The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder

April is National Health Disparities Month
Easter: April 20, 2014


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

I want to wish all of our readers and subscribers a blessed Easter! 

Easter was my second favorite holy day as I was growing up.

The hype of Christmas and the exchanging and receiving Christmas gifts propelled Christmas ahead of Easter.

Giving gifts was also a joy, but as a youngster, receiving gifts was the “feel good” motivation for the anticipation of Christmas day. The Christmas season was made special by the presence of Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and greeting of “Merry Christmas” made the season special. Christmas was my favorite holiday because of the holiday music, the commercial hype, the bright Christmas lights, the enormous dinners, visiting relatives and friends, the Christmas program at church and the spirited sermons and the stories related to the birth of Jesus and the displays of the baby Jesus in the stable with the shepherds and the Three Kings made the season extra special.

As I look back, the birth of Jesus was secondary to all of the commercial hype of the holiday, even though every pastor, my parents, Sunday school teachers and other adults tried to remind me of the spiritual significance of Christmas and the real gift of Christmas in the birth of Jesus Christ. And, I am sure other youngster growing up had the same experience.

Something clicked

All of the talking from my pastors, parents, Sunday school teachers and others must have had a impact and must have made an impression because as I got older, and I don’t know when it happened, something clicked and without realizing it, a transformation happened in my mind and I came to understand the full meaning of Easter and Easter Sunday, became for me, the most important holiday of the year. I still enjoy Christmas, but the spiritual significance of Easter has taken first-place in my mind.

When I try to figure out what happened, I suspect, like other events in my life, maturation and years of repetitive reinforcement in my spiritual and religious environment and family caused me to reprioritize my spiritual understanding of the real gift of life! It was not the Christmas gifts, but the “Gift” of eternal life.

I must have been paying attention to all of the Easter sermons, internalized the Easter memorizations, the hymns and gospel songs and conversations related to the resurrection.  The adults probably thought I, and the other young people were not paying attention, but apparently we were paying attention. 

It is important for churches and families to reinforce the spiritual, religious and moral and ethical teachings of the church. Children’s programs are important young people learn by reinforced messages and repetitive teaching.

As an example, I am always amazed when I think about how smart my dad became as I got older.  When I was young I didn’t think he knew a lot, but as I got older I perceived that he was a genius. Other adults got smarter as I got older.

When I was in seminary, I thought some of the older preachers were off-track and old-fashioned, but by the time I finished seminary, I understood their genius and I was hopeful that I could become the clergyperson they were. I look back on their ministry and can appreciate their brilliance.

Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday is upon us and Christian churches all over the world will be vigorously celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. Easter is a significant day in the life of the church. 

Children will be reciting their Easter recitations and special activities have been planned for them. Parishioners wear their finest apparel. Resurrection sermons will be preached; or at least should be. Choirs will be singing to the glory of God and special musical selections may have been prepared.  The day is special and churches are expecting large crowds. The Easter story, as it should be, will be retold again and again. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a big thing!”

Many of you

Many of you, like me, may have thought Christmas, “the promise delivered,” was the biggest event in Christendom, but because the local church, our Sunday school teachers, and parents focused and refocused upon the life, suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we came to appreciate and understand the significance of Easter, “the Promise fulfilled.”

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ enables us to proclaim, "He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives?  He lives within my heart."


Bishop William P. DeVeaux

It began on Palm Sunday with Our Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphant ride to Jerusalem on a donkey. On this special occasion the people actually got it. They knew and understood that they were in the presence of pure Divinity. Their single minded goal on that day was simply to pay homage, give honor and celebrate the once in lifetime opportunity to witness the manifestation of God Himself.

Their unity of spirit and synchronized actions demonstrated that the Messenger as well as His message had been received.  How validated Jesus must have felt to know that God’s chosen people believed, really believed that our Father in Heaven had sent Christ as His Messiah.

Yet, just like in our everyday lives, things went downhill, quickly. By Thursday, Jesus realized some ominous facts that made the joy of Palm Sunday seem like a remote memory:

- That he would stand before Pilot to be judged

- The same people who hailed Him on Sunday would in unison trade His life for Barabbas

- One of His own Disciples, Judas would betray Him, not once but three distinct times

- He would be crucified painfully on the cross at Calgary

Nevertheless, he washed the Apostles feet and delivered His commandment: This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12, KJV). Jesus begged for release from the horrible death that awaited Him. Yet, He trusted God, overcame His fear and went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, and obediently declared thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42 KJV)

The Highest Holy day in the Christian calendar, without a doubt, is Easter.  The story of the resurrection and the coming ascension are the very heart of Christianity.  The beloved apostle Paul captured the essence of the season when he said in 1 Corinthians 15: 14, 17 “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins”.

Christ’s resurrection is the pivotal turning point not only for Christians, but for human history.  Now 2000 years later we are still celebrating God’s power over death in the raising of his own son.  Paul went on to say, that this passing or death more than any other promise of  resurrection means that we too have every reason to expect that we will live again if we believe in the Lord Jesus.  Christians through the centuries have known that we are lifted not only from the pain of death but out of despair and disappointment.

Second Episcopal District Family, we wish you the delights of the Resurrection and when things are going well, remember that we are the children of God.  Likewise, I hope when you encountered a Maundy Thursday experience, you were comforted in knowing that the Spirit lifts us to new heights when we claim the victory and live in the joy of our Risen Lord.


*Kevin McGruder, Ph.D.

Although the Civil War began as a conflict over secession, from the start most blacks saw it as an opportunity to free the enslaved with a Union victory – a theme reflected in the robust black press that prospered across the North.

In New York City, the war was closely chronicled by two newspapers, The Anglo-African and The Christian Recorder. Established in 1859 by the editor Robert Hamilton and his brother Thomas, The Anglo-African reported extensively on the Civil War and the emancipation efforts. But Anglo-African articles also covered the breadth of African-American life, with a focus on political issues relevant to black Americans, presented by black writer and activists like Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, Rev. James W.C. Pennington and Martin Delany.

The Christian Recorder, founded in 1848, was a national weekly newspaper published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, based in Philadelphia, but with correspondents across the country. The New York area was served by correspondents in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, who, along with The Recorder’s editor, provided an unvarnished critique of the war and frequently of New York’s black community.

Black New Yorkers were uniquely positioned to participate in debates regarding the war and emancipation. In the 1860s New York City and New York State were centers of free black advocacy. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass lived in Rochester. Many of the “colored men’s conventions” that met periodically from 1830 until 1864 met in New York state. New York City was a center of philanthropy, abolitionist activism and publishing. The city’s 1860 black population of 12,000, from a total population of approximately 800,000, made it second in population to Philadelphia’s free black community around the country.

Black newspapers weren’t just sources of information, but of activism. As the country hurtled toward war in February 1861, The Christian Recorder spread word of a meeting held to plan for a “day of humiliation, fasting and prayer that God would avert the judgments about to fall upon this guilty nation.” They were also a center for debate: As soon as the war began in April 1861, even though black troops had not yet been accepted by the Union Army, there was heated discussion in the black community regarding the duties of blacks in regards to the war. Some voices in the black press questioned the logic of black soldiers risking their liberty (captured black soldiers could be enslaved) or their lives for a country whose Supreme Court had held that black people, whether enslaved or free, were not citizens – a position taken by The Christian Recorder.

