The Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder


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

Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson always seemed to have a gleam in his eye. Even when you look at his photographs, the gleam is always there. I was perusing his Homegoing Celebration Bulletin and sure enough the gleam was in every photograph. Oh, there’s one other thing.  Supervisor Vivienne Anderson has the same gleam in her eyes, and the gleam comes forth in photos. 

And, Bishop John Bryant was so on-target in his remarks at the Homegoing Celebration for Bishop Anderson when he said, “No one could articulate the name of Episcopal Supervisor “Vivienne” like Bishop Anderson.  I noticed that too. Bishop Anderson had a way of saying her name in such a way that it had a “ring to it,” almost as if he adored the name, “Vivienne.”  And, when he called her name, he had that gleam in his eyes. .

I first met Bishop Anderson when he was a candidate for episcopal service prior to 1972. I was a young pastor in ministry and in awe of the leadership of our Zion.  I would speak and keep moving.

I later had the good fortune of working with him a few years later after he had been elevated to the episcopacy and had been assigned as the AMEC Endorsing agent. The endorsing agent is responsible for certifying persons for the federal chaplaincy. It was evident that he was concerned about the chaplains and worked to make the AME Chaplain Association a more effective organization and he was concerned that the AME Church was committed to sending the most qualified persons to the chaplaincy. Bishop Anderson was pleasant to work with and exemplified a genuine concern of people.

I next had the opportunity to observe and see his episcopacy up-close when he was the Presiding Prelate of the 2nd Episcopal District. I was stationed at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

He had a distinctive leadership style. He had a gentle spirit, but I got the sense that you probably would not want to get on his bad side.

He had a gentle approach and the few times I suspected that he was chastising a preacher, he did it with dignity, respect, and was so smooth with his words that a person who was naïve might not known they had been chastised.  He chastised with a gleam in his eyes and smile, and with love.  I do not believe that his pastors were fearful and I don’t believe that they felt Bishop Anderson would retaliate against them. 

He never missed a teaching moment and provided teaching moments with dignity and respect. His teaching moments were as an adult speaking with adults. 

His pastors / preachers’ retreats were events that we all looked forward to attending.  They were a blast! I couldn’t wait to get to the retreat site.

He encouraged clergy to be themselves, act normal and have some fun.  He encouraged the pastor to have fun and to use the retreat to relieve stress find some sense of normalcy. He wanted the preachers to relax and unwind. The man loved “table games.” He could hang with the best of them! And seeing Bishop Anderson relax just helped everyone else to relax.

Bishop Anderson cared about his “flock” and encouraged his pastors to care for their “flock.”  It seemed to me that he wanted pastors to be “down to earth” and to love the people. He was stickler in encouraging pastors to take their prophetic and priestly ministries seriously. In so many words he said, “Don’t ‘hoot and hollar’ at the funeral if you didn’t visit the deceased when he or she was sick or in the hospital.”  He reminded preachers not to let death catch them short-handed and in an embarrassing situations because of their failure to make pastoral visits. 

Not only were his teaching moments powerful, but his actions were powerful. He treated pastors like adults. 

Let me deviate

We, the AME Church, do not make pastoral appointments as the United Methodist do. Generally United Methodist clergy and congregation know the pastoral assignments several months before the annual conference.  It seems to work well for them, but we are “not there” yet.  I have heard several “reasons” why we “can’t” utilize that system, sometimes our clergy and congregations don’t know their pastoral appointment until it’s announced on the floor when the pastoral assignments are read.

Let me get back on point

Bishop Anderson in the 2nd Episcopal District had a unique and creative process for handling the pastoral appointments. He didn’t do it the United Methodist or the African Methodist Episcopal Church way, he did it “Vinton Anderson’s way!

He met with all of the pastors prior to the Commissioning Service and gave each pastor his or her pastoral appointment so they knew where they were being assigned.  He had a confidentiality agreement with the pastors not to divulge their pastoral appointments to anyone. It appeared to me that the Commissioning Service functioned less anxious because there was no element of surprise, at least, for the pastors.

Bishop Anderson was a stickler for order in worship, and he loved spirited worship too. He loved liturgy and he loved creative Holy Spirit-filled worship. I would brand him as a dynamic, creative, Holy Spirit-filled-focused traditionalist.

His worship bulletins were creative and he was willing to try new worship initiatives.  Parishioners could be assured that they would get the best preaching and singing at Bishop Anderson’s meetings, and “we were not going to be in church all night!”

Bishop Anderson’s actions spoke louder than words in the area of gender equality. He insisted on gender-neutral language in sermons, conversation and worship bulletins.  Any observant person noticed that women were always included in annual conference or episcopal district worship services. Women were appointed to committees and they were full participants in the life of the 2nd Episcopal District. He appointed women pastors, including my wife, Charlotte, her first pastoral appointment; and he didn’t send the women miles and miles away and didn’t relegate them to 2 and 3 member churches. The morale of the women was high and their presence at meetings was indicative of their high morale. Groups of women would travel to annual conference and district-level meetings together because they felt as if they were a part of the team. They were a part of the “Anderson Team!”

Bishop Anderson recognized that there was ministry apart from the pastoral ministry. He honored and affirmed those who had ministries outside of the local church, i.e., federal chaplaincy, institutional chaplains, clergy involved in higher education and other ministry-related vocations.  Chaplains were expected to read their annual Pastor’s Report as other Itinerant Elders.

Let me get off point just one more time

Chaplains and other employed Itinerant Elders’ financial support for the annual and district conference programs should be at the same level as other Itinerant Elders. Ordained Chaplains benefit from their ordination status the same as pastors benefit from their ordination status.

Let me get back on point

Bishop Anderson supported theological training, not only with words, but with his money and with his actions.  He loved Payne Theological Seminary, but he also supported AME students who attended other seminaries.

Bishop Vinton Anderson was not only active in the religious community; he was active in the secular and ecumenical communities too. He encouraged his pastors to be active in the community and emphasized time and again that ministry was more than a Sunday morning preaching event.

Bishop Vinton Anderson was a model servant bishop who was a pioneer in many areas – the religious, secular, ecumenical, inter-faith communities. 

His Homegoing Celebration modeled many of his varied activities and involvement across the religious and secular spectrum.

St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri was packed and every seat in the sanctuary and the overflow area was taken. The worship service was executed with dignity and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Parishioners from all walks of life were in attendance. Bishops, general officers, members of the Judicial Council, connectional officers, presiding elders, pastors, and laity from across the connectional church were in attendance.

Bishop Phillip Robert Cousin, retired Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was the presiding liturgist for Bishop Anderson’s Homegoing Service.  He majestically guided the worship service from beginning to end.

The Senior Bishop from the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, the Right Reverend Lawrence L. Reddick III was in attendance.  Ecumenical, inter-faith and civic leaders were also in attendance to pay last respects to Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson.

The Celebration was video-streamed and AMEs around the world were able to view the celebration – and maybe the first time people overseas in Africa and our military members in Afghanistan confirmed viewing a Bishop’s Homegoing Service.

Pastor Spencer Lamar Booker, presiding elders, members of the AMEC Judicial Council, special guests and the Bishops of the Church led the procession of the family into the sanctuary singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

Bishops Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath lined the Opening Hymn, Bishop Clement W. Fugh gave the invocation, and the scriptures were read by Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Bishop James Levert Davis, and Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings.

Reflections were shared by Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop, and Bishop Reginald T. Jackson.

The Rev. Dr. Staccato Powell of the World Council of Churches; The Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith of the National Council of Churches; and Dr. Robert Welsh, the Churches Uniting In Christ also gave reflections.

Words of Comfort were shared by civic leaders and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and by Attorney Benjamin Edwards a member of the Judicial Council and a longtime member of St. Paul AME Church, the site of the Homegoing Celebration.

Retired General Officer, Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams gave a stirring reflection and tribute of Bishop Anderson.

Kenneth Anderson, the Anderson’s youngest son gave an intimate reflection of his father and mother. His reflection was moving and brought tears to the eyes of many in the congregation. We learned a few things about Bishop Anderson we didn’t know.  Bishop Anderson could imitate some of his associates.

The acknowledgements of the family were expressed by Ms. Jacqueline Dupont-Walker; Bishop C. Garnett Henning prayed the Prayer of Comfort and Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green, Sr. lined the Hymn of Assurance. .

There was not a eulogy in the usual sense of a eulogy, but instead, a creative way of sharing the life and ministry of Bishop Anderson.

Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram, Presiding Prelate of the 1st Episcopal District shared intimate thoughts about the early ministry of Bishop Anderson. His task was entitled, “the Ministry Begun. He gave warm comments about the Bishop Anderson’s ministry, very much a short eulogy, but not called a eulogy.

Bishop John R. Bryant spoke about Bishop Anderson’s love of his wife, “Vivienne,” his love for his family and his love for the AME Church – and that too was a short eulogy, but it was not called a eulogy.

“The Ministry Fulfilled” was the task of Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, the Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District and his delivery, starting out with the singing of “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow…” lifted the congregation to its feet and he delivered a masterful sermon and suddenly, those of us who were a “little slow to put it all together” realized that the eulogy was really a three-part Vinton Anderson-creative eulogy. Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram masterfully handled the first part, “The Ministry Begun,” Bishop John Richard Bryant delivered the second part of the eulogy with intimate comments about Bishop Anderson as a husband, father and down-to earth person; and Bishop T. Larry Kirkland delivered “the main course and the dessert with his task of “The Ministry Fulfilled.”

We had “indeed been to church!” Not only were we “fed” by words, we were “fed” by music – contemporary gospel and the great hymns of the church: “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “God be With you Till We Meet Again,” “When I survey the Wondrous Cross,” “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want,”  and “When Peace Like a River” and good old-fashioned AME singing led my Brother Daeryl Scooter Booker and staff; the Reverend Anthony Vinson, Sr, Connectional MCAM Director and accompanist Arthur Toney. Ministry of music was provided by Psalmists Eboni Wilson, Samuel Huddleston, Adrianne Felton and The Voices of St. Paul.

Participants in the Committal Ceremony included Presiding Elder Brenda Hayes, retired Presiding Elder Felix Dancy, retired Presiding Elder Malcolm Eve, the Rev. Spencer Lamar Booker and the Presiding Elder Edmund Lowe

The Reverend Spencer Lamar Booker, pastor of St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri opened their doors and their hearts and made us welcome. St. Paul provided us food and comfort!

“We had Church” in the AME tradition and in the spirit of Bishop Vinton R. Anderson!  AMEs know how to have a Homegoing Celebration! 


*Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr.

I was pleased to read as I always do President Glovers' remarks on the recent General Board meeting.

It has long been my belief that if the AME Church is to change, the CLO must be the engine for that change.  President Glover touched on most of the important issues raised at the General Board.  But when will you go further?  For example, if we cannot afford to have a General Conference, when will we face that fact and/or reduce the number of day, reduce the number of delegates, cut back and down on all our expenses.  The truth may be that our meetings are where some people make money.  For example, a hotel contracts a room for $100.00 per night and we sell that same room for $130.00 per night.  There is rarely, if ever a report on offerings or other items.

Time has far passed for continuing to do the same things, the same way and getting the same results.  That time should have long passed.  Truthfully, the Nashville General Board was significantly different only by the way Bishop Leath chose to be invested as President of the Council of Bishops.

President Glover is correct regarding the silence of members of the General Board.  My concern is that most of the members of the General Board do not understand what they are there to do, other than answer the roll. Other attendees are there for the "fellowship." 

As a people with limited resources, we make multi-million dollar decisions with little or no discussion.  People are afraid to ask questions.  They do have questions as I often do, but the fear of isolation prevents them from putting their real feeling on the table.  Another example, when the matter of an additional loan of 7.5 million dollars for Morris Brown College came before the Council of Bishops, there was little discussion.  I remember asking, if Morris Brown College had any regular income?  The answer was no.  Please tell me, where else in America can you owe somebody, 5.1 million dollars, have no income and borrow another 7.5 million dollars.

My notes will continue to isolate me from many of my Episcopal Colleagues, but my love for the institution called the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will not let me continue to be silent.

*Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr.
127th Bishop, AME Church


To the Editor:

RE: The Rev. Dr. William Brooks, President of the NAACP

I was blessed to hear our new NAACP President/CEO, the Rev. Dr. William Brooks' address at the NAACP Convention.

Dr. Brooks was dynamic, energetic, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, motivational, and the list goes on. 

Part of his agenda includes getting support to the "field" (those of us out in the various Units who are all VOLUNTEERS carrying on the work of the Association all across this country).  It's about time that someone cares about the "work-a-bees" in the field. 

I really think Dr. Brooks is going to "breathe new life" into this Association.  I look forward to his leadership (another "product" of the AME Connection.

Standing AME Proud,

Mrs. Ora Washington

-- To the Editor:


I have enjoyed reading every one of your editorials, especially the one about the church women.

You have given us much food for thought. Your editorials, especially the editorial about the “brand” of the A.M.E. Church are right on-target. There are too many churches that are no longer using the liturgy of the Church, which I happen to think that the AME liturgy is beautiful. I believe in an opening hymn and occasionally may do a different one other than the traditional, “I was Glad when they said unto me…”

It is a discredit to our founding fathers and mothers to dismantle what has been working for almost two centuries. I hear parishioners complain that the "Call to Worship" in their local church is different every week, no longer using, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go in the house of The Lord...”  It truly stirs my heart and my spirit. And many other staples that are “our” brand are not being used so that “they can be like everyone else,’ while others are stealing from us

After attending the 2012 Quadrennial General Conference, I was doing the complete Decalogue, which was a tradition at my home church. But, after the 2012 General Conference, I incorporated the General Confession and several other collects into the Sunday bulletin. It gives everyone an opportunity to read the confession, even visitors when members help them find the page number. I just do the Abridged Decalogue every Sunday, and it does include "Nearer my God to Thee..."

I hope when you retire you will continue to write for The Christian Recorder.

My “roses to you ‘in words’” for my appreciation of your informative, funny, deep, and insightful editorials over the years.

May God continue to bless and keep you and your family.

The Rev. Minnie Autry – Michigan

-- To the Editor:


I would like to contribute to the ongoing testimonies concerning Bishop Anderson! Since not one of the many articles that I have submitted have been published online, I ask you to consider printing this one!
As a young lady singing in Bishop Anderson's Washington Annual Conference Choir, I got to see the Bishop celebrate God! This was my first annual conference! I was the youngest person in a choir full of seniors and Bishop affirmed me well for being there! I learned and loved to sing every verse of each hymn too, while an acolyte in the United Methodist Church. Therefore, I appreciated his style of complete worship! This Seasonal District Choir gave me the opportunity to read musical notes again, which I learned while playing the flute, and I watched and listened while sitting behind Bishop Anderson, a holy worshiper of our Great God!

Desiring to know more, I purchased “My Soul Shouts!" And heard The Call to ministry! I am the voice of the woman in #15 who shouts in the middle of the night!  Now as a Missionary, I often visit AME Annual Conferences all over this Country, but never again have I experienced the same sincere professional, holiness of true worship, or seen the love like Bishop Anderson's love for Lady Vivienne! These stood out for me! She had the finest hats, sparkle filled dresses and gracious patience and was always adorned with a pleasant smile! Even her words were always well placed and always kind! These things kept me coming back each Conference Season until they retired and the seeds that they planted grew into fruit with more seeds for me to go out and sow!

May the Right Reverend Vinton Randolph Anderson rest in great peace, while lifted to the eternal pleasures of the closest worship of and walk with our Holy Lord God! Thank you, Lord Jesus! The AME Church has been blessed with a Good Shepherd, and he has shown us the WAY! May we find the wisdom to follow it!

Missionary Davetta Range, a sower of "godly seeds" from FAME Church L.A.

-- To the Editor:

I'm amazed you expected a short obit for Bishop Anderson or that you would not receive an abundance of replies for tributes.  He served long and well and cast long shadows during his ministry. I still consider him as my favorite bishop in the Third District, most notably for his implementation of the Festival of the Holy Spirit during his tenure - What a powerful series of meetings.

However, my first memory of him was when he gave a sermon during the meeting of the Bishops' Council when it convened in Columbus and St. Paul was the host church.  I remember only one thing (but it was significant) that he said.   This was following his illness (heart attack?) while on a plane returning from Africa and he told about how he no longer had any fears of death because he had already looked death in the face and could testify that Christ was more powerful.

Although I did read about the live-streaming of the service in time to view it live...and I'm not sure I would have sat through it all at one time, but thanks for the follow-up reference in the last weeks issue of TCR and it is still there, at least for now, to view at my leisure.

Now, as this and other local congregations utilize live-streaming, I can't help but wonder if the "live" attendance remains the same or does it drop or increase as a result.   We're considering using some live-streaming, but have other major concerns (regaining ownership of our building, new roof, ceiling repair, etc.) vying for our attention before that becomes a reality.

