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

The “truth” of Robert Burns’ poem, “To a Mouse, on Turning Her up in Her Nest with the Plough” and John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel “Of Mice and Men” based upon the Burns’ poem - “The best laid plans can go awry.”

No matter how well you think you have planned something, always expect the unexpected because just when you think you've done all you can for everything to go right, something can still go awry. The most carefully prepared plans may not turn out as planned and the moral of all of this is to always have a backup plan.  And, surprisingly the backup plan sometimes turns out better than plan “A.”

Sometimes in life and even in ministry, the best laid plans can “go astray” and, if you always have a backup plan, the backup plan might just work as effectively as “Plan A” would have worked.  And, that’s what happened to me this week.

Plan “A”

Upon learning of the passing of Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson, I had planned to write an article in tribute to his ministry and was going reflect upon some of my interactions with him and use some of the content from his obituary.   I even sent a message to Ms. Jacqueline Dupont Walker requesting the Word copy of the obituary, promising to embargo it until Friday, which she was kind enough to forward to me. 

I then had another idea. Early in the week, I sent a message to all of the bishops and general officers inviting them to share comments about Bishop Anderson. 

Here is where Plan “A” started to go awry

My plan to include the comments from bishops and general officers seemed like a great idea. I expected to receive three or four comments, but the comments kept coming and soon I had more than I expected. 

I expected a short obituary, but it was longer than I thought it would have been. The Bishop Vinton Anderson obituary was thorough and to take away from it seemed, to me, to be a stretch because Bishop Anderson had done so much for the African Methodist Episcopal Church, local churches, local communities, and the Ecumenical community and had done so much for so many people.

And, added to that my dear friend and neighbor Michael Caver added a letter and added to that, I received a message from our AME Chaplain (Captain) Siebou in Bagram, Afghanistan who texted me during Bishop Anderson’s Homegoing Service to share with me that he was watching the video-streamed worship service; and how appreciative he was the experience.   

“The best laid plans can go awry”

The Bishop Vinton R. Anderson Obituary shares his life and ministry better than I can share it and the bishops’ statement in their own words are better than any paraphrase I can develop.

Plan “B”

Plan “B” shares the comments of the bishops and general officers, my neighbor, Michael Caver and Chaplain Siebou followed by the full obituary.

I will share my reflections in the next issue. 


-- Bishop John R. Bryant

“Bishop Vinton Anderson had a great love in his heart for children. All around the AMEC there are adults who talk about how they will never forget how special the Bishop Anderson made them feel when they were children.”

- Bishop John R. Bryant, Presiding Prelate of the 4th Episcopal District and Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

-- The Rev. Dr. George F. Flowers

My fond memory of Bishop Vinton R. Anderson was when he served as the Ecumenical and Urban Affairs Officer for the African Methodist Episcopal Church from 1984-1988. He led the Church in celebrating its Bicentennial Festival in Episcopal Districts around the Church in 1987. However, there were two of the celebrations I bring forth for honorable mention:  The 1st Episcopal District hosted a “Bicentennial Celebration” held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the 7th Episcopal District hosted a “Bicentennial Celebration” held in Charleston, South Carolina.

The giftedness and superb leadership given by Bishop Anderson gave me, as a young pastor, an opportunity to serve on the Connectional Bicentennial Committee and impacted my ministry. South Carolina hosted a grand event representing all the people of the Seventh Episcopal District.

Bishop Anderson had a shepherd's heart and spirit!

George Francis Flowers
Executive Director
Global Witness and Ministry

-- Bishop and Mrs. A. J. Richardson

Mrs. Richardson and I will forever be grateful to Bishop and Mrs. Anderson for the example they set in marriage and in ministry. I especially treasure the opportunity to have gleaned from his wisdom and his largess over the years.

Nearly 45 years ago, I was among several Turner Theological Seminary students introduced to him by William Watley at a Connectional meeting in Dallas, Texas. The then, Dr. Vinton Randolph Anderson was pastor of St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri and a candidate for episcopal service. He came to our rescue when we were in distress.

He would soon become Bishop Vinton R. Anderson, presiding in neighboring Alabama when we served in Columbus, Georgia. He preached for us at Trinity AME Church in Atlanta; and there baptized the young children of his sister, Sharon Crenchaw.