The Anglo-African, though, actively promoted the use of black troops in an editorial entitled “The Reserve Guard” that August:

“Colored men whose fingers tingle to pull the trigger, or clutch the knife aimed at the slaveholders in arms, will not have to wait much longer. Whether the fools attack Washington and succeed or whether they attempt Maryland and fail, there is equal need for calling out the nation’s ‘Reserve Guard.’”

The newspapers were more than just hortatory – they also provided historical and comparative analysis of the issues surrounding emancipation. On Jan. 4, 1862, The Christian Recorder reinforced calls for emancipation with a persuasive and prophetic editorial that asked: “What would be the effect of the emancipation of the slaves?” Using data from the British Caribbean, where slavery had been abolished in the 1830s, the editorial confronted two major arguments against emancipation: that the formerly enslaved would “overrun the entire North as the frogs did the Egyptians in the days of Moses,” and that if emancipated “they will refuse to work, and will engage in robbery and murder.” The editorial noted that neither point had been borne out in the Caribbean, that there were already many formerly enslaved people in the South who chose to remain in the South, and that many of these people were cultivating small farmsteads that were keys to the independent lives they desired. The writer concluded that for the United States, it is in “our interest to emancipate the slaves of both the rebel and loyal citizens, for it will not only “crush rebellion, but increase our prosperity, decrease crime in our midst, and prevent insurrections with their fearful horrors.

Reading these papers offers a surprising view into the nuanced ways that blacks greeted early signs of emancipation. They greeted Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862, for example, with great anticipation but also some anxiety. Because the effective date for a permanent Emancipation Proclamation was three months away, on Jan. 1, 1863, the fear was that something might occur to change course during the intervening period. In response, in an October editorial, The Christian Recorder swept aside doubts and framed the Proclamation as an answer to prayers:

“Now, let the North if they are in favor of the Union, not stop and tremble at the proclamation, but say, like all honest and good men will say, that it is the Lord’s doings, and who shall hinder it? Yes, God has looked down upon this great national sin, and is now frowning upon it, and declares His judgment upon it. He has heard the groans of His people, and has come down to deliver them.”

The Emancipation Proclamation did become effective on Jan. 1, 1863 and the Jan. 10 issue of the The Anglo-African contained over a page of accounts of Emancipation celebrations in New York, St. Louis and Boston.

In addition to emancipating the enslaved in the states then in rebellion, the Proclamation also included a provision for recruiting black soldiers. While this order had national implications, the states that had remained in the Union had the final say on admitting black troops, since militia were organized by the states – a fact highlighted in the black press. Massachusetts and Rhode Island organized some of the first black regiments, and New York City's black press played an important role in advocating for the recruitment of black troops.

That March Congress passed the Conscription Act, authorizing the first military draft. When the actual draft process began in New York City in July 1863, mobs of white workingmen, resentful of being asked to put their lives at risk for black people who they had been told would flood Northern cities taking their jobs, destroyed the Manhattan Draft office and then roamed the city over four days in the largest assault on the black community in New York’s history. Union troops arrived on the fourth day of the rioting and put an end to the violence. In the aftermath, The Christian Recorder recounted defense efforts: “In Weeksville and Flatbush, the colored men who had manhood in them armed themselves, and threw out their pickets every day and night, determined to die defending their homes.”

But the paper also criticized other black New Yorkers: “To see strong, hearty, double-fisted men, fleeing like sheep before the whoop of a dozen half-grown Irish lads, leaving their wives behind to take care of themselves, was indeed humiliating.”

While black New Yorkers recovered from the riots, the black press redoubled its advocacy of black troop recruitment. In its final issue of 1863, The Anglo-African announced:

“The War Department having at last done justice to colored men, and authorized the raising of a colored regiment in this State, to be known as the Twentieth Regiment United States Colored Troops, meetings have been called in several wards, as will be seen by reference to our advertising columns, for the purpose of discussing plans to promote enlistments and providing for the families of those who may enlist.”

The recruiting was so successful that a second regiment, the 26th, was authorized. When the regiments left for battle in March of 1864, New York’s black press shifted its focus to advocacy for equal pay for black soldiers. At the same time The Anglo-African and the Christian Recorder chronicled battlefield efforts, and with a shift in wartime momentum toward the Union in 1864, began to focus on issues such as black voting, that would need to be attended to in peacetime. The Anglo-African continued publication until December 1865. The Christian Recorder continues to appear today, as a monthly publication.

Sources: The Anglo-African; The Christian Recorder; Sandy Dwayne Martin, “Black Churches and the Civil War: Theological and Ecclesiastical Significance of Black Methodist Involvement, 1861-1865”; Paul Finkelman, “Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895, From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass”; Iver Bernstein, “The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War”, Rhoda Golden Freeman, “The Free Negro in New York City in the Era Before the Civil War”; William Seraile, “New York’s Black Regiments During the Civil War."

*Kevin McGruder, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of history at Antioch College. He is the author of “A Fair and Open Field: The Responses of Black New Yorkers to the New York City Draft Riots” and the co-author, with Velma Maia Thomas, of “Emancipation Proclamation: Forever Free.”


*John Thomas III

On February 27, 2014—the penultimate day of Black History Month—the “Brother’s Keeper” Initiative was launched by the White House.   Surrounded by a cross-section of community leaders, President Obama candidly shared his experience growing up as a young man of color and his concern that young Black, Latino, Native American and Asian men from certain backgrounds were falling through the cracks of American society.    According to the Official fact sheet, this “Brother’s Keeper” interagency taskforce is designed “to determine what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them, how the Federal Government’s own policies and programs can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community in these efforts.”   At the beginning of April, the White House issued an update on the initiative.

Invoking God’s famous question to Cain regarding his murdered brother Abel is not just good prose.  Looking deeper at the fabric of American society, one can often wonder if the question was asked to  the United States authorities “Are you your Brother’s Keeper?” what the response would be.   It’s no secret that President Obama’s attention to African-Americans is hotly debated with some saying he should have done more and others arguing, “What more could he do?”  The initiative, however, has been widely acclaimed and applauded as a step in the right direction.    The last significant Presidential action to examine issues of inequality in America was President Clinton’s “One America Initiative” (aka The President’s Initiative on Race).   Whereas the latter involved mostly academic dialogue, this initiative already has amassed the support of several key donors and community stakeholders.  

The issues that young men of color face in the United States, however, are complex.  The interaction between race and class continues to make the socioeconomic gains made by our communities ever so tenuous.   Public opinion data continue to show that while White Americans think that racial progress is being achieved, African-Americans feel that progress is slow or non-existent.  Entities such as “The Black Youth Project” report that young Black Americans are feeling more disenchanted with our political process.  Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis remind us that America still fears young men of color—and no simple legislation or policy can change this situation.

Yet, we can all do our part and the African Methodist Episcopal Church as an institution must ask itself, “Are we our Brother’s Keeper?”   These are our sons, brothers, nephews, cousins, and friends that are falling through the cracks of society.  I often think about one of my friends from my Beginner’s Class in Sunday School.  He went to all the YPD meetings, came to frequently church and is now serving a ten-year sentence after a parole violation.  Sometimes we forget that between our meetings, life takes place.  I wonder what we as a church family could have done when the trouble signs began to appear.  Some things a person has to want to do for themselves, but we can make it easier for them to do them.

