst. Once we started descending, the pain started to go away and I felt a sense of accomplishment. Without God being beside me, I know I could not have made it through those 3 days of hiking.

Overall, the trip has only strengthened my relationship with The Lord and allowed me to have faith that everything WILL work out in the end. It was a trip that I will hold dear to my heart because my faith not only grew, but my compassion for the Peruvians grew as well. I learned more from my own personal struggles on that trip more than I ever imagined. In the end it was clear to me that life may not seem fair, but God is always there

Jaevon Williams is a 17 year old high school Drama Student at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (High School Program). He is the son of Joy Curvan, a member at Mt. Zion AME Church in Greensboro, North Carolina; the Rev. Henry Davis is the pastor


By Angelena Spears
Philadelphia Conference Reporter

When two become one, it usually refers to a man and woman uniting in holy matrimony – but in the Philadelphia Conference it also can mean the union of two congregations; that is what happened when two churches – Disney AME and Ruffin Nichols AME merged and were pronounced the new Disney-Nichols African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The merger happened 18 months ago and just like successful marriages – it has taken a lot of hard work and planning.  Just ask the Rev. Jacqueline Capers who serves as the pastor of the merged congregations.

Through her experience in helping to steer the merger from conception to reality – she is more than qualified to write a book on what makes church mergers successful – and to offer important tips to other churches seeking “tried and true” advice.

Prior to the merger’s conception, the Rev. Capers served as the pastor of Ruffin Nichols for five years.  During that time, the congregation constantly struggled with how to maintain their 168-year-old church building, located at 1108 Lemon Street in Center City, Philadelphia.

The Rev. Capers said it was during this struggle that the idea first came to her to consider selling the church building.  However, unconvinced that the members would embrace the idea, she didn’t act right away.  It was when their then presiding elder, the Rev. Dr. Vernard Leak, visited the church unannounced, that the confirmation was clear. The Rev. Leak is now the presiding elder of the New Brunswick District in the New Jersey Conference.

Pastor Capers says that the Rev. Leak pulled her aside and asked her point blank, “What is the Lord telling you to do?” 

The Rev. Capers says the Rev. Leak’s visit gave her the confidence to move forward and the building was sold in October 2011.  The new owners eventually demolished the building and built several residential structures on the site.

The Ruffin Nichols congregation spent several months searching for a new church home. They worshipped at the Waters Memorial Fire House and rented a church in the Philadelphia area. Ruffin Nichols congregation even considered merging with another congregation.

As Ruffin Nichols continued looking for a permanent location, the Rev. Anthony P. Booker, pastor of Disney AME Church, unexpectedly died – leaving that congregation without a pastor.  They were being shepherded by their presiding elder, the Rev. Jocelyn K. Hart, who was leading their worship services and providing pastoral support.

Presiding Elder Hart had begun meetings with the Disney congregation to ascertain the overall condition of that church.  Disney was asked how they saw their church moving forward and what they needed to maintain and to grow their congregation.  A series of meetings were held to gather this information. 

As a result of this process, the idea was conceived to combine Disney and Ruffin Nichols.  Presiding Elder Hart received permission from Bishop Gregory G.M Ingram, Presiding Prelate of the First Episcopal District to discuss the matter with the Rev. Capers who embraced the possibility.

Presiding Elder Hart says the merger clearly met the needs of both congregations.  Disney had members, a building and no pastor, while Ruffin Nichols had a pastor, members and finances to move forward – but lacked a permanent location. 

Following a series of meetings the officers of both churches met.  Presiding Elder Hart recalls that “a spirit of unity and love prevailed” during those initial meetings.  Later, the concept of a merger was presented to both congregations.  Time was allowed for questions and discussions, after which both congregations voted for the merger.

The two congregations began worshipping together in February of 2013.  Over the next three months, the Rev. Capers and Presiding Elder Hart worked together to submit the proper papers through the channels of the Philadelphia Annual Conference, which included the Department of Missions, Circuits and Stations and the Philadelphia Conference Trustees.  Once the merger had the blessing of Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram and all of the documentation was received -- the merger was official.

The Rev. Caper’s extensive corporate background in system’s management has been an added asset to the merger process.  She works as an SAP manager, project manager and consultant for various companies such as Lockheed Martin, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Hibu, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Aventis Behring.

The Rev. Capers believes a successful merger involves several key phases, which she outlines as the assessment, blueprint, feasibility and implementation phases.

Step One: The Assessment.

The Rev. Capers says the first step in considering a church merger is to carefully assess the situation.  She said prayer is a critical part of the process because you need to have a clear vision of what God is saying.

Step Two: Devise a Blue Print.

This part of the process includes drawing up a blueprint, meeting with the officials from both churches to clearly define all of the pros and cons associated with moving forward in the direction that has been outlined. The blueprint looks at the current state and the potential future state as a result of the merger.

In addition, the blueprint will project the number of people that will attend the new church, what the congregation will look like and the potential new church name.

 Step Three:  Feasibility Study and Template.

During the feasibility study, the church must ascertain the cost of the project and have a good idea of how much money will be needed upfront in advance of selling the building.    A good feasibility study will project how much money will be realized from the sale and then outline exactly how the church will use those proceeds.  The Rev. Capers says this is a crucial step, because it provides accountability of all funds and charts the course for the merged congregations.

“Once you meet with the boards and discuss how the funds will be utilized, they are more likely to sign off on the project,” she said.  “The proof is in the paperwork and the paperwork provides an audit trail.”

In addition to the feasibility study, a template needs to be drafted that includes a breakdown of everything.  This template should include the church’s history, an outline of the membership, and how the church has evolved over the years, etc.  The Rev. Capers said a good template is important because it provides the documentation of the state of the church supports the need to merge and provides the required documentation for the bishop’s office and Conference Board of Trustees.

Step Four:  Implementation.

At the onset of the implementation phase, decisions are made regarding which attorneys and realtor(s) will be used.  Any liens would have been identified and addressed prior to the sale.  And all required documentation is gathered fro the Conference Board of Trustees.

Earlier this year, just like successful marriages, the Disney-Nichols congregation celebrated their one year anniversary.  Their theme was, “The Two Have Become One.”

Presiding Elder Hart was the worship leader for the service that was attended by a host of preachers, and current and former presiding elders and members. 

Among those in attendance were Presiding Elder Leak – who traveled from New Jersey, and Presiding Elder Charles H. Lett, Sr., of the Mainline District of the Philadelphia Annual Conference.  Presiding Elder Lett said it was important for him to be there because Disney had been his first pastoral charge. 

