THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER ONLINE ENGLISH EDITION (10/02/15)
The Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland -
Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr.,
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III,
the 20th Editor, The Christian
Reminder: Change clocks (fall back) to Standard Time on
Sunday, November 1, 2015, 2:00 a.m.
1. TCR EDITORIAL –
“SIDEWALK THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY” LESSONS FOR PASTORS:
20th Editor of The
have said repeatedly, “If I had any semblance of success in the pastoral
ministry and as a U.S. Army chaplain, it was because of the mentoring and
teaching I received at ‘Sidewalk Theological Seminary.’”
use the term, “Sidewalk Theological Seminary” from a comment I received from
Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District. I
believe he used "Sidewalk Theological Seminary" or a similar
can remember, back in the day when the old preachers took the time to share the
“pastoring facts of life” with the young aspirants for the ministry and young
of the “pastoring facts of life” didn’t make sense because that wasn’t what I
was taught in seminary, but later in my ministry I came to appreciate the
teachings of those old preachers.
in my ministry I fully understood that they knew more than I and they “nailed”
every pastoral issue “on the head.” The Sidewalk Theological Seminary and the
Philadelphia Annual Conference Board of Examiners prepared me for the AME
ministry! Correction: They prepared me for the ministry!
the Sidewalk Theological Seminary classes seemed redundant and some of the
things taught didn’t seem logical and at that time, in my mind, there was no
way, some of the things they taught could work.
the spirit of transparency, the term Sidewalk Theological Seminary “lectures”
applies mainly to small and medium-sized churches. Pastoring mega churches
might have some different rules of engagement. Most of my peers were being
prepared for smaller churches.
am writing this as if it was one conversation, but these points cover a number
of Sidewalk Theological Seminary “classes.”
Well, anyway, let's
take a look
am just exiting the church coming out of a BOE session and getting ready to
walk down the sidewalk to my car.
man (and today of course, young woman) come here, let me tell you how things
work in the AME Church. Don’t let the seminary mess you up...”
Theological Seminary 101
you get to a new church, don’t get into discussions with disgruntled members
who want to badmouth your predecessor. Remember every pastor makes a
contribution. Let me tell you something
else, the same people who disparage the previous pastor will be the same people
who will bad-mouth you as soon as you do something they don’t agree with.
can stumble on some things, but there are a couple of things you need to do
right. Listen, you need to get some things right! The folks will forgive you
for a lot of things, but there are some things the folks will not forgive you.
need to visit the sick and shut-in members.
Listen, after worship on the first Sunday, just plan to visit the sick
and shut in members. Don’t wait until Monday or Tuesday because something will
come up and you might not get an opportunity to do it. The folks will love you
when they know that you are taking care of the sick and shut in members. You
take care of the sick and shut in members and the folks will forgive some of
your other missteps. If you don’t take care of the sick and shut in members,
you are just giving the folks ammunition to cripple or kill your ministry.
another thing that will kill your ministry is if you are not on-target and not
at your best when conducting funerals, weddings, and Holy Communion.
folks bring their family and friends to those events and funerals and weddings
are times when you have visitors and you don’t want to embarrass your members
by stumbling over the ritual. You can
stumble on a sermon or two, but don’t mess up a funeral, a wedding or Holy
let a dead man / woman kill your ministry.” I know that you will expect to do
the eulogies of the departed parishioners, but being sensitive to the wishes of
family members is a gracious thing to do. If you are generous and gracious
during the times when people are mourning, your ministry will be nurtured and
enhanced. A pastor who is not generous and gracious in sensitive situations
might discover that he or she is “putting a nail in the coffin” of his or her
can be a pastor-killer too. Some
parishioners are adamant about whom they want to perform the weddings of family
members; and sometimes, for whatever reason, it might not be the pastor. Don’t
take it personal, be gracious and take the high ground. In other words, don’t
engage in “turf wars” during the planning of weddings, funerals, baptisms and
other events where families are concerned. Always be gracious and accommodate
the AME Church, Communion is important, especially to the older folks. Be on
your “best game” when you lead Holy Communion. Don’t work on your car on the
Saturday before the first Sunday because your hands and fingernails need to
“eyeball” the Communion setup before the service to insure everything is in
order; no snafus during the administration of Holy Communion. Trust the
stewardesses, but be vigilant, especially when you first arrive at your
you go to another church to preach and your choir and the members of the
congregation accompany you, have your best sermon. Don’t embarrass your folks
or yourself with a mediocre sermon. And, don’t forget to thank the choir and
members who accompany you. You are getting an honorarium; they are not.
sermon should be the final word! No
announcements, no frivolity, no business meetings after the sermon. When people leave the sanctuary, the sermon
and the Word of God should prevail.
People should be allowed to meditate on the Word of God. Teach the
people to be respectful of the Word of God. No “mess” after the sermon.
let people distract you or “lay some kind of trip” on you before Sunday
worship. Do not engage in “hallway counseling” before the worship service and
do not engage in frivolous conversation.
that means that you, as the pastor, might have to pass on church school. Let
the laity take care of church school. A pastor should not have any distractions
before worship and before the sermon.
pastor should touch every person who attends worship. Stand at the door in the
rear of the church and instruct the ushers and insure that they understand that
they are to direct the people out of the doorway where you are standing.
every parishioner in the eye, learn their names and address them by name. Bend
over when talking to children. Take the time to shake their hands. And,
especially if an older person looks disheveled, inquire about their welfare.
Ask young people how they are doing in school. Take the time to deal with each
person. Stand at the door until everyone has departed the sanctuary. Touch
every person who attends worship.
embarrass your members in public, even when they might act inappropriately.
Always take the “high moral ground” and treat them with respect. Do not fuss or embarrass people during the
you are assigned to a new pastoral charge, do not be afraid to “touch bases”
with your predecessor to inquire of him (or her) and ask, “Where are the
‘landmines’ and what are some of the things I should avoid?”
though you check with your predecessor about the general welfare of the
ministry, do not assume your predecessor’s battles. Don’t assume that those who
fought him (or her) will fight you, but don’t be surprised if they do.
are some people, some families and some churches that are preacher fighters.
They love to fight the preacher, so much so, that preacher-fighting becomes
their “normal.” I hate to say it, but
sometime you need to do what you can do to bring healing, and “ride it out,”
and hope the bishop will come rescue you.
people want to give the janitor or any of the staff a raise, support it. Even
if you think the church can’t support it, if the people think any of the staff
should get a raise, support and never say, “We can’t afford it” because later
if you want or need an increase in salary, you would have taught the people, by
your example, to say, “We can’t afford it.”
are not perfect. You are human like the other people on the planet. Satan is
busy and the devil loves to trap preachers. Just remember, the same demons you
dealt with before you entered the ministry are the same ones you will have to
deal with as a pastor. As a pastor, you will have all kinds of access to
people’s homes and their secrets. You are the only professional who can go in
and out of people’s homes day or night, but be careful. Don’t make pastoral
visits to the home of single women alone; carry somebody with you. As King David had access to Bathsheba because
of his position as king, you, as a pastor will have access. Don’t violate that
access. Satan is alive and well! Satan may have left you for a season, but he
will be back.
young preacher, know there are no secrets. The joy of a secret is being able to
tell someone, “Now, you can’t tell anyone about this…” You can’t do something
“in the dark” and think no one will find out about it. The best advice is to
remember, “Character is what you do when no one is looking.”
you are in public, look like a preacher, act like a preacher and exude the
presence of a preacher because you are representing the local church, the AME
Church and the profession of ministry.
TCR Editor’s Comment: If anyone would like to comment /
add/ contribute to the “Sidewalk Theological Seminary" lessons please
email “Dean” Calvin H. Sydnor III email@example.com,
Subject Line: “Sidewalk Theological Seminary” and your comments, if any are
received, will be incorporated into “Sidewalk Theological Seminary” Lessons for
Pastors, Part 2. We are constantly looking for seminary professors to teach at
"Sidewalk Theological Seminary." A seminary degree is not necessary,
but experience in the pastoral ministry is a prerequisite.
are also contemplating a laity “course of study” at Sidewalk Theological
Seminary. Lay people meet on the sidewalk too!
RESPONSE TO EDITORIAL AND OTHER ISSUES:
Ten Things Pastors need to remember
writing to commend you on the courage to address some issues in our Zion, which
really need some insight, clarification, and sometimes, just some plain old
conversation. I am speaking of your
recent editorial on how Clergy can impact the stewardship in the local church,
and your recent "Ten Things Pastors need to remember". I've sent both online issues throughout the
membership of the Second Episcopal District Lay Organization, asking for Clergy
and Laity, to read. I believed you
presented a balanced view of the responsibilities of all believers in answering
the call of Christian duty. I also
believe, as I an "Old School AME," agree that people will sometimes
express their opinion with their absence of their presence and with the absence
of their money.
know that we are in the midst of transition, both in the world and in the
Church. Somewhere the conversation needs
to be had, that most of us in the 55+ crown have been raised in a traditional
AME environment. Yes, we love the Lord,
and we know that change is inevitable, and necessary, but does that have to
mean the dissolution of all that we have come to know, love and respect.
again, thank you for sharing your perspective, and know that you have kindred
spirits, in this regard, throughout the Church, and thank you for providing a
"safe place" to vent.