As a community of faith, we must push ourselves to see what we can do earlier in the lives of men.  Many of local churches have successful ministries that try to stand in the gap for our brothers.  We must look at our institutional ministries and see how they can be made more relevant.  The Sons of Allen is needed now more ever than before—yet it lies dormant in most Episcopal Districts.  Why? Do we provide opportunities for men to give mentorship through the YPD?  The Department of Christian Education several years ago made a bold step by forming a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA).  How many local Churches have caught on?   It is a good and worthy act that President Obama has used the power of his office to shine light on an issue that not only affects our community but our nation as a whole.  However, we as a denomination must take a serious look at every level to see what we can do to be our “Brother’s Keeper”.  And then after taking that look, we must act on it.

For more information on the “Brother’s Keeper Initiative” visit: www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper.

For information on “The Black Youth Project” visit: www.blackyouthproject.com

For an example of studies dealing with racial disparities in attitudes, look at “Not in Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics” by Michael Dawson.

John Thomas III (13th) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago and serves on the General Board of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


*The Rev. V. Gordon Glenn III

The Inaugural Midwest Omaha District Conference, under the watchful hand of Presiding Elder Benjamin R. Finnell, opened with worship on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at Allen Chapel AME Church in Omaha, Nebraska, under the theme of “Let Us Rise Up and Build” from Nehemiah 2:18.

Presiding Elder Steven A. Cousin of the Midwest South District, the preacher of the hour, preached from the subject, “Don’t Come Down” from Nehemiah 6:15, reminding those assembled to continue their good work and refuse to come down, but to “stay right there” and continue the work.

The Omaha District Choir, made up of representatives from the various churches in the District, provided the music ministry for the evening, lifting the congregation to higher heights by singing praises to God.

The Rev. Clifton N. St. James, pastor of St. John AME Church in Omaha, served as the worship leader and the other pastors and associate ministers of the District served as liturgists.

There were visiting pastors from the Midwest North and Midwest South Districts, as well as pastors from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Omaha, present as a show of support for this historic occasion.

The Midwest Omaha District is the newest Presiding Elder District formed by Bishop T Larry Kirkland, of the Fifth Episcopal District, in the Midwest Annual Conference. It is comprised of four churches in Omaha - St. John, Bethel (Pastor Victoria Parker), Allen Chapel (Pastor Benjamin Finnell), and Gregg Memorial (Pastor Jacqueline Ford) – and one church in Lincoln, Nebraska                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              + – Quinn Chapel (Pastor Karla Cooper).

From the opening processional song, “Come on and bless the Lord with me,” to the Doxology and Benediction, the Lord was in the worship, praise, preaching and giving.

*The Rev. V. Gordon Glenn III is the Public Relations Director for the Midwest Annual Conference of the Fifth Episcopal District


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

Based on Biblical Text: Acts 10: 43: “To him [Jesus] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. “
This time of year always congers up memories of some wonderful times I experienced with my daughters when they were young. There would always be the Easter eve dying of eggs and filling baskets with candy. There was always good candy available at this time of year. I remember the trips to the mall to purchase beautiful little dresses and hats. When they were very young I recall they would have to have the little anklet socks and the little shiny black shoes. They would be just gorgeous on Easter Sunday morning.

Of course Easter morning, between “Sunrise Service” and the traditional morning service would be the time my little girls and all of the children would present their Easter Speeches. I was always so proud of all of the young people as they had memorized such lengthy pieces.

I think it is safe to say that the Easter Sunday morning activities would be included in how most of us would define the meaning of Easter. In fact many non-believers would say that Easter is a time to celebrate the arrival of spring, to buy a new outfit, and to binge on fine chocolates. I have heard it said that Easter is a time to treat ourselves for having come through another rough winter, and to celebrate the new life that the spring season symbolizes.

But for the believer Easter represents so much more! Interestingly many believers still fall prey to the media’s merchandising onslaught and involve themselves in the commercial aspect of the Easter celebration. However, hundreds make the correct first step by making their way to the house of worship. You can always count on the church being packed on Easter morning. The question is, “What is the reason for our celebration?”

I know that not too many people think of Easter in terms of gift giving and receiving. Usually Christmas is thought of as the holiday more about gift giving. The truth is that Christmas is about the promise of a gift and Easter is about the time of its delivery! Easter offers us a gift.

In Acts 10 we find a few verses that summarize the gift of Easter. Peter delivers an impressive sermon. In this sermon that is more than likely his first as the bishop of the New Testament church movement, Peter focuses on the meaning of Easter. He reminds us that Easter is about the gift of forgiveness of sins.

We need forgiveness as sin separates us from God. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. We cannot pray, meditate, or even worship the Lord as a sinner. Until Easter, the governing law maintaining the covenant God had with mankind was the Ten Commandments and all its “Thou Shalt Not’s.”  The Ten Commandments were designed to be the foundation of all obligations. Specifically they listed man’s duty to God, and man’s duty to man. However, the Bible shows us where time and time again man disobeyed the Law. Man then could not and we today can not fulfill the laws of the covenant because of disobedience.

We need forgiveness because we have no power in our own strength to overcome sin. In fact in far too many instances we appear to be comfortable in our sin. That just may be why there is so much of it.

Sin presents quite a dilemma for us as it separates us from God, who is holy and perfect. As a matter of fact, we were God’s precious creation and we were born into this world to worship Him.  But, we could not because we were overpowered by our sin. God and we were like oil and water; we could not mix because sin cannot stand in the presence of God. We could never fix our broken relationship with God on our own. We needed help! We needed the help of a Savior.

We need forgiveness because man is doomed for eternal death without it. We need forgiveness because we cannot save ourselves! The power of sin is too great an enemy for us to fight alone. Eternal death is nothing to play with! Mark refers to is as a fire that shall not be quenched. John calls it a “worm that never dies” and a “bottomless pit.”  The apostle Paul understood the great dilemma man faced. That’s why he cried, “O wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). And the answer that came back from Heaven was Jesus!

Thank God that His Omniscience revealed to Him at Creation that an out of the ordinary covenant would be necessary to save us. Easter is the fulfillment of that unconventional method!  Jesus came to our rescue. He came to rescue us from the source, the scope and the sorrows of sin. An even greater blessing is that Jesus came to rescue us from the sentence of sin! The Bible reminds us that the “wages of sin is death.”

We are thankful for “the gift of God.” Jesus came to reconcile us to God. He accomplished that by taking our punishment upon Himself! Jesus took on all the torture, pain and suffering. Jesus took our place, and we are forgiven. We are saved from the hell of punishment as He took it all upon Himself so that we could stand in the presence of God and worship Him! Nobody but Jesus could do it!

Christmas is about the promise of a gift and Easter is about the time of its delivery!

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


Mrs. Starr L. Battle was recently elected as the “2014-2015 President of the Black Law Students Association” at North Carolina Central University School of Law.

She will also serve as the Marshall for Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity, International.


*The Rev. Carolyn Habersham

The Energized Eighth Episcopal District under the leadership of Bishop Julius H. McAllister, Sr., has led the fight to take control of St. Helena Parish Middle School since 2010. 