“I was so happy to see many of the visions I had when I was the pastor, come true under the leadership of the Rev. Capers,” said Elder Lett.

The preacher was Bishop Ingram, who brought an uplifting and insightful message.  He said, “It is not so much where you are from – but where you are going, that makes the difference.”

“You don’t have to have a big cathedral for God to show up,” said Bishop Ingram.  And he reminded everyone that “the primary purpose of the church is to save souls.”

“Don’t ever get to a point where you are worshipping these walls,” Bishop Ingram cautioned.

During the celebration, the church building was also dedicated. The Rev. Capers and the Trustees spearheaded the renovation of the entire building using the proceeds from the Ruffin Nichols sale.  There are plans to rename the third floor "the Nichols Hall" -- in memory of the Ruffin Nichols church.

At the celebration, several members were recognized for their dedication to their churches before the merger and for the significant roles they played in the merger process.

Three women who were singled out and given plaques of appreciation for the work of their late husbands were:  Sister Sheila Booker, wife the Rev. Anthony P. Booker; Sister Emily Ransome, wife of the Rev. Percy Ransome; and Sister Dannie Nesmith, wife of the Rev. James Nesmith, a former pastor of Ruffin Nichols.

The Rev. Caper's husband, Terrance, was also publicly thanked for his support of the ministry. Behind the scenes, he stayed home many Sundays to help take care of his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia and lives with the couple.

His support has allowed the Rev. Capers to tend to the ministry at Disney, continue with her full-time position as a traveling consultant, and also to spend time with her father while he was battling brain cancer.  The Rev. Caper's dad died earlier this year.

The Rev. Capers said some people thought the merger would not work, but it clearly has.  More than 68 people have joined since the two congregations united. Pastor Capers believes there is no secret what God can do.  And she declares, "He is worthy of all the praise!"


By Faithe Colas

One hundred and forty five years ago St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal church was established in Milwaukee.  The first African American church in Wisconsin, St. Mark AME has impacted not only it’s congregation but the entire community of Milwaukee through ministry and service to others. 

Whether members of St. Mark are providing schools supplies or coats for children or hosting a financial planning workshop for congregation members and the public, serving all God’s people is the mission.

“We are in the soul saving business. We know in order to save souls and bring individuals and families to Christ, we have to meet all their needs with open arms,” said Darryl Williams, pastor of St. Mark. 

Community leaders including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett shared congratulatory messages to St. Mark in a video, a commemorative video, and anniversary book.

In April, as part of the 145th year celebration, St. Mark hosted an interfaith worship service with St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Nearly 50 members of St. Francis worshipped with members of St. Mark.  Father Mike Bertram shared the pulpit with Pastor Darryl Williams in a joint message of universal love and caring for others.

The anniversary’s grand finale celebration included a worship service featuring gospel recording artist Phebe Hines, who shared her God given voice of music & testimony with the St. Mark family.

Bishop Reginald Jackson, the Presiding Bishop of the 20th Episcopal District and Ecumenical officer of the A.M.E. Church, delivered an inspiring and motivational message about “moving beyond the comfort of our present ministries in order to reach phenomenal expectations.”

Bishop Jackson was absolutely fantastic! He motivated all who were present to celebrate God’s goodness but to never rest on one’s laurels. As a result, I and many others were inspired to do more to carry on the rich and impactful legacy of St Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Lastly, we at St. Mark thank God for the leadership of our dynamic pastor, The Rev Darryl Williams, who truly is the impetus behind our passion to make a difference!


The question was posed in 1 John 3:17, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"

Under the direction of the Reverend Dr. Harry L. Seawright and the Reverend Sherita M. Seawright, pastor and assistant pastor of Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (UBAMEC) located in Temple Hills and Brandywine, Maryland,

One of the non-profit organizations founded under their ministries, Bethel House, Inc. is providing for the multitudes. Bethel House, Inc. established in 1993, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in Brandywine, is showing the love of God and “reaching the masses” by fulfilling their mission “to provide holistic care and services to individuals and families by addressing the spiritual, physical, and mental health needs of those who seek assistance.” Bethel House is meeting the charge.

Recently the agency received a $10,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Human Resources, Office of Special Programs, to expand and enhance their food pantry. According to Mrs. Ethel Shepard-Powell, Acting Executive Director and the Rev. Tsaka Dutch-Malik, Director of UBAMEC's Outreach Ministry, “This award is another step towards meeting the needs of those less fortunate and increasing the presence of Bethel House and Union Bethel in Southern Maryland. Not only will this award help individuals in need, it also will allow youth to assist with the food pantry as a way of giving back to the community while earning community service hours for school."

In addition to further fulfill the mission; Bethel House was also recently awarded a grant in the amount of $10,000 through the Walton Community Fund for Prince George's County from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region to provide emergency assistance to families and individuals at risk of eviction, foreclosure and loss of utilities.

Bethel House works tirelessly to bless its community and is most appreciative of the support from state, local agencies and community leaders in recognizing the impact and importance of Bethel House, Inc. in their efforts in “reaching the masses.”

Bethe House, Inc. services include feeding the hungry, pastoral counseling to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, job skills training, rehabilitative services to those suffering from alcohol and/or drug addiction, individuals suffering from depression, disease, cancer, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases. Bethel House's services meet the community's needs.

Bethel House carries out its mission and vision through the following programs: Helping Hands, Love in Action, Families in Healing, and Youth for a Positive Future. So far, in 2014, Bethel House has received $107,250 for the "Love in Action" program.

As Bethel House continues to “reach the masses”, supporters of this monumental effort may make donations through the Combined Federal Campaign (#19455), United Way (#8071), through www.thebethelhouse.org, or by calling 301-372-1700.

The Reverend Kim Hutchinson
Union Bethel AME Church
Telephone: (516) 998-6359


*The Reverend Darryl R. Williams, Pastor of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has stirred up a myriad of reactions. One of the most common and the one I want to focus upon in this article is “Why are persons choosing to respond by rioting, looting, and tearing up their own community?” It’s to be noted that this question is usually asked by the “more fortunate” middle to high income people denoting their failure to understand the psychology or mindset of the powerless and poverty stricken in our society.
Some of the conservative news channel commentators have been even more mean-spirited in their analysis, referring to the rioters as “hoodlums.” While there  may be some truth that there are criminals that take advantage of these kind of situations, to dismiss all rioters as “hoodlums” is just too easy and may be our way of turning a blind eye to what is really being said when people riot.