The AME College Corner
latest AME College Corner - AME Strong - HBCU'S article points out that the
African Methodist Episcopal Church has always been a leader in the education of
our people. The article reinforces this
by listing and giving the start year of these HBCU'S as follows: Union Seminary (1851), Wilberforce University
(1856), Edward Waters College (1866), Allen University (1870), Payne
Theological Seminary, (1871), Paul Quinn College (1882), Shorter College
(1886), and Turner Theological Seminary (1894).
article notes that in 1885 the state of Georgia granted a charter to Morris
Brown College of the AME Church, making it the first educational institution in
Georgia under sole African-American patronage.
Being that major emphasis has been placed on the opening year of other
HBCU'S listed in this article; please also include the fact that Morris Brown
College was founded in 1881.
Morris Brown College Graduate
3. NEWS AROUND THE
church says farewell to pastor who lived to be 107. A memorial service was held
for him Wednesday at Wayman AME Church in north Minneapolis, where Smith had
scaled back his preaching to once a ...
-- Joseph W. Reid,
Sr. - Because his father was an itinerant pastor in the AME Church, Joe, as he
was affectionately called, lived in Louisville, Ky. and Knoxville. He
-- New pastor
begins serving at Bethel AME Church. The Rev. Alberta Jones began serving in
June as the new pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 330 W.
-- Charleston Jazz
Club Presents “Hand in Hand” A Tribute to Emanuel AME Church Family.
6th Annual Charleston Jazz Jam “Hand in Hand” – A Tribute to the
Mother Emanuel AME Church Family, will be held…
4. AN ANONYMOUS
is an anonymous email and you will understand why by the content of the
email. I am hoping you can address some
of these issues in the Christian Recorder.
attend a small church that used to thrive, but in the last ten years or so the
church has steadily declined to the point where we can barely pay our bills.
Sometimes we cannot pay all the bills and our pastor goes unpaid or things get
turned off. More people leave than
join. Members are not committed. It has its best moments when it is operating
like a social club and its worst moments when it is operating like a worship
center. I am greatly distressed by the
condition of our church.
has their own theory as to why the church is steadily declining. Some say it is a sign of the times. Others say people are overworked and
financially over taxed. Others say it is
a spiritual problem. Others deny that
there is a problem. And some don’t know
and don’t seem to give much thought about it.
Meanwhile, the handful of us who seem to care are distressed.
believe it is a spiritual problem. Our
worship is lackluster. We have an “it don’t
take all that” mentality about worship.
To me, it shows in our ministry and our actions. Our worship is certainly the praise and
worship we should have during service.
But, our worship is also in our ministry, how we treat each other, how
we encourage each other, what we do to minister in the church and outside of
our walls. All of that is lackluster
unless we are dealing with a personal friend in the church. We have ministers who will, quietly and
behind the scenes, discourage attendance at certain worship services. My friends have stopped visiting because they
see us as a failing church. They don’t
understand why I haven’t left. I am
know that God is able. I try to remain
positive, but it is very, very hard. We
need change and we need it immediately before our doors are forced to
close. How do we get change in
leadership without hurting or embarrassing anyone? How do we change the ministerial staff who
have longstanding followers but who are hurting the church by misleading
people? How does a Pastor, or even a
member, say to the BOE that a person doesn't seem fit for ministry without
creating a tornado in a small church? How do we change our focus from social
events to worship? How do we change the
course of our church when some leaders and ministers resist change? How do we give our church back to God?
loving God in my distress,
5. THE 2015
CONNECTIONAL LAY ORGANIZATION - FALL EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING:
Methodist Episcopal Church Connectional Lay Organization 2015 Executive Board
and Strategic Planning Meeting will be held October 29, 2015 – November 1, 2015
in Los Angeles, California.
2015 Executive Board and Strategic Planning Meeting will be hosted by the Fifth
Episcopal District Lay Organization.
W. Century Boulevard
Telephone: 800-325-3535 or
Room Rate: $132.00 per Night,
Plus Applicable Taxes
Group Block: Connectional Lay
Organization – AME Church
Registration (Before October 15th: $150.00
Registration after October 15th: $175.00
-- Download the
Flyer, Registration Form and/or the Agenda on the Connectional Lay Organization
Willie C. Glover is the Global President of the Connectional Lay Organization
William P. DeVeaux is the CLO Commission Chair
by Mr. Walter C. Jeffers, Director of Public Relations for the Connectional Lay
Organization - AME Church
6. CITY OF
CHARLESTON CHIEF OF POLICE COMMENDS BROTHER BOBBY RANKIN:
you know, June 17, 2015, is a day that changed Charleston, South Carolina, and
our Country. We were all shocked when a hate filled, violent criminal committed
an unthinkable act; the killing of nine beautiful people who were worshipping
their God during a bible study. This single act of a lone gunman thrust us all
into a situation that none of us would ever want to experience. It caused us to
feel every type of emotion and experience the evil that is present in our
this event and the days that followed, there were many acts of kindness and
generosity that supported first responders, families of the victims and
survivors, the AME Church, and a grieving community. It was a community coming
together as one to counter the reality of pain that embraced our City.
this tragic incident shocked our conscience, it also provided us a glimpse of
humanity that so often gets overshadowed by anger and personal agendas. Instead
of anger, hate, separation, and destruction, we observed the unusual power of
caring, love, unity, and forgiveness. From the beginning of this incident, law
enforcement, government organizations, religious leaders, volunteer
organizations, community members, politicians, and most importantly the
victims’ families and survivors came together to demonstrate the awesome power
that resides in good people who refuse to be impacted by hate. As I have heard
so many times over the past several weeks, “evil picked the wrong City that
this incident also revealed another remarkable outcome. It clearly demonstrated
the powerful results that can be achieved when good people pull together to
accomplish a common purpose. From the moment this incident was reported, you
and your staff worked with me to ensure our response was coordinated with the
AME leadership and we met their needs. I can say without equivocation that
together, we accomplished this goal as a result of your caring, commitment, and
professionalism. I can say confidently that I have never been more proud in my
career with the partnership and collaboration that occurred during this
incident with you and your staff. We frequently talk about our partnerships and
willingness to assist each other in times of need; however, since June 17,
2015, together, we have demonstrated that commitment and promise through
deliberate action. As has been repeated many times throughout the course of
this tragedy, Charleston was a role model for what community really means and
it is impossible for me to express in words the way I feel about the support
and assistance that I received from you during this incident.
we were all shocked and horrified by this tragedy, we continued to do what we
do – collaborate and communicate to help the victims and their families,
respect the protocols and rituals of the AME Church, and support each other.
You and your team played a primary role in our success and I will be forever
grateful. As a result of everyone’s commitment, determination, and
professionalism we rose to the challenge after the initial response to support
the families and AME community as they dealt with the residual fear, mourned
their loved ones and said good-by with honor and respect. This was no small
task. It involved ensuring the safety and security at various venues to include
those attended by the AME Bishops, the President and Vice President of the
United States, and thousands of others who came to pay their respects and
participants at the funeral services. During all these challenges, you and your
team joined us in displaying to the world our humanity and commitment to
could go on about the various ways that you and your team supported our efforts
during this defining incident; however, what it all comes down to is this –
there are moments in our lives that we cannot predict. When they occur, you
make a decision about how to respond. We experienced one of those situations
Wednesday night, June 17, 2015 that will change us all forever and you and your
team responded with compassion, determination, and professionalism.
pass along my appreciation and thanks to all your team members for a job very
well done. I am proud to serve with you!
Thanks and Admiration,
BROOKLYN-WESTCHESTER DISTRICT OF THE NEW YORK ANNUAL CONFERENCE SENDING
THERMOMETERS TO LIBERIA:
Letter that the Rev. Melvin E. Wilson, Presiding Elder of the
Brooklyn-Westchester District sent to Bishop Clement W. Fugh
hope and trust that this note finds you in good health and enjoying the riches
of God's grace.