The Middle School was seized by the State of Louisiana Recovery School District.  In March 2014, Judge Brady signed a historical order returning the school to St. Helena Parish. 

On three separate occasions, the Rev. Carolyn Habersham, pastor Greater Turner Chapel, Greensburg, Louisiana took a busload of Turner Chapel members to attend the court proceedings.  On one occasion the Judge stated that he changed his ruling because, “until now, the community has never attended court to fight for their schools.” 

This decision is historical, because of all the schools seized by the State of Louisiana, St. Helena Middle School was the only school given back to its District.  All of the other schools were given to Charter School companies.

In addition, after being told that it would be impossible to pass a tax to fund a new school, the Rev. Carolyn Habersham, pastor of Greater Turner Chapel AME Church and the Rev. Joe Chaney, pastor of Rocky Hill AME Church, both in Greensburg, Louisiana led the fight to pass a tax measure that would fund a new school campus for St. Helena Parish. 

The Parish has been trying to pass a new tax for over 30 years; however, when the Rev. Habersham and the Rev. Chaney joined forces, history was made in St. Helena Parish and the tax passed.

The new state of the art, grades 6-12 campus is now in the process of being built and it is expected to open in time for the Fall 2014 school year. 

The Rev. Nelson Taylor, Esq., an AME pastor, has been the attorney fighting for these issues for over 30 years in St. Helena Parish.

*The Rev. Carolyn Habersham is the pastor of Greater Turner Chapel AME Church in Greensburg, Louisiana,


The Appointments were read on Friday, April 11, 2014 by Bishop William Phillips DeVeaux, Presiding Prelate of the 2nd Episcopal District.

The Potomac District

The Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, Presiding Elder
The Rev. Grainger and the Rev. JoAnn Browning, Ebenezer       
The Rev. William Lamar IV, Metropolitan       
The Rev. Jonathan Weaver, Greater Mt. Nebo 
The Rev. Charles T. Sembl, Union Bethel (Randallstown)  
The Rev. Charles Smith, Brown Memorial
The Rev. Harold B. Hayes, Jr., Hunter Memorial      
The Rev. Carrington Carter, Mt. Moriah  
The Rev. Daryl Kearney, Campbell
The Rev. Barbara Glenn, First AME Gaithersburg      
The Rev. Ronald Boykins, Seaton Memorial    
The Rev. Alan Gould, Sr., Allen Chapel (Silver Spring)      
The Rev. Thann Young, Hemingway Temple    
The Rev. Edna C. Jenkins, Embry  
The Rev. Clifton Sparrow, Mt. Pleasant  
The Rev. LeRoy Jackson, Ebenezer (Hagerstown)    
The Rev. Wanda London, Payne Memorial      
The Rev. Louis Kelly, New Liberation     
The Rev. S. Isaiah Harvin, Brookins Faith Temple    
The Rev. Richard McNair, Wayman Memorial   
The Rev. Hedy Drummond, Ebenezer (Galesville)    
The Rev. Diane H. Johnson, Jerusalem   
The Rev. Abraham Smith, First AME (Alexandria)     
The Rev. Rita Williams, Cornerstone (Indianhead)   
The Rev. Joan King, St. Luke
The Rev. Roland Patterson, Campfield   
The Rev. Donald Marbury, Ebenezer (Brunswick)      
The Rev. Vanetta Brice, St. John   
The Rev. Will Kenlaw, Agape
The Rev. Curtis K.C. White, Ebenezer (Charlotte Hall)     
The Rev. E. Gail Anderson Holness, Christ Our Redeemer 
The Rev. James E. Harrell, Living Water 
The Rev. Rodney Barnes, Gethsemane   
The Rev. Caroline L. Jones, Galilee       
The Rev. Richard E. Crooks, Calvary      
The Rev. Jacquelyn Hollingsworth, Christ Chapel     
The Rev. Melynda Clarke, Mt. Sinai
The Rev. Linda Mouzon, New Birth
The Rev. Phillip D. Jackson, Life Change
The Rev. Tony Lee, Community of Hope
The Rev. Kendra Smith, Rivers of Life    
The Rev. Rochelle Toyer, Restoration Life      

The Capitol District    
The Rev. Dr. Louis Charles Harvey, Presiding Elder of the Capitol District
The Rev. Lee P. Washington, Reid Temple                
The Rev. Michael E. Bell, Sr., Allen Chapel                
The Rev. Henry White, Turner Memorial            
The Rev. Harry L. Seawright, Union Bethel (Brandywine)             
The Rev. Samuel E. Hayward III, Hemingway Memorial               
The Rev. Michael Thomas, Ward Memorial                 
The Rev. Wendell O. E. Christopher, Pilgrim              
In the Hands of PE, First AME (Manassas)                 
The Rev. Johnny R. Calhoun, Mt. Olive              
The Rev. Donald Smedley, Mt. Pisgah               
The Rev. Christine A. Moore, Faith           
The Rev. Constance C. Wheeler-Evans,   St. Paul              
The Rev. Luke Robinson, Quinn Chapel             
The Rev. Raymond F. Edmonds, Jr., Falls Road          
The Rev. Sterlin Powell, St. Mark             
The Rev. Robert Hodges, Sr., Allen (Baltimore)                   
The Rev. Lois A. Poag-Ray, Wayman Good Hope                
The Rev. Jonathan Davis, Mt. Zion (Knoxville)           
The Rev. Alicia Byrd, St. Stephens           
The Rev. Derrick N. Brown, New Hope               
The Rev. Herman Gladney     Emmanuel            
The Rev. Ronald Simmons    St. Paul (Dickerson)               
The Rev. Karen Myers, Gaines Chapel               
The Rev. Patrick H. Hipkins   , Davis Memorial           
The Rev. Anthony Young, New Creation            
The Rev. Mary C. Newton, Lee Memorial           
The Rev. Etoria V. Goggins, Mt. Zion (Severn)           
The Rev. Marlene R. Jefferson, Star of Bethlehem              
The Rev. C. Michele Langston, St. James                  
The Rev. Alfred Deas, Jr., Metropolitan (Cumberland)                 
The Rev. Robert Ray, Wayman (Frederick)                 
The Rev. Dededrick Rivers, St. Jude                 
The Rev. David D. Robinson, Sr.,   Bethany               
The Rev. Kenneth L. Young   , Adams Inspirational             
The Rev. Anna E. Mosby, Mt. Gilboa                 
The Rev. Brenda McClain, Cowdensville            
The Rev. Meredith C. Hudson, Dickerson           
The Rev. Valdes J. Snipes-Bennett, Cornerstone (La Plata)                  
The Rev. Wayne Bennett, Bethel (Dale City)             
The Rev. Peter G. Taylor, Living Faith               
The Rev. Andra D. Hoxie, Faith Mission             
The Rev. Joseph C. Chandler, Jr., Family Life Ministry                 
The Rev. Jon Robinson, Covenant Community Church               


• Taking home its first title, Fisk joins 12 HBCUs that have won HCASC national championships

• Oakwood University, Tuskegee University and North Carolina Central University completed the Final Four

• Dr. Rosland Rennae Elliott of Oakwood University named Coach of the year; Gabriel A. Smith of Tuskegee University named Earnest L. Jones Sportsperson of the Year

• Winning question tested Fisk’s knowledge of world mythology

NASHVILLE, TN, April 15, 2014 – Completing a journey that began in the fall, Fisk University claimed its first ever national championship title at the 25th anniversary Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. For a quarter century, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has sponsored this unique academic competition featuring the best and brightest students from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Watch highlights from this year’s competition.