The riots of Ferguson that occurred in the aftermath of the tragic death of Michael Brown were not simply the result of this one incident. Riots, as Dr. Martin Luther King noted, is the “language of the unheard.” It is the reaction of a people who feel helpless, hopeless, and un-empowered. They have suffered a series of real or perceived injustices, and finally there’s one trigger incident that pushes them “over the top.”
Riots have everything to do with being keenly aware of the economic and social gap that exists between the rioter and those who have more. In some cases the rioter does not feel in charge of their lives and have little hope of changing their circumstances. To prove this theory, it is interesting to note that people who are part of the country’s mainstream do not riot, more often than not it is the economically and socially oppressed who riot.
The helpless and hopeless feel their only option is to resort to violence in order to get attention; even if it’s violence to their own communities. The anger and frustration of a rioter often reaches such a high level that any moral reticence that an individual may have had is subordinated to the mindset of the group, often referred to as the "contagion theory," which is why you may see people who may not ordinarily engage in some acts alone find themselves doing these acts when they are part of a group. Group behavior at times supersedes individual behavior.

I am certainly not trying to justify rioting; in fact it is counter-productive because it is rarely effective.

Revolutions are often successful because they are well thought-out and highly organized. Riots, most often, are ineffective because they are fueled by emotions and lack organization. The only benefit a rioter derives is some emotional relief for some long-felt frustration and anger. Dr. King says rioters “know they cannot win and that is precisely why they riot. It is not a response to "the system," but a reaction. It is the way the powerless display frustration.”

I lift up the psychology of rioters, not to justify their actions, but to help understand them and seek ways to provide more healthy ways to combat am unfair system.

Is there also a psychology of looting? Let’s be clear, looting is a criminal behavior.

But what is driving the criminal behavior?

I know a person who was fired from her job for taking items that did not belong to her. After it happened, I asked myself “Why did she do it?”

I came to this conclusion that she did it because she lacked education, saw items that she wanted; but knew that she had no way to legally acquire the items. It didn’t matter how she got them, but getting them made her feel powerful.

She made bad choices, but there are people who didn’t make the bad choices she made, who are still unemployed or underemployed, and who feel powerless and because of that, given the opportunity such as in the mass confusion of a riot, would be tempted to resort to this kind of behavior.

The Church’s Response
Psychology and theology are connected in this sense: If we can understand someone’s behavior, there is hope that we can find the corrective action to treat it.

Our response as African Americans should not be to simply dismiss rioters as hooligans, thugs, and opportunists, but to understand what is “being said” by their rioting and looting.

The theme that I continue to put forth is that they riot because that is how some disenfranchised, oppressed, and un-empowered people express themselves.

I am reminded that Jesus took twelve un-empowered Jewish men who, along with the people of their society were being oppressed by the Roman government. Jesus empowered them and taught them a higher way of living and the men did not negatively react to the government nor to their Jewish authorities; they responded by staying true to the principals and truths instilled in them by their Jesus. The result: They turned the world upside down!

Too many of our people today feel that they are hopeless and helpless victims of their circumstances and rather than embarking on the journey to better themselves, or constructively engage social systems that seek to keep them down; they do what hopeless people do, they riot and loot.

If hopelessness is the root cause of this kind of behavior then don’t we, the church, have the proper antidote? We do and it's not criticism and judgment, but Jesus Christ!

I’m not suggesting that giving them Jesus Christ means just a message on Sunday, but it also means offering them literacy and GED programs. It means job training, teaching them about their African heritage and the contributions of their fore parents. It’s teaching them how to be responsible parents. It’s loving them for who they are and showing them how to be politically engaged. It is teaching them to respect themselves and others. It is teaching them about the truths of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: followers of Jesus Christ have hope because life always wins out over death, victory over defeat, and light over darkness.

As Bishop Reginald Jackson often says, “A world at its worst needs a church at its best.”

We can do it! The future of our people offers us no choice!

*The Reverend Darryl R. Williams, Pastor of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


The Rev. Velma E. Grant, M.Div., Th.M

Professional football player Ray Rice was recently dismissed from the National Football League team, the Baltimore Ravens because of domestic violence. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller was arrested in Georgia on August 9, 2014 for beating up his wife at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta. A few years ago the entertainer Chris Brown was arrested for beating his then girlfriend Rihanna.  Televangelist Juanita Bynum was the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her then husband Bishop Thomas Weeks, III.  This article will not rehash the much publicized events particularly the Ray Rice situation but highlight the importance of the Church’s obligation to address matters that are critical issues in society and ultimately affect members of the Church.

The above incidents are not the only publicized reports of domestic abuse, but they involve high profile individuals who were either caught on video displaying despicable behavior or were arrested because of such violent behavior. One wonders if some despicable behavior were not caught on camera if the world would have been privy to the abuse and violence that seems part of the ordinary chain of life events for some individuals.

Although domestic abuse takes many forms (psychological, emotional, financial) it is the violent action that gets the most attention or publicity because the scars from violence are more obvious and life threatening than the other forms of domestic abuse.

Domestic violence should never be condoned by anyone and no excuse should be tolerated. Excuses such as “he/she provoked me,” “it was an accident,” “it’s a private matter between a couple,” and the most devastating excuse “I deserved it.” These are just a few that have been uttered as a means to justify the abusive behavior but certainly not an exhaustive list of all explanations or excuses.

 In the above-mentioned incidents, all of the victims are females and the abusers are males.  In the 21st century, men are both abusers and victims and similarly women are both victims and abusers but the statistics are greater with women as victims. Domestic abuse is wrong and is a criminal act whether or not the abuser is female or male. An abuser should not “get a free pass” because of their gender, status, political influence or financial resources.

Rarely do victims of domestic abuse report the abuse or the abuser to the church, law enforcement officials or even family. A certain shame as well as guilt accompanies those that are being abused. Sometimes it seems that to live in silence is the only option, but the result of that is that the victim also becomes another statistic in the growing number of victims killed by their abusers.

 The AMEC Discipline explicitly addresses the issue of domestic violence on page 288-89 of the 2012 edition.  The Discipline addresses the repercussions facing both clergy and any lay member. In the case of any clergy person the Discipline states “…having been conclusively and finally adjudicated guilty by a court of law of violence against a household or family member shall be referred to either the Ministerial Efficiency Committee or the Judicial Committee….action which may include expulsion.” The section addressing any layperson is somewhat similar with the exception of the referral to the Ministerial Efficiency Committee. The lay member is instead referred to the “…church conference for disciplinary action which may include expulsion.”