Also, with technology improvements since General Conference 2012, and even some small congregations use live-streaming. What are the prospects for 2016?

Larry W Clark, Columbus, Ohio


The cumulative number of cases attributed to Ebola virus disease (EVD) stands at 1,048, including 632 deaths (60% fatality) as of 17 July, 2014.

The distribution and classification of cases in the three affected countries are:

Guinea, 410 cases and 310 deaths (203 confirmed, 95 probable, and 12 suspected);

Liberia, 196 cases and 116 deaths (54 confirmed, 40 probable, and 22 suspected);

Sierra Leone, 442 cases and 206 deaths (165 confirmed, 35 probable, and 6 suspected).

Submitted by the Rev. A. Oveta Fuller, PhD
Faculty, African Studies Center
Associate Professor, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


By SIStah “Jackie” Dupont-Walker

The Teaching Missions conducted by Bishop Anderson early in his assignment to an Episcopal District provided him with an opportunity to introduce his perspective on ministry, service, liturgy, mission, and the legacy of African Methodism. 

I met the Bishop when he was introduced to the Fifth District delegation in Fort Worth, Texas, at the close of the 1988 General Conference. He exuded positive energy and the remarkable traits of a gifted teacher.  On that occasion he was immediately thrust into the position of convening the annual conferences and I, along with others, noted his deliberateness and focused-style of presiding at business sessions that was instructive to all of us.  He was about the “work of the church.”
When the first “Teaching Mission” was held at the First AME Church in Los Angeles, Bishop Anderson introduced the concept of service centers, with the intention of persuading local congregations to create networks to better serve the total community.

With my social work background in community organization and involvement in local politics, I became excited by his idea and went home to write a five-page paper on how the concept could work in Los Angeles. 

Over the next eight years many laypersons thought it not robbery to take some vacation time or leave without pay to attend meetings convened by Bishop Anderson in order that they might be instructed in the ecclesiology of the AME Church.   It became immediately apparent to a member of an Episcopal district where Vinton Randolph Anderson had been assigned as presiding bishop that he did not fit anyone’s prescribed mold.  While one might say that he is “just different,” there were clear indicators that his “uniqueness by calling” was neither happenstance nor a gimmick.
Those who knew him as pastor told of feeling “included and cared for.” As a pastor, he regularly visited the sick, and included the laity in ministry-planning. The laity traveled and fellowshipped with him, and he shared his blessings with others in need.

Those who met him on the campaign trail as he sought the episcopacy between 1968 and 1972 remember his 12-Point Program, “Give attention to the questions of ministry as they relate to the laos” as the second item on his agenda. Others who met him after his election will recall the thoughtful and provocative paper he presented to the church’s organized laity in 1975, entitled, “L.I.F.E.” which suggested a new and empowering movement for the Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
He always introduced himself as “Vinton Anderson” and on many occasions, Bishop Anderson shared one of the basic tenets of his ministry by reminding the clergy that the titles, “reverend” and “pastor” were not a part of their names. He urged the clergy to permit the people to call them “pastor” or “reverend” and in so doing, it signaled a desire for a sincere relationship and bond with those they served.

In the covering of his casket by the “pall” carried out the belief that the “pall” is the covering that makes all of us equal in the final earthly appearance before God.
 As we attempt to reflect upon this servant, it was Bishop Vinton Anderson’s personal and professional integrity that stood out.  Similarly it was his compassion for people, boldness for the causes he believed in, and his propensity to not forget “from whence he had come” and that endeared him to almost everyone.  Those of us in lay ministry, and I am one, proudly claimed Bishop Anderson as “boss, pastor, mentor, role model, teacher, preacher, and friend.”
During his years of Episcopal service, Bishop Anderson included laypersons on his team as assistants, program coordinators, liaisons and consultants. 

He appointed the first layperson, Dr. Charles E. Taylor and a female layperson, Dr. Yvonne Walker Taylor (not related), respectively as president of our flagship institution, Wilberforce University, which was founded in 1856 as the first black-owned institution of higher education in the nation. 
Similarly, Bishop Anderson’s definition of roles for laypeople both embraced lay ministries and taught ordained clergy creative ways to engage the laity to become involved in the ministry of the Church.  Many of us, who worked closely with him, concluded that he was living out a strong commitment to heighten lay involvement in the life of the Church.
Bishop Anderson had been consistently and pointedly vocal about the calling to preach vis-à-vis the calling to pastor, in view of today’s extraordinary reliance on preaching. 

The reliance on “Preaching the Word” during worship is widely considered the major way to grow one’s congregation.

For the laity, however, one must keep in mind that not having a pastor to turn to when one is grieving, floundering in personal relationships, feeling isolated, or in need of individual spiritual support, leaves one unable to hear or heed “the message of the preached Word” so eloquently preached on a Sunday morning. Bishop Anderson constantly reminded us that, “The only audience in worship is God!”
Given the current disconnect between “pulpit care” and “pew needs,” it is no wonder that few parishioners even remember the type of pastoral care practiced when a pastor called just to check one’s absence from service.

Bishop Anderson ministered to “everyone in the household” in their times of grief, fellowshipped with the family, congratulated achievers on special occasions, and generally shared intimately in the life of the congregation. Bishop Anderson admonished, “You can’t lay hands on the sick if you don’t visit them.”
Pastoral care that demonstrates concern for the laity also teaches the tithing of time, talent, treasure, and “trash.”   When a pastor takes the time to give members opportunities to use their own gifts and God-given talents, then the giving of money becomes a natural extension of their commitment to the church. It was evident, in his concern for pastoral care, that Bishop Anderson had a pastor’s heart.
As Chief Pastor, Vinton Anderson set a goal of visiting every local congregation under his care. If a worship or celebration was not possible, he simply visited the church with a request to be met by the pastor and some members for prayer on the grounds.

It was heart-warming to hear an elderly member remark, “I’ve been a member for fifty years and have never seen a bishop until now.” Some pastors have reported a noticeable revival of mission and involvement by the membership because “the bishop” came and showed that he cared.
As in other professions, person involved in ministry and in the life of the church need mentors.  Mentorship in the church crosses all boundaries.  For instance a community developer, a meeting or event planner, an educator or an accountant can all mentor and evangelize when working with people on church projects. With the right guidance and advice they can learn how to transfer their skills from secular settings into sacred service.  Bishop Anderson urged lay people to be mentors.
Bishop Anderson gave people a chance to “mold” an office, not just “hold” a position.

A number of laypersons found God’s direction based upon Bishop Anderson’s mentoring as he challenged their thinking and action.

When a person joined the Anderson team he shared his vision and gave the members of the team great latitude, while expecting excellence. The adage, “Give someone a fish and he or she can be fed for the time being, but teach a person to fish and he or she can eat for a lifetime.”
When someone failed to heed Bishop Anderson’s advice, he responded with firm and loving admonition, permitting the person to rejoin the team and give them a second chance. In that spirit of forbearance, most of us, laypersons, saw an enactment of God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy.
When a parishioner, steward board member or cadre of officers followed the process as outlined in the AME Book of Discipline and expressed a desire to find a solution to a problem, Bishop Anderson repeatedly took the time to counsel a pastor, presiding elder, and the people. By doing so, he modeled a technique for resolving problems.

Such interventions went a long way toward restoring the confidence of the laity in the integrity of the process, and actually stimulated our spiritual growth.  It also taught patience and gave special meaning to Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)
Bishop Anderson often became frustrated with sycophantic behavior among the laity. He did not have sympathetic ear for laity’s feeling of helplessness or lack of approval from a pastor, or for other excuses for not taking a stand for what was right and just in the life of a congregation.

The Bishop reminded clergy and laity that the early Christians risked their lives, that the forbearers of African Methodism faced great odds, and that Jesus set a standard for doing what is right, promising never to leave us alone if we followed him.
If one look at the worship programs of any District-level gathering where Bishop Anderson presided, you would find laypersons among the liturgists. 

