THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER ONLINE ENGLISH EDITION (01/23/2015)
The Reverend Dr. Johnny
Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H.
Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
Allen’s Birthday – February 14, 1760
Jarena Lee’s Birthday – February 11, 1783
Ash Wednesday- February 18, 2015
Easter Sunday: April 5, 2015
1. TCR EDITORIAL - THERE’S MORE WE CAN DO –
AND WE NEED TO DO IT:
Editor of The Christian Recorder
I have written
several TCR Editorials about branding
and have particularly addressed the “AME brand.”
I even had several
persons to ask me what I meant about “AME brand?” I even heard someone opine that we “don’t have
a brand.” I completely disagree and
would go so far as to say, if we don’t have a brand, we should have one and
every AME should be aware of our brand and should be able to communicate
verbally and non-verbally the AME brand.
has a brand. Parishioners may not verbalize the brand, but they intuitively
communicate the denomination’s brand whenever they interact with among
themselves or with other people.
My late maternal
grandmother, Eva M. Price joined the AME Church when she was in about fifty
years old. When she joined the AME Church, she put her heart into the work of
the church. She loved the AME Church
with all of her heart and was a diligent worker in her local church. She taught Sunday School, sang in the choir,
served on various boards in the church. She loved working with young people.
She loved the AME Church and the AME Church loved her. She was “Sister Price”
and because of her, my nickname around Bethel AME Church in Ardmore was
“Pricey.” I called her “Momma.” When I
announced my call to the AME ministry, “Momma” was ecstatic and was always my
biggest supporter. She loved her pastors and she loved that her grandson was an
She grew up in the
Baptist church until she joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in
1947. She followed all of the AME
beliefs, but there was just one area that kept her from being the most devout
AME “on the planet.” There was one thing that she couldn’t reconcile in her
mind. She loved the AME worship and was committed to it.
She was committed
to the episcopacy and was involved in what was going on in the connectional
church. She was reconciled to the church’s call for “dollar money” or
conference claims. She paid her conference claims and thought every member
should do the same. She was a stickler about church members providing financial
support to the church.
She was reconciled
to the pastoral appointment system, though she grieved the couple of instances
when her beloved pastors were transferred, but she always came to love the
With all of her
love of the AME Church, there was one “grit in her crawl” and one thing she
couldn’t reconcile in her mind.
She grew up a
Baptist as a young child and as a young adult and for a part of her adult life.
The one thing with
which she couldn’t reconcile - was the strong brand of the Baptist church of
baptism by immersion and the follow-on of a person’s acknowledgement of Christ
Even after I
finished seminary, I couldn’t get her to reconcile that one thing with which
she couldn’t get her mind around. I
thought then, “The Baptists have done an outstanding job of branding one of
their major tenets.”
anyone can say about the Baptist church, good, bad or indifferent; the one
thing everyone can acknowledge is that the Baptists have worked their brand of
“baptism by immersion.” Baptists, all
over the world, work the brand of baptism by immersion, which is among the
first thing that a person thinks of when they think of a Baptist Church.
As an aside, black
Baptist parishioners know how to acknowledge their church and their pastor when
they visit other churches.
The Baptists work
the brand that “every local church is an entity to itself and is an autonomous
body.” They work the brand of “no higher
denominational authority can tell a local church what to do.” I would dare say that every Baptist I have
ever met knows the Baptist brand of baptism by immersion and the autonomy of
every local Baptist church!
Not only the
Baptist, but the Pentecostals know the various facets of their brand.
The original group
of the Pentecostal movement came out of the Holiness movement of John Wesley
and the Methodist tradition. When people
think of Pentecostals, I suspect that most people think or their doctrinal
foundation of the “baptism of the Spirit,” as evidenced by speaking in tongues
or other signs and in baptism by immersion.
mentioned “speaking in tongues” most people wouldn’t associate that with
Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Roman Catholic or Presbyterians, although
some adherents of those denominations may “speak in tongues.” But most often, “speaking in tongues” is a
brand of Pentecostal churches and of the charismatic movement.
There are many
things that make Methodists unique and if you add a couple of things about AME
worship, such as the Decalogue, offertory and the style of worship in many AME
Churches; make us as AMEs, unique. Astute parishioners can distinguish our
worship from the worship in many United Methodist Churches.
A couple of things
that make Methodists unique include the
belief that God reaches out to us through God’s prevenient grace, that
sanctification begins with justification, and in the theology of grace and
assurance and the universality of God’s grace; not just to us, but to all of
God’s creation. We, Methodists,
encourage and permit people to use logic and reason in all matters of faith.
In Holy Communion,
Methodism stands alone with the “Open Table.”
Some denominations practice “closed” or “fenced” Communion and other
denominations practice “Open Communion.
“closed” or “fenced” Communion means that one has to be a member of that faith
or denomination to participate in receiving of Holy Communion. The Roman
Catholic Church, Lutheran churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Baptists,
Pentecostals and Latter Day Saints practice "closed" or
practice “Open Communion.” Many
Protestant Christian churches practice open communion in which baptized
communicants from other denominations may take Communion.
Church, the Evangelical Free Church, the Church of God, Community Churches, the
Presbyterian Church (USA), the Presbyterian Church in America, the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ
practice are among the denominations that practice “Open Communion.”
practice the “Open Table,” which in the AME liturgy, extends the invitation to
“All who truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity
with your neighbor and intend to lead a new life…,” together with their
children, are invited to receive Communion. Undergoing Baptism is not a
prerequisite for receiving Communion, but if unbaptized people "regularly
take Holy Communion, pastors are encouraged to talk with and encourage
parishioners to be baptised.