I learned that the Ebola virus which plagued our brothers and sisters in
Liberia is now somewhat under control, and we praise God for that. I also learned that many of our AME brothers
and sisters are without thermometers which can be used to take the temperature
of children, possibly signaling the onset of other ailments and diseases.
we are a Connectional church family, the Brooklyn - Westchester District of the
New York Annual Conference is pleased and humbled to present 700 thermometers
to Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church in Monrovia, Liberia. Donations for these thermometers came from
our Missions Offering received at our Brooklyn-Westchester District Conference last
Saturday. We will send the thermometers
to Rev. Katurah York Cooper, Pastor of Empowerment Temple and Vice President of
Academic Affairs at A.M.E. University in Monrovia as soon as they have been
praise God for the opportunity to serve.
8. BLACK LIVES
MATTER VS. ALL LIVES MATTER:
Rev. Darryl R. Williams
the wake of the recent spurt of state sanctioned police violence against
African Americans, the Black Lives Matter Movement has become a viable and much
needed political movement in America. Police brutality against black lives is
nothing new, but in this day and age of social media, we are now able to see
how voluminous of a problem it is.
central message of the movement is to say “No” to this assault on black lives
by law enforcement and to push for policy that will make incidents of violence
against us less likely to occur. Unfortunately this has struck a discordant
chord with some of our more conservative and Caucasian brothers and sisters.
They say that the Black Lives Matter Movement is a militant, Black Nationalist
Group that causes more division and the slogan chanted ought to be “All Lives
Matter”. On the surface while sounding more inclusive, I contend this is (Not
Black Lives Matter) the divisive slogan.
Lives Matter” ignores the historical reality of how African Americans have been
treated in this country. Not only does it ignore how African Americans have
been treated by police, but ignores the mass incarceration, the poor schools,
the inequality of opportunity and a host of other issues. It is interesting
that “All Lives Matter” is being pushed by those who have done nothing to
address those issues and others that our plaguing African American Communities.
“All Lives Matter” is a falsehood until we are actually seeking to make sure
that “All Lives Matter”.
“All Lives Matter” is divisive because consciously or unconsciously it seeks to
prevent the conversation, agitation and policy that could better race relations
and relations between African American Community and Law Enforcement. The
Blacks Lives Matter movement is not a Black Nationalist Movement, but its goal
is to seek a way for us to receive the treatment that Whites has always gotten
from law enforcement, government and community entities. “All Lives Matter”
only serves to take the moral and ethical microscope off of where it belongs to
achieve this goal. Black Lives Matter doesn’t say “only” Black Lives Matter,
but it says “Black Lives Matter too”. Are the opponents of the movement so bereft
of understanding that they can’t see the implied “too” in Black Lives Matter,
or is it because they don’t want to see it? The latter is closer to the truth.
All Lives Matter is inherently divisive and only puts sheep’s clothing on to
"hide the wolf." The new way to deal with people who want to bring
attention to racism is to say they are racist (see Fox News). The Black Lives
Matter’s Movement is not racist, but it does serve to point out the disparities
and racism that has always been a part of our society. The great divide between
the races has always been there. “All Lives Matter” is a way of denying that
reality that “Black Lives Matter Movement” seeks to remedy. Since they don’t
want it remedied, you are the racist for bringing it up. “All Lives Matter” and
the distortion of the meaning and message of Black Lives Matter is a ploy to
hide the insidious nature of racism and protect the benefits that the oppressor
derives from it.
can never say “All Lives Matter” until, we as a country, act like “All Lives
Rev. Darryl R. Williams is the pastor of St. Mark AME Church in Milwaukee,
9. THE SENTENCING
REFORM AND CORRECTIONS ACT:
God! Your Social Action Commission has
been a part of two very active coalitions urging criminal justice reform for
the past six years.
we are proud to join in announcing that a bipartisan effort of US Senators has
resulted in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. This is a major step forward in restoring the
"justice" to the criminal justice system and bringing some of our
fellow Americans home from incarceration.
It also gives our court systems the flexibility to be judged based on his/her
individual situation. Finally, it is one
of the best models of how our US Congress is designed to work - in the best
interest of the people.
take the time to read the provisions outlined in the two summaries and contact
the Senators to "thank" them for doing the right thing. Thanks to all of you who have been a part of
this movement. We offer special thanks
to the members of the Social Action Commission and former Payne Seminary
student, the Rev. Charles Boyer who has helped to carry this torch. In the
eleventh hour when we needed a Virginia Senator to hear from his people, Bishop
William P DeVeaux, Presiding Prelate of the 2nd Episcopal District
weighed in and helped.
God and together, we cannot fail. To God
be the glory!
Ms. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker is the Director of the AMEC Social Action
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Chair, AMEC Social Action Commission
-- The Sentencing
Reform and Corrections Act:
- Significantly expands eligibility for the safety valve (from one to four
criminal history points). Defendants with prior 2-point convictions for crimes
of violence or drug trafficking offenses or with prior 3-point convictions are
excluded. This change will allow judges to exempt thousands of nonviolent drug
offenders from mandatory minimum sentences.
Departure authority - Gives judges
discretion to make a defendant eligible for the safety valve by lowering the
defendant’s criminal history points if the court finds that excluding the
defendant from the safety valve substantially over-represents the seriousness
of the defendant’s criminal history or the likelihood that the defendant will
commit other crimes.
10-year mandatory minimum - Gives judges discretion to sentence a defendant who
is otherwise subject to a 10-year mandatory minimum to a 5-year mandatory
minimum if the defendant:
would qualify for the safety valve, but for the defendant’s criminal history;
does not have a prior conviction for a serious drug felony or serious violent
did not play an enhanced role in the offense by exercising substantial
authority or control over the criminal activity of a criminal organization;
was not an importer, exporter, high-level distributor or supplier, wholesaler,
or manufacturer of the controlled substances involved in the offense and did
not engage in a continuing criminal enterprise; and
did not distribute a controlled substance to or with a person under age
change will allow judges to exempt thousands of nonviolent drug offenders from
the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Fair Sentencing Act
This provision, which is from the Smarter Sentencing Act, allows more than 6,000
prisoners who were sentenced under pre-Fair Sentencing Act to petition for
Reduces the 20-year
mandatory minimum for recidivist drug offenses to 15 years - This change is
from the Smarter Sentencing Act, and, unlike the SSA provision, it is
life sentence for “third strike” drug offense to a mandatory minimum sentence
of 25 years
- This change is from the Smarter Sentencing Act and, unlike the SSA provision,
it is retroactive.
924(c) reform - Reforms the
provision that allows multiple counts in the same indictment to be treated as
subsequent convictions that “stack” on top of one another at sentencing,
leading to very long and unjust sentences. This change applies retroactively.
922(g) and armed
career criminal act reforms - Gives judges more discretion by reducing
the 15 year mandatory minimum of the armed career criminal act to 10 years, and
increasing the statutory maximum for other felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm
cases from 10 years to 15 years. The reduction applies retroactively.
Corrections Act - Requires the
Justice Department to conduct risk assessments and assign federal inmates to
appropriate recidivism reduction programs, including work and education
programs, drug rehabilitation, job training, and religious studies. Eligible
prisoners who successfully complete these programs can earn early release and
may spend the final portion (up to 25 percent) of their remaining sentence in
home confinement or a halfway house.
Juvenile parole - Gives judges the
discretion to reduce the sentence of a defendant convicted of an offense
committed when the defendant was a juvenile once the defendant has served 20
years in prison for the offense.
- Allows inmates who are over 60, have served more than two-thirds of their
sentence, and are terminally ill or receiving nursing home care to petition for
Juvenile solitary - Bans federal
solitary confinement of juveniles, with narrowly defined exceptions.
FBI background checks - Requires the
Attorney General to establish and enforce procedures for individuals who
undergo background checks for employment to challenge the accuracy of their
federal criminal records.
- Permits certain juveniles to obtain sealing or expungement of their federal
convictions in certain circumstances.
Federal crime index - This provision
from the Smarter Sentencing Act requires the creation of a public index of all
criminal offenses enforced by federal agencies. This is a necessary first step
to inform men’s real reform efforts.
- Establishes a 5-year mandatory minimum for certain arms export control
violations and a 10-year mandatory minimum for interstate domestic violence
offenses that result in death. These mandatory minimums apply to a very small
number of serious offenders.
by Ms. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker
10. NEW BRUNSWICK
DISTRICT CONFERENCE OF THE FIRST EPISCOPAL DISTRICT AME CHURCH – THE REV.
VERNARD LEAK, PRESIDING ELDER:
Rev. Wilfred D. Lewis
New Brunswick District Conference of the First Episcopal District of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) convened on Friday September `11th
2015 at the Mt. Zion AME Church, Plainfield, New Jersey. This District
Conference convened under the progressive and innovative leadership of our
inimitable Presiding Elder, The Reverend Vernard Leak, and Consultant Mrs. Sarah Leak.
Elder Leak is highly regarded and respected in this District because of the
sagacious and spiritual leadership he provides.