We lay ministers often joked about the clergy’s quest for the most coveted positions on a program where the bishop would be present, but it is significant that some layperson were always included when Bishop Anderson planned programs. Bishop Anderson seized the moments as teaching opportunities. He was noted for appointing laypersons to finance committees beyond the conference level, to planning task-forces, resource panels, and even as keynote speakers. He postulated that including laypersons in such key positions provided a necessary presence for both accountability and inclusiveness. Of special note was his teaching that a layperson is not only permitted, but was definitely capable of offering the “call to Christian Discipleship” following a sermon.
Lay Witness Night at an Annual Conference was one venue where Bishop Anderson heartened and instructed lay leadership to employ the best traditions of African Methodist worship. He capsulated the essence of AME worship in the Chapter entitled, “Under Our Own Vine and Fig Tree: Sunday Morning Worship in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.” 
On Lay Witness Night the one who brought the message had to be a lay minister. Sometimes we, who are lay ministers, demean our calling by discounting a lay speaker, but some of us have experienced a teaching moment when, after a Lay Witness program, Bishop Anderson promised that if a lay speaker is too difficult to find, he would simply follow his usual procedure of choosing a preacher and refocusing the evening.
Vinton Anderson discovered ways to be a friend to so many.

For those of us who are laypersons, it was a distinct and unique honor to be able to count our bishop as a friend. Did he passionately debate matters with us to the last breath? “Yes!” Did he express disappointment, convey his settled opinion and leave you to your own devices? “Indeed!” Did he go along in order to get along? Unequivocally, “No!”
We had been warned about being sycophants in the local church and at all levels of the Church. He warned us that God did not require slavish conformity, nor is God pleased when we do not exercise the courage of our convictions.  Bishop Anderson encouraged us to practice standing, even if it means standing alone. He did not promise any certain outcome for our courage, but helped us to understand that standing is an act of faith.  And as a friend of the laity, he stood with us when we stood with God.
I am not alone in cherishing the hope that among the ordained clergy, many will model Bishop Anderson’s style, commitment to ministry, refusal to be put on a pedestal, and love of the church, in general; and African Methodism in particular.

One of his favorite prayers was to ask God never to let him embarrass God’s ministry.  Reflecting on that sentiment, I add my own prayer that the spirit of humaneness coupled with divine guidance that made Vinton R. Anderson “a bishop among bishops,” will find its way into the life of others who are called to the ordained ministry in our Church.  That is part of the legacy of African Methodism that Bishop Anderson has carried forward into our time.
As for the laity, if Bishop Anderson conveyed that same legacy into our ranks in the church, we must look within our own areas of responsibility for ways of reshaping and retooling lay ministry. 

We might begin by seriously reviewing the proposal, L.I.F.E. 

Thirty-nine years after the bishop promulgated L.I.F.E., the issues and challenges it threw out to us, remain relevant.  We are called to understand the biblical imperatives, to know The Doctrine Discipline’s directives and to accept the individual and corporate mandate to make possible the impossible!  Bishop Anderson emphasized that point in an address at Allen University in 1987. 

Permit me the liberty of modifying his statement in order to direct it to those of us who are in lay ministry. 

“Making possible the impossible” is the challenge and obligation I lay before all who share this moment in history. Every worthwhile goal will seem impossible, and you will hear, “It can’t be done!” or “It is not possible.” We must grow in the direction of truth and goodness, motivated by an unrelenting faith in the victory of right over wrong. We must be absolutely convinced that the ultimate human experience is life, not defeat and death. And we must help make it possible!

In the end, it will not be machines, computers, weapons and gadgets that will be judged for acting improperly or failing to tackle the seemingly impossible tasks, it will be God’s people, God’s creation, made in God’s image, “a little lower than the angels” and we must never forget, “With God all things are possible!”

The Legacy
Viewed from the perspective of a lay speaker/preacher/minister on the eve of Bishop Vinton Anderson’s Celebration of Life Services, I am persuaded that what this man accomplished in his active episcopacy can be a part of the AME Church’s rich heritage and future.

I envision a Lay Retreat open to all laypersons, perhaps at Payne Theological Seminary, where courses would be offered that give recognition and resources for the skills enhancement that is so beneficial for empowering lay persons for ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  The bishops, clergy and lay leadership, working together can make it happen.
We, the laity, have much to learn and to do. It is our task in these momentous years of the 21st Century to return to our roots, to be faithful to the Christ-event, and to claim the Wesley/Allen/Anderson legacy.

As Mordecai chided Esther, I believe that Vinton R. Anderson is cautioning us that we stand in the gap for “such a time as this.”


On April 15, 2014 almost three hundred schoolgirls were kidnapped from the Nigerian Chibok community.  After more than 100 days, Boko Haram, their abductors, is still holding them captive.  This despicable terrorist organization has unleashed a rampage of violence in the region and has reportedly abducted additional girls.  To mark the one hundred days of captivity, The Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (WMS), Dr. Shirley Cason Reed, International President, has initiated a campaign to reinvigorate the waning interest of the press, international heads of state, the global community, and the Nigerian government.

As a faith based member of the global community, and a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) affiliated with the United Nations, we feel something must be done to call further attention to this atrocity.  Therefore, we have taken steps to reignite the concern and release efforts that were so prevalent in the early days of the kidnapping.

Primarily, a 30-day prayer initiative has been commissioned.  The offering of prayers will be ongoing until August 22, by which time we pray the young women will be released. Through this effort, every hour, somewhere in the vast A. M. E. arena, someone will be lifting up the plight of the abducted Nigerian school girls.  

Next, a Statement of Concern has been sent to the Supervisors of Missions of the A.M.E. Church, the WMS Episcopal District Presidents and the NGO District Liaisons in all 20 Districts. We encourage the immediate release of the Statement to the press and other media outlets in their respective communities. 

Additionally, a form letter to be personalized by individuals and/or organizations has been drafted and distributed.  We are asking that the letter be addressed to respective government officials and heads of state around the globe, and be mailed in mass immediately.  

Finally, we have engaged other Non-Governmental Organizations, religious denominations, including the historically black churches; other faith based groups, and the national and international fraternal, social and civic organizations to join all aspects of our effort.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church, born in a quest for justice, has a long history of championing worthy causes.  The Women’s Missionary Society, steeped in that tradition, believes God has called us to follow God’s mandate, to set the captives free.

We have attached the Statement of Concern and draft letter to heads of state for your information.


The Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church - Telephone: 202.371-8886
Carolyn Scavella, NGO Representative - Telephone: 917. 826-5278; Email: carolyns_1@msn.com
Jacqueline Mitchell Robinson, NGO Representative- Telephone: 313. 671-6620; Email: jackiemitchrobin@aol.com


Abduction of the Nigerian Schoolgirls

On July 22, the global community marked 100 days since Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls. In that same period, Boko Haram has embarked on a violent rampage to silence protesters and opposition.  The Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (WMS AME) joins the United Nations, Non-Governmental Organizations and the greater global community to condemn Boko Haram for the abductions.  Together, we implore the Nigerian government to urgently pursue the immediate return of all the girls to their families, and implement security measures to protect the Nigerian citizens from Boko Haram’s unmitigated violence.

The International WMS, considered the first faith-based African-American women's organization to receive accreditation with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, declares Boko Haram to be a cruel and violent militant group that uses vicious and abusive tactics to violate the Nigerian people.  This barbaric group of bullies, and others like them, are robbing the girl-child of their rights to life, education, liberty and happiness. The sole focus of this horrendous and venomous act of violence is to stifle and squash the dreams and aspirations of the Nigerian girl. Clearly, the universal rights of the abducted Nigerian girls and their families have been unacceptably infringed upon.

The WMS NGO prays that the Nigerian girls are returned to their families immediately. However, since their release doesn't seem imminent, we have launched a global, 30-day prayer vigil and letter writing campaign to world leaders.  The 800,000 member faith-based WMS organization spans four continents in 32 countries, including Nigeria, and we seek the cooperation with other faith-based organizations. The letter writing campaign implores world leaders to take immediate action to secure the return of the abducted girls.

The WMS NGO is taking these actions because we uphold all 10 Principles of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, particularly the 9th Principle, which states:  “The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He/she shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.” Moreover, we recognize the global community has failed the final point of the UN Declaration, which simply states: “Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.”

As mothers, grandmothers and aunts, the WMS NGO feels the deep pain and anguish of the Nigerian mothers.  We cry with our sisters and we pray for our sisters. We unite and stand in solidarity with Nigerian mothers in seeking the return of our daughters.  We will not leave them alone to deal with this horrendous and unmerited crime against the Chibok community.
The WMS NGO appeals to the Nigerian government to actively and urgently recover one of the nation’s most precious and vulnerable assets, the Nigerian girl-child, and to implement security and protection measures to thwart future abductions.  We ask the Nigerian government to accept all appropriate offers of help from UN member states. Nothing short of the safe return of all the abducted girls is acceptable; any result short of that is unacceptable.