The “Open Table,”
baptism of infants, God’s prevenient grace and the emphasis on holiness are a
part of our brand. We need to unashamedly proclaim our beliefs so people will
know our brand.
We should loudly
share our practice of baptising infants. Whenever I have had the opportunity to
talk with immersionists about infant baptism, they almost always shake their
heads in agreement with my position but add, “You make good points, but baptism
by immersion is the way I was brought up…”
Yep, even after I
had finished seminary, I couldn’t get my own grandmother, “Momma,” to reconcile
herself that one thing with which she couldn’t get her mind around – baptism by
immersion and infant baptism. No argument of mine that Methodism is inclusive
and we do not reject people because to their age, race or gender. I gave her
the statistics that verified that most of the world’s Christian faith groups,
I tried to show her
that Jesus never excluded children in his ministry. As a matter of fact, Jesus
encouraged the presence of children and said, “Suffer the little children to
come unto me…”
It didn’t matter
that I tried to persuade her by sharing the instances in the book of Acts where
“whole households” were baptised in the apostolic church. On the “confession of faith” of the
Philippian Jailer, his whole household was baptised.
And, on the notion
of immersion, she wouldn’t be convinced by the earliest extant images in the
catacombs that show Jesus being baptised with John pouring water his head while
standing in ankle-deep water.
Over the years, I
have thought, “The Baptists have kept their brand as it relates to baptism and
they have done it right.”
And in the passing
years I have wondered if parishioners like “Momma” had received intense
theological, doctrinal and religious training.
Do we take the
time, as a denomination to train and retrain those who lead our ministry and do
we train and retrain the lay leaders who stand before our parishioners? Are our ministers adequately trained? Does the AME Church cross-check those pastors
who attended non-Methodist seminaries to insure that they are well-versed in
the tenants of our faith and the ethnic “flavor” of our congregations?
Methodist Episcopal Church has some unique “branding irons” in social action
and involvement in human rights. We have
“branding irons” in our rich history, doctrine, polity and worship.
We need to realize
that the AME Church is a leader for human and religious rights, not only in
America, but abroad in every country in which the AME Church has a presence. We
have a brand and every AME should be cognizant of our brand.
“branding” was a focus of study at business schools, some religious
denominations knew the importance of reinforcing their theological, religious
and denominational brand. They may not have been thinking about “branding,” but
they understood the value of uncompromisingly reinforcing their religious
beliefs and traditions.
The AME Church has
a rich history that we all can revel in, but the present needs our urgent
attention. We need to reinforce our brand as a connectional church or
strategize in ways to rebrand, if that’s needed; but rebranding by building on
the brand-foundation that has superbly served us.
2. READER RESPONSE TO EDITORIAL AND OTHER ISSUES:
RE: TCR Editorial - “And Are We Yet Alive,
to See Each Other’s Face” - In this Sacred Profession
I found your
editorial and comments on the Kentucky Annual Conference very interesting. I
wish all of our Annual Conferences could be so forward thinking. The
"excuse" some bishops seem to be using for the manner in which they
receive offerings is that if they don't make a big deal out of it, pause from
worship to do it, brow beat attendees into submission to do it - they won't
raise an "adequate" offering to offset the cost of hosting an annual
And I've asked, in
confidence, members of the finance committee who are my colleagues, if we're
raising more by the "traditional" way the offering is being
"raised" and they have told me no.
I think it’s
wonderful when the needed funds can be raised before annual conference so that
attendees can concentrate on worship, reporting and training, and not money.
What you have
described in your editorial seems ideal and a model that we all should follow.
I wish more of us could have that testimony.
3. NEWS AROUND THE AME CHURCH:
-- Editorial: Duke, Paul Quinn and Abilene Christian
University do poverty-busting in Dallas
Police chief to black churches: ‘We can’t do this without you guys’
president to preach at Colorado Springs-area church
Brooks, an ordained
minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will deliver the sermon at
New Jerusalem Baptist Missionary Baptist Church in...
PAUL QUINN COLLEGE LAUNCHES INAUGURAL RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROGRAM:
Classes Start January 2015
DALLAS C Dec. 18,
2014 - Paul Quinn College is excited to announce the launch of its inaugural
Religious Studies program, an inventive area of study that will step outside
the box of which most collegiate religious degree programs tend to fit. Classes
in the program start in January in conjunction with PQC’s spring 2015 semester.
College’s new Religious Studies Program puts it on the cutting edge of
education in a world where diverse religions provide meaning, inspiration and
controversy in our human culture,” said Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie,
chairwoman of Paul Quinn’s Board of Trustees and presiding prelate of the Tenth
Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop McKenzie
applauded Paul Quinn’s President Michael J. Sorrell, Vice President of Academic
Affairs Dr. Kizuwanda Grant and the program’s new chair, the Rev. Dr. C. Dennis
Williams, for taking the bold step of instituting the program at the college.
reached back into the history of the college to bring forward again a
discipline that prepares students for religious vocations as well as enhances
studies in business, law and education. Dr. Grant has done a herculean job in
pulling the Bachelor of Science degree format together. Her work is stellar and
it shows, because the college’s accrediting body, the Transnational Association
of Christian College and Schools, swiftly supported the program. And Rev.