Most AMEC members both clergy and layperson are familiar with the denomination’s stance on sexual harassment but not so with domestic violence. The increased awareness about sexual harassment is probably due to the frequent mandatory sessions on the topic, which more than likely was propelled by the vast number of sexual harassment lawsuits affecting the church.
What then is the responsibility of the AMEC and its members to this epidemic that is no longer silent or assigned to remain behind closed doors? The responsibility is to be vigilant, be aware of the warning signs of domestic violence, and conduct workshops to make members aware of these signs. Conduct workshops that will teach individuals how to communicate effectively and teach how to manage anger.

 Anger or other psychological issues are often the root cause of abusive actions. In those cases, it will usually take more than “take it to the Lord in prayer” but will require counseling from a licensed professional as well as prescribed medication to help the individual deal with emotional outburst and abusive behavior.

Have adequate resources and or referrals readily available to assist the victims who with help and care can become survivors. Be caring and emphatic particularly if you are a clergy, if someone reports that they are in an abusive relationship by no means assign blame to the victim or send the individual back with instructions “not to provoke the abuser” or “to be submissive.” That potential death sentence will not only destroy one life but two lives and perhaps an entire family.

Just as both clergy and laity are informed and drilled about the consequences of sexual harassment, make sure that members are informed about the AMEC’s stance on domestic violence. Section XVIII. C. (page 288-289) details the church’s stance that does not only apply to matrimonial relationships but also to those who are dating or engaged. The policy should also apply to teenage couples in a relationship. Teenaged couples experience a high incidence of abuse that usually is unreported. The teens and young adults should be aware of this policy, and should be taught how to handle life issues without contemplating violence or harm to someone else.

There are enough violent events occurring in society and if the church can be the vehicle to promote healthy and safe relationships between individuals then the time and the effort will be well worth saving relationships and saving lives. The AME Church has already taken a stance by including the above policy in its Doctrine and Discipline, now let us move a step further and make policy a living reality for those who are abused and for those who need help/deliverance from their abusive practices. In the words of the great reggae singer Bob Marley “one love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.”

The Rev. Velma E. Grant, M.Div., Th.M. is President, Women In Ministry Sixth Episcopal District and Associate Pastor First Saint Paul AME Church, Lithonia, Georgia


-- Adopted on October 24, 1990

It is not enemies who taunt me-
I could bear that:
it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me-
I could hide from them.
But it is you, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend,
With whom I keep pleasant company.
 Psalm 55:12-14a, NRSV

The Psalmist captures the feelings of many victims of domestic violence: the pain of being betrayed and injured by a loved one.

Basically, there are three kinds of domestic violence, violence against children, violence against partners, and violence against the elderly.  This violence can be physical, sexual, or emotional.  Any such violence has long-lasting and devastating effects on the victims; for example, many victims are unable to leave a violent relationship because of their economic dependence upon their batterers.

We, the Kentucky Council of Churches, deplore all kinds of domestic violence, proclaim the worth of each person as a child of God, created in the image of God, and affirm the right of each person to be safe from attacks (verbal and physical) by family members.

In I Cor. 6:19-20, Paul reminds us of the sacredness of the human body: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.  (NRSV)

The Christian tradition does not advocate or excuse domestic violence.  We confess, however, that churches have too often misused scripture to justify, condone, and ignore physical and sexual violence against women and children.  Although some men are battered by women and many elderly men are abused, the vast majority of abused adults are women.

One scripture that is commonly used to justify the beating of children is Proverbs 13:24: "Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them." (NRSV)  (Often misquoted "Spare the rod and spoil the child.")  This verse must not be construed to support beating children; the rod referred to is the rod used by shepherds to guide and direct the sheep and to protect the sheep from wild animals, never to beat the sheep (cf. Psalm 23:4b: "...your rod and your staff--they comfort me" NRSV).  The proverb is an exhortation to parents to discipline their children to guide them and lead them in the right way; it does not give parents permission to beat their children.

The writer of Ephesians cautions: "And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (NRSV)  Although children who are beaten often feel they have done something to deserve such treatment, certainly few things can anger a child like being abused by a parent.

Perhaps the most commonly cited passage to support wife abuse is Ephesians 5:22-23: "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as you are to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church..."  These verses do not advocate the domination of wives by husbands.  Rather they provide a model for the way men are to relate to women; the way Christ relates to the Church, being a servant, giving himself up for his followers, never threatening, abusing, coercing, hitting, or intimidating anyone.  The passage goes on:  "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church..."  No man who takes that verse seriously could ever abuse his partner.  This is re-emphasized in Col. 3:19:  "Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly." (NRSV)

Intimate relationships are intended by God to be mutually responsible and respectful:  The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (I Cor. 7:3-4, NRSV)

What Paul had in mind was not one partner forcing the other to engage in sexual activity, but two persons in a mutual relationship of respect, choice, and regard for one another.

The incidence of elder abuse is increasing.  Scripture exhorts us to honor our mothers and fathers (Ex. 20:12).  Honor does not include physical harm, threats of harm, forced isolation, deprivation of adequate medical attention, over-medication, or financial exploitation.  And yet such abuses occur at an alarming rate.  In 1986, over one million elderly persons (one of every twenty-five) reported having been abused.  [Mary Jo Quinn and Susan Tomita, Elder Abuse and Neglect.]

The responsibility for the elderly does not fall exclusively to the family; in fact, the entire community is warned against abusing those who cannot defend themselves:  You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.  You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.  If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry..." (Ex. 22:21-23, NRSV)

Therefore, as the Kentucky Council of Churches;

We call on all pastors and other church people to break the silence about domestic violence through preaching, education, and advocacy.

We exhort churches to help break the cycle of abuse by sponsoring self-help groups, opening safe-houses, studying the issues of violence, financially supporting services to families in crisis and agencies which respond to domestic violence, and advocating legislation to prevent abuse and to provide services to victims and rehabilitation to perpetrators.  We appeal to churches to emphasize a ministry of healing and to work toward a renewal of family life which enhances the value of all family members, especially those most vulnerable (specifically women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities).

We encourage our legislators and other public officials to initiate and to work for policies which can provide increased economic opportunities which can lead to economic equality for women, adequate funding for shelters and victim assistance, legal protection from batterers, and mandatory treatment for those persons convicted of domestic violence.

We urge all manifestations of the legal system to take this issue seriously and to treat it a violent crime rather than as "a family matter."  We encourage families in crisis to seek professional help.  We urge all church members to work toward a just society which discourages (1) all types of violence, (2) oppressive institutions, (3) media portrayals which degrade women, and (4) violence in television programming.

We celebrate God's gift of intimacy, the image of God in each person, the inherent right of each person to health, wholeness, and safety, and we commit ourselves to working toward the elimination of domestic violence.