The WMS NGO works untiringly for the empowerment of women and girls locally, nationally and globally, and works to eradicate human trafficking, barriers to education, domestic violence, child marriages and other violations to universal human rights as outlined by the United Nations. We also uphold the UN Declaration of Human Rights for all peoples throughout the world.

The WMS NGO joins with the 20 female U.S. Senators who have appealed to President Barack Obama to urge the UN to designate Boko Haram an International Terrorist Organization. While it might not help in the short term of facilitating the immediate return of the abducted girls, in the long-term this action can begin to diminish, dismantle and even eradicate this brutal rebel group.  Boko Haram must not be allowed free rein to terrorize Nigerian families or anyone else. They must be stopped now.

The WMS NGO will continue to do all we can to end this nightmare for the abducted girls and their families, and to pursue actions that will prevent this from happening again.

About the WMS NGO

The Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was designated a Non-Governmental Organization in 1985 and holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and Affiliation with the   Department of Public Information (DPI). The WMS NGO works through advocacy and direct action to change the lives of women and girls through global and local initiatives. We believe women must be empowered to utilize their creative spirits, unique skills, gifts and graces to change their community, their nations and our world.

The WMS membership is comprised of women from North America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.

For more information, or to schedule interviews, contact (ADD YOUR NAME HERE).


Critics of the NAACP have found an interesting way of welcoming me as the new president of this most prestigious civil rights organization.

They ask the question "Is the NAACP still relevant?" I'm sure they hope I will find the question worrisome. I do not. I find it wearisome.

During my address to the 105th Annual NAACP Convention on Monday, I spoke about why I find it so wearisome. It's because the answer is so obvious: "Are they serious?"

My incredible mother marched for the right to vote in the late fifties and sixties. Her father fought for the right before her. Today, a little less able-bodied, she must use her walker to go around the house and search for the proper ID needed to vote because jurists gutted the Voting Rights Act.

And some wonder if the NAACP is still relevant.

My oldest son is the same age Trayvon Martin was, and my youngest is the same age Emmett Till was. Our children ask us to explain the morally befuddling verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. They ask how a young man on the streets of New York can be forced to the ground and choked to death.

And some wonder if the NAACP is still relevant.

On Sunday, six hundred incredible young people participated in the NAACP ACT-SO competition. They are brilliant children—budding orators, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. Too many of them face unfathomable challenges while trying to get a quality education, disserved and abandoned by the public schools in their hometowns.

And some wonder if the NAACP is still relevant.

This is no ordinary time in our nation's history, and progress requires extraordinary effort and activity. If you are a son or a daughter, a parent or a grandparent, a mentor or a role model; if you are a student or a member of the workforce, the NAACP and the issues we fight for are VERY relevant to you, and we need your help. We need the help of your family and friends. We need a multi-generational NAACP, a multiethnic NAACP, a million-member NAACP, working together to build a better future for all.

Calvin, it won't always be easy. But if Julian Bond did it then, we can do it now. If Daisy Bates did it then, we can do it now. If Rosa Parks did it then, we can do it now. We will stand for our youth, for our elderly, for our collective future. We will go all in for justice and equality.

This is an extraordinary time. An NAACP time. And I am beyond honored to work with you.

Thank you,

Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO


Dallas, TX. - The African Methodist Episcopal church was well-represented recently at a graduation ceremony for Perkins School of Theology located on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

At the spring commencement two AME pastors received their Doctor of Ministry Degree while another AME pastor gave the commencement address to the capacity crowd at Highlands Park United Methodist Church in Dallas.

The Reverend Ella Mae McDonald, pastor of St. Luke AME Church in Garland, Texas and the Rev. Salatheia Bryant-Honors, pastor of Brown Chapel in Houston, both received their Doctor of Ministry degrees during the ceremony.

McDonald and Bryant-Honors both completed their degree work in the Preaching and Worship track.

The Reverend Dr. McDonald’s project focused on her work as a black female preaching in diverse cultural settings. The Reverend Dr. Bryant-Honors' project focused on worship reform in an historic church context. Bryant-Honors’ project was passed with honors. McDonald and Bryant-Honors also received their Master of Divinity degrees from Perkins.

In addition, the Reverend Dr. Michael Waters, the founding pastor of Joy AME in Dallas, gave the commencement address.

The commencement service also attracted numerous of other AME clergy and lay who came to support McDonald and Bryant-Honors as they received their diplomas. Members from each of their congregations were present for the ceremony.

Perkins is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In recent years the seminary has experienced an increase in the number of enrolled AME students.


Ella Mae Samuels made a decision to retire from the Itinerant Ministry following an extended bout with back problems while serving as the Presiding Elder of the Augusta-Athens District AMEC. 

Presiding Elder Samuels’ service in the African Methodist Episcopal Church has spanned over 30 years.  She left her position as administrative assistant to the Principal of Twin City Primary School in Emanuel County in May, 1994, where she had served 20 years to become a full-time pastor.  Presiding Elder Samuels has been a fulltime clergy all of her ministry and being in fulltime ministry has been the most enjoyable and rewarding thing she has done.

She retired at the 100th Session of the Augusta Conference under the leadership of Bishop Preston Warren Williams II.  Presiding Elder Samuels stated, “I am and shall be eternally grateful to Bishop Williams for giving me the opportunity to preach the opening sermon for the Augusta Conference as we celebrated the Augusta Conference holding its 100th session.  To God be the glory!”

A record of “firsts”

She was the first female to be appointed to the position of presiding elder in the Sixth Episcopal District.  She was appointed to be a presiding elder by the late Bishop Donald George Kenneth Ming in 2000. She served the Augusta - Athens District in the Augusta Conference of the Sixth Episcopal District for 14 years.

She was the first female to be appointed Marshall to the Bishops' Council under the Bishops Council Presidential Leadership of Bishop Richard Franklin Norris and held seniority on the Marshalls’ Staff until 2012, when she was unable to serve due to serious back limitations.

The Rev. Ella Mae Samuels was the first female appointed to a fulltime church in the Sixth Episcopal District.  Bishop Donald George Kenneth Ming appointed her to Wrens Chapel AME Church in Wrens, Georgia in 1993.

She was also the first female to be appointed to the Augusta Conference Board of Examiners in 1993 while already serving as a Resource Teacher and Secretary.  The appointment was also made by the late Bishop Donald George Kenneth Ming.

The Rev. Ella Mae Samuels was the first female to be elected to serve as Statistician of the Augusta Annual Conference and the first female to be elected to serve as the Chief Secretary of the Augusta Annual Conference, and the first female ordained an Itinerant Elder in the Augusta Conference.  She was ordained by Bishop Frederick H. Talbot in 1986.

A record of service

Presiding Elder Samuels studied at Erskine Theological Seminary, East Georgia College, and Brewton Parker College and graduated, from Swainsboro Technical College with highest honors in receiving a business diploma.

She attended many seminars and workshops given by Career Track and Pryor's Seminars.

She served the Emanuel County School System as administrative assistant for 23 years and the Treutlen County School System for 5 years.

She also served as a Volunteer Chaplain for St. Joseph Hospice for many years and served on the Thomson - McDuffie Tourism Board.

She currently serves as Benevolent Officer for the Sixth District Council of Presiding Elders, is a member on the McDuffie County Board of Education, and is currently serving on the Thomson Manor Nursing Home Ethics Committee.

The Rev. Samuels served many years as a Notary Public and is a past member of the Thomson - McDuffie Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of Leadership McDuffie.

The Rev. Samuels is a revivalist and evangelistic preacher, a teacher of the Word of God, presenting workshops for churches and Presiding Elder Districts on various subject matters, to include leadership, spiritual enrichment and personal growth; has spoken for school assemblies as well as prisons and nursing homes.

The Rev. Samuels had a weekly broadcast for several years that she had to leave because of her illness and she is currently a weekly columnist for the McDuffie Progress, a local Newspaper.

The Rev. Samuels is currently supplying as pastor, the New Zion Hill AME Church in McDuffie County, Georgia.

She is a member of the Olive Leaf #59 Chapter of the Eastern Stars.

She mother of three grown children and has seven grandchildren.


Family Ministry AME (F.L.A.M.E.) Church, located at 1801 Dual Highway in Hagerstown, Maryland celebrated its one year anniversary on 20 July 2014.  The pastors, the Rev. Dr. J. C. Chandler, Jr., and the Rev Dr. Sakima Romero-Chandler, officers and members invited the community to be a part of the worship service and celebration.