The Host Pastors W. Golden and Mattie Carmon had prepared their church
staff to host this major undertaking, and they left no stone unturned. On arrival we were greeted with friendly
smiles from the courteous parking facilities attendants, as well as greeters
and ushers in the sanctuary.
First session began at 9:30 a.m.
Presiding Elder Leak was quite open and transparent as he called this
opening session to order. He informed
the conference that he would be completely open to the movement of the Holy
Spirit throughout the entire District Conference. Those who are programmed to do anything
should feel free to change as the Holy Spirit leads. We have printed programs, but we must not be
held hostage by the printed page. Let
the Holy Spirit move and prevail. What this writer likes and appreciates about
Presiding Elder Leak is his integrity, and the kinds of informative and educational seminars he provides for this
District. Elder Leak brings in highly
trained and qualified personnel to lead educational seminars in subjects that
are significant for the ongoing life of our churches.
first seminar was led by the Reverend Malcolm Guyton, the pastor of The Freedom
Temple AMEC., Gibbsboro, New Jersey.
His presentation dealt with Red
Cross Donor Recruitment. Churches were encouraged to get their members involved
in donating blood, as well as sponsoring blood donation drives in their
churches. The blood you donate will
replenish itself in a short period of time, and in so doing; you may save a
life. The Rev. Guyton opined, just as
Jesus took a needle on Calvary to donate blood for our salvation; you can take
a needle to donate blood to save somebody’s life.
a brief respite, Presiding Elder Leak then presented a number of trained
personnel from Homeland Security Training for Houses of Faith / TNJO of
Homeland Security & Emergency Preparation.
The training was in my estimation very significant in light of the times
we live in. When we think of the Emanuel
Nine in Charleston, South Carolina, and the rise of ISIS Terrorists
worldwide; churches are targets and we all need this training in order to
upgrade And or implement our security systems.
following personnel served as presenters:
Lieutenant John Paige, Deputy Director Rosemary Montorenou and Chief of
Detectives Walter Pullen. We learned
that the training and exercise bureaus coordinates homeland security
preparedness training and exercises for counterterrorism and for law
enforcement personnel throughout New Jersey.
Those in attendance learned about Potential Indicators of Terrorist
activity as well as common vulnerabilities.
We also had an interactive session where one woman was recruited from
the audience to identify potential terrorists who may be incognito in our
midst. There are certain things we
should look for that would help us put an end to their evil intent. We have to almost have a third eye because
such persons generally have unrestricted access to our facilities. Praise God
for such an educational session.
we prepared for the noon day Hour of Power; Presiding Elder Leak spoke about
the movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
The Reverend Eric Billips, pastor of the Mt. Zion AMEC, New Brunswick
took the microphone and led us in a powerful period of worship and praise. The
power of the Lord fell`, and there was shouting, dancing and praising the Lord
with unrestrained abandon. The music
was evocative, the oil of gladness was palpable, and the glory of the Lord
could be felt as some ran down the center aisle of the church. The usual hour
of Power noon day participants could not perform their functions. This reminded
me of the Biblical Account when King Solomon dedicated the new temple in
Jerusalem. As the Levitical choir sang
the refrain, “For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever,” The glory
cloud of the Lord permeated the temple, and the ministers who were waiting to
serve could not minister. That’s the
power of the Holy Spirit.
Reverend T. Buckley David presented the preacher for the noon day worship
service. The Preacher of the hour was
The Reverend Dr. Erika Crawford the honored and esteemed pastor Of Ebenezer
AMEC., Rahway, New Jersey. The Rev. Crawford took her text from St. Luke
8:40-56, and her subject was, “They Were Wrong.” The Rev. Crawford delivered a powerful word
as she spoke about the two miracles of Jesus on the same day. On His way to
Jairus’ house, Jesus was interrupted by a woman who was ill with an issue of
blood. This woman reached down on all
fours and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was immediately healed after
twelve long years. Jesus indicated
somebody touched me. His disciples were
incredulous because of the crowd of people around Jesus. They were wrong
because Jesus said I felt virtue going out of me. Jesus then proceeded to Jairus’ House when
someone said the little girl is dead; there is no need for Jesus to come
now. They were wrong because Jesus
evicted the professional mourners, and proceeded to raise the girl back to
life. Thank God for this powerful message.
lunch time the culinary staff of Mt. Zion church was quite efficient and they
served all a delicious buffet of varied sandwiches, salads, cole slaw, drinks
and dessert. Healthy eating was the
order of the day.
lunch there were a number of presentations. Ms. Sharon Carmichael who is the
Director of Christian Education for the New Brunswick District made a presentation.
indicated that she is soliciting support for her upcoming Christian Education
event at the Mt. Zion AMEC, Princeton, New Jersey. She would like those who
think they can sing and would like to sing on the choir to sign up as soon as
possible for rehearsals with the Reverend Malcolm Guyton.
were several other reports including, the WMS, The YPD and the Laity. The Reverend George Britt, pastor of the Mt.
Teman AMEC, Elizabeth, New Jersey gave a report on the First District Voter
Registration Initiative and other social action concerns.
very informative session was led by the Rev. Malcolm Guyton on “Electronic
Giving.” Many churches across this nation are losing out on income because they
are not willing to embrace new technologies that are available today. Millenials are not using cash today because
they are using credit and debit cards.
Some people feel they need to continue giving their finances the traditional
way at the time of offering. However, it has been discovered that the church
can reap a tremendous financial bonanza if we employ credit card machines like
any other business. Some people may not have cash on them, but they can still
give if a credit card machine was available.
Another young minister the Reverend Shaun
Torres was presented who spoke about Awareness In the church to others who are
not like us. He questioned, “Are we
welcoming or chasing Millenials out of the church?” He also spoke of those who might be of other
sexual persuasions in the church, and whether or not the General Conference
would address that topic. Don’t alienate
those people from our midst. You have to
catch a fish before you can clean it.
Rev. Jacqueline Reeves, Ph.D presented a workshop on the Five Fold Ministry gifts in the church according to Ephesians 4:11;
and 1 Corinthians 18:38. She indicated
that Prophets are set in the church to produce a hunger for God’s word. Apostles are God’s Builders with governing
authority. Pastors are called to
minister as God’s under-shepherds. Therefore, the five fold ministry gifts are
given to equip the saints. This session was very spiritual and well received.
Committee on Ministerial Orders led by the Reverend Reginald McCrea reported.
The report was read by the Rev. Dr. Erica Crawford. Dr. Crawford reported that
only one person appeared before the committee. This candidate was Sister
Veatrece Newton, a member of Mt. Zion AMEC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Having passed the scrutiny of the New
Brunswick Committee on Orders, she was therefore recommended to the class on
Admissions of the New Jersey Annual Conference unanimously.
the dinner hour, the closing service of Celebration and Commitment was led by
Presiding Officer, The Reverend Kenneth Saunders, the pastor of North Stelton
AMEC, Piscataway, New Jersey. Invocation
was given by the Reverend Thomas Johnson.
Majestic Spiritually uplifting gospel selections were rendered by the choir
of the Mt. Pisgah AMEC, Jersey City, New Jersey. The Reverend Edwin Lloyd introduced the guest
preacher the Rev. Reginald McRae, pastor of Mt. Pisgah AMEC, Jersey City, New
Jersey. Pastor McRae took his text from
Isaiah 54:17. His sermon was entitled,
“I’m Breaking Out.” The verse of interest in the text states, “No weapon formed
against you shall prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses
you. This is the heritage of the
servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me.”
Reverend McRae preached a very powerful
message as he told us how to break out of complacency, from mediocrity and from
the status quo. We have been divinely
empowered for great spiritual exploits, and we need not fear any earthly
weapons that the enemy forms against us.
We are winners.
thank God for the inspired and forthright leadership of our anointed Presiding
Elder, the Rev. Vernard Leak and for his financial generosity to each component
God be the glory for the things He has done.
Rev. Wilfred D. Lewis, Conference Reporter
LAY ORGANIZATION RELEASES NEW STUDY GUIDE DEDICATED TO DISCIPLESHIP:
the recent Biennial Session of the Connectional Lay Organization (CLO) held in Charleston, South Carolina, the
CLO launched its 2015-2017 Study Guide
on the theme “Laity Fulfilling the Great Commission”. This theme draws from General AME Church
theme for 2012-2016: Fulfilling the Great Commission—The Goal, Cost, Evidence,
Harvest and Fruit of Discipleship.
to be a practical congregational resource to help in the making of Christian
Disciples, the study guide is divided into Perspectives on the Theme, Training
Modules, Applications and Resources.
Under the overall direction of CLO Director of Lay Activities Edith
Bartley Cartledge, the book was conceptualized and edited by Paulette Coleman,
Ph.D. At its heart are over 15 guided
activities to assist in discipleship training in a variety of situations
targeting young adults, those in rural areas, and those committed to social
justice advocacy. The book features
contributions from clergy and laity representing twelve Episcopal Districts
from the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.