WASHINGTON, DC (Link) - Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) released the following statement condemning the attempted arson attack on Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s (MO-05) office in Kansas City, Missouri:

“This morning around 3 a.m., a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the office window of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. No one was hurt and an investigation is underway.

“The Congressional Black Caucus strongly condemns this type of vandalism targeted at Congressman Cleaver, and denounces any act of violence towards Members of Congress. This type of abhorrent behavior is the most ineffective means of voicing discontent or disagreement.

“I expect a speedy, full, and thorough investigation into this incident by law enforcement, so that those responsible are swiftly apprehended and prosecuted. The person or persons responsible for what happened this morning must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Chair of the AMEC Social Action Commission and Ms. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director issued a joint statement: "We join with the Congressional Black Caucus chair, Congresswoman Marsha Fudge in condemning the Molotov cocktail incident.  This effort at intimidation should only serve to re-double our efforts to appropriately express our voices at the polls on November 4th and to continue finding ways to match the vision of the United States with the actions of those who are charged to protect that vision."


An exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 opens today at the Library of Congress.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” is located in the Southwest Gallery on the second level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.  The year-long exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  It closes on Sept. 12, 2015.

More than 200 items, including correspondence and documents from civil-rights leaders and organizations, photographs, newspapers, legal briefs, drawings and posters are on view.

Audio-visual stations throughout the gallery feature 77 clips showing dramatic events such as protests, sit-ins, boycotts and other public actions against segregation and discrimination.  Eyewitness testimony of activists and participants who helped craft the law is included.

The exhibition also features two videos co-produced with HISTORY®.  An introductory film narrated by Julian Bond, a political and civil-rights leader and professor at American University and the University of Virginia, focuses on the significance of the Civil Rights Act.  The second film explores the impact of the Civil Rights Act and features interviews with Taylor Branch, author and historian; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement; and Risa Goluboff, professor of law at the University of Virginia.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  It banned discrimination in public accommodations, such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and retail stores.  It outlawed segregation in public education.  It banned discrimination in employment, and it ended unequal application of voter-registration requirements.  The act was a landmark piece of legislation that opened the doors to further progress in the acquisition and protection of civil rights.

The exhibition highlights the legal and legislative struggles and victories leading to its passage, shedding light on individuals—both prominent leaders and private citizens—who participated in the decades-long campaign for equality.  There are six thematic sections in the exhibition: Prologue, Segregation Era, World War II and the Post-War Years, Civil Rights Era, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Impact.
The materials are drawn primarily from the NAACP Records in the Library’s Manuscript Division and its Prints and Photographs Division.

A preview of the exhibition can be viewed online at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civil-rights-act/. A more complete version of the exhibition, including all of the objects, timelines and some audio-visual components, will be available by the end of September.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” is made possible by a generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, with additional support from HISTORY® for both audio-visual and educational content and outreach.

“By funding this exhibition, we proudly continue Paul Newman’s commitment to the empowerment of individuals,” said Robert H. Forrester, president of Newman’s Own Foundation.  “We hope that the strength of the human spirit as reflected in this exhibit will inform people’s understanding of the present and provide inspiration to help create a better world for tomorrow.”

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.  The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


*Mrs. E. Ann Clemons

LEADER:  Holy God, we praise You for Your wisdom in gifting the church with pastors. We thank You for giving us a pastor after Your own heart.

PEOPLE:  We give You Thanks, oh Lord.

LEADER:  We thank You for our pastor, who labors in the Word of God to preach and teach—rightly dividing the Word of truth. Thank You for our pastor’s diligence in preaching and teaching the Word in season and out of season.

PEOPLE:  We give You Praise.

LEADER:  We thank You for guiding our Pastor throughout the years. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things.

PEOPLE:  We give You Thanks, oh Lord.
LEADER:  Oh, how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity!

PEOPLE:  We give You Praise.

ALL:       Truly the pastor’s work is great and many times is beyond our understanding, but You have told us in Your Word to honor those who work hard for You, giving spiritual guidance to Your people. Help us to acknowledge, appreciate, respect, and overwhelm our pastor with love for the sake of Kingdom building. We give you thanks and praise! Amen.

*Mrs. E. Ann Clemons is a member of Greater St. Joseph AME Church in Autaugaville, Alabama©


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

Based on Biblical Text: Luke 10:40: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

Women’s Day at Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church, like many of our churches, is the culmination of a whirlwind of activities. Much work has gone into the planning and the results have been magnificent. At each event there has been women serving and there have been women sitting. I began to think, there must be a lesson here.

It is a fact that the assignments that life presents us keep us very busy. However, many times we are busy in just a repetitive sort of way. Think about it, we wake up at the same time every morning and go to the same job. We do things on our job at the same time in the same way and then we clock out at the same hour. We come home, eat dinner at the same time, watch some of the same things on television for the same amount of time and go to bed after the same show. We start the same routine all over again at the same time the next morning.

That routine is not bad however we have to admit that it is easy to get so caught up in the repetitive responsibilities of our routine that we miss the most important moments. We are sometimes so programmed that we overlook the life-changing moments that can serve to restore and renew us. We run the risk many times of missing the very things in our life that will revitalize our otherwise mundane existence. We are just too busy to “be still.”

We find in our text that is the problem Sister Martha had. Martha, like many of the committed Sisters on each of the committees, was a dedicated and devoted worker. You could count on Martha to get the job done and done well. Sister Martha could juggle the busiest of schedules ensuring that every detail was addressed and no stone was left unturned.

Martha was like the energizer bunny. Whenever Jesus and the disciples visited she would wash their clothes. She prepared meals and tended to the individual needs of her guests. No doubt, each time Jesus and his ministerial staff of twelve left, Martha was exhausted. 

As I watch the ladies working in the kitchen and serving in the Fellowship Hall I wonder to myself, as they tend to the concerns of our guest are they really too busy to enjoy them? I wonder if when the dinner was over and all the guests were gone home, did some of the women find themselves wishing that more could have been done ahead of time so they could enjoy the fellowship. It occurred to me that was probably how Martha felt when she saw Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus while she, was doing all the work. Martha would have liked to sit and listen to Jesus talk about the scriptures, but somebody had to take care of the physical needs of the guests. Isn’t that right?