Williams brings to this new program at its genesis a wealth of education and
experience. He has led Doctorate of Ministry cohorts at United Theological
Seminary and now will take the helm of this new degree that will provide
excellent preparation for the serious servant leader in a pluralistic society,”
Bishop McKenzie added.
The fresh new
program will examine the role of religion and spirituality in society and
articulate the connection between religion and ethical behavior. The program
will introduce students to a thorough theological and biblical platform within
the context of the African American experience, and focus on guiding students
to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.
“Our new Religious
Studies program is designed to enable those who have been called in any
denomination or faith to construct institutions that are both theologically and
economically viable,” President Sorrell said. “This program is yet another
example of Paul Quinn College's focus on developing leaders who are capable of
‘nation building’ in every field.”
A unique feature of
the program is the role that entrepreneurship will play in its curriculum
structure. The college uses a teaching and learning approach known as
Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ETA). ETA encourages creative,
out-of-the-box thinking in order to solve old and new challenges. The Religious
Studies program will integrate this approach into its course offerings. In
addition, feedback collected during the planning stages for the program showed
strong support for an academic program that addressed the business and
management side of ministry, Dr. Grant said.
Studies major was created not only to provide strong preparation in Biblical
studies, Christianity and the history and teachings of the A.M.E. church, but
also to coach future church and faith-based organization leaders through the
process of planning, implementing and sustaining their ministries and organizations,”
Dr. Grant said. “Entrepreneurial thinking, finance, resource management and
communication skills are key for anyone in a leadership role, so why not for a
pastor or lay leaders in the church?”
pastor of Smith Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, a former
member of PQC’s Board of Trustees and an alumnus of the college, will assume
his position as chair of the program on January 1, 2015. Dr. Williams has
extensive experience as a pastor with 29 years in the AME Church family and 14
years as a seminary professor. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in
Religion from Paul Quinn College, a Master of Biblical Studies degree from
Bethany Divinity College and Seminary, a Master of Divinity degree from United
Theological Seminary. He earned his Doctorate of Ministry degree from United
Theological Seminary. Dr. Williams will be responsible for teaching, recruiting
and program coordination, and will work directly with Dr. Grant to ensure the
program is successful and meets the needs of the community.
Studies program is designed to prepare leaders to be critical thinkers,
entrepreneurs, and biblical apologists and to serve in church ministries,
para-church ministries, faith-based community organizations, and church
administration,” Dr. Williams said. “Students who complete the program may
immediately enter into the career field of their choice or continue on to a
graduate level of study in religion, theology, or similar fields. I am truly
excited to be a part of such a wonderful opportunity at my alma mater.”
now being accepted. Classes will begin January 12, 2015; online and weekend
class options will be available. Interested students may apply by visiting
www.pqc.edu and clicking on the “Apply” tab for more
Paul Quinn College,
a finalist on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor
Roll and the 2011 HBCU of the Year, is a private, four-year liberal
arts-inspired college founded by and affiliated with the African Methodist
Episcopal Church. The College was founded in Austin, Texas, on April 4, 1872,
and is one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The
College provides a quality, faith\based education that addresses the academic,
social and Christian development of students and prepares them to be servant
leaders and agents of change in the global marketplace. Members of the
College’s student body, alumni, faculty and staff, called Quinnites, embrace
the institutional ethos of “WE over Me” and are dedicated to honoring the “Four
Ls of Quinnite Leadership,” which are: Leave places better than you found them;
Lead from wherever you are; Live a life that matters; and Love something
greater than yourself.
VIEW WAYMAN AME CHURCH SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES ONLINE:
Church 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services online. View the worship service live
or later. Wayman AME church is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Rev.
Dr. Janet Johnson is the pastor.
To view the worship
service on your computer:
On your iPhone,
Android or table: 1) Download the “free” app Sunday Streams 2) Enter Church
BLACK ON BLACK KILLING:
Written by Christopher Pleasant, 11 years old and read at St. Peter AME Church
in St. Louis, Missouri, where the Rev. Steven Shepard, Sr. is the pastor
Good Morning, St.
Peter AME Church family: Could you spare a few minutes of your time?
Lord let the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be acceptable in
your presence your father and let my words get through to everyone in this
church today in Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Please open your
bibles to Mark 12:28-31. It reads: “One of the teachers of the law came
and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he
asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The
most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The
Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The
second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment
greater than these.”
I’m sure everyone
is aware of everything going on in Ferguson. Now, as a black community, we see
the enemy as the white man, but we can’t call anyone the enemy until “we,” as a
whole, stop killing each other. Now we can call the white man the cause of our
extinction, but it is actually our fault. If you look at Mark 12:31, it says
“The second is this ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Since we are a
Black community we are all neighbors, we need to love and respect each other.
But how can you kill someone but still love them? You can respect someone
without loving someone. I was always taught to treat people how I wanted to be
treated. So do you think those people would like to die by being killed by
their own people? Now I, as a young
Black male, am scared that if I walk out the house a St. Louis police officer
might shoot me down or someone who looks like me may run up and shoot me dead.
Either way, I’m not safe in this environment.
Now we know Darren
Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo are 110% guilty. But when you take that away, what
do you see in our black community? Many are Black-on-black murders. It isn’t a
problem when we kill each other, but all of a sudden we jump up when a white
man kills one of us! I feel where they are coming from, BUT we don’t do
anything when we kill our own. We walk up and down the street killing each
other. I can’t even predict what is next. Sometimes I sit down and ask myself
what would God do; better yet what can we do? Now if you want to kill someone
please kill them with kindness.