Lay Study Guide translates the concept of discipleship into its practical
application of making disciples in the second decade of the 21st century. By using the Study Guide and implementing the
modules, discipleship becomes the priority for all of us.”
-- Bishop William P DeVeaux, Sr., CLO
tool enables us to fully embrace the AME Church’s connectional quadrennial
theme of Fulfilling the Great Commission. We know that the essence of
discipleship rests on the firm foundation of faith.”
-- Willie C. Glover, PhD., CLO President
Connectional Lay Organization makes this resource available to all African
Methodists, clergy and laity, as a toolkit to explore the quadrennial
theme. The Study Guide goes beyond that
by equipping the church with the essential tools and skills for discipleship
and disciple making. But beyond as discipleship never stops.
of this invaluable resource are available for purchase by contacting your
Episcopal District Lay President.
Director of Lay Activities
12. LOCAL [UMC]
PASTORS ON THE RISE:
large, multisite Grace Church in Florida needed a pastor for its new downtown
Fort Myers campus, the Rev. Arlene Jackson got the call.
began with about 30 in worship. Over five years, her flock at Grace — a United
Methodist church — has grown to more than 400. Many were previously
“unchurched” and recovering from addictions, as she did.
the most diverse bunch of mixed nuts you’ve ever met,” Jackson said. “They’re
growing in Christ and bringing people and having a lot of joy in their walk
with the Lord.”
has impressed many, including Grace’s senior pastor, the Rev. Jorge Acevedo.
girl would take on hell with a squirt gun,” he said.
of his and others’ faith in Jackson is that she’s just been given an unusual
cross-conference appointment, to start a Grace Church campus in Sioux City,
Jackson is not an ordained elder, the kind of United Methodist pastor who spent
three or four years getting a master of divinity degree and made it through
provisional member elder status to become “fully connected,” with a guaranteed
a full-time licensed local pastor who answered her call to ministry in middle
age. Her training has included a two-week licensing school and the part-time
Course of Study required of such pastors after they enter.
pastors like Jackson are on the rise numerically in The United Methodist Church
in the United States. And though typecast as mainly leading small churches,
they are landing in a range of positions and church sizes.
Robert Schnase of the Missouri Conference has appointed many local pastors, and
is among their champions.
do not presume that every elder is somehow more gifted than every local
pastor,” Schnase said. “Therefore, we have local pastors serving as senior
pastors of large congregations, in senior staff positions in large churches, as
new church start pastors and on the conference staff as directors.”
upward trend with local pastors comes as ordained elders are becoming rarer.
Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary has shown in
its annual Clergy Age Trends reports that retirees have long outpaced newcomers
to the elder ranks.
denomination's General Council on Finance and Administration reports that from
2010 to 2015, the number of ordained elders and provisional member elders
serving churches dropped from 15,806 to 14,614.
Methodist elders are declining in number in the U.S., but licensed local
pastors are on the increase. “Elders” above includes ordained elders and
provisional member elders appointed to churches, as opposed to extension
appointments. “Local pastors” includes full-time and part-time local pastors.
Data source: GCFA.
the denomination was shrinking in the United States, local pastors appointed to
churches climbed from 6,193 to 7,569 in that time. Both full-time and part-time
local pastor numbers grew, with the latter growing faster.
Rev. Lovett Weems, director of the Lewis Center, has long followed United
Methodist clergy trends. He notes that in 1990, elders outnumbered local
pastors 5 to 1. That ratio is roughly 2 to 1 now, and drops further when
looking just at those in church appointments.
vary widely in clergy makeup, but the West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Oklahoma Indian Missionary and Red Bird Missionary conferences had more local
pastors than elders serving churches as of summer 2015, according to GCFA. Some
other conferences, such as Upper New York, East Ohio, North Alabama and
Missouri, are close, and still others acknowledge they are highly dependent on
this growing category of clergy.
be in a world of hurt in the Holston Conference without local pastors,” said
the Rev. David Graves, former superintendent of its Kingsport District.
elder retirements are a big factor, more and more United Methodist churches
can’t afford the minimum salary and benefits required for an elder, said Bishop
Thomas Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania Conference.
Bickerton and others insist local pastors often make the case for themselves by
bringing skills from other careers, as well as a high level of commitment and
understanding of the local culture.
Rev. Ted Smith is superintendent of the Virginia Conference’s Fredericksburg
District, and monitors its statistics in membership, attendance, professions of
faith, baptisms and stewardship.
seeing some of our most effective, dynamic results from local pastors, hands
down,” Smith said.
Rev. John and the Rev. Judy Flynn, a local pastor married couple, serve 10
small, rural churches in West Virginia. He has six, and she has four. This
slideshow by UMNS photographer Mike DuBose offers images of them and their
churches on Easter morning, 2015.
church, big church
looking for local pastors, the small church is still the place to start.
the Revs. John and Judy Flynn, a local-pastor married couple, appointed full
time to serve 10 small rural churches in West Virginia.
an Air Force retiree, leads six. Judy, a former music educator, leads four.
Their calendar looks more like a train schedule. Holy Week, with its extra
services, nearly did them in.
likes to tell about the time he got lost on the way to one of his churches, and
had to stop for help at a nondenominational church.
congregation had a nice laugh, and then they pointed me in the right
direction,” he said.
the Flynns represent one end of the spectrum, on the other is the Rev. Rudy
Rev. Rudy Rasmus is a local pastor who has led his church, St. John’s United
Methodist in downtown Houston, to mega-church status. Rasmus, seen here during
an Imagine No Malaria net distribution in Sierra Leone in 2010, is a popular
author and speaker as well. File photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
leads St. John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, which averages about 2,100
in worship and is known for innovative social outreach. Since he arrived there
in 1992, the church has added about 300 members a year, leaving him no time to
go to seminary. Instead, he went the licensed local pastor route, as did his
wife, the Rev. Juanita Rasmus, who is St. John’s co-pastor.
days, Rudy Rasmus writes books on faith and church leadership, and gets invited
to speak to United Methodist groups, including the Central Texas Conference’s
annual gathering this past June.
of his prized possessions is a photo of his mother riding a bicycle for the
first time at 83, and he said he may follow her example in late-life boldness
and go to seminary one day.
now, though, he’s sure his St. John’s flock is unconcerned that he holds no
master of divinity degree.
don’t really care how much you know,” he said. “They want to know how much you
of Study makes comeback
have always been in tension about how much education clergy should have, church
included famed Methodist revivalist Peter Cartwright, who asserted “illiterate
Methodist preachers set the world on fire while they (others) were lighting
in the early 19th century, the Methodist Episcopal Church created the Course of
Study as a part-time, basic education program for clergy.
recently as World War II, most pastors in the denomination were Course of
Study-trained. The GI bill allowed many more aspiring clergy to attend
seminary, and by 1956 the denomination was requiring a seminary degree for
those seeking ordination as elders.
momentum had shifted decidedly and continued through the unification that created
The United Methodist Church in 1968.
think what really happened in the 1960s is that (church leaders) wanted to make
the master of divinity the only route,” said the Rev. Ted Campbell, professor
of church history at Perkins School of Theology, part of Southern Methodist
the Course of Study-trained pastor – licensed, instead of ordained – held on,
serving mainly in small churches.
recent years, a new reality has taken hold, with the number of retiring elders
outpacing those entering the ranks and local pastors growing in number and
getting appointed to churches of various sizes.
well over a third of church appointments are to local pastors, most of them
trained through Course of Study.
happening on the ground in the UMC is a sort of back-to-the-future deal,” said
Rex Matthews, professor in the practice of historical theology and Wesleyan
Studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.
appears to be the only megachurch local pastor, but plenty can be found in
midsize or large churches. One is the Rev. Dennis Miller.
studied accounting in college and then went to law school. As a young attorney,
he wrote the warranty deed for Aldersgate United Methodist Church, a church
plant in Nixa, Missouri, near Springfield.
Miller, a lifelong United Methodist, soon left the law to answer a call to
full-time youth ministry. By then he was married and had a child with a serious
medical condition. Stopping for seminary wasn’t practical.
adds: “I felt called to ministry, not to school.”
became a licensed local pastor and began Course of Study, which he could fit
into his busy schedule. He moved from youth ministry to associate pastor at one
church, and Schnase appointed him pastor of another in 2006.
was Aldersgate, for which he’d written the warranty deed.
Miller, Aldersgate has grown from 250 to more than 600 in average worship
attendance. He credits his staff and the church’s laity, as well as earlier pastors
for laying the groundwork.
he does think his accounting and law backgrounds have helped him with church
that practical aspect,” he said.
pastors are getting appointed as site pastors, including at the denomination’s
most-attended U.S. church, the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in
Leawood, Kansas. The Rev. Jason Gant, a full-time local pastor, leads
Resurrection West in nearby Olathe.