I realize I am treading on dangerous ground. I might as well go in further. Let me point out that Mary didn’t even belong in the same room with those spiritual men. Mary’s place was in the kitchen with Martha. Women belonged in the kitchen. They weren’t aloud to attend classes with the men in the temple. What was on Mary’s mind? There was all this work to be done and Mary was sitting while Martha was serving. Martha wasn’t having it! The Bible says that Sister Martha rushed into the room where the men were gathered and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”

“No Martha didn’t, barge into the room and chastise Jesus for allowing a woman to listen to His teachings!” Oh yes she did, and as I think of the women serving in our church I can name several who feel just like Martha. I am talking about women who busy themselves with every detail of the work of our boards and auxiliaries, spending countless hours planning, developing, arranging and scheduling. These are fine women of God who believe whole heartedly that nothing would get done according to their high standards if they didn’t oversee every aspect of the ministry project themselves. After all, it is all about serving, isn’t it?

Not as much as you think! There is more to serving than the planning, developing, arranging and scheduling. I realize that someone reading has decided at this point I have lost my mind but it is not all about serving. It is about reaching a balance between our serving and our sitting. I submit to you that is what Mary was doing. Like many of us, Mary needed to take time out to sit at the feet of Jesus. Thus we find that while Martha was scurrying about earning stars for her crown, Mary was sitting at the feet of the Master feeding her soul.

The text lets us know that while Martha was serving, Mary was sitting. What we need to understand as we work to reach our balance between serving and sitting is that while Martha was working, Mary was growing. We must guard against our being so busy serving Jesus that we don’t take time to know Jesus. We must carefully balance our time between working for and studying Jesus. It is critical that we don’t get so caught up doing that we have no time to listen to what Jesus has to say! Working with our spiritual ears closed is the fastest way to inhibit our Christian growth.

When you take a moment to look around at Bible Study or any church training session you will see several people who are listening intently and taking notes. These are the people who have taken a breather from their repetitive schedules to “listen to Jesus”. These represent the Mary’s in the congregation. Interestingly, the folk who are absent may well be dedicated church workers. The folk not in attendance may be the ones who are busy with all the details of ministry. These folk may have even planned the seminar however, in far too many instances these are the folk who put more priority on the business of service than they do the nurturing of their soul. So much goes into the work that they are too busy to pause and listen to what Jesus has to say.

Martha raises her concern to Jesus and believes she has a good reason to be angry. However, when we read Jesus’ response to Martha’s question, we see that He is actually chastising Martha. Jesus was well aware of the fact that she was envious of Mary for having the courage to break with social custom and sit at his feet. He knew also that Martha was probably angry with herself for over-planning her day not leaving enough time for Jesus. Jesus intended to set Martha straight.  He let Martha know then and wants us to know, “You work hard tending to every detail as though it was a matter of life and death, but you miss the one detail that really matters.  What you miss is the most essential part.”

 When we allot so much of our time and energy working to exhaustion we so many times neglect the most essential part which is the nurturing of our soul. We could very well end up frustrated like Martha. We may even find ourselves nearing burnout in our service to the Lord. Yes, the Bible admonishes us to be not just hearers but doers of the Word however, there has to be in each of our lives a balance between our serving and our sitting. Our effective doing is contingent upon our hearing. Kingdom building would be seriously threatened if all of the workers decided that they had heard all they need to hear from Jesus. The point is we must sit long enough to hear what the Lord says about what we should do. We will then be equipped to serve effectively enough to make a difference in our community and in the world.

We are admonished that, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But, the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work.”

Monday through Saturday are serving days, and Sunday is “sitting day.”

Sunday is the day God set aside to revive us and renew us. Missing our “sitting day” causes our “serving days” to become ineffective. A hymn writer penned, “Be still and let the Spirit speak: The Spirit unto you will give, the knowledge that you need and daily you will grow in grace, if you the Spirit heed.

Let me add, we cannot go wrong by including a few more hours of sitting (learning) on our schedule. We can spend some time sitting at Church School and Bible Study. We must recognize that we cannot teach what we don’t know or lead where we refuse to go. As we mature we will realize that it is in our serving that we work out our soul’s salvation, but it is in our sitting that we are reenergized as we replenish our spiritual reservoir. We must strive to reach an appropriate balance between our serving and our sitting. Our serving allows us to share the love of God and glorify God. It is in our sitting at the feet of the Lord that we strengthen that love and purge ourselves of sinful desires as we fellowship with Him. As we serve we are able to spread the truth of the grace and mercy of God. When we sit at His feet we are able to shore up our own beliefs, and ask forgiveness for our own failings.

We should not be afraid to assess for ourselves if we are in fact serving too much and sitting too little. We must ensure that we are not neglecting the most essential part. To be constantly and steadily filled with the Spirit of God let us sit a while at Jesus’ feet. “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

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


*The Rev. Dr. A. Oveta Fuller

-- Letter from the Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health:

Re: The Ebola Outbreak

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is rapidly worsening. As of the writing of this note, over 3,500 people have been infected with the virus and over 1,700 people have been killed. Alarmingly, the disease is spreading into densely populated urban areas.

There is an acute shortage of medical supplies, experienced healthcare workers, and funds in the region. Doctors without Borders has been bravely shouldering the greatest responsibility to not only care for those infected with Ebola, but also treat people affected with the numerous other diseases and health challenges in this, one of the poorest regions of the world.

We at CUGH are trying to help MSF and USAID identify individuals with the experience and skills needed to stop the spread of this virus and provide essential medical care in the affected countries. Please see MSF's request by clicking on this link and USAID's request by clicking on this link and share these with your colleagues widely. Help us identify individuals who can address this crisis before it spreads much further and advocate for greater funding to purchase essential supplies.

We have also been engaging with the State Department and other US government agencies to address this crisis. Please see my Op-Ed in the Toronto Star on a civil-military humanitarian relief effort to urgently save lives and stop the spread of this deadly disease.

Thank you for your assistance,

Keith Martin, MD
Executive Director
Consortium of Universities for Global Health

Comment from "Getting to Zero" Columnist: "The clarion call above issued by USAID and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is for persons who have some prior medical or sanitation training to handle biohazards. Though the need is dire, the call here is for those with required pre-training. They will be screened and further prepared so they might work effectively in the affected communities. It is a SPECIFIC request made through castings a wide net so to get to those few persons who might qualify. 

It would be risky for anyone not trained, and thus risky for the overall global strategy to contain Ebola virus, to have well meaning volunteers who are not well trained and highly disciplined to follow that training.

With the call for specific biohazard trained personnel understood, providing funds to purchase and ship food and medical supplies to the countries, and prayer for those in the area are in order from everyone."

*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

If given a choice most of us prefer something new compared to something old. We like new homes relative to older homes.  We enjoy owning new cars compared to older cars.  We make no apologies for wanting a new job with better pay and benefits compared to our incumbent professional positions.  A new place to live sometimes allow us to restart our career goals by helping us reach our creative potential.  It’s in our DNA; new is preferred to old.