During the 63rd Annual Conference by the Second Episcopal District’s Presiding Prelate, Bishop William P. DeVeaux Sr., it was voted and approved that Family Life Ministry AME Church is to be planted in Hagerstown, MD., as a new work pastored by the Reverend Dr. J.C. Chandler, Jr., and co-pastored by the Reverend Dr. Sakima Romero-Chandler.

During the 64th Session, Washington Annual Conference, the Rev Dr. J. C. Chandler, Jr. received his pastoral appointment to F.L.A.M.E.

The church has been featured in the local newspaper for their groundbreaking community work within the Hagerstown community for providing a second (afternoon) worship service and ministry to the elderly at the Broadmore Assisted Living facility. Each resident who attends the service is given the opportunity to share how their spirit has been uplifted and the persons attending the service have expressed their joy of having a structured worship service each week.

F.L.A.M.E. is a member of the Hagerstown Area Religious Council (H.A.R.C.), which is a coalition of faith communities in the Hagerstown area of Washington County Maryland.

The Rev. Dr. Louis Charles Harvey, the Presiding Elder has given spiritual guidance to help F.L.A.M.E. embark on outreach ministries to the communities and to share with other church bodies an in-depth awareness of the AME Church's, mission, vision and history and how, collectively all of denominations can work together to build a better community and help those in need, and support each other.

The church presented the first annual Debra C. Simmons Scholarship which was awarded to Ms. Nyquan Rooks of Washington DC to assist her to continue her studies at Howard University. 

The scholarship is awarded to students who maintain a 3.0 G.P.A. and who have lost a parent to cancer.

The upcoming events include: in August, F.L.A.M.E. will be sponsoring a back-to-school supply handout. In October, the church will be opening a women’s closet for those women in need of clothing and accessories who are transitioning back into the workforce who do not have the professional attire to get started.

In November, F.L.A.M.E. will host its second annual “Giving Thanks” Spiritual celebration.


Health care law will return to families an average refund of $80 each this year

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today that consumers have saved a total of $9 billion on their health insurance premiums since 2011 because of the Affordable Care Act.

Created through the law, the 80/20 rule, also known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule, requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care and quality improvement activities.  If insurers spend an excessive amount on profits and red tape, they owe a refund back to consumers.

“We are pleased that the Affordable Care Act continues to provide Americans better value for their premium dollars,” said Secretary Burwell.  “We are continuing our work on building a sustainable long-term system, and provisions such as the 80/20 rule are providing Americans with immediate savings and helping to bring transparency and accountability to the insurance market over the long-term.”

An HHS report released today shows that last year alone, consumers nationwide saved $3.8 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently.  Additionally, consumers nationwide will save $330 million in refunds, with 6.8 million consumers due to receive an average refund benefit of $80 per family. This standard and other Affordable Care Act standards contributed to consumers saving approximately $4.1 billion on premiums in 2013, for a total of $9 billion in savings since the MLR program’s inception.

The report shows that since the rule took effect, more insurers year over year are meeting the 80/20 standard by spending more of the premium dollars they collect on patient care and quality, and not red tape and bonuses.

If an insurer did not spend enough premium dollars on patient care and quality improvement, they must pay refunds to consumers in one of the following ways:

• A refund check in the mail;

• A lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that was used to pay the premium;

• a reduction in their future premiums; or

• if the consumer bought insurance through their employer, their employer must provide one of the above options, or apply the refund in another manner that benefits its employees, such as more generous benefits. 

The 80/20 rule, along with other standards such as the required review of proposed premium increases, is one of many reforms created under the health law helping to slow premium growth and moderate premium rates.  Combined with the savings consumers are receiving from tax credits on the Marketplace and the new market reforms, including the prohibition of pre-existing condition exclusions and charging women more for insurance than men, the 80/20 rule helps ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance.

To access the report released today, visit:

For more information on MLR, visit:


Medal will be presented to Jones on July 23rd at 105th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, NV

(New York City, NY) – Media impresario and humanitarian, Quincy Jones has been selected as the 99th recipient of the Spingarn Medal.  Jones will receive the distinguished medal on July 23rd at 105th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Instituted in 1914 by then-NAACP Chairman Joel E. Spingarn, The Spingarn Medal is the NAACP’s highest honor.  The medal is awarded for outstanding and noble achievement by an American of African descent. To date, 98 Spingarn Medals have been awarded, recognizing achievements in a range of fields. Winners of the coveted medal include George Washington Carver, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson Lena Horne, Bill Cosby, and most recently, Harry Belafonte and Jessye Norman.

Quincy Jones commented, “I am enormously honored and humbled to receive the NAACP’s highest recognition, ‘The Spingarn Medal,’ and to join the distinguished list of its past recipients.”

Discussing those who inspired him, Jones continued, “I graciously share this award with all of those who put me on their shoulders to help me achieve my dreams, men and women such as Clark Terry, Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others. I hope that whatever successes I have achieved in life will serve as inspiration for future generations to reach for their dreams, as those greats inspired me when I was coming up.”

Quincy Jones' career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.  

Mr. Jones is also a respected humanitarian. In 1985, he pioneered the model of using celebrity to raise money and awareness for a cause with “We Are the World.”  The song remains the best-selling single of all-time, and raised more than $63 Million for Ethiopian famine relief.  More importantly, it shined a spotlight on the Ethiopian drought, compelling the U.S. Government to respond with over $800 million in aid. In 2007, Jones and the Harvard School of Public Health joined forces to advance the health and well-being of children worldwide through Project Q.  Project Q challenges leaders and citizens of the world to provide essential resources to enable young people to achieve their full potential.

“Quincy Jones is an icon of the entertainment industry who has shaped the lives of millions through music, film, and more,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “But what makes Mr. Jones so deserving of this award is how he uses his celebrity and influence to advance critical humanitarian issues across the globe.  We are honored to count him among our prestigious Spingarn medalists.”


A new website called The Paine Project has made its debut online. The site, which does not disclose who is behind the online effort, says it is dedicated to “protecting the integrity and prosperity of Paine College” in Augusta, Georgia. The website says that it is supported by former and current staff, faculty, and students.

In June the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Paine College on accreditation probation. The college has 12 months to address the commission’s concerns or it could lose its accreditation. Colleges that lose their accreditation are no longer eligible to participate in federal financial assistance programs.

The Paine Project states that it believes the well-being of the college “can only be accomplished by the ouster of George C. Bradley and his administration from the leadership of Paine College.” The site says that President Bradley “has brought unprecedented mismanagement to the college’s financial and fiscal affairs, and intimidation and threats to faculty, staff, and students.”

The Paine Project also lays blame on the college’s board of trustees by stating that “the Board of Trustees of Paine College, under the leadership of the last two Board Chairmen, Dr. Eddie Cheeks and Dr. Silas Norman, have been derelict in their appointed duties. We intend to hold both accountable for allowing the Bradley administration to destroy what was once a good and viable college - Our college, Paine College.


By: Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.

Based on Biblical Text: Philippians 4:11: "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

Webster’s Standard Dictionary defines "being content" as a state of satisfaction. However, contentment is not something that the world can give us or is it something that man can help us receive. The good news is that contentment is something that Christ has given us.

In this world of greed and selfishness very few people actually use the word “content” to describe themselves. People seem to be on a constant search for peace, always looking for contentment. People are looking for peace and contentment in all kinds of places.

People make a living capitalizing on our need for peace. Advertizing professionals constantly prey on our need to feel content, encouraging us to purchase this or that product. We are bombarded with advertisements trying to tell us that to be content we need this experience or that relationship. We are constantly reminded that our happiness is right around the corner.

Our text gives a look at what Paul said about contentment. One could make an argument that Paul, in many of the situations he faced, might be the last person we would expect to be content.

Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from a Roman prison. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that ever since Paul has become a believer and a missionary life for him has been rough. Since Brother Paul has picked up the gospel plow, deciding to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus he has been thrown into prison and he has been mistreated. Paul has been "beat up and beat down." One could certainly ask, “How can Paul be content?”

But Paul tells the church in Philippi that he has learned to be content regardless of the circumstances. Paul says, “Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.” Paul wanted the people to understand that he was just as happy with "a little bit" as he is with a "whole lot." He learned to be happy full or hungry. In the text, Paul says regardless of what he has or does not have he can make it out, over or through as long as he is in the One who makes him who he is.

It is critical that we understand that Paul is grateful. Paul is not saying that he does not appreciate the gifts folks gave him. In fact, Paul says the concern the gift demonstrated brought him great joy.

Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In other words, whatever comes up, I can make it, whatever comes my way I can overcome it working in God’s strength. It may be too heavy for me; it may be too overwhelming for me. It may be too big to move on my own but, I can deal with it as long as I am in God’s strength.