Please bow your
heads and close our eyes, as we pray: Dear Almighty God, we come here before
you just to give thanks to all you have done for us and will continue to do for
us. Help us, guide us on the right path, and make this New Year our year where
we all are on track. Stay with us and guide us through this year. And for all
who haven’t found you, put them on the right track to finding you. Please keep
watch over everyone in this church this Sunday Almighty God. I plan no evil
toward my neighbor and I will do my part to help my neighbor and dwell
trustingly near me. Help me to fulfill your law, Lord, by loving my neighbor as
myself. There is no greater commandment than this and I want to obey you,
Father. Keep young people like and my elders in your close protection. In Jesus
Name we pray. Amen.
So let’s not just
talk about it. Put this plan into action, because a plan without action is
- Submitted by
Sister Terri Moore, Webmaster and Administrative Assistant to the Rev. Steven
EMBRY AME CHURCH CELEBRATES ITS VIBRANT YOUTH PROGRAM:
The youth at Embry
AME Church in College Park, Maryland have been actively involved in many
programs at the church under the leadership of our Youth Minister, the Rev.
The youth have been
worshipping and praising the Lord in many ways.
During the fall season, they had a large birthday to celebrate their
“New Life” in Christ. All of them had
all given their lives to Christ and wanted to celebrate the new understanding
of what God has done, can do and will do in their lives. What a Celebration!
These youth meet
every Tuesday evening, 25-30 strong, to learn about God, life in general and
they get to discuss issues affecting their lives now as well as learning about
the AME Church.
They are also
active in the youth choir, mime ministry and some with the liturgical dancers.
They work closely
with the YPD (Maxine Gross, Director) and the Christian Education Depart
(Leanne Douglas, Director).
As God continues to
bless them, the members of Embry embrace their new understanding and are there
to help them along. The Rev. Dr. Edna Canty Jenkins is the pastor of Embry AM
The Rev. Dr. Ronald
E. Braxton, Presiding Elder
BOKO HARA PRESENTATION / INTERVIEW ON VOICE OF AFRICA TELEVISION:
Dr. Moses Ochonu, History Professor at Vanderbilt University speaks on
Voice of Africa about the crisis in Nigeria. He provides commentary on Boko
Haram, the plight of displaced persons in Nigeria and the forthcoming elections
on the "Africa54" VOA (Voice of America) Television show.
Link to the video
Submitted by Dr.
Dennis C. Dickerson, James M. Lawson, Jr. Professor of History, Vanderbilt
University, Nashville, Tennessee
GREATER TURNER CHAPEL FEATURED FORUM ON ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA:
A team of
presenters, all members of Greater Turner Chapel AME Church in Atlanta,
Georgia, hosted a forum to raise awareness of people with Alzheimer’s and the
challenges facing caregivers. October,
November, and December 2014, spear marked the dates for the series on
Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. The
presenters engaged participants in a spirited and interactive discussion on
available resources and services and the precise measures for securing the help
needed for those providing care to victims of the disease.
the medical and health professions, the team recounted compelling information
for attendees on the nature and importance of identifying the disease, and its
impact on the family and persons providing care. Participants freely expressed their concerns. Several participants admitted that they were
not aware of the myriad of services available to caregivers.
The panel included
Sisters Cynthia Grant and Annie Sherman, both retired registered nurses, and
Sister Janice Warner, a graduate of the College of Nursing, East Carolina
University and a pediatric registered nurse in the Atlanta area.
precipitated at Greater Turner Chapel by Sister Thelma Melton Riddle, is one of
the pioneers in the faith-based community.
Sister Riddle, Social Worker/Director of the Savvy Caregivers Program,
serves on the Advisory Board of Emory University Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Center. She was pivotal in Greater
Turner Chapel’s designation as a location for community caregiving and training
workshops. She has pledged her
commitment to assisting caregivers by providing them with the resources to
reduce the stress and disruption in their lives brought on by their roles of
providing care to victims of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Caregivers are frequently in need of support
in the provision of care.
According to recent
statistics, over fifty million people worldwide are inflicted with the disease,
making it one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Presenter Cynthia Grant reported that because
caregivers lack specific services and resources to deal with their needs, many
of them endure isolation, burnout, and often neglect their health issues. Collaborative programs, she continued, are
working directly with faith-based and other community-outreach organizations to
combat particular caregiving encounters.
The goal of the
forums is to identify these challenges and pair caregivers with existing and
emerging opportunities for in-home care of persons suffering from memory loss
and Alzheimer’s disease. Future
discussions are planned and opened to the community.
THE 9TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT 2015 SCHEDULE OF ANNUAL CONFERENCES:
Session of the Northwest Alabama Annual Conference
15, 2015 – WMS Annual Convention
Tuesday – Saturday,
September 15–19, 2015 - Business, Training & Worship
Service, Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 7 p.m.)
St. John AME
1500 Daniel Payne
Drive, Birmingham, AL 35214
The Reverend Mashod
A. Evans, Host Pastor
The Reverend Dwight
E. Dillard, Host Presiding Elder
Session of the Southeast Alabama Annual Conference
September 23, 2015 – WMS Annual Convention
Saturday, September 23 – 26, 2015 – Business, Training & Worship
Service, Thursday, Sept 24, 2015 at 7 p.m.)