A packed studio audience filled with competitors, alumni, volunteers, fans and Honda associates collectively held their breath as Fisk clinched the title over second-place finisher Oakwood University, after answering the following question correctly: What character in various world mythologies, whose name begins with A, B, or C, was the creator God eclipsed by Vishnu? Answer: Brahma

Fisk was coached by Dr. Stafford W. Cargill. Team members included: Victor Ray Bradley, team captain, junior; Matthew G. Barthwell, junior; Anthony M. Franklin, senior; and Anna M. Wilkins, junior.

 “I am very proud of each student on the Fisk University team for the knowledge, spirit and discipline they displayed on the road to the national championship title,” said Dr. Stafford W. Cargill, coach, Fisk University.

The seven remaining finalists that qualified for this year’s Elite Eight included: Oakwood University of Huntsville, AL; Tuskegee University of Tuskegee, AL; North Carolina Central University of Durham, NC; Morgan State University of Baltimore, MD; Morehouse College of Atlanta, GA; Florida A&M University of Tallahassee, FL; and Alabama State University of Montgomery, AL.

 “Honda congratulates Fisk University for winning its first title, and thanks the team for truly representing the more than 10,000 exceptional students that participated in this year’s Honda Campus All-Star Challenge,” said Steve Morikawa, assistant vice president, corporate and community relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We take great pride in the community that has developed around HCASC, and thank all volunteers and alumni who participated for the enduring impact they have on the lives of our student competitors.”

The 2014 coach of the year was Dr. Rosland Rennae Elliott of Oakwood University. Gabriel Smith of Tuskegee University was named the Earnest L. Jones Sportsperson of the Year.

This year’s divisional all-stars included: Antoine Armand Southern representing Oakwood; Victoria Monique Jones representing North Carolina Central; Djon-Iva D. Santos representing Alabama State; Gabriel A. Smith representing Tuskegee; Brannon A. Billings representing Prairie View A&M; Victor Ray Bradley representing Fisk; Maryum Styles representing Spelman; and Eric A. Jett representing West Virginia State.

In addition to taking home the national championship trophy, Fisk University secured the top prize of $50,000 in university grants. Second place finisher Oakwood University won $25,000, while third and fourth place finishers – Tuskegee University and North Carolina Central University – earned $15,000 each. In total, more than $300,000 in institutional grants, which support academic activities, was awarded to participating HBCUs.

“Leading among the mediocre doesn't mean much, but being a champion among giants is a dream worth striving for,” said Fisk University team captain Victor Ray Bradley. “This competition is full of immensely talented people who are vying to take your spot, but while you hold the title, the victory is sweet.” 

For pictures, videos and more information on the 2014 HCASC competition, including a full list of the 48 teams that qualified, visit www.hcasc.com. Connect with HCASC on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HCASC), Twitter (www.twitter.com/HCASC) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/hcascpix), using the hashtag #HCASC.
About Honda Campus All-Star Challenge:

In 1989, Honda, with the College Bowl Company created the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) in support of the unique mission of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Historical data about the program is available at www.hcasc.com.

About Fisk University: 

Founded in 1866, Fisk University is Nashville’s first institution of higher education and currently ranks in the top 20% of all liberal arts institutions in the nation according to The Washington Monthly.  Fisk is the fourth highest ranked institution in Tennessee and the highest ranked Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Forbes magazine’s 2013 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” Fisk has been ranked in The Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern Colleges” publication for 21 consecutive years.  U.S. News and World Report ranks Fisk #146 in the elite Tier One group of 246 liberal arts institutions selected for the distinction among the 1,400 colleges and universities in the nation, and Fisk is one of only four HBCUs ranked in Tier One. Fisk has earned four R & D 100 Awards for work in the creation of radiation detectors developed in collaboration with several national laboratories and corporations. No other HBCU has ever earned an R & D 100 Award.  According to the National Science Foundation, Fisk produces more African-Americans who go on to earn doctoral degrees in the natural sciences than any school in the nation. For more information on Fisk University, please visit www.fisk.edu.


It’s that time of year again: when you put away your winter clothes, realize you haven’t gone to the gym nearly enough to be ready for swimsuit season — and clean out your computer? Yes, that’s right, now’s the perfect time of year to get your system up and running at its fastest and most efficient again. Here’s how.

Backup files. You’ve got a lot of important files stored on your system and if it crashed you could lose a lot of data. Back those files up to an external hard drive (or two), and make sure those backup drives are stored in secure locations — and even separate locations like your office or parents’ home.

Clean the system’s registry. Your system picks up a lot of temporary files over the course of its life — particularly through Internet surfing — and you’ll speed it up by deleting them. There are several tools you can use to clear out old registry entries (in PCs) and empty recycle bins and that can delete temporary Internet files, cookies, and browsing histories. CCleaner is a popular free tool that can do this, but robust security platforms like Kaspersky’s PURE 3.0 contain PC cleanup tools that will do the same thing and are just one part of a comprehensive suite of tools that will keep your system safe going forward.

Defragment your hard drive. This is a utility on Windows systems that will increase the speed and efficiency of your system. In Windows 8 you’ll find this by searching ‘defrag’ under Files, on older Windows systems go to ‘Program Files,’ ‘Accessories,’ then select ‘System Tools.’ Running the Disk Defragmenter takes a while and your system will be unavailable for use while this is happening, so its best to run this if you’re going out for a while or when you go to sleep. The iOS equivalent of defragging the hard drive is to run the system’s built-in Disk Utility app.

Remove programs you don’t use.  It’s likely that the longer you’ve had your system, the more programs will be on it that you don’t use. But those programs still take up disc space and slow your overall system down (especially if they run in the background or while your system boots up). So now’s the time to assess which programs you use and need, and which ones you don’t.

In Windows, go to the Control Panel, then select ‘Add/Remove Programs.’ Peruse through this list — select programs you haven’t used in a year or more for removal. On Macs you can open LaunchPad, then drag and drop the icons of your unused and underused programs into the trash.

Change your passwords. This is an important step to make on a regular basis, and as long as you’re bringing the rest of your system up to date you should do this too. Remember to make them long — 18 characters is a good target to shoot for — and complicated. Don’t use any word found in the dictionary or any names. Mix up letters, numerals and non-alphanumeric symbols. That can be a lot to remember, so you might want to use a password manager: http://blog.kaspersky.com/change-your-passwords-now/ to help you.

Install program updates. Make sure your operating system and all software programs are updated to the latest versions available, as these updates include the latest security patches. Older versions are more at risk of being exploited by attackers who have found weaknesses in these outdated programs. On Windows systems, navigate to ‘Go to Start,’ then ‘Control Panel,’ ‘All Programs,’ and ‘Windows Update.’ Here you’ll see what updates are needed. It will tell you what updates need to be installed on your computer. Make sure you click the “Check for updates” link to see if the computer is up to date. On iOS systems, click on the app store, then the ‘Updates’ icon at the top of the window.