Through the years, he trusted me with great preaching opportunities. It happens that he would be the Easter Sunday morning preacher at Bethel AME Church in Tallahassee, Florida on the day that his pre-recorded interview was broadcast on Face the Nation. It was a great day for him, of course; but, also for the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

My wife, Supervisor Connie and I had the opportunity, as the Episcopal Team, to follow Bishop and Mrs. Anderson into the Second Episcopal District was a signal honor. It is true, after eight years of our service there, many of the people were still addressing us as "Bishop as Mrs. Anderson." After a while, we no longer had the heart or the will to correct them.

From the Eleventh Episcopal District, our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Vivienne Anderson, her sons and extended family.

Bishop Adam J. and Mrs. S. Connie Richardson, Episcopal Team, the 11th Episcopal District

-- Bishop T. Larry Kirkland

Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson was the ultimate servant-leader and friend to all who knew him.  I counted him as a friend and he and Vivienne as members of our family. He was an inspirer and a mentor. He set the example for the episcopacy and he loved people. He loved his calling to the ministry and he loved his family.  He loved preachers and encouraged them to strive to the highest good and to always strive to achieve their best and to shun mediocrity.  He loved the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  He loved worship and liturgy and he loved creativity in worship.  He loved great preaching and one could see the sparkle in his eyes when the preacher “brought the gravy home in a sermon.”

Sister Vivienne and Bishop Vinton R. Anderson were the ultimate Episcopal Team and an example for all of us. He will be missed by the AME Church and especially the 5th Episcopal District!

-- Bishop David Rwhynica Daniels, Jr. 

I remember Bishop Vinton R. Anderson saying during one of our Presiding Elders and Pastors Retirement Board Meeting that we must do all we can to promote our Church at all cost wherever we were serving and at whatever level of the Church. We owe it to God and our Church to give our Zion service of Excellence and as he did during his episcopacy. I can hear him saying, “You can’t give up, no matter what they do to you.”

Well, Bishop Anderson, “Rest in Perfect Peace and know that we will never "Give up" in well-doing.

 Bishop David Rwhynica Daniels, Jr., Presiding Prelate of the 15th Episcopal District

-- Bishop Reginald T. Jackson

Bishop Vinton Anderson was the premier example of a churchman. His love of worship, excellence in service and commitment to ecumenism has been a blessing, not only to African Methodism, but to the body of Christ. It is an example each of us should seek to emulate. Thank God for him, his service and witness.

Bishop Vinton R. Anderson was a Servant Bishop and an incredible Ecumenist.

- Bishop John F. White Presiding Prelate of the 16th and 18th Episcopal Districts

-- The Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown

Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson taught me two valuable spiritual lessons as he taught me how to navigate the path of ministry. 

I remember him beginning sermons with "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living" or the refrain from "There's Something Mighty Sweet about the Lord" as he recounted his childhood in Bermuda; the lesson was regardless of what we encounter or the circumstances of our origins, God is faithful. There is room at the table for each person's gifts and graces. We must take seriously all opportunities to serve.

The second lesson came though working with Bishop Anderson on the Faith and Order Committee. I am continually inspired by his love of liturgy as a means of honoring God and his ecumenical leadership. He modeled that all persons have equal access to worship God "under their own vine and fig tree" and, as well as in diverse languages, varied rhythms, and different liturgies as covenant sons and daughters of God.

I thank God that Bishop Anderson's soul is shouting in the presence of the inclusive, sweet and faithful God. 

The Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, AMEC Historiographer and Executive Director of Research and Scholarship

-- Dr. Richard A. Lewis

For eight years I was with Bishop Anderson in Washington, DC when he was the Presiding Prelate of the 2nd Episcopal District. He was an excellent mentor and always remained the same. He was spiritual, yet, “down to earth.”  Everyone loved him!

May he rest in peace!

Dr. Richard A. Lewis, Treasurer/CFO, AMEC Finance Department

--Retired Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry

Because of Bishop Vinton Anderson, I am a Bishop in the AME Church.  It was he who gave me a major church appointment and later appointed me to be a presiding elder…and as "they" say, “the rest is history!”

Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Retired

-- Bishop Clement W. Fugh

Bishop Vinton R. Anderson (92nd elected and consecrated Bishop) on the subject of the Episcopacy: "There are new demands and larger responsibilities, but no automatic endowment of wisdom or holiness."

Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate, 14th Episcopal District

-- Bishop E. Earl McCloud

Bishop Anderson like few others who served The Lord under the banner of African Methodism enjoyed the hymns of the Church.  He did not abbreviate them, by singing some verses and leaving out others, rather he celebrated them and enjoyed their availability to the Church.   May God bless more of his memories.

Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr., 127th elected and consecrated Bishop, AME Church

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

Bishop Anderson was a wonderful human being who loved God, his family, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  It was wonderful to watch him in ecumenical settings and his amazing gift for being calm and even-tempered; even in intense situations.  He loved worship and was meticulous in designing worship experiences, particularly evident in Connectional settings, which were biblically and liturgically sound; yet gave room for praise and free spiritual expression.

I got to know him when he was responsible for leading the denomination in celebration of the 1787 walk-out of St. George's Methodist Church.  I always think of the 1987 celebrations as the “bicentennial” of the conception of African Methodism.  Obviously, my thoughts of Bishop Anderson are even more vivid as we prepare for the bicentennial of our legal incorporation of 1816 and our system of General Conferences.  “God be praised that we have made it thus far.”

Bishop Anderson cared about people. I had the good fortune of traveling to the Fifteenth Episcopal District for lay ministry coincident with Bishop and Mrs. Anderson leading a delegation from the Fifth Episcopal District to the World Council of Churches of which he was a President from 1991-1998. 

Even with his official responsibilities, Bishop Anderson always made time for his group and included them in all of the proceedings. He had a heart for God's people and demonstrated it in innumerable ways.

My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Anderson and their sons and their family during this new season in their lives without their beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Paulette Coleman, Ph.D., retired General Officer

--Michael Caver, A person Bishop Anderson never personally met

I shared Bishop Anderson's poem, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE with my neighbor Michael Caver and he had shared that he was blessed by the prayer and had shared it with his parish prayer group, Sunday School class and the parishioners at St. David's Episcopal Church in Nashville. Upon hearing of Bishop Anderson's passing, he wrote a message to Mrs. Anderson:

Bishop Anderson's prayer is among my truly treasured prayers. It speaks to us all in the best tradition of pulpit preachers and authors of hymn texts and poems in the wording of the people.

However, Bishop Anderson did something far more precious: He dealt directly with our self-imposed curse- comparing our realities with our fantasies: In the unreal world of our imaginings we overlook the most fundamental fact we are created in His image. Overlooking that by comparing ourselves to our baseline of fantasies denigrates this fact. I say “curse” because we carry this cross through our lives: Never reaching our fantasies while denying God the Father, unconscious as it may be.

I give thanks for the Bishop’s gift to me whenever I reread his work.
Please accept my condolences on your loss.

Mike Caver
Nashville, Tennessee
July 15, 2014

Bishop Anderson's Prayer: "Unconditional Love"

When I question who I am and fret about who I’m not,
I listen quietly to YOU, LORD,
Speaking about unconditional love,
And I love who I am.

I love whom YOU made me to be,
What I am and what I’m not,
Because that’s who I am and that’s not who I’m not.

Forgive me the sin of downgrading self;
Filled with YOUR love sufficient
I will love without condition
All and everything YOU put in my life.

Teach me to pass on to others that love;
To love who they are and who they are not.
For in YOUR image YOU made us all
To love unconditionally and never not.

For the soul I shout unconditional love
To YOU, GOD who made me,
And for all whom YOU have made
For the person I am and for the person I’m not,
And for the soul I shall become.

Mr. Michael Caver is a neighbor of the Rev. Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III

-- From Chaplain Captain Samuel D. Siebo in Bagram, Afghanistan

Bishop Vinton Anderson Homegoing Seen Around the World:

I am writing to express special thanks and appreciation to my beloved Zion, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the family of our beloved Bishop, the Right Reverend Vinton Randolph Anderson for affording thousands of AMEs and others around the world including myself, currently serving our troops in Afghanistan, as Battalion Chaplain of 1st  Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Fort Bliss, Texas, the opportunity to pay our final respects to Bishop Vinton Randolf Anderson, through the Celebration of Life Service that was video-streamed on the World Wide Web.

I was on Battlefield Circulation (visiting my troops) in South Eastern Afghanistan; providing spiritual fitness and resiliency events to the soldiers on the Battlefield, but I was also in prayers for the Anderson family and our great Zion, as I did my job.