Parks Chapel AME
Church, Host Church
1053 East Selma
Street, Dothan, AL 36301
The Reverend Rodney
Smith, Host Pastor
The Reverend David
E. Reddick, Host Presiding Elder
Session of the Alabama River Region Annual Conference
8, 2015 – WMS Annual Convention
Saturday, October 8-10, 2015 – Business, Training & Worship
Service – Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 7 p.m.)
St. John’s AME
807 Madison Avenue,
Montgomery, AL 36104
The Reverend James
E. Arnell, Host Pastor
The Reverend Albert
L. Hyche, Host Presiding Elder
Session of the Northeast Alabama Annual Conference
14, 2015 – WMS Annual Convention
Saturday, October 14 - 17, 2015 – Business, Training & Worship
Annual Service –
October 15, 2015 at 7 p.m.)
Bethel AME Church,
Ft. Mitchell Hwy,
Phenix City, AL 36867
The Reverend Jessie
Grooms, Host Pastor
The Reverend Samuel
Smith, Host Presiding Elder
Session of the Southwest Alabama Annual Conference
21, 2015 – WMS Annual Convention
Saturday, October 21 – 24, 2015; Business, Training & Worship
Service – Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 7 p.m.)
Bethel AME Church,
Street, Mobile, AL 36603
The Reverend Bobby
B. Cox, Jr, Host Pastor
Johnnie M. Bryant, Host Presiding Elder
meeting with Bishop
Community Plaza, Birmingham
THE 14TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT 2015 SCHEDULE OF ANNUAL CONFERENCES:
The Rt. Rev.
Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Bishop
Mrs. Alexis Fugh,
Leone Annual Conference
– Annual Sermon
Service (No Holy Communion)
Cote d’ Ivoire, Togo-Benin Annual Conferences
21-22, 2015 / March 28-29, 2015/ April 25-26, 2015
Liberia / Liberia Annual Conferences
9-12, 2015 / April 16-19, 2015
Candlelight Service (No Communion)
Conference- Annual Sermon
Noon Opening of
Conference – Annual Sermon
Close with WMS
Candlelight (No Communion)
and Conference Business
12. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE LAY ORGANIZATION
CELEBRATING AN AFTERNOON OF FELLOWSHIP AND ENTERTAINMENT:
February 14, 2015 from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m., the Laity of the Southern
California Conference, of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church will be
celebrating an afternoon of Christian Fellowship and Entertainment with the
theme: Heritage and Tradition.
The fourth annual “Spring into Fashions” runway show and
luncheon will occur at Second African Methodist Episcopal Church, Los Angeles,
at 5500 South Hoover Street, Los Angeles, California. The Rev. John E. Cager III is the pastor.
Vails-Weber, the Southern California Conference, President encourages the
community to join the AME church laity as we fellowship with AME clergy, and
2016 Episcopacy candidates.
concerning ticket prices, please contact Laura Terry, Director Public
Relations; telephone: (626) 791-9618; email: email@example.com
Tickets can be
obtained from Local AME Presidents of each Conference Church’s Lay
Dr. Verda Bradley, Ms. Barbara McCombs, and Ms.
Jeanna Kindle are the co-chairs for this year’s event.
13. THE TRUTH IS THE LIGHT:
The Rev. Dr.
Charles R. Watkins, Jr.
Based on Biblical
Text: Matthew 4:12-13: Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison,
he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum,
which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
I wonder sometimes
if folk really understand that preaching is challenging and hard work. Many
would be surprised to know that preaching actually requires a good bit of open
conversation with the Lord. The conversation with the Lord is followed by hours
of mental labor spent pouring over scripture and through commentaries. Then
there is the reading through the notes and the labor intensive writing and
re-writing until satisfied. With the script in hand comes the practice going
over and over the words until the message is comfortable in your spirit.
Finally, there is prayer asking God to lead somebody to the church on Sunday to
hear it. The preacher prays that
somebody will be pricked and changed by the message. In other words, sometimes
contrary to popular belief, preaching is hard work.
However the truth
of the matter is the person in the pew arguably has an even more difficult job
than the preacher’s. While the preacher spends a good part of their time
preparing God’s inspirational sermons that will motivate and stimulate, it is
the people in the pew who have the daunting responsibility of positively
responding to God’s message. After all, what good is a great sermon if no one
follows its wisdom?
It is a fact that
the main reason we come together every week is to worship God and to learn how
to become better followers. The preacher can preach and preach until he or she
can’t preach another word however, unless the people in the pew respond in a
positive fashion and decide to allow God to improve their walk with Him,
nothing in the kingdom of God will change. In other words, there is no progress
for Christ without motivated Christians. The preacher motivates and prepares
the masses for service however, it is the people in the pew that have to
respond to God’s call and do the work. Otherwise, we would all just be sitting
in our comfort zones, accomplishing nothing.
What do you think
would have happened to the world if Jesus had not left the comfort zone of His
hometown of Nazareth and picked up the mantle of service and sacrifice? What if
He had decided to remain with His mother and earthly father in Nazareth, and
lived out His earthly life as a carpenter’s son? Undoubtedly, some will argue that God sent
Jesus here for a specific purpose. Some will argue that His work was
predestined and that He had no choice in the matter. I submit that argument
would be partly right. True Jesus was sent here for a specific purpose. Jesus’
work was predestined. However Jesus had a choice! Jesus had the same choice
that we all have, the choice to follow God or to turn away. Jesus was the Son
of God, but He was clothed in flesh, in order to demonstrate to us that we, as
flesh, can be robed in His power and become the obedient sons and daughters of
God. Jesus had a choice and He chose to leave His beloved Nazareth behind.