Boost your security. Download the latest version of a potent security suite like PURE 3.0, then run a deep and full system scan to remove any harmful files. Just to be safe, scan any external backup drives too.

Actually clean it. Your system gets dirty over time from the oils on your fingers, crumbs, dust and so on. Wipe off your monitor with a damp cloth, shake out and/or spray your keyboard out with compressed air, and scrub the keyboard with a damp, mildly soapy solution.

TCR Editor’s Note: The following article was published by Kaspersky Antivirus Lab http://blog.kaspersky.com/spring-clean-your-pc/. This is not an endorsement, but the article is packed full of useful information. In the spirit of transparency, I use the Kaspersky Antivirus system and it is an excellent system.


WASHINGTON — With the close of the tax filing season, the vast majority have filed their income tax returns and received their income tax refunds. As of last Friday, the IRS had received almost 113 million tax returns and issued more than 85 million refunds, about 78 percent of all the refunds the agency will issue this year.

However, taxpayers who have not yet received their refunds can use the “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or on the smartphone application IRS2Go 4.0 to find out about the status of their income tax refunds. As of April 11, 2014, Where’s My Refund? has been accessed almost 160 million times.

The Where’s My Refund? tool enables taxpayers to track the status of their refund. Initial information will normally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mails a paper return to the IRS. The system updates only once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check more often.
Taxpayers should have their Social Security number, filing status and exact refund amount when accessing Where’s My Refund?

Taxpayers can find more information about refunds and other tax topics at www.IRS.gov.

TCR EDITOR'S COMMENT: I used the service and it works. In addition to your Social security Account Number, you will also need the amount of the expected refund.  You can also download the IRS2Go Mobile App on your smartphone.


If you missed the April 15 tax filing deadline, don’t panic. Here’s some advice from the IRS.

• File as soon as you can.  If you owe taxes, you should file and pay as soon as you can. This will help minimize the interest and penalty charges. There is no penalty for filing a late return if you are due a refund.

• IRS Free File is your best option.  Everyone can use IRS Free File to e-file their federal taxes for free. If your income was $58,000 or less, you can use free brand-name software. If you made more than $58,000 and are comfortable preparing your own tax return, use Free File Fillable Forms to e-file. This program uses the electronic versions of paper IRS forms. IRS Free File is available through Oct. 15 only through IRS.gov. 

• IRS E-file is still available.  IRS e-file is available through Oct. 15. E-file is the easiest, safest and most accurate way to file your taxes. With e-file you receive confirmation that the IRS received your tax return. If you e-file and choose direct deposit of your refund, you’ll normally get it within 21 days.

• Pay as much as you can.  If you owe tax but can’t pay it all at once, try to pay as much as you can when you file your tax return. Pay the remaining balance as soon as possible to stop further penalties and interest.

 Make a payment agreement online.  If you need more time to pay your taxes, you can apply for a payment plan with the IRS. The easiest way to apply is to use the IRS Online Payment Agreement tool. You can also mail Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. The tool and form are both available on IRS.gov.

• A refund may be waiting.  If you’re due a refund, you should file as soon as possible to get it. Even if you are not required to file, you may still get a refund. This could apply if you had taxes withheld from your wages or you qualify for certain tax credits. If you don’t file your return within three years, you could forfeit your right to the refund.
For more information, visit IRS.gov.


*Dr. Oveta Fuller

April is National Health Disparities Month. What are the disparities in health and wellness for African Americans?

Even if it is painful, not pleasant, we need to know. We must have the conversation. Before one can address issues, they must be known and at least partially understood. An injury cannot heal until the injury is recognized and open so the healing process can begin.

Where does HIV fit into the health equity issues affecting families and communities in the United States who are part of the African Diaspora in North America? Last week G20 began the conversation to talk about high rates of new HIV infections. We learned that a focus on rates for African American men who have sex with men (MSMs) is required. While this initiated conversation percolates, let’s look at the bigger picture. What is the larger context of HIV/AIDS and other issues for people of color in the USA?

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality summarizes health disparities in its 2012 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (1). Using CDC reports of data collected from state and county health departments, the report states that African Americans (AAs) are:

- 60% more likely to have diabetes. (This means that if we use a baseline that 1 out 10 non-Hispanic whites will get diabetes, then on average, 6 out of 10 African Americans will become diabetic.)
- AAs are 40% more likely to be obese, 
- 30% more likely to develop and die from heart disease,
- 40% more likely to die from a stroke or its effects,
- 20% less likely to receive treatment for depression,
- 40% more likely to die from breast cancer.

If we look at some other diseases or causes of death that are reported, African Americans are

- 9x more likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection than non-Hispanic whites in America,
- 8x more likely to die from AIDS,
- 2x more likely to lose a foot, leg or toe due to amputation from diabetes complications,
- 2x more likely to die from prostate cancer,
- 2.1x more likely to die from asthma or asthmatic complications,
- 2.5x more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth (yes, this is for black women in the USA) and,
- 2x more likely to die from cervical cancer.  (There is now a readily available vaccine in the USA that can prevent infection with the human papilloma virus that eventually leads to most cervical cancers).

Are these issues of persons from an older generation (over 50) that might have had lower access to healthcare or less training in prevention or fewer screening opportunities? Let’s look at the stats for African American children. African American children are:

- 2x more likely to die as an infant
- 2x more likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome),
- 2x more likely to have asthma and 3x more likely to die from asthma.

African American high schoolers are 30% more likely to attempt suicide due to untreated depression. African American children are 73% more likely to be obese according to the official weight and height definitions. Thus, we can better appreciate the wisdom and motivations behind the “Let’s Move” campaign of First Lady Michelle Obama who wanted her efforts to make a difference in real lives of people.

From these statistics, we can conclude that communities of culture are more likely to carry a burden of disease that is much higher than those of non-Hispanic whites in America. We can conclude that African Americans deal with certain diseases at a level that is far too high. These statistics are not made up, but are based on official reports by clinicians to the state health departments and ultimately to the CDC.

The report (1) asks, “How do we deal with these to reduce the different rates of disease prevalence and outcomes?”

We could change the differences by increasing the diseases of non-Hispanic whites, but this is not a logical option. We must reduce the differences; address the disparity by increasing prevention and good health habits for all, and especially for African Americans.

Many African Americans are served by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC). We have a Commission on Health and a Commission on Social Justice and clergy and lay and youth all in an intricate connected national and global network. Through the AMEC and whatever means necessary, we must learn more, talk about it, explore what happens and why? We can together, collectively and individually, determine and do what can be done to change the conditions that will improve opportunities for wellness.

How does this connect with MSMs who have the fastest increasing levels of new HIV infections in the African American community? Let’s think about it and be open to explore ways of thinking that align with the mission and actions of Jesus who we as Christians emulate.

Let’s explore the possibilities in conversations everywhere to better understand what we can and must do about HIV/AIDS and other health issues.

April is National Minority Health Month (2). In 2014 the theme is “Prevention is Power”. April 2014 also contains the Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday. April is the time, if not already committed to such, to move out of Lent into seeking and using better habits for wellness. It is the time to use whatever means necessary to learn where we are, understand the factors that place us here, determine the directions in which we must go and then to do what is required to move forward. Let’s talk.