Rio Texas Conference turned to the Rev. Aaron Saenz, a full-time local pastor,
to lead a church plant in Harlingen, Texas. Under Saenz’ leadership the past
nine years, Valley Praise United Methodist Church has become chartered and
averages about 360 in worship.
the Missouri Conference, Schnase has a full-time local pastor, the Rev. Jeff
Baker, serving as director of mission, service and justice ministries — a
large to mid-size churches now have local pastors as associates.
Rev. Don Underwood, an elder and longtime pastor of the nearly 6,000-member
Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, said the challenge of reaching
people in an increasingly secular culture means grooming young elders has lower
priority than assembling a strong staff.
going to be much more focused on competency,” he said, adding that his church
has fewer elders on staff now than when it was half its current size.
Lake Highlands United Methodist Church in Dallas, the Rev. Pam Clark, a
full-time local pastor, is longtime director of community ministries. Though a
suburban congregation, Lake Highlands under Clark operates a food pantry and
evangelizes through a storefront church and bilingual Bible studies in
has such a heart for this particular niche, people who are materially poor, and
making sure God’s word gets to them in relevant ways,” said Lake Highlands’
senior pastor, the Rev. Jill Jackson-Sears. “We could not have done this kind
of ministry without Pastor Pam.”
of Study vs. seminary
local pastor trend is not without issues. Schnase notes that, because local
pastors don’t have guaranteed appointment, deploying them in large numbers
“multiplies administrative complexity” as they undergo required annual
interviews with district committees.
point out that it can strain ecumenical relations when United Methodists have
thousands of non-ordained clergy authorized to baptize and offer communion and
do weddings and funerals, and some denominations have none.
you’re having an ecumenical service, how do you adjudicate this?” said the Rev.
William Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology.
while denominational leaders seem unanimous in praising local pastors’
willingness to serve, often at financial sacrifice, questions linger about
their theological training.
high school education — not college — is required for Course of Study.
not uncommon to be in class and have a guy with a Ph.D. sitting next to a
fellow who barely got out of high school,” said the Rev. F. Belton Joyner, an
author of books on Methodism and a Course of Study instructor in North
Carolina. "It makes teaching extremely interesting."
Course of Study consists of 20 classes, covering the Bible, ethics, preaching,
evangelism, worship and sacraments and more. Many classes are taught in
two-week summer residencies, with readings and papers assigned in advance.
of Study has been strengthened but doesn’t match three or four years of
full-time seminary attendance, said the Rev. Rena Yocom, who retired last year
as the executive overseeing clergy formation and theological education at the
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
isn’t any way a local pastor can have the depth of training that an ordained
elder has,” Yocom said. “That doesn’t make them less effective, necessarily.”
pastors have their own concerns. Their authority is limited to their parishes —
hence the adjective “local.” (They have to get permission to do a wedding
elsewhere.) They aren’t eligible to be a district superintendent or a bishop.
Nor can they be clergy delegates to General Conference or Jurisdictional
matter what size church they lead, they’re not supposed to wear a stole.
the Rev. Mike Mahaffey, president of the National Fellowship of Associate
Members and Local Pastors, said the trajectory is clearly toward more respect
and authority for local pastors. Thanks to General Conference actions, they can
serve in extension appointments and those who have completed Course of Study
can vote for General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference delegates.
the Facebook page they share, local pastors air the occasional complaint about
second-class treatment. But things really have improved, said the Rev. Max
on his leadership at Lost Creek United Methodist Church in Stillwater, Okla.,
the Rev. Max Rudd gets asked by the Oklahoma Conference to give talks on church
leadership. Rudd is in his fourth decade of serving Lost Creek as a local
about 40 years, he’s been a local pastor leading Lost Creek United Methodist
Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Average worship attendance has grown from 10 to
200. The church spends half its $400,000 budget on missions.
began as a part-time bivocational pastor, and says the Oklahoma Conference lost
track of him, as far as paperwork, for years.
these days he’s a star, with the conference asking him to give presentations on
effective church leadership.
been really neat to see local pastors becoming a more vital part of the
ministry,” Rudd said. “There’s room for everybody.”
a United Methodist News Service writer, lives in Dallas. Contact him at (615)
742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Used with permission of the United
Methodist News Service
13. BLACK ENGINEERS
PREPARE FOR ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE IN HARTFORD:
NSBE PDC 2015: The Keynote Trailer Feat. Dr. Steve Perry
29, 2015) ALEXANDRIA, Va. - NSBE Professionals, the 6,300-member organization
for technical professionals of the National Society of Black Engineers, will
host its Fourth Annual Professional Development Conference (PDC) at the Hilton
Hartford in Hartford, Ct., Oct. 8-11, 2015. The conference theme is
"Transforming Your Path to Professional Success."
PDC is the premier event entirely focused on the NSBE Professionals. Over the
course of three days, attendees will have the opportunity to connect with other
professionals, corporate representatives and executives; transform their
technical and professional acumen by attending various workshops and panel
discussions focused on leadership, career development and personal growth;
attend the annual Evening of Excellence, during which individuals and
organizations are recognized for their contributions and commitment to
excellence in community achievement; and close the conference with a community
impact project. The project will bring middle school and/or high school
students from the local area to participate in hands-on activities led by the
NSBE Professionals, to inspire the next generation of engineers.
year's keynote speaker will be Steve Perry, Ed.D, founder and principal of
Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford. Capital Prep has sent 100
percent of its predominantly low-income, minority, first-generation high school
graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first graduation in 2006.
In addition to being the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Dr.
Perry is an education contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an Essence Magazine
columnist, a best-selling author and host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE, Save
attendees will have the opportunity to participate in technical training that
will yield continuing education units and prepare them for certifications.
Technical training offerings include Lean Bronze Belt training sponsored by
United Technologies Aerospace Systems; CM-at-Risk: Contracting for Owners,
Consulting Engineers, and Contractors, presented by the American Society of
Civil Engineers. Attendees will also
engage in several PDC Signature Events focused on leadership development,
including Inside the Executive Suite, Executive Women's Panel, and Executive
Mentoring, all featuring executive employees of NSBE's corporate partners.
conference is a great example of how the NSBE Professionals are supporting
NSBE's mission to '...succeed professionally and positively impact the
community,' " says Mary McWilliams, national chair of NSBE Professionals
and lead engineer for DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio. "As a Society, we've set our sights on
an ambitious goal: to increase the number of African-American engineering
graduates from 3,620 to 10,000 per year by 2025. This event will help give our
members the impetus to achieve it."
in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest
student-governed organizations based in the United States. With more than
31,000 members and more than 300 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, NSBE supports
and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and
technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE's mission is
"to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who
excel academically, succeed professional and positively impact the
14. SENIOR-NET -
EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT WEBSITE WARNS OF FACEBOOK SCAM:
News has reported on a new scam aimed at Facebook users. If you don't use
Facebook, no need to read on. If you do use Facebook, though, take a few
minutes to read this article. It may save you a lot of grief.
this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Q&A that the social
network was getting ready to roll out a new button to let people express, in a
single click, some sentiment other than "like." Though he made it
clear that the new, more empathetic button would not say "dislike,"
people are calling it exactly that -- and they can't wait to get it.
the scammers. Picking up on people's anticipation for a "dislike"
button, a new scam circulating on Facebook prompts users to click to "get
newly introduced Facebook dislike button on your profile."
up in people's newsfeeds, the post claims the dislike button is an invite-only
feature. It brings users to a page designed to look like it is branded by
Facebook and instructs them to share the page, and then send it to five groups
to activate the button, according to hackread.com.
security researchers writing on Naked Security said that clicking on the links
brought them to two different scam sites, "neither of which had anything
to do with Facebook, or a Dislike button, and both of which wanted us to sign
up by giving away personal information."
is classic scam stuff. Facebook wouldn't make you jump through hoops to
activate a new feature. Attackers and phishers often use the colors and logos
of companies to make their fake sites look legitimate. Their links may lure
users into sharing personal information or unwittingly downloading malware onto
their machines. By requiring that people share the page, the attackers are
effectively getting them to do their bidding, spreading the ill intentioned or
malicious links to their network of friends.
all constitute major red flags.
crucially: There is no "dislike" button. It's not a thing, and it's
not going to be, so don't fall for it.
made it clear that the company is eschewing the word "dislike" in its
quest to make a button that lets people show empathy in circumstances when
"like" just isn't appropriate, such when a friend posts bad news.
every moment is a good moment," he said, adding that creating an
appropriate option for a pushbutton response is "surprisingly
said it could start testing the new button soon, and eventually roll it out to
users more widely.