Fortunately for me, I flew into Bagram Airfield (BAF) time enough to tune in and watch the service.

Upon landing at the airfield, I quickly plugged in my iphone and went into my email and I was blessed to see The Christian Recorder Online with the link Chaplain Colonel, the Rev. Dr. Calvin Sydnor III sent out with the link to the live service. I, at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, clicked the link and there I was, connected to the Celebration of Life Service at St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States of America.

I did not only watch the service online but I was a part of the service, in that, I sang along with the choir, supported Bishop Kirkland as he preached a wonderful sermon, which energized me to serve my troops to the best of my ability and serve God in the beauty of holiness.

I enjoyed the tributes and testimonies of the life of a great Churchman, he Reverend Father in God, Bishop Vinton R. Anderson; truly, he was a man of God.

My tribute to and testimony of Bishop Anderson is the fact that I can vividly remember when a good friend of mine, an AME minister from West Africa; Liberia, to be exact, needed theological education. He called Bishop Anderson from Africa and asked for scholarship to attend Payne Theological Seminary, so as to become a better minister in our church. Bishop Anderson did not know this brother and had never seen him. Bishop accepted the request and granted this brother full-scholarship to Payne Theological Seminary.

Today, the young man is a seminary-trained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This is a true attribute of a Godly man, who will reach out to the less-fortunate in our world.

Mother Anderson and family, Bishop Anderson lived the life of a servant –leader and as Bishop Kirkland preached in his sermon, Bishop Anderson fought a good fight and ran a successful race; and through my eyes of faith, I can see the Righteous Judge, the Great God of Hosts, placing on the head of Bishop Anderson, the “Crown of Righteousness” and saying to our beloved Bishop “Well done thou good and faithful servant, come now and enjoy the place of eternal rest.”

We will miss our Bishop, father, husband and friend; we love him but Jesus loves him best.

Bishop Anderson, I wish you Good Night, for on that great “getting up morning,” when souls and bodies meet again, we will see you standing in the Presence of the Most High God.

To God be the glory for the life of Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson.

Chaplain Captain Samuel D. Siebo, an AME Itinerant Elder is stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan

-- The Rev. V. Gordon Glenn III

On the Homegoing of Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson, 92nd Bishop Our Church:

In the summer after I was born, the Rev. Vinton Randolph Anderson was elevated from being pastor Anderson to Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson by way of election at the 1972 General Conference.

When I joined The AME Church in 1999 and went to my first General Conference in 2000, Bishop Vinton Anderson was entering his last quadrennial before officially retiring in 2004.

Even in his 10 years of retirement, I remember his sage advice, careful leadership and powerful preaching whenever the 5th Episcopal District met in St. Louis. His photo still hangs outside the pastor’s study of the first church he served as pastor, St. Mark’s AME in Topeka, Kansas.
I didn’t know him, personally, obviously many did. In fact, prior to, during, and following his Homegoing Service, FaceBook, and other social network sites were filled with people expressing fond memories of him as their pastor, bishop, mentor and friend.
Unable to be present for the service at St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, Missouri, I watched with awe as he was described as “A princely man of godly grace” and an “outstanding Episcopal father.” He was lauded for his “life, legacy, and work” and “… for what he has taught us.” Dignitary after dignitary stood and paid homage to Bishop Anderson’s love for family exemplified by his marriage to his wife Vivienne for 62 years, and his warm relationship with sons and grandchildren.
It was particularly moving when his youngest son stood to give personal stories, not about him as a bishop, but as a father and one who showed great and genuine love for his wife and family.
When Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, the presiding prelate of the 5th Episcopal District, stood to offer the eulogy, it was more than lofty words offered to impress those in attendance. The eulogy was more than a preacher offering kind words to a “good person” who had passed that would be missed. Bishop Kirkland’s words were those of a friend who had lost a friend. In fact, Bishop Kirkland hinted in his opening remarks that perhaps he should be “sitting with the family instead of in the pulpit.”
I was struck by the pastoral nature mixed with the familial nature of his words of comfort. Bishop Kirkland preached from the subject, “Ministry Fulfilled” at the behest of Mrs. Anderson. His text was taken from 2 Timothy 4:6-8, particularly from the words, “I have fought the good fight, kept the faith, now there is a crown of righteousness waiting for me...”