*The Rev. Dr. A. Oveta Fuller is a tenured professor in Microbiology and Immunology and faculty in the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan. An Itinerant Elder in the 4th Episcopal District, she served as pastor of Bethel AME Church in Adrian, Michigan for seven years before focusing fully on global health research in Zambia and the USA for HIV/AIDS elimination. At Payne Theological Seminary she teaches a required course, “What Effective Clergy Should Know about HIV/AIDS.”


*Bill Dickens, Allen AME Church, Tacoma, Washington

Over the last two months I have become hooked on an ABC hit drama show.  And, no, it’s not Scandal, but Resurrection. 

The focus of Resurrection is looking at how residents in a small Missouri town adjust to a phenomenon where previously dead residents are now returning to life and attempting to regain their sense of normalcy.  Although the “resurrected characters” represent TV intrigue for the viewing audience, I personally find the behavioral reactions by the “non-resurrected” residents of Arcadia, Missouri more fascinating.  Many of the Arcadia residents are filled with doubt, anger, fear, resentment, betrayal and hate towards their “resurrected” residents.  

April 20, 2014 marks the Sunday on our Liturgical Calendar for the AME Church to celebrate the greatest Resurrection ever recorded in the annals of human history.  Many AME Church Schools will host Eater plays and offer opportunities for our children, grades k – 12, to provide public speaking parts on the Easter Story.  Let’s not however forget the lesson in the midst of the pretty outfits, oratorical speeches and egg roll activities. 

The Adult AME Church School lesson for April 20, 2013 celebrates the quintessential "resurrection” – Jesus’ Resurrection. 
Dr. Luke describes the Resurrection story by also using some Arcadia-like personalities. When the women returned from an empty tomb filled with adrenaline and enthusiasm about Jesus’ Resurrection, many of the disciples rejected their resurrection story just like the Arcadia townspeople. 

Peter however, remembering the prophecy from Hosea and the words spoken by Jesus concerning the third day, broke ranks with his male colleagues and ran to the tomb for verification.

The Bible records many “resurrections.”  Elijah raised a young boy from the dead (I Kings 17:17-22).  Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son (II Kings 4:20-37). Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-16), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:35-43) and Lazarus (John 11:1-44) from the dead.  Even at the climax of Jesus’ resurrection, other saints arose from the dead when the curtain in the temple was torn "from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:51-53).

However, this is where the similarity ends. Those who were raised from the dead eventually died.

Jesus’ resurrection is unique. He never died again.  Jesus’ resurrection is inspirational. He is the source of our hope. Jesus’ resurrection is definitive.  We are saved from the penalty of sin through our faith in His resurrection. 

As AMEs we adopt an uncompromising belief in Jesus’ Resurrection.  The Apostle’s Creed states unequivocally; “The third day he rose again from the dead:  He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.”

We need not be disbelievers like the Arcadia residents in the fictional TV show Resurrection. 

Jesus is alive!  Jesus lives physically, emotionally and existentially in our minds, bodies and souls. This is a cause for celebration, not fear and doubt. 

*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.

Most pastors will see larger than usual crowds in church on this coming Sunday because it’s Easter Sunday.  I noticed years ago while still a pastor, however, that even though the church was crowded for Easter, few people joined the church and there was no appreciable “bump” in the offerings. 

I mentioned that to one of my preacher-uncles who wisely said, “Understand that some folks you see on Easter Sunday love the Lord, but they’re in church for Easter out of “annual habit” or because their children got new clothes or fresh hairdos or haircuts and have speeches during the church school Easter program - they’re at church for Easter Sunday, but they really aren’t in church.”

I’ve learned through the years in conversations with other clergy that many Rabbis have the same experience in synagogues on Rosh Hashanah and that some Imams do so as well in Mosques at the conclusion of Ramadan.  Most people believe in God, but many of us focus on this world’s demands, don’t make time for God on a regular basis and maintain our link to our faith through our presence in the house of worship on the most sacred day of the year.  As my late uncle said, “they’re at church but they’re not in church.”

Let that aspect of human nature be your encouragement and motivation to chart a new course and make a new commitment as we approach the holiest of days for Christians.  God made time to hear our prayers and to see our shortcomings, and sent His Son into this world to give His life on Calvary as the price for our sins and to then arise from the dead with the power to guarantee everlasting life for all who believe in Him.

God made the time to save us and still makes the time to hear our daily prayers and send us daily blessings, for each day that we wake up in this world is a blessed day.  When we take the time to trust in, walk with, serve the Lord and give thanks to God for our blessings by the lives that we live - not just on Easter Sunday but on every day - we’ll find new peace of mind, hope, encouragement and Spirit-led strength to face life’s most troubling times not with fear, but with faith.

Make this Easter Sunday the first day of a better, renewed and more meaningful life.  When you do, then even when Easter 2014 is a distant memory and the Easter clothes get old, you can still walk life’s journey saying with one writer, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow; because He lives all fear is gone; because I know Who holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”

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

*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby

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


-- The Rev. Dr. Katurah York Cooper Celebrates Milestones in 2013

2013 was indeed a 'Year of Supernatural Surplus' at Empowerment Temple AME Church in Liberia. Please join us in celebrating two important milestones in our pastor's life.  Dr. Katurah York Cooper accepted the invitation of the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia to serve on the Committee on Grievance and Ethics of the Judiciary. The Grievance and Ethics Committee of the Judiciary is responsible to investigate unethical conduct of lawyers, and make recommendations to the Supreme Court of actions to be taken against lawyers found guilty. Dr. Cooper is the first Christian cleric (male or female) to serve on this committee. Other members of the committee include six lawyers, a journalist, an Imam and a banker. We also congratulate our pastor for serving as the Baccalaureate Preacher at the 95th Commencement Exercises of the University of Liberia. She spoke to over 1200 graduates on the theme "Don't Despise Your Birthright". Dr. Katurah York Cooper, a trailblazer, is the first female cleric to serve in that capacity in the history of the institution since its establishment in 1863.

Dr. Katurah York Cooper is the pastor/founder of Empowerment Temple AME Church in the Central Liberia Annual Conference of the 14th Episcopal District.

Congratulatory messages can be sent via email to Dr. Katurah York Cooper: katu.cooper2012@gmail.com

-- The Reverend John and Martha Lambert to Celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary

The Reverend John and Martha Lambert will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary on April 19, 2014. The Reverend John Lambert is the pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church in Anderson, Indiana.

Congratulatory responses can be emailed to:
The Rev. and Mrs. John Lambert: jlambert87@comcast.net

* Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Anderson, Indiana

-- The Rev. and Mrs. Stanley Stevens Dawson Sr. celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary

The Reverend and Mrs. Stanley Stevens Dawson Sr. (Pamela) of the South Conference, Eleventh Episcopal District celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on March 30, 2014. 