Paul is also saying to us today that he does not have to worry about being self-sufficient when he is God-sufficient. Paul says I can make it as long as I look to be more “God-sufficient than self-sufficient.” In other words, "When I am left on my own, things don’t always look too good. Left to my own resources, things could push me to the point that I might be ready to give up.” 

A glance at Paul’s epistles reveals important clues as to why he is able to express this contentment.

The first thing we notice is that Paul’s contentment does not come from "doing, it comes from knowing." And like Paul, we can find contentment in knowing "whose we are."

The trouble with a lot of folks today is that they seek to find satisfaction in "doing." For instance, many seek to find their identity as a person in their jobs. If the job is going well then they are doing fine.

The problem is that so many times even when folks get what they think will make them happy they find that they are still not happy. They work to get what they think will make them happy and when they get it, they soon find that they are not as happy as they think they should be or their happiness is short-lived.

Paul’s contentment was not related to his circumstances.  He did not depend on what was going on around him. Paul’s contentment was not tied up in who he was.

Paul was content knowing "whose he was!"  Paul learned to be just as content in whatever circumstances. Paul was concerned only that Jesus was with him and Jesus was in him. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

I submit that the Philippians knew that Paul was serious because they could remember a time when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. The Bible says Paul and Silas started around midnight praying and singing hymns to God. Paul was not singing "woe is me" kind of songs. Paul sang songs of hope. Paul sang that help was on the way.

The songs Paul sang were songs that said good times were just around the corner. Paul sang songs that sorrow might be for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Paul’s song came from a joy that God gave him. Paul’s contentment came because he had a relationship with Jesus and a peace with God. Paul drew his strength from the Lord. And because Paul drew his strength from God, he had an, “I can do everything through Him” kind of attitude.

Paul’s joy came from the Lord and the joy Paul had was a gift from God. Paul tells the church in Philippians 4:4 to rejoice in the Lord always. Paul did not enjoy being in prison, but he knew God was faithful. Paul did not enjoy being locked up, but he knew about the love of God. Paul was not satisfied in the cold, damp prison but Paul was content because he knew about God’s power.

We are encouraged to be content whatever our circumstances. Be just as content with a little bit as we are with a whole lot. Be just as content when we are hungry as we are when we are full.
Be as content when our hands are empty as we are when our hands are full. Be content and rejoice in the Lord always.

We can rejoice and be content in who Jesus is and what He has already done for us. We can rejoice and be content for what Jesus has already brought us through, cured us of and delivered us from. In Jesus we have all the power and all the strength we need. He is our refuge and very present help in times of trouble.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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


Bill Dickens, Allen AME Church, Tacoma, Washington

Rosetta Stone, Inc. is a U.S. software company that develops Rosetta Stone, a computer-assisted language-learning program that teaches more than 30 languages. 

We live in a global economy and this requires workers, students, entrepreneurs, government officials, missionaries and currency traders to be adept at completing transactions that require familiarity with languages and customs different from your home upbringing.  In the 20th century, especially after World War II, it was understood that English was the lingua franca in facilitating global commerce and communication.  In the 21st Century, with the rising global importance of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, China & India); this no longer holds true.  Rosetta Stone software helps this process by making familiarity with foreign language easier, smoother and more practical than sitting in a class for 6 months.  The excitement of knowing a foreign language can be intellectually contagious.  Grasping a foreign language expands opportunities and increases the prospects of getting to know others from a different culture.

The Adult AME Church School lesson for July 27, 2014 examines the role of foreign language in the early church at Corinth.  In I Corinthians, Chapter 14 Paul addresses a problem that has gotten out of control.  The problem is the exercise of the "spiritual gift," commonly referred to as “speaking in unknown tongues.”  Speaking in tongues, or glossolalia, have its roots in early Christianity

The signature event of Acts, Chapter 2 tells the story of the advent of the Holy Spirit and the outpouring of God’s Spirit in Jerusalem when many different worship attendees began speaking in "other" tongues and each could hear the person speaking in their own language. 

Paul’s writing is roughly 30 years after the landmark event in Acts 2.

The language issue in I Corinthians 14 was one of speaking in “unknown” or unintelligible utterances in the local church and cautions them to exercise that gift with the presence of the gift of interpretation.

Paul instructs the Corinthian Church by reminding his readers that glossolalia (unknown tongues) benefits primarily the person involved in their public conversation with God.  Paul insists that the right order requires an interpreter to be present so that unbelievers may know precisely what is being said in the public venue.  In contrast, Paul states that the gift of prophesy is more beneficial than glossolalia because the beneficiaries consists of a wider audience. 

In short, the gift of tongues benefits the speaker but the gifts of prophesy benefits believers and non-believers.  The Corinthian Church was engulfed in a controversy about the right set of priorities. Should the primary focus be on tongues or edifying the church with prophetic messages?  Paul opted for the latter.

The controversy about glossolalia is not just restricted to the 1st century Christian Church.  Some Protestant denominations today teach glossolalia as dogma.  The dogmatic position about speaking in tongues is captured in salvation statements.  These teachings stress evidence of God’s salvation is seen thru the believer “speaking in tongues.”  Paul rejects such thinking and it would be wise for 21st Christians to do the same.  There is no Biblical support to the idea that your salvation is legitimized by your ability to speak in "unknown" tongues. 

The Article of Religion Number 15 (Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the People Understand) addresses worship in the language of the people (as in the language of the geographical area instead of speaking Latin all over the world) and of glossolalia directly. 

Page 16 of The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church- 2012 reads: It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.

Article 15 is consistent with Paul’s message.  Glossolalia has its proper place but that place should not in any way supersede prophesy.  If the goal is speaking to be understood, this requires the speaker to communicate that information in a manner that everyone understands.   Seeking the good of others is our primary objective.  Perhaps what we really need is Rosetta Stone software to help believers and not just those interested in visiting famous European, Asian or African countries.

*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


*Dr. Oveta Fuller

The 2014 International HIV/AIDS Conference is occurring in Melbourne, Australia.

This week’s article is dedicated to:

- Remembrance of the 298 persons who died when Malaysia flight 17 was shot down.

- Remembrance of the six HIV researchers or journalists who studied or covered HIV/AIDS who were on the plane headed for Melbourne.

- Remembrance of the millions, over 36 million persons, who have died since 1981 from HIV/AIDS complications.

- The researchers, clinicians, activists and others who are attending or following the 2014 International Conference.

- The healthcare personnel who are working in the trenches to care for those who are ill and to get control of the West African Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

- Persons in the USA, African countries and throughout the world who lose opportunities and life (seemingly too soon) to impacts of preventable diseases and poverty.

We mourn the deaths that happen in such a shocking way as occurred with the flight shot down over Ukraine territory.

We mourn the deaths of those who daily fight against or live with infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, Ebola virus, measles, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhea, etc.) and other non-communicable, but preventable disorders.

We regret the loss of talent and of the potential for contributions to better health and well-being.

We pray for the presence of peace from understanding the teaching, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matt 5:4

*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.”


*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby

Being the Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District requires me to put in more than a little bit of “road time.”  The Beaufort District includes 33 churches in six Counties south of my home in Charleston, SC, with the farthest point being a nearly two hour drive from home.  My wife and sons have dutifully offered to be my drivers or traveling companions on some of the longer trips, but I’ve kindly turned them down for a couple of reasons.

The first is that driving long distances really doesn’t bother me - “cruise control” is a wonderful bit of technology that makes long drives easier to handle.  The second is that my drive-time is also my “meditation time.”  The longer drives give me the opportunity to reflect on the obligations and challenges that lay before me and to consider and give thanks for the blessings that God has already given me.

Your days might not include long drives to distant places, but it’s still good to make and take the time each day to reflect on what lies before you and to count your blessings.  That’s not always easy to do in a world that places consistent and urgent demands and obligations before all of us.  It’s easy for all of us to be consumed by life’s challenges and concerns and to spend our days “caught up in keeping up.”

When we take the time, however, to reflect on our blessings and consider what the God who created us has done for us, we’ll find new perspectives and possibilities, realize new hopes, celebrate new peace of mind and rejoice for the power of the God who makes all things possible if we only believe.

Whether on the road or at home, take the time each day not just to focus on what you want and need to do, but to reflect on and celebrate what God has already done for you.  Your days will be brighter, your burdens will be lighter and you’ll realize that you don’t have to face what lies ahead on your own.  You can walk life’s journey assured that God is with you every step along life’s way and say as one writer said, “Many things about Tomorrow I don’t Seem to Understand, but I Know Who Holds Tomorrow and I know Who Holds My Hand.”