Bishop Kirkland noted that, “If there was anyone who had fulfilled his ministry, it was Bishop Anderson, for he was the epitome of excellence and experience; a unique gift to the body of Christ. He served with dignity, determination, poise and professionalism…”

As the recessional song was being sung and the Bishops, General Officers, members of the Judicial Council and other dignitaries filed past the family leading the covered casket out of the sanctuary, the live-streaming paused as the purple draped casket wheeled by. In the center of the draping was the AME crest and in the center of the frame was the top of our crest, which simply displayed, “Methodist.”

Bishop Anderson taught so many of us by word and living example, what it meant to be Methodist in general and a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in particular, it was fitting that the live-streaming was buffering just at that moment.

Truly, “when we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.”

“God, be with you,” Bishop Anderson, “… until we meet again.”

*The Rev. V. Gordon Glenn III is the Director of Public Relations for the Midwest Conference, 5th District and pastor of St. John AME Church in Topeka, Kansas


A Season of Birth and Youth

Vinton Randolph Anderson was born on July 11, 1927, in Somerset, Bermuda. In his early years he went to live with Aunt Fannie and Uncle Lawson, bonding with this extended family, which included a foster brother—Malcolm Eve. It was at home and his home church, St. Paul AME, where he was taught skills to navigate life, to assume leadership among his peers, and to appreciate worship.  He assumed leadership in the ACE League Fellowship, Sons of Allen, and Sunday School. Vinton attended private elementary and high schools on the Island where he distinguished himself as a scholar.  After graduation, he was apprenticed to the docks to be trained as a carpenter, but felt unfulfilled, yearning to use his intellect more.  Consequently, when Bishop R. R. Wright, Jr., after hearing this “onion exhort,” invited him to leave the scenic beauty of Bermuda and travel across the ocean to the USA to study at Wilberforce University, with only $ 700 in his pocket and a promise that “the bishop” would take care of him, Vinton gladly accepted the challenge and migrated to the USA in 1947.

Beginning a Season of Love
Vinton Anderson became attracted to Vivienne Cholmondeley when she visited her grandparents’ home.  Vinton found reasons to get her attention with his athletic prowess and win her affection, which led to courtship as teenagers. Allen Temple AME Church was their favorite meeting place.  Later, their courtship continued long distance.  After his first year at Wilberforce, he convinced his childhood sweetheart, Vivienne, to also journey to Wilberforce University.  Upon being graduated Vinton and Vivienne became one in marriage on that campus, the wedding reception being held in the home of Drs. McDonald and Jamye Coleman Williams, who had served as their surrogate parents. From there they began their partnership in marriage and ministry that has spanned 62 years. From their union four beloved children were born: Vinton Randolph, Jr., Jeffrey Charles, Carlton Lawson, and Kenneth Robert.

A Season of Study - To Show Himself Approved

Vinton Anderson, simultaneously enrolled at Wilberforce University and Payne Theological Seminary, was graduated with honors, earning the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees.  Later, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Kansas, pursued continuing education at Yale University Divinity School, and became an alumnus of the Urban Training Center for Christian Mission, Chicago.

Bishop Anderson received honorary doctorates from Paul Quinn College, Wilberforce University, Payne Theological Seminary, Temple Bible College, Morris Brown College, Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), and Eden Theological Seminary.  After retirement, he became an adjunct faculty member at his alma mater – Payne Theological Seminary.

A Season of Pastoral Ministry 

The Rev. Vinton Anderson’s pastoral experience in local churches encompassed Kansas and Missouri.  Embracing the motto: “Love the People You Serve,” he was assigned to the pastorates of St. Mark A.M.E. Church - Topeka, KS (1952–1953); Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church - Parsons, KS (1953–1955); St. Luke A.M.E. Church - Lawrence, KS (1955–1959); St. Paul A.M.E. Church - Wichita, KS (1959–1964); and  St. Paul A.M.E. Church - St. Louis, MO (1964–1972).

His pastoral ministry is highlighted by a strong commitment to involvement in the total community as demonstrated by the development of an adult education program, summer youth program, promotion of the first Black-owned supermarket in St. Louis, development of 162 units of low income housing in St. Louis County, chairmanship of Vanguard Bond and Mortgage Co. (a community funding effort), and his continuing role as an effective and vocal advocate in civil rights and ecumenical issues.