15. MILLIONS MORE NEED H.I.V. TREATMENT, W.H.O. SAYS:
Everyone who has H.I.V. should immediately be
put on antiretroviral triple therapy and everyone at risk of becoming infected
should be offered protective doses of similar drugs, the World Health
Organization said on Wednesday as it issued new H.I.V. treatment and prevention
The guidelines increase by nine million the
number of people who should get treatment and by untold millions the number who
should get protective doses. Previous guidelines recommended them for gay men,
prostitutes, people with infected partners and others; the new guidelines
effectively bring in millions of women and girls in Africa.
How much that will cost and how it will be
paid for are not yet determined.
Advocates around the world welcomed the new
guidelines — usually without addressing the cost.
THE TRUTH IS THE LIGHT:
*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.
Based on Biblical Text: Matthew 6:16 KJV:
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance; for
they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say
unto you, they have their reward.
Many “Old Schoolers” can remember the popular
singing group called the Platters. They were the smooth “doo wop” group that
recorded the song, “I’m a great pretender.” Interestingly there is a line in
the song that says: “I seem to be what I’m not you see.”
I believe that is precisely what Jesus is
admonishing the Scribes and Pharisees about in the gospel of Matthew when He
says, “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows
houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the
Judas pretended that he loved Jesus when he
kissed him, but he was betraying him. Amnon wanted his sister Tamar so badly
that he pretended to be sick just to lure her into his bedroom so that he could
The Bible reminds us that there is no new
thing under the sun. That fact implies that just as there has always been
pretending it is therefore no doubt that pretending is prevalent in the world
today. Lamentably the church is not excluded. There is a lot of pretending
among us “church folk”.
We pretend that we are singing but really we
are just moving our lips. We pretend to be following along with the invocation
when really our eyes are open scanning the sanctuary to see what other folk are
doing. We pretend to be meditating when the truth of the matter is our focus is
somewhere else. We often times pretend that we are concerned when we are just
being nosey or curious. We sometimes pretend that we are being friendly by
giving a fake smile. Some of us actually pretend that we are busy so that
others won’t ask us to do anything. At home we are oft times guilty of
pretending to be asleep so that folk won’t disturb us. There are times when we
pretend we don’t see certain people when we don’t want to speak to them. We
pretend we are sick in order to avoid work and also to get some neglected
attention. Lamentably some folk actually pretend to have to use the bathroom at
collection time while others pretend they are putting something into the
offering plate with a closed hand.
Many times when we find ourselves in trouble
or when someone hurts us badly we pretend that everything is okay. We pretend
to be in love when the truth is we are afraid to be forthright. Unfortunately
in an attempt to be the first to tell it we pretend to know something and we
tell it regardless of whether or not we have facts. Many times we spread the
ugly untruth seeming to not really care how hurtful or damaging the rumor might
be. Some of us pretend in order to protect.
The truth of the matter is it is a dangerous
thing to pretend. Yet some of us are great pretenders, “we seem to be what we
are not.” But the time will come when the wall of pretence will crumble, and
when that happens we will face humiliation, rejection and isolation. People
will no longer believe or trust us.
Sometimes it is a good idea for us to look in
a mirror and ask ourselves some tough questions. Am I pretending? Am I
pretending when I fellowship? Do I really love the Lord and my church, or am I
pretending? There is a song we sing in the church that reminds us, “Yes God is
real, real in my soul”. This begs the question, do I really care about others
or am I just pretending? Am I moved with compassion or selfishness? Am I a
*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr., is
the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
17. GETTING TO
ZERO: SOME EARLY AUTUMN THOUGHTS:
*The Rev. Oveta Fuller
you able to see the Total Lunar Eclipse that occurred on Sunday night,
September 27, 2015? The peak of the
eclipse-- when the moon was fully in the shadow of the earth-- occurred at
10:11 p.m. EDT in North America. This was visible in Africa sometime in the
early hours between midnight and before sunrise of September 28.
Total Lunar Eclipse of a Super moon occurred last in 1982. It will not happen
again until 2033.
term used to describe such an event is “blood moon.” This is referred to in the
Bible (Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20, Rev. 6:12).
This description is used because the moon actually looks red. This
happens as the moon is fully in the shadow of the earth. The atmosphere around
the earth refracts only the red hues from sunshine so the red color comes
through and is reflected by the moon. Recall that the moon has no light of its
own. It only reflects light from the sun. The red color, then, is only a
portion of the sunlight that comes around the earth when these three, sun,
earth and moon are in a straight line. The earth is between the sun and the
moon so that the moon is fully covered by the shadow of the earth.
It was a sight to behold! Indeed, how
wonderful are the heavens and the earth.
full moon was a Supermoon because the moon in its orbit around the earth as the
earth orbits around the sun looked larger than usual. It appeared 14% bigger
because it was closest to the earth in an orbit that overall is slightly
unequal in distance from the earth.
was boarding a late evening flight from Washington, DC and saw the beautiful
large full moon hanging elegantly in the sky from my window seat just after
take-off. By the time we landed in
Michigan and I had retrieved my luggage to head home, the moon had
changed. By then it looked oddly like
three quarters of a moon—all in less than two hours.
science astute spouse explained that this was the night of a Total Lunar
Eclipse. We were fortunate to be able to watch the eclipse proceed in a sky
with only a few wisps of clouds swept through the southeastern Michigan sky.
event also is called a Harvest Moon as it is the full moon closest to the time
of the Autumn Equinox.
Total Lunar Eclipse (Supermoon and blood moon) is the fourth and final event in
a tetrad of four full moon eclipses that occur six months apart. This tetrad started on April 15, 2014. It
will begin again on April 25, 2032 such that another Total Lunar Eclipse will
happen in October 2033. Plan to watch?
are into autumn 2015. Soon it will be
the “fall back” change in time from daylight savings time to standard
time. We move the clock back one hour.
This means that now is the time to get your flu shot for protection from the
severity of full-blown influenza in the 2015-16 influenza season.
Influenza Vaccine Week (NIVW) as designated by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) is in December.
NIVW brings attention to benefits of an influenza vaccine. Make plans
now to get your flu shot. I get this vaccine each year.
Why should you get
a flu vaccine?
was in my mid-thirties the one time I remember contracting the real influenza.
It was the end of the Christmas holiday break, time to head back to campus for
start of winter semester classes. I found myself home, not able to move except
from my bed to the sofa and back. Everything hurt-- my head, my back, my
muscles, my chest, even seemingly the pores of my skin. My throat hurt. I was
miserable. I had heard about the flu, taught about the flu and thought that maybe
I had a “touch of the flu” before. But this time was different. I knew this was
the classic influenza. It was not stomach flu, or a bad cold or respiratory
infection of some sort. It was the real deal influenza.
influenza brings more than a few days of discomfort. It can take more than a
week to get moving again and up to a month for the respiratory tract to repair
the surface cells and normal defenses that are destroyed by the virus.
states that getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to reduce the
risk of influenza virus infection or to reduce the severity of disease.
vaccine primes the immune system to quickly recognize the real virus when it is
encountered. The vaccine contains killed virus or a weakened form of the virus.
A flu vaccine is needed each year because of the unique genetic structure of
influenza virus. Spontaneous mutations
in the genetic material of influenza viruses cause proteins on the outside of
the virus to constantly change. A defense against this year’s virus may not
work against the virus of another year.
new vaccine is needed each year for protection and ideally protects against the
predicted flu strains that will circulate in a given season. The classic vaccine
that most people get is a killed virus that cannot reproduce or replicate. However, it can induce an immune response of
the body that will be present and stop infection of or reduce effects of the
real virus if it is encountered.
protect yourself, those you care about and your community, go get a flu shot.
Get protected. Ask others if they have received a flu shot. Fewer infected
people means less sickness, fewer days loss from work and family time, less
circulating virus in the community and lower medical bills for care of people
who become seriously ill or have complications. The message in this early
autumn season is “time to get your flu shot!”
am in a season of university teaching and navigating items at the start of a
new semester and school term. It is a bit hectic. A few weeks ago, the TCR editor chose to reprint an earlier
Getting to Zero column about “Homophobia and Getting to Zero with HIV”.
The content brought up some key questions about how we think about
sexuality of people, especially those who are same gender loving.
in the few last weeks, I find myself in situations again and again where
someone who is same gender loving shares this information in passing as part of
a conversation. My perception is that each is looking for and perceiving that
they are in a safe space to speak, to be themselves.
look forward to further addressing this important topic and its relevance to
stopping HIV/AIDS in a future column.
for your consideration, the most at risk persons in the USA for HIV infection
are men who have sex with men or MSMs.