Our text lets us
know that Jesus is in Nazareth when He hears the news that His cousin John the
Baptist has been imprisoned. This was the sign Jesus had been waiting for to
launch His ministry in full force. It would have been inappropriate for Jesus
to have moved forward sooner with His ministry, because He would have appeared
to be competing with John. To move prematurely would have divided the faith
community. Jesus waited for the opportune time. He waited for God’s appointed
time to step into the role of Savior of the World, and launch the full force of
His earthly ministry. John had been sent to prepare the way and now Jesus would
show us the way.
The message for us
is that if we are to continue the awesome work that Jesus started we, as flesh,
can be robed in His power and become the obedient sons and daughters of God. We
must however make the choice to leave our Nazareth behind.
Yes, our lives have
been planned in exactly the same manner that Jesus’ life was planned. God
preordained that we should belong to Him and that we should accept Christ and
fulfill our special purpose as a member of God’s family. But to do that, we
have to leave our Nazareth behind. We have to sacrifice the comfort of our
Nazareth in order to fulfill our God-ordained destiny.
That is what makes
the job of the person in the pew so difficult and challenging. There are some
sacrifices they have to make, because whatever their Nazareth is, it is keeping
them from fulfilling their destiny. Our destiny is to live our lives in such a
way that we make it easy for others to believe in God.
True believers are
those who walk in Christ and allow God to direct them. True believers are those
who know God’s purpose for their lives and allow God to guide them. We are
called to serve God from day one of our conversion.
Nazareth is, God is calling us to leave it behind and to fulfill our
pre-ordained destiny as His child. Jesus Christ must be portrayed as the Lord
of our lives! If Jesus is Lord, then waves of change will happen. Things in the
world will improve; family values will grow stronger; moral values will be
restored. But the revival begins with us!
*The Rev. Dr.
Charles R. Watkins, Jr., is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in
14. GETTING TO ZERO: THINKING ABOUT IT:
Act Against AIDS (AAA) is a major campaign of the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement goals of the HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan
developed during the first four years of the Obama administration. AAA was launched in 2009 by CDC and the US
Department of Health and Human Services.
As one effort to
advance goals of AAA, a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), PS15-1505
“Enhancing HIV Prevention Communication and Mobilization Efforts through
Strategic Partnerships” was released on December 30, 2014. It seeks social and
civic organizations that are not conventional HIV/AIDS funded agencies to form
new partnerships with CDC and others to 1) widely disseminate AAA materials, 2)
increase understanding of their content, and 3) make measurable progress over
five years through the AAA campaign to eliminate HIV/AIDS.
submissions will enter cooperative agreement awards for up to $150,000/year for
five years of funding. These cooperative agreement awards will support new
partnerships with existing organizations that are not HIV/AIDS organizations.
Awardees will use their structure to 1) disseminate AAA materials across the
USA, and 2) increase national engagement efforts to reduce HIV infection and
stop AIDS disease impacts.
The application is
due before March 23, 2015. The review process for the 12-15 awards will be
completed so that work can begin in September 2015. There is no requirement for
In reading this
FOA, I thought about the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), its
presence in communities and its access to people through a global network of
churches. I asked if and how should we apply.
PS15-1505, was issued on December 30, 2014. It is for non-HIV/AIDS
organizations. This seems tailor-made to bring together and financially support
activities of the AMEC as the oldest organized denomination in the United
States of America that us founded by those of African descent to primarily
serve black folks.
The FOA seems
designed to bring together the many initiatives that already occur in the AME
Church. These range from the third year of the Getting to Zero informative
column in TCR, to a required course that is taught at the AMEC owned Payne
Theological Seminary for Masters of Divinity students from all over the USA, to
the longstanding programs and initiatives in some districts that address
HIV/AIDS. It includes the unique ability that the AMEC has to take AAA
materials and their content across the connection to the many conferences,
meeting and forums hosted in each Episcopal District.
I read the email
sent about the FOA. I accepted the
invitation to be part of the information webinar hosted by CDC officials to
explain details of the FOA.
I thought about how
the AME Church already has the infrastructure, presence in communities of the
USA and positioning to do this and do it well, if we set our minds to do so!
I thought about how
a few years ago we successfully rolled out mandatory training on sexual
harassment. It reached every district and Annual Conference to inform clergy
and laypersons about sexual harassment.
I thought about how this FOA is tailor made to enable the AMEC to roll
out how to stop HIV/AIDS.
The PS15-1505 FOA
is for such a time as this. This FOA is posted at a time when almost half of
the people in the USA who are impacted directly with HIV infection or AIDS are
African American. At such a time, who else but us should respond?
Why the AMEC? We have the overall broad organizational
structure. We reach deep into the African American community. We have the initiatives
in place. We have exemplary models like in New Jersey and other places that
have been making a difference with HIV/AIDS for years.
The challenge for
the AMEC is to come together in the time that is available to plan, write and
submit a highly competitive clear proposal that will be one among the 12-15
I thought; why
would we, the AMEC, do something as sensible and logical as that?
show that in 2012 African Americans (AA) are ~46% of the HIV/AIDS cases in the
USA and 12% of the USA population. Whites are 28% of the HIV/AIDS prevalence
and 63% of the population, Hispanic Americans are 21% of the HIV/AIDS
prevalence and 17% of the population. These stats from 2012 are one reason the
AMEC church should engage.
explained that a desired outcome in evaluating success of a funded organization
is increase in AAA materials distributed. Another desired outcome is
significant increase in the number of people in an area who get an HIV test.