A Season of Episcopal Ministry

Vinton Anderson, using the theme Profile of a Servant: 12 Priorities for Progress, was elected and consecrated the 92nd Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1972.  He vowed to, “Encourage an episcopacy which exercises a servant role in the life of the Church.”

As a Presiding Bishop in the A.M.E. Church, he was assigned to the 15th Episcopal District (Republic of South Africa) in July, 1972, then immediately re-assigned to the 9th Episcopal District (Alabama, 1972–1976). He also served in the 3rd Episcopal District (Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, (1976–1984); Office of  Ecumenical Relations and Development, 1984–1988 (including Chair of the AME Bicentennial Celebration in 1987); 5th Episcopal District (14 states west of the Mississippi River, 1988–1996); and the 2nd Episcopal District  (Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, 1996 - 2004). As a bishop, he was elected Chairperson of the General Board (1996), and served two quadrennials as Chair of the General Conference Commission (1984, 2000).

Over a 42-year period (32 active years) of the Episcopal ministry of Vinton R. Anderson, he planned and inspired a series of visions and dreams.  Bishop Anderson said, “God has mentored me into His notion of holy festivals for all of my Episcopal ministry, starting with the Agape Fest in 1976, at the completion of our assignment in the 9th Episcopal District, repeated in the 3rd and the 5th Episcopal Districts.”

The Festival of the Church, held in the summer of 2001 was both the fulfillment of the vision and dream. There have been five high festivals: The Festival of Pentecost and The Festival of the Holy Spirit – 3rd District; The Festival of the Holy Trinity and The Kerygma Fest – 5th District; The Koinonia Jubilee and The Festival of the Church – 2nd District.  Little did the more than 10,000 persons who attended know that they would be a part of a covenant made with God and be so blessed by the complete attention to physical, emotional, educational and spiritual growth and well-being. 

Bishop Anderson preached and lectured internationally, including all regions of the United States, the Caribbean, South and West Africa, South America, Canada, Taiwan, and Australia.  He presented at Harvard, Howard, and Drew Universities, the Universities of Kansas and of North Carolina and Morris Brown College.  In February, 1993, Bishop Anderson preached a series of sermons at the Mar Thoma convention in India, where 150,000 people were in attendance. 
Bishop Anderson’s vision of furthering the legacy of self-help and self-reliance led to the founding of Second District Religious, Educational, Charitable, Development Projects, Inc. - a.k.a. Second District RED, Inc., a regional community development corporation that will facilitate the work of ministry in the territory covering Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.  Its projects include I-AIM (Intergenerational Adult Immunization Project), Ready. Set. Go (an IDA program), the A.M.E Homeless Shelter, an HIV-AIDS research project, and Kittrell-Anderson Village, a 237-acre planned community.

Bishop Anderson was a trailblazer in his commitment to the leadership of women.  He appointed the Church’s first  female presiding elder in the USA (The Rev. Cornelia Wright in Ohio) and the first woman pastor of a major metropolitan church (The Rev. Carolyn Tyler Guidry in Los Angeles). His considerable influence led to the appointment of the first woman president of Wilberforce University, Dr. Yvonne Walker-Taylor; election of first woman bishop, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie – 2nd Episcopal District; and the appointment of first woman president of Payne Theological Seminary, Dr. Leah Gaskin Fitchue. 

A Season of Ecumenical/Inter-Faith Ministry

Bishop Anderson's ecumenical and inter-faith involvements were numerous and included the World Council of Churches (a constituency of over 560 million representing 330 denominations) in which he actively engaged as early as 1972 and became a trusted voice, which led to his election as the first African-American President for an 8-year term (1991 – 1999). Other ecumenical and interfaith groups are the World Methodist Council, National Council of Churches, Congress of National Black Churches (CNBC); Churches United in Christ (CUIC), formerly Consultation on Church Union; and the United Methodist Church General Commission of Christian Unity and Inter-religious Concerns.

In 1976, Bishop Anderson was a member of a team of Black church leaders visiting Nationalist China and he also toured the Middle East, Europe, the South Pacific, Singapore, Chile, and Russia. In 1994, Bishop Anderson led a delegation of 24 church leaders on a "Solidarity Journey" to Southern Africa (including the Republic of South Africa and the kingdom of Swaziland).  

A Season of Motivating, Inspiring, Encouraging, Mentoring
Vinton Anderson encouraged hundreds to pursue an education and mentored them as they sought a place to work in the AME Church. Those who went to Wilberforce and Payne could anticipate a “check up” visit, during which he had prepared to leave each of them with at least $100 to “tide them over.”