Our preference for “new” things does not go unnoticed by God.  Since God is omniscient it should come as no surprise that He knows our preference for new things.  Our lesson today depicts God providing us with "something new" – a new covenant. 

The existing covenant God provided the Jewish nation was filled with numerous contractual breeches of obedience, faith and spiritual fidelity by the Jewish nation.  A new covenant is promised that will offer hope and reconciliation.  Like any enforceable contract, both parties have to agree to specific terms and conditions.  God has clearly articulated God's terms and conditions.  Do we reciprocate or continue down the path of underachievement and unfulfilled blessings due to disobedience, selfishness and sin?  Jeremiah Chapter 31 offers a roadmap to answer this fundamental question.

Jeremiah 31:31-37 - A New Paradigm

The words are addressed to a people in exile, far from home and bereft of hope. The covenant between God and Israel, the covenant made so long ago at Sinai, is (or so it seems) broken. God has not protected Israel from harm and they have been taken into exile.  Into such a situation, the prophet speaks words of promise. But he frames those promises in terms of the very relationship in question. The prophet speaks of a covenant -- like the one made at Sinai -- between YHWH and Israel. "The days are surely coming, says YHWH, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah" (Jeremiah 31:31).

Just so, in this new covenant, God promises, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33). The relationship is not new. Israel knows this God, and God knows this people. The promises Jeremiah speaks build on a long and shared history between YHWH and Israel, a history marked by wavering on the part of the people and by faithfulness on the part of YHWH.

Life Application

“Out with the old, in with the new” is a popular expression that captures the zeitgeist for many young people.  The old is seen as inefficient, time-consuming technology resistors to change.   Old ways and habits are not receptive to change and this can create friction and discord among those eager for a different (read: new direction) course of action.

Peter F. Drucker, renowned business management expert, once stated, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”  

Doing something new involves risk.  We like doing “old” things because there is less risk and greater familiarity with the “old.”  However, we forfeit rewards when we eschew risk.  A fundamental law in financial economics teaches that prudent risk is associated with stable long-term rewards.  This is why people invest in the stock market. 

In our Christian experience we encounter risk when we develop and implement evangelism programs.  Doing things the “old” way can sometimes result in forfeiting blessings and opportunities God has promised us.  Everything “old” is not necessarily bad.  Likewise, everything "new" should not be rejected simply because we have no prior experience with the alternative.  Resisting new approaches and ways to normalize our daily decision-making activities can diminish our opportunity set.  God desires us to reach for the stars to maximize our God-given talents and abilities.  Nobody can reach for the stars with their hands in their pockets.

*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 a “night owl” who enjoys late night TV commercials that are sometimes unintentionally funny because of the things they advertise.  One of my current favorites notes that the federal government mandates broadcasters to send their TV signals over-the-air and encourages listeners to buy a device that, when installed, allows the user to watch broadcasted digital TV shows in High Definition without signing up for cable or satellite TV.

The commercial amused me, because I immediately realized that the “new” device is actually a modern version of and old device - a TV antenna.  Before the advent of cable and satellite TV, most homes either had roof antennas or “rabbit ears” on top of the TV to receive local TV broadcasts.

I “Googled” the device and found numerous complaints from dissatisfied buyers who found that the picture wasn’t always good and that they could only receive a limited number of channels - just as was true with old antennas.  Those hapless buyers acted on the “sales pitch,” purchased what they thought was a cheaper option for watching TV and overlooked the word “broadcast” - which applies only to TV stations in their local areas.  They learned an old lesson - what sounds and looks good sometimes doesn’t live up to expectations.

The commercial appeals to our natural human desire "to get something for nothing."  Frugality is a good thing and extravagance isn’t a virtue, but we all sometimes take frugality to the limit and go after what we want in this world in the easiest ways available and with the least possible expenditures of time, effort or money.  Doing so, however, can often leave us disappointed, down and dissatisfied when we discover that what looked and sounded good doesn’t leave up to our expectations and leaves us feeling incomplete and with troubled minds and burdened spirits.

That’s why it’s good to let the God who made us guide us. God knows us better than we know ourselves and, although God doesn’t always lead us down the easiest path, God always leads us down the right path - God’s way is always the best way. 

Take the time each day to call on the Lord and to let God order your steps and guide your feet.  You’ll find what you need in life - right on time - and know why one modern Gospel sons says, “Nobody told me that the road would be easy, but I don’t believe God brought me this far to leave me.”

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

On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BeaufortDistrictAMEC

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


-- Congratulations to Navy Chaplain LT Nancy F. R. Crews on new assignment as the Chaplain for 5th Battalion, 11th Marines

Congratulations to LT Nancy F. R. Crews on her assignment as the chaplain for 5th Battalion, 11th Marines!  Chaplain Crews is a Navy Chaplain from the 3rd Episcopal District and the first woman to be assigned to this position in the history of this Marine Corps unit.

Congratulatory messages can be emailed to: chaplain.crews@gmail.com 
(LT Nancy F. R. Crews)

-- 101st Birthday Celebration of the Reverend Henry J. Legolie, Presiding Elder Emeritus

The Cape Annual Conference joins the Legolie family in celebrating the 101st birthday celebration (31 August) of superannuate minister the Reverend Henry J. Legolie, emeritus presiding Elder.

We have nothing but thanks and praises unto God for this servant of the most high, still busy with the task of awakening souls for the Kingdom with the preached word.

Belated birthday greetings to the Rev. Henry J. Legolie, Presiding Elder Emeritus, can be sent via:

The Rev. Charlin Lesch Legolie: clegolie@vuselaconstruction.co.za  

-- The Reverend Kenneth J. and Mrs. Dianna B. Golphin proudly announce the Birth of their first Grandchild

The Reverend Kenneth J. and Mrs. Dianna B. Golphin proudly announce the birth of their first grandchild, Evalynn "Eva" Niriah Golphin, born on September 2, 2014 at 4:01 p.m. to their oldest child, Chastity Renee Golphin.  Eva entered the world at 6-lbs 2-oz, 19½ inches long; and has already captured the hearts of Pawpaw and Granny!

Chastity is a winter 2009 graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a BA in Political Science and is employed with Homewood Suites by Hilton.

The Reverend Kenneth Golphin is pastor of Youngs Chapel AME Church in Louisville, KY.  In addition to being the First Lady of Youngs Chapel, Dianna Golphin is the President of the 13th Episcopal District MSWAWO+PK's.  Pastor Golphin can be reached at PastorGolphin@aol.com and Mrs. Golphin can be reached at MrsGolphin@aol.com.  Mailing address for all is PO Box 746, Versailles, KY 40383.