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

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

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


-- The 102nd Birthday of Presiding Elder Dorothy Morris

The Reverend Dorothy Millicent Morris of Georgetown, Guyana, first female Presiding Elder in our denomination observed her 102nd birthday on July 21st. 

Birthday greetings and/or gifts may be sent to:

The Rev. Andrew Grant, Presiding Elder/Pastor
St. Peter's A.M.E. Church
209 New Garden Street
Georgetown, Guyana

-- The 104th Birthday of Mrs. Ella Belle Richardson Couch

Mrs. Ella Belle Richardson Couch, widow of the late Reverend W. T. Couch of the Tennessee Annual Conference, Thirteenth Episcopal District, will celebrate her 104th birthday on August 2, 2014.

Mrs. Couch is currently the oldest member of St. Peter's African Methodist Episcopal Church, Clarksville, Tennessee. She continues to play the organ at the church located at 518 Franklin Street in Clarksville as she has done for fifty plus years. Every Sunday morning finds her pulling herself up the long banister staircase at St. Peter's AME Church to reach her appointed destination at the organ.  Mrs. Ella B. Couch takes pride in being a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a Life Member of the Women's Missionary Society.
Birthday cards and birthday well wishes can be mailed to:

Mrs. Ella Belle Couch
722 Main St
Clarksville, TN 37040-3357

Telephone: 931-645-6965

Congratulatory email messages for Mrs. Ella B. Couch can be emailed to her Goddaughter, Mrs. Mary Fall Scott @ mfallsscott@att.net. 

-- Presiding Elder and Mrs. Albert D. Tyson III announce the arrival of their Grandson, Albert D. Tyson V

Presiding Elder Albert D. Tyson III and AME India Ambassador Robin H. Tyson are privileged and take great delight in announcing the arrival of their Grandson, Albert D. Tyson V (Quint). He made his entrance into this world at 12:34 p.m., July 16, 2014. He weighed 7 lbs. 4-oz. His Parents are Albert D. Tyson IV and Shenika. His Aunt is former Connectional YPD Officer, Annjeanette M. Tyson.

Everybody is well. Praise the Lord!

Messages can be emailed to:

Presiding Elder Albert D. Tyson III: adtysoniii@aol.com 
Mrs. Robin H. Tyson: ssame1lady@gmail.com 


The Passing of Debra Fugh Lee, the sister of Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the Fourteenth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church

We are saddened to share news of the passing of Debra Fugh Lee, the youngest sister of Bishop Clement W. Fugh, presiding prelate of the Fourteenth Episcopal District. Debra Lee passed this morning, 7/20/14 after a bout with brain cancer.

Celebration of Life:   

Friday, July 25, 2014
Visitation:  9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Funeral Service:  11:00 a.m.

New Tyler A. M. E. Church
3300 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 38122
Telephone: 901.323-9371

Mrs. Lee is survived by her husband, Wallace Lee Sr., two children: Camillia (Dalton) Blackwell and Wallace Lee II; and three grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to New Tyler AME Church.

Condolences may be sent to the Lee Family in care of R. S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home at www.rslewisandsonsfuneralhome.com 

Address:  374 Vance Avenue, Memphis, TN 38126, 901.526-3264.

If anybody wants to send condolences to Bishop Fugh please use the contact information below:

Bishop Clement W. Fugh
14th Episcopal District
512 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

Telephone: 615-744-6244

Contact information for Bishop and Mrs. Clement W. Fugh:


Services for Sharon Lorraine Crenchaw, sister of the late Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson

Sharon Lorraine Crenchaw, sister of the Late Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson passed on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 after a lengthy illness. Celebration of Life arrangements are as follows:

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Beulah Missionary Baptist Church
2340 Clifton Springs Rd
Decatur, GA 30034

Services entrusted to:

Gregory B Levett and Sons
4347 Flat Shoals Parkway
Decatur, GA 30034

Telephone: 404-241-5656
Fax: 404-241-8116

Condolences may be sent to:

Mrs. Vivienne L. Anderson
22 W Sherwood Drive
Overland, MO 63114


Dexter and Jamila Crenchaw (son and daughter-in-love)
4496 Dover Castle Dr
Decatur, GA 30035,

Or to the late Mrs. Sharon Lorraine Crenchaw’s daughter and son:

Chris Crenchaw and Josh Crenchaw ()
5561 Mayfair Crossing Drive
Lithonia, GA 30058


-  AMEC Finance Department Personnel

Rejoicing with the Lord! We share the following Bereavement Notice:

"Earth has not sorrow that heaven cannot heal."  We share the transitioning news of our brother in Christ Jesus! Mr. Larry R. Dixon, the Grounds Administrator of the A.M.E. Church Finance Department, Washington, DC Office. 

Mr. "D." knew and had a relationship with the Lord! "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." 

We are sure he was getting himself together, because he had some place to go, and he was praying when he got there and when he sees everyone he knew, he will know that he is in Heaven!"


Services will be held Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Viewing will be at 10:00 a.m.
The Funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m.

Freedom Baptist Church
1519 "U" Street, NW
Washington DC 20009

Telephone:  202.483-8104

Contact information:

Miss Angie Butts, daughter

C/o A.M.E. Church Finance Department
1134 11th Street, NW
Washington DC 20001

Condolences may also be forwarded to the family via email:

Contact information:

Miss Angie Butts, daughter
C/o AME Church Finance Department
1134   11th Street, NW
Washington DC 20001


We regret to inform you of the passing of Command Sergeant Major Winton M. Hill, Jr., the father of the Reverend Winton M. Hill III, the Presiding Elder of the Dover District in the Delaware Annual Conference; and the father of Lillie S. Hill of Randallstown, Maryland and Marilyn Berry of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The following information has been provided.

Services will be held Friday, July 25, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.

First Baptist Church
302 Moore Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301
Phone:    910-483-6505
Fax:    910-433-3457

The Reverend Cureton L. Johnson, Pastor
The Reverend Floyd Wicker, Officiating

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to

The Reverend Winton M. Hill III
P. O. Box 251
Magnolia, DE 19962
Email:  wintonhill@msn.com 



We are saddened to share news of the passing of Mrs. Isabelle Williams, the mother of Dr. Bettie W. Hicks, and Mother-In-Law of the Rev. Dr. George Hicks pastor of Ebenezer AME Church in St. Matthews, South Carolina.

Homegoing Celebration
Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 11:00 a.m.

Felderville AME Church
1081 Woolbright Road
Santee, SC 

Telephone: 803. 897-2183

The Rev. Joseph Cobin, Pastor
The Rev. Lorenza T. Baker, Presiding Elder, Orangeburg District
The Rev. Dr. James S. Cooper, Presiding Elder, Wateree District

Contact information:

The Rev. Dr. George & Bettie Hicks
1119 Senate Street
Orangeburg, SC  29118


We are saddened to share news of the passing of Reginald Dwight Wilson, the brother of the Rev. Isaac D. Wilson III, pastor of Mt. Olive AME Church in Worton, Maryland and Sister Joan Walker-Hunter, First Lady of the Eastern District- Baltimore Conference.


Wake: Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 10:00 AM - 12:00 noon
Service: 12:00 noon

Mt. Olive AME Church    (Worton)
2480 Lambs Meadow Road
Worton, Maryland

Contact information:

The Rev. Isaac D. Wilson III: isaacdwilson@comcast.net  

Sister Joan Walker-Hunter: cordell944@aol.com 


We regret to inform you of the passing of the Reverend Jacovas Mitchell, a Local Elder at St. Luke AME Church and a former pastor in the New York Annual Conference. T

The following information has been provided.

Services will be held Tuesday, July 29, 2014.
Viewing: 5:00 p.m. - 6:55 p.m.
Funeral:   7:00 p.m.
St. Luke AME Church
1872 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10031

Telephone:  212. 870-1300
Fax: 212. 870-1322

Reverend Marcellus A. Norris, Pastor and Eulogist

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to

Sister Mary S. Davis

The family of the Rev. Jacovas Mitchell
C/o St. Luke A.M.E. Church
(See address above)


Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Email: Amespouses1@bellsouth.net    
Web page: http://www.amecfic.org/  
Telephone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Telephone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
Cell: (615) 403-7751


The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland; the Publisher, the Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour and the Editor of The Christian Recorder, the Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III offer our condolences and prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the peace of Christ will be with you during this time of your bereavement.

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