Bishop Anderson’s love for and commitment to Payne Theological Seminary is legendary. He was the longest serving Board member of Payne Theological Seminary when he became the Chair Emeritus in 2008, after more than 20 years as Chair and over 32 years on the Board.  During that period, the Seminary achieved its 10-year accreditation status, received a $1 million Lilly Foundation Grant, and the curricula expanded to include online study. 

In addition to being encouraging, Bishop Anderson was generous. Payne Seminary received the proceeds of over $60,000 from the book, My Soul Shouts. In 2004, he presented earnings from the Bicentennial Fund to Payne Seminary ($115,000) and Turner Seminary ($100,000). The Bishop Vinton R. Anderson Ecumenical Leadership Scholarship Fund was created to provide support for African Methodist Episcopal students attending the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies. With initial capital of $250,000, the fund was established as part of the Ecumenical Trust in New York, USA, which, among other functions, collects donations in favor of the Ecumenical Institute.  "We thank God for giving Bishop Anderson the gifts and graces for empowering us in the work of ecumenism," said the Rev. Philip Blair and the Rev. W. Lynette Taylor, the first beneficiaries of the Bishop Vinton R. Anderson Ecumenical Leadership Scholarship, at their graduation ceremony in Bossey, Switzerland.

Vinton Anderson’s love for the whole church also led him to embrace lay ministry, and pledge to give special attention to the questions of ministry, as it relates to the “laos.” In 1972, at the biennial Connectional Lay Organization’s meeting, he proposed a new name L.I.F.E. (Lay Initiative For Evangelism), which was roundly defeated, yet, undaunted, he had opened doors over the years encouraging laity to take stands for the good of the Church.

A Season of Scholarship

Bishop Anderson is an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar.  In 2002, he released, My Soul Shouts, an unusual collection of conversations about God that can be understood by anyone. As chairperson of the Commission on Worship and Liturgy for the A.M.E. Church, Bishop Anderson developed a new A.M.E. Church Hymnal and the first A.M.E. Book of Worship. He established and edited the Connector, a bicentennial information publication; produced and edited a Syllabus for Celebrating the Bicentennial; compiled and edited Proclamation from a Bench; contributed articles entitled, "What Is the Ecumenical Agenda?" and "Come Holy Spirit, Renew the Whole Creation” in Ecumenical Trends; published "Black on Black Crime” in Ebony Magazine; "When the Saints Go Marching In" in Digest; "On the Image of the Episcopacy" in The A.M.E. Church Review, and numerous other articles in publications of the A.M.E. Church.  As COCU’s Chairperson of Commission on Worship in 1978, he compiled works for Word, Bread, and Cup.  He authored and delivered the Episcopal Address for the 44th Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1995 he authored a chapter, "Under Our Own Vine and Fig Tree" in The Sunday Service of the Methodists, and wrote the “Introductory Note” to Carolyn Beck’s, Under My Own Vine and Fig Tree. 

In February, 2004, a new publication was released, A Model of a Servant Bishop: The Ministry of Vinton Randolph Anderson.   Anderson authored one chapter, and in separate chapters 5 writers—the Rev. Louis-Charles Harvey, PhD; the Rev. Dr. Lee P. Washington; The Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton; the Rev. Dr. Michael Thomas; The Rev. Barbara Glenn; and Sister “Jackie” Dupont-Walker--responded to his reflections. 

A Season of Service and Community Empowerment

Bishop Anderson’s numerous civic and community activities included the National Census Advisory Committee on the Black Population for the 1990 Census; the Joint Appeal by Religion and Science for the Environment; the National Commission on the School/Community Role in Improving Adolescent  Health; Past Chairperson, Wilberforce University Board of Trustees and Payne Theological Seminary Board of Directors; Life Member and Past Chairperson, Labor and Industry Committee, St. Louis Chapter, NAACP; Past Chairperson, St. Louis Urban League; Past Chairperson, Wichita Urban League; Alpha Phi Alpha - Life Member and member of International Policy Council; and CEDPA (The Center for Development and Population Activities).