Another desired outcome is increase in connecting people who are HIV positive
to medical care facilities so that, over time, there is a decrease in new AIDS
cases and in HIV transmission.
Could we, the AMEC,
do these? Can we achieve these outcomes?
Awardees will work
closely with CDC officials. CDC will provide the AAA materials for
distribution. The awarded organization
will use its structure, contacts and energy to make sure the free materials
that are already made get to people who will use them to enhance knowledge,
understanding and resolve.
CDC with local and
state health departments will provide agencies whose mandate is to conduct HIV
testing and counseling. They do so at no charge to those who request it. It is
their job, their purpose.
CDC will identify
clinics and health departments to monitor changes in HIV infection diagnosis
and AIDS cases. These agencies will keep up with changes in HIV and AIDS
incidence and prevalence in the locations where an awarding organization
Thus, the AMEC or
awarded organizations only have to widely distribute the materials, help
increase understanding of their content and provide the opportunity for HIV
testing. All of these could be a routine part of many events already planned
and hosted by the AMEC and its various ministerial allies across
Could we do that?
Would we do that?
According to the
webinar information, only one FOA will be issued with this title and target
applicant. It will not be repeated next year. It is a one-time opportunity.
This is not the
first time that such an opportunity has come up for the AMEC. We were not ready
before so the opportunity to act as an umbrella organization was lost.
It is now 2015. We
have new and different leadership- bishops, general officers, counsel persons
and connectional officers. Are we ready now?
Could we do a competitive submission that will be funded?
This is the age of
smart phones, conference call meetings, SKYPE, FaceTime, Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram and so forth. Communication should be possible to get out the Act
Against AIDS message and why we, especially, need to stop HIV.
Are we ready? Could
we do it? Should we do it as an umbrella organization? March 23, 2015 is the
drop dead due date. Electronic applications must be submitted by a qualifying
entity that has a DUNS number. The
submissions should occur 5-7 days before the due date to allow time for any
errors to be flagged and corrected.
It is time. But is
it our time?
*Dr. Oveta Fuller
is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Faculty of the
African Studies Center at the University of Michigan and Adjunct Faculty at
Payne Theological Seminary. An Itinerant Elder in the 4th Episcopal
District, she conducts HIV/AIDS prevention research in Zambia and the USA. She
lived in Zambia for most of 2013 as a J. William Fulbright Scholar.
15. iCHURCH SCHOOL LESSON BRIEF FOR SUNDAY,
JANUARY 25, 2015 - WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER -
Bill Dickens, Allen
AME Church, Tacoma, Washington
The Adult AME
Church School Lesson continues our month-long discussion about the importance
of prayer in the life of a follower of Jesus.
focuses on how and why Christians should pray for each other. The fifth chapter of James describes the importance
of prayer by using practical theology.
Readers are admonished (verse 13) to pray if they are experiencing
suffering or persecution. If anyone is
feeling happy they should reciprocate by singing songs of godly praise. If anyone is sick James offers a specific
plan of action to address the sickness.
First, a sick believer should contact the church elder. Second, allow the church elder to pray for
their sick member. Finally, the elder
should confirm the power of prayer by anointing the believer with spiritual
healing oil (verses 14-15). The prayer
of faith will restore the believer’s health.
The added bonus of
prayer is seen in forgiveness of sin contingent upon the believer’s confession
of transgressions. Confession is not
just good for the soul but works as a cathartic remedy.
made by a righteous person is the ultimate cure for both sickness and sin
(verse 17). Finally, James uses the
example of Elijah to reinforce his practical theology. Elijah is considered by many (particularly
the writer of this Church School brief) as the greatest prophet of the Old
Testament. Despite Elijah’s impeccable
pedigree he was a modest and humble man who eschewed condescending talk with
his fellow Israelites and prayed for the cessation of rain for three and a half
years. After seeing the goal fulfilled,
Elijah petitioned to God thru prayer to end the drought and restore rain and
expressions are clichés. The oft-quoted
testimony that "prayer changes things" can fall in that
category. However, the experiences of
the saints confirm that Jesus is “a doctor in the sick room.” Our Lord is indeed a “bridge over troubled waters.” We pray for one another because we see the
evidence of prayer for ourselves. This
column is special for your writer because I am writing this note 5 hours
removed from oral surgery where my mouth was cut open, a cyst was removed and
my mouth surgically restored with stitches from one end to the other end. I struggled with the decision to submit my
weekly column because of the discomfort and pain of the 1.5 hour surgery and
post-surgery ailments. My faith was
restored when I remembered the pain and suffering endured by many believers who
courageously identify themselves as Christians in hostile environments. I recall the physical pain my ancestors
accepted to fight against white imperial powers in the Deep South who
systematically denied them their Constitutional right to not only vote but to
defer their rightful pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. If these Christians can work
thru pain (which dwarfs my oral pain) I would be derelict in my duty as a
Christian educator not to write about the power of prayer. Praise the Lord for Advil and to God be the
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
16. MEDITATION BASED ON PHILIPPIANS 4:4-13:
*The Rev. Dr.