Although heterosexual (straight) men must be diligent in efforts to
protect themselves and their communities against spread of HIV/AIDS, there are
many African- American males who are same gender loving males as homosexual or
bisexual. This is truth.
we as the Church and its leaders are responsible to be informed and aware. We
are charged to provide a safe space for wellness of all. We will talk further
on these responsibilities.
to you in this 2015 autumn season!
*The Rev. Oveta Fuller Caldwell, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor
of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical
School, Associate Director of the U-M African Studies Center and an AMEC
itinerant elder and former pastor. She lived in Zambia for most of 2013 to
study HIV/AIDS prevention among networks of religious leaders.
18. iCHURCH SCHOOL LESSON BRIEF FOR
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2015 - THE SOURCE OF TRUE POWER - ACTS 8:9-24:
Key Verse: “Repent
therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible,
the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.” Acts 8:22
October 4, 2015 is the
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
A common criticism targeted at overly ambitious individuals goes
something like this: Mr. [Ms. Johnson] is a power seeking individual. The
criticism is seldom seen as constructive and more as a character flaw.
People seek power because once acquired, it is rarely if ever
relinquished. Power confers status. Power commands respect.
Power influences decision-making. Power can be both beneficial and
Bill Gates is a powerful man, but he shares his power by helping
to solve hard humanitarian challenges. Adolph Hitler was a powerful man
but his power led to World War II.
Sunday’s lesson in Acts 8: 9-24 chronicles the life of a religious
charlatan named Simon who foolishly looked for power in all the wrong
places. A close encounter with the Apostle Peter opened his eyes to the
real and true source of power.
Let’s listen and learn from Simon’s mistakes and Peter’s firm
teaching opportunity about Truth and Consequences.
Chapter 8 of Acts includes three activists: Phillip, Simon and
Peter. Phillip, like Stephen, was an original
member of the first seven deacons (Acts 6:5).
Over time he develops into a bold and powerful witness for Jesus. In Chapter 8 we find Phillip performing great
miracles in the city of Samaria. People
possessed of evil spirits are delivered.
The physically handicapped are healed of their sickness (vs. 6-8). Phillip develops quite a following and many
in Samaria are saved by his teachings about Jesus. His fame spread.
An admirer named Simon wanted to follow in Phillip’s
footsteps. What began as good intentions
took a wrong turn for Simon.
In an attempt to be like his role model Phillip, Simon acquired an
affinity for magic (v 11). He began to
perform wonders and desired to be more like Phillip, so he was baptized and
became a believer.
Simon’s motives were not genuine.
His attraction to the Gospel was superficial in that he only wanted to
be recognized for the great works he was performing. He enjoyed the title of Simon the Great (v
10). Self-aggrandizement and vain glory
were his modus operandi.
When the apostles heard about the great missionary work of Phillip
in Samaria, Peter and John were dispatched to the city for further
Simon witnessed how the Spirit of God was received by people thru
the laying of hands by Peter and John.
Simon wanted this same power. He offered the apostles money if they
could transfer that power to him (vs. 18-19).
Peter is deeply offended at this offer.
Simon’s quid-pro-quo was
the equivalent to spiritual embezzlement.
Peter rebukes Simon and declares him unfit to be a part of their
ministry and prays that he repent of this sin (vs. 21-23). Simon’s vanity allowed him to be corrupted by
money. St. Paul’s admonition remains
true; “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Timothy 6:10).
Power is desired by many because it confers influence on the
person. However the source of the
influence can be superficial. An example
of this would be eating spinach to obtain great strength.
Or power seekers can be deceptive. An example would be abusive
white privilege leading to unjust economic enrichment.
Some power seekers believe that the source of power is in
money. This was the erroneous reason
used by Simon in our lesson today. The
thought that somehow one can buy spiritual favor was swiftly condemned by
The sheer thought that God’s grace could be sold to the highest
bidder is utterly reprehensible. In the 2012 AME Book of Doctrine and Discipline
(BODD), the punishable term “simony”
is derived from the act by Simon.
Any bishop or pastor found guilty of this charge will face
prosecution according to Church law (2012
BODD, p 257).
The source of true power is not found in “filthy lucre,” status or
social privilege. The true source of
power is not temporal or short-term in nature.
The source of true power is defined in a personal relationship
Let’s not be blinded by the tactics of the adversary who wants us
to be ignorant about God’s eternal love, care and protection. Dante’s cynical observations “It is better to
reign in Hell than be a servant in Heaven” about the afterlife can be rejected.
The source of true power comes from above not below.
*Brother Bill Dickens is currently the Church School Teacher at
Allen AME Church in Tacoma, Washington. He is currently a member of
the Fellowship of Church Educators for the African Methodist Episcopal Church
19. MEDITATION BASED ON JAMES 1:19-27
Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby
writing this week’s meditation as I wind down and rest up from the 152nd
Session of the South Carolina Annual Conference of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church and after welcoming two new pastors - who received their first
pastoral assignments - to the Beaufort District.
soon be sending them the “Tips for Pastoral Success” that I always send to new
pastors and that include two things that my preacher-uncles - I.W. and V.A.
Janerette - told me when I entered the ministry. The first is that you can’t make yourself a
“leader” - if you do your work, people will follow you and acknowledge you as
their “leader.” The second is that
you’ll know that you’re doing your work in an effective way when people stop
referring to you as “THE” pastor and start calling you “MY” pastor.”
years of pastoral ministry have taught me the wisdom of those words. Educational attainment and multiple college
degrees are desirable things and a prestigious pulpit can be a lucrative
professional blessing, but ministerial titles, power and prestigious pulpits
aren’t what matter - what we do to change and improve the lives of others is
what really matters.
offer that lesson from pastoral ministry to you in a world that places great
emphasis on fame, power and position.
It’s easy - in a world that demands that we come out “on top” - to focus
on getting ahead by any means necessary and to sometimes end up let down,
frustrated and disappointed when our best doesn’t seem to be good enough and
when others seem to do better than we do
do well to “exhale,” count our blessings and realize that any meaningful
accomplishment that we achieve is ours not by our goodness, buy by God’s grace
and power. When we go beyond the quest
for worldly power and influence and simply serve the Lord - meaning it when we
pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” God will lead us and guide us to
well-being, hope and joy that we can never achieve on our own.
the time to step away from life’s demands and let God lead you every day. You’ll be less stressed, more blessed, more
appreciative of life’s simple but significant victories and more aware of why
my ancestors in the faith used to sing, “Any way you fix me, Lord, I’ll be
Ready for Sunday, and have a great day in your house of worship!
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
20. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
The Third Episcopal District is
saddened to announce the passing of Mr. Joseph W. Reid, brother of the Reverend
Wesley I. Reid, pastor of Lee Memorial in Cleveland, Ohio and the
brother-in-law of Mrs. Kathleen Reid, Connectional Tanner Turner Memorial
Chairperson and President Emeritus Third Episcopal District WMS; and the uncle
of the Reverend Tameaka Reid Sims.
The funeral service is scheduled as
Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 1:00
Telephone: (423) 622-1261
Arrangements Entrusted to:
John P. Franklin Funeral Home
Telephone: (423) 622-9995
Condolences may be sent to:
John P. Franklin Funeral Home
21. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with great sadness that we
notify you of the passing of the Reverend Dr. Noah Spencer Smith. The Reverend Smith passed on Thursday,
September 17, 2015 at the blessed age of 107 years old. He was a minister in the Chicago Conference
of the Fourth Episcopal District AME Church. He was a former pastor of Saint
Mark AME Church in Duluth, Minnesota and Saint James AME Church in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. As a retired pastor, the
Reverend Smith served on the ministerial staff at Wayman AME Church in
Minneapolis, Minnesota under the leadership of the Reverend Alphonse Reff, Sr.
Arrangements for the Reverend Dr.
Noah Spencer Smith:
Visitation: Wednesday, October 30,
2015 at 10:00 a.m.
The Homegoing Celebration: 11:00
1221 Seventh Avenue North
The Reverend Dr. Alphonse Reff, Sr.,
Presiding Elder will deliver the eulogy.
Cards, flowers and other expressions
of sympathy may be sent to his wife:
Dr. Hallie Hendrieth-Smith,
Telephone: (763) 529-9088
Arrangements are entrusted to:
2210 Plymouth Avenue North
22. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with sadness that we announce
the death of Mr. Ralph Robertson, brother of the Rev. Mary White and the Rev. J.
W. Robertson. The Rev. Mary White is a
Local Elder at Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lexington,
Visitation for Mr. Robertson will be
Friday, October 2, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Smith and Smith Funeral Home in
Lexington with services at 1:00 p.m.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent
C/O Quinn Chapel African Methodist
Telephone: (859)252-4058 phone
Smith and Smith Funeral Home
Telephone: (859) 255-6273
23. BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND
CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Telephone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Telephone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
24. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE
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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