We are saddened to announce that Attorney Marcus Scott died on Monday, September 8, 2014 after a very short illness.  Marcus Scott was the husband  of Attorney Kris N. Henning, brother-in-law to Kyle M. Henning (Justine), and nephew to Dr. Herman W. Henning and Dr. Cynthia Henning; Bishop C. Garnett Henning and Supervisor Ernestine Lee Henning, Former Supervisor E. Yvonne Henning Parks, Anna Armita Henning, and Presiding Elder Anne Henning Byfield and Ainsley Byfield.

The celebration of life service will be Saturday, September 13 at 10:00 a.m.  The service will be held at: Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Telephone: (202) 331-1426.
Fax (202) 331.0369

The Rev. William Lamar, Pastor
The Rev. Ronald Braxton, Presiding Elder
The Rt. Rev. William DeVeaux, Presiding Prelate

In lieu of flowers, Marcus would be honored to have you donate to one of two causes he cared about:

The Ride To Conquer Cancer - 9/13-9/14 - Funds raised in The Ride to Conquer Cancer will support breakthrough research, exemplary teaching, and compassionate care made possible through Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial and Suburban Hospitals.   http://www.ridetovictory.org/site/TR/Events/2014WashingtonDCpx=1221472&pg=personal&fr_id=1070  

Walk to End Alzheimer's - Hector's Pup Team Page - Walk is 10/25/14.  The walk is to raise awareness and funds to advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer's as well as provide programs to improve the lives of millions of affected Americans.  http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/DC-NationalCapitalAreapg=team&fr_id=4996&team_id=235263

Expressions can be sent to the following:

Attorney Kris Henning: hennink@law.georgetown.edu
Mr. Kyle Henning: kmhenning1@yahoo.com
Bishop C. Garnett Henning: lanroc@aol.com
Former Supervisor Yvonne Henning Parks: mslady3x@aol.com
Mrs. Anna P. Henning: ahenning@ahm.com 
Presiding Elder Anne Henning Byfield: ahenningbyfieldforbishop@gmail.com 


We regret to inform you of the passing of the Rev. Maria Pinkie Tjale, pastor of the MM Mokone Annual Conference, pastor of RC Kgopong AME Church, Harrieswich in the Polokwane District.

The Rev. MP Tjale passed away on Wednesday 3rd September 2014. The Rev. MP Tjale was ordained Itinerant Deacon in 1988, Itinerant Elder in 2008. She has pastored three churches in the Polokwane District, viz. Machaka, Molepo and Harrieswich and one in the Vhembe District.

The Rev. PM Tjale is survived by both parents, a 15 year-old daughter and three siblings.

The funeral service will be held on Thursday 11th September 2014 at 6 a.m. at Lefiso AME Church in Marapyane, RSA. The Rev. Modise Daniel Thabo Makhene, PE will be the worship leader.

Condolences may be sent to:

Ms Esther
Phone:  +27 84 651 3202

The Rev. MDT Makhene, PE
Phone: +27 82 357 7149

Bishop Paul JM Kawimbe is the Presiding Prelate of the 19th Episcopal District.


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. James Hudson, the father of the Rev. Jamie Hudson, pastor of Great St. James and Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Churches in Fairfax, South Carolina, Beaufort District, South Carolina Annual Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District of the AME Church.

Per Mr. Hudson's request, he was cremated. 

A Memorial Service will be held at the Mary McLeod Bethune Center in Mayesville, SC on October 25, 2014. 

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Jamie Hudson
1353 Knotts Haven Loop
Lexington, SC 29073

Telephone: 803-808-4058
Cell: 803-497-9815
Email: jmhudson@yahoo.com   

We regret to inform you of the passing of Sister Oria Williams, the spouse of the Rev. Joseph Williams, pastor of Gaines Chapel AME Church in Atmore, Alabama.   

Sister Oria Williams' Celebration of Life:

Saturday, September 13, 2014
11:00 A.M.
Saint Stephen AME Church
2707 Josephine Street
Mobile, Alabama  36617
The Reverend Dane Robinson, Pastor

Professional Services Entrusted to:

Memorial Funeral Home
1302 Saint Stephens Road
Prichard, Alabama 36610
(251) 457-6440

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Joseph Williams
2411 Pine tree Drive
Mobile, Alabama 36617
Telephone:  (251) 457-6900


We regret to announce the passing of Mr. Henry T. Beaman, Sr., the brother of the Rev. Silvester S. Beaman, pastor of Bethel AMEC, Wilmington, Delaware (Delaware Conference, Wilmington District). The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.

Thursday: September 11, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
(Viewing: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.)

New Hope Baptist Church
1122 Buffalo Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Telephone: (716) 282-8118

Expressions of Sympathy can be sent to:

The Beaman Family
C/O Williamson Funeral Home
635 Main Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14301

Telephone: (716) 284-6712
Fax: (716) 284-6780

The Third Episcopal District Office sorrowfully announces the passing of Mrs. Nellie Hughey, widow of the Reverend U. A. Hughey, on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.  The Rev. U. A. Hughey was the former President of Payne Theological Seminary also pastored many churches throughout the Third Episcopal District. 

Arrangements for Mrs. Nellie Hughey are as follows: 

Homegoing Service: 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Viewing: 10:00 am until time of service
Service: 12:00 noon

United African Methodist Episcopal Church
286 East Church Street
Xenia, OH  45385

Telephone: (937) 372-3366
Fax: (937) 373-3327

The Reverend Dr. John Freeman, Pastor and Eulogist
The Reverend Dr. Betty W. Holley, Presiding Elder
Bishop McKinley Young, Presiding Prelate Third Episcopal District


We regret to inform you of passing of Mr. Thomas Jefferson Rivers, the husband of the Reverend Sonja M. Rivers, pastor in the Southwest Georgia Conference and an officer in the Southwest Georgia Conference WIM.

Services arrangements for Thomas Jefferson Rivers are as follows:


Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.
Lewis Mortuary
1248 US Hwy East
Georgetown, Georgia

Telephone: (229) 334-8923

Funeral Service:
Sunday: September 7, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.
Shady Grove AME Church
831 Hwy 39 South
Georgetown, Georgia 39854

Expressions of condolences may be sent to:

The Rev. Sonja Rivers
4133 Pickering Drive
Columbus, Georgia 31907
Telephone: 706-718-7987
Email: SMRPastor@aol.com  


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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