Joseph A. Darby
I’m writing this
Meditation after listening to President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union
Address. The President, who’s an
excellent orator, set forth his agenda for America in a way that was spirited,
challenging, celebratory, determined and inspiring. Given the results of the November 2015
election, that’s nothing short of remarkable.
The result of that
election was a Republican majority in the United States Senate and House of
Representatives and in many State Governorships and Legislatures. It would have been understandable if
President Obama had given a meek and conciliatory State of the Union message,
but he didn’t go there. He reached
beyond the reality of the Congress that he now has to contend with as a Democratic
President, stood his ground and boldly embraced an agenda for progress. He looked beyond “what is” and embraced “what
I lift up our
President’s address as a source of inspiration and encouragement for all of us
as we face a challenging world where things don’t always go our way. We’ll all face circumstances and situations
that are daunting, frustrating and seemingly hopeless sooner or later, and the
natural temptation is to simply give in, compromise and cope with the
challenges as best as we can and hope for the best.
We’d do well,
however, to remember that we serve and follow an uncompromising Christ who
looked beyond rejection and ridicule, stayed the course, and chose to die a
humiliating death on the Cross to fulfill his mission and secure our salvation.
We’ll all face
challenges, disappointments and reversals in life, but that’s not what
matters. What matters is that if we
trust in and serve the God who sent His Son into this world to save us from our
sins, we can find new hope, new direction, new strength for life’s journey and
new confidence to stay the course and do God’s will.
Stay the course and
serve the Lord, in spite of the challenges you face in life. You’ll find new peace of mind, new strength
and new confidence in the hymn that says, “Sure I must fight if I would reign,
increase my courage, Lord; I’ll bear the scorn, endure the pain, supported by
This Meditation is
also available as a Blog on the Beaufort District’s Website: www.beaufortdistrict.org
Get Ready for
Sunday, and have a great day in your house of worship!
*The Rev. Dr.
Joseph A. Darby is the Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District of the South
Carolina Annual Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church
17. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with
heartfelt sympathy that we announce the passing of the Reverend James D.
Holmes, a retired presiding elder of the Eighth Episcopal District. The Reverend Holmes was married to Mrs.
Hermine Holmes, President of the North Mississippi Conference Clergy Families
Organization. Mrs. Holmes has been very
devoted and attentive to her husband throughout his extended illness. Please pray much for Mrs. Holmes and her
January 23, 2015
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Bishop Julius H.
McAllister, Sr., Eulogist
Frederick Crayton, Pastor
Services Entrusted to:
other Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:
18. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to inform
you of the passing of CHRISTOPHER J. TERRY, the brother of the Reverend Carl R.
Terry III, pastor of Henderson Chapel, Wellsburg, West Virginia.
Celebration will be held Saturday, January 24, 2015
Viewing: 10:00 AM to 12:00 NOON
Service: 12:00 NOON
Reverend Dr. Steven A. Jackson
Watson Funeral Home
Sympathy can be sent to:
The Rev. Carl R.
19. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to inform
you of the passing of the Rev. Floyd Green Sr., retired AME Pastor in the 10th
The Reverend Floyd
Green Sr. age 96 completed his journey in life on January 18, 2015 to go home
to be with his Heavenly Father. The Rev.
Floyd Green Sr. was born on February 28, 1918 to Herman and Willie L. Green in
He worked for the
Railroad, the Highway Department, and as a janitor at Lakeview School and later
had his own Landscaping Business. He
accepted his "call to the ministry" in 1950. He was an Itinerant Elder in the AME Church
where he served as pastor in Snyder, Stamford, Hamlin, Roby, Sweetwater, Slaton
and Brownwood, Texas. The Rev. Floyd Green loved the Lord and served him
faithfully. He was a prayer-warrior, and
loved to sing. He was a Mason, a member
of the Webb-Spring Lions Club, the NAACP and also a member of the Wayside
Harmonizers Quartet Singers. His
favorite past-time was fishing.
He leaves to
cherish his memory four sons, the Rev. Floyd Green Jr. (Sandra); the Rev. James
Greene (Debra); the Rev. Richard Green (Pricilla) and Lonnie Green; four
daughters, Mary Watson, Rosie Green, Claudette Forward (Cleve), and Evelyn Wilkins; 19 Grandchildren, 24
Great-Grandchildren, 1 Great- Great-Grandchild, and a host of other relatives
His son, the Rev.
James Green, (the Reverend Debra Green), is pastor of Greater St. Luke AME Church
in Midland Texas.
arrangements for the Reverend Floyd Green Sr:
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Sympathy may be mailed to:
2201 E. California
20. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with
heartfelt sympathy that we announce the passing of Mrs. Lois Watts, mother of
the Rev. Velma Watts, pastor of Mt. Moriah AME Church, Jesup, Georgia. Mrs.
Lois Watts was a resident of Virginia.
24, 2015--3:00 p.m.
In the Chapel of
Cooper & Humbles Funeral Company, Inc.
The Reverend Velma
Guest Book for
other expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Web page: http://www.amecfic.org/
Telephone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Telephone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
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
Did someone you know pass this copy of The
Christian Recorder to you? Get your own copy HERE: http://www.the-christian-recorder.org/
Click Here: Guidelines for Submitting
Articles to TCR
*You have received this message because you
are subscribed to
The Christian Recorder Online
Copyright © 2014 The Christian Recorder, All
You are receiving this email because you are
a current subscriber to The Christian Recorder
Add us to your address book
Unsubscribe from this list Subscribe / Update subscription preferences