The Rev. Dawson is currently the pastor of Greater Mount Pleasant African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hollywood Florida

Congratulatory messages can be emailed to: The Rev. and Mrs. Stanley Stevens Dawson Sr. at pdawson8@icloud.com

* Greater Mount Pleasant African Methodist Episcopal Church

-- The Reverend Ann Riley completes requirements for her Master of Divinity Degree

The Reverend Ann Riley, Pastor of Mount Pleasant AME Church, Cantonment, on the Pensacola-Marianna District who had her humble beginning at Hurst Chapel AME Church in Pensacola has completed all of the requirements at Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio to receive her Master of Divinity Degree. Graduation is scheduled for May 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Congratulatory messages can be emailed to The Reverend Ann Riley at: ariley@escambia.k12.fl.us.

-- Ivana Kim Gordon the daughter of Presiding Elder Jerome Gordon graduated from Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Congratulations to Rev Jerome Gordon, Presiding Elder of the Worcester District in the Cape Annual Conference, 15th Episcopal District whose daughter, Ivana Kim Gordon graduated from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town Campus in Tourism Management. Ivana will be off to Disney World Florida, USA, to explore a new venture later during the year.

The 15th Episcopal District of African Methodism is proud of its sons and daughters. Press on!

Congratulatory responses can be emailed to: jerome_gordon@aol.com, Presiding Elder Jerome Gordon.

*The Rev. Clive Pillay, Cape Annual Conference, 15th Episcopal District


We are saddened to announce the passing of Alfred Kirkland, the nephew of Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, the Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Service arrangements will be forthcoming.

Contact information for Bishop T. Larry Kirkland

Fifth Episcopal District AME Church
4519 Admiralty Way, Suite 205
Marina Del Ray, CA 90292
Telephone: (310) 577-8530
Fax: (310) 577-8540


We are saddened to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Carol W. Hillery, the sister in law of the Rev. Dr. Jeffery Cooper, the General Secretary/CIO of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mrs. Hillery was very active in her church and was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.   She was the sister of Dr. Joanne Williams Cooper, M.D., wife of Dr. Jeffery B Cooper, General Secretary and CIO.

Services for Mrs. Carol W. Hillery will be held:

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 11 a.m.
St. Ignatius Catholic Church
740 N. Calvert St
Baltimore, MD  21202

Care of the remains has been entrusted to:

Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home
6500 York Road
Baltimore, MD  21212
Telephone: (410) 377-8300
FAX: (410) 377-8302

The wake and recitation of the rosary will be held on Wednesday evening, April 9, 2014 at the funeral home.

Dr. Joanne W. Cooper, M.D. can be reached at jwill05@emory.edu


We regret to inform you of the passing of Edward N. Davis, the husband of Rita Pendleton, Administrative Assistant to Dr. Richard A. Lewis, CFO AME Church Finance Department, Washington, DC.

Arrangements for Edward N. Davis:

Wake: Friday, April 18, 2014 from 6-8 p.m.
A. L. Bennett & Son Funeral Home
200 Butternut Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Phone (540) 898-7970
Fax (540) 898-7916

Funeral: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
Sylvannah Baptist Church
8400 Courthouse Road
Spotsylvania, VA 22551

Hotel Information:

Marriott Towne Place Suites
4700 Market Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Telephone: (540) 891-0775

Reservation Code: Davis-Pendleton

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

Ms. Rita Pendleton
C/o AME Finance Department
1134 11th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Joretta Harris. She is the mother of Candace M. Sparks and mother-in-law of the Rev. Ronald Sparks, pastor of Bethel AMEC, Freehold, New Jersey.

The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.

Wake: Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Caldwell-Kirk Mortuary
2101 Marion Street
Denver, Colorado 80205
Phone:    303-861-4644

Funeral Service: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Final Viewing: 10:00 a.m.
Service:     11:00 a.m.

Shorter Community AME church
3100 Richard Allen Court
Denver, Colorado 80205

Telephone:    303-320-1712

The Rev. Timothy E. Tyler, pastor


Fort Logan National Cemetery
Denver, Colorado

Cards, expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Ronald and Candace Sparks
84 Brookfield Drive
Jackson, NJ 08527

Acknowledgements, condolences and resolutions for the wake or funeral should be sent to Caldwell-Kirk Mortuary. See address above.


It is with much sadness that we share the tragic and sudden passing on of the 24 year old Riaan White, nephew of the Rev. Lucas White, pastor of Trinity Chapel AME Church-Grassy Park, Cape Town; Cape Annual Conference, 15th Episcopal District.

It is in times like these that we are challenged to witness to the faith we proclaim and let the world know, in Times like these we have a Savior. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

Expressions of sympathy and condolences can be emailed to lucasw@cederbergraad.co.za, the Rev. Lucas White.


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. Walker Johnson, of Georgetown, SC.  Brother Johnson was the father of the Rev. Dr. Julius M. (Wanda) Johnson, pastor of Long Cane AME Church, Abbeville, SC.

The Celebration of Life Services for Brother Walker Johnson:

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
Bethel AME Church
417 Broad St.
Georgetown, SC, 29440
The Rev. Dr. M. Charmaine Ragin, Pastor

Telephone: (843) 546-4898

Cards and Condolences may be sent to:

The Rev. Dr. Julius M. Johnson
325 Hobson Road
Anderson, SC 29621


It is with heartfelt sympathy that we inform you of the passing of Mr. Israel Emil Harper, the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Jimmy Harper, Pastor, Mt. Zion AME Church, Dentontown, Mississippi in the North Mississippi Conference.

Funeral Service for Mr. Israel Emil Harper:

Thursday, April 17, 2014
11 a.m.
Daniel Temple Church
133 Hamilton Street
Calhoun City, Mississippi 38915
Services Entrusted to:

Bell Memorial Funeral Home
138 East Washington Street
Bruce, Mississippi 38915

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:

The Reverend & Mrs. Jimmy Harper
537 CR 471
Vardaman, Mississippi 38878
Residence Telephone: (662) 628-5271
Cell Telephone: (662) 414-0403


It is with heartfelt sympathy that we inform you of the passing of Mr. Malvin Flake, Sr., the father of the Reverend Gwendolyn McClure, the pastor of Parker Chapel AME Church in Shaw, Mississippi and Featherstone AME Church in Senatobia, Mississippi in the North Mississippi Conference.

Memorial Service for Mr. Malvin Flake, Sr.:

Monday, April 14, 2014 
11 a.m.

Agape Community Church
1722 East Lancaster Blvd
Lancaster, CA 93535

Services Entrusted to:

Haley Olsen Mortuary
44831 North Cedar Avenue
Lancaster, CA 93534

Telephone: (661) 942-1139

*Please send floral arrangements or cards to W.S. Brandon Mortuary Funeral Service:

Saturday, April 19, 2014
2 p.m.
Solomon Chapel AME Church
516 Ruby Street
Cleveland, Mississippi 38732

*Services Entrusted to:

W. S. Brandon Mortuary
211 North Pearman Avenue
Cleveland, Mississippi  38732

Telephone: (662) 846-7960
Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:

The Reverend Gwendolyn McClure
Telephone:  (662) 820-0988


Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
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.

Did someone you know pass this copy of The Christian Recorder to you? Get your own copy HERE

*You have received this message because you are subscribed to
The Christian Recorder Online

Forward to Friend

Copyright © 2012 The Christian Recorder, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are a current subscriber to The Christian Recorder.

Our mailing address is:
The Christian Recorder
500 Eighth Avenue, South
Nashville, TN 37203-7508

Add us to your address book