A Season of Receiving Accolades

Notable among the honors received by Bishop Anderson were the Lifetime Achievement Award from Wilberforce University (2002), Chautauqua Institution Chaplain (2002), Honoree in 1993 Historic Calendar, Saluting UNC (month of November); 1993 Scroll of Merit Award by National Medical Association; 1992 Daniel A. Payne Award for Ecumenical Leadership by A.M.E. Church, Religion Award, American Black Achievement Awards(Johnson Publications)–1991; Distinguished Alumni Honoree by National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education – 1988; Religion Award (citation by Ebony Magazine)–1988, Listing in Profiles in Black (100 living Black Unsung Heroes) by CORE – 1976; Who's Who in America, Who’s Who in the Caribbean,  Who’s Who in the World,  Who's Who Among Black Americans, and Who's Who in Religion.

Bishop Anderson received many proclamations, citations, and plaques from municipal and state government, along with keys to many American towns and cities.  Among his many media appearances, Bishop Anderson has been seen on Face The Nation, Tony Brown's Journal and C-SPAN–“Church and Community” and was a frequent guest at The White House under several administrations.

The Season of Victory

Left to cherish his life and precious memories are his loving and devoted wife of 62 years - Vivienne; Sister Sharon Crenchaw, foster brother, Malcolm Eve (Elvia); and sister-in-love Madge Daniel (Arthur).  Having created wonderful memories and modeling black manhood, he leaves to carry on his legacy their four sons: Vinton Jr., Jeffrey Charles (Edie), Carlton Lawson (Sheila), and Kenneth Robert. Also those who “Grandpa” invested in are four amazing grandchildren: Natina Louise; Carlton, Jr.; Jordan Isaiah; and Christian Andreas, and a host of devoted aunts, nieces, nephews, and adopted young folk who were loved, challenged, inspired, and dared to go the extra mile.

Protecting the Legacy

We are left to find ways to carry on the legacy of Bishop Vinton Randolph Anderson.   He leaves a rich heritage of unshakable faith, unconditional love, unmatched generosity, inspired scholarship, commendable courage in the face of insurmountable odds, and a good name.  Each of us was privileged to interact with Vinton Anderson here, and when we reflect on those encounters, whatever you gained … Pass it forward!    


--To the Editor:

RE: Link to the Vinton R. Anderson Homegoing Service

Thank you very much for this link to view the Homegoing service of Bishop Vinton Anderson as I was not able to view the funeral live due to time differences. Now I can view the Homegoing Worship Service.

Question:  Do you by any chance have the live video for the late Bishop Sarah Frances Davis?

Sister PJ
Botswana Annual Conference
18th Episcopal District (Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Botswana)


Written by and Courtesy of The Philadelphia Tribune Staff

June 29, 2014

Vida Mae (Harris) Bright, who loved the Lord and her beloved husband the late Bishop John Douglas Bright Sr., who served as the seventy-ninth Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, died on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. She was a loving, doting mother to her children, Gwen and the late John, Jr.; and, adored her precious granddaughter, Jonell. She, along with her husband, shared a love of service to the people of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was born one of five children on Dec. 26, 1920 in Frankfort, Ohio to devout Christian parents, Earl and Essie Mae Harris. At an early age she converted and joined the family church.

From the time of her marriage to the late Bishop on June 30, 1942 she had been devoted to the A.M.E. Church. She was educated in the schools of Frankfort, Ohio and later received secretarial training. However, her true passion centered on loving and encouraging people. She was the perfect minister’s wife, and later Bishop’s wife. Mrs. Bright served alongside her husband during his pastorate at A.M.E. churches in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Upon coming to Philadelphia, she was the first lady at Allen A.M.E. Church and in 1950 served as first lady for ten years at the historic Mother Bethel, A.M.E. Church. She loved her role as an Episcopal Supervisor and served diligently with her husband upon his election and consecration as a Bishop during the A.M.E. General Conference in Los Angeles, Calif. in May of 1960. When describing her life as a Bishop’s wife, she expressed, “Bishop and I had a very beautiful and interesting life together. We have served in various sections of the church at home and abroad.” Their first assignment was to the then Seventeenth Episcopal District in Central Africa. From there, they served the Twelfth Episcopal District, covering Arkansas and Oklahoma. The final assignment was from 1964 until Bishop’s death in 1972 to the First Episcopal District encompassing the Northeastern states and Bermuda. She was known for her elegance, grace and fashionable style, but it was her sweet, humble, loving spirit that most stood out. She loved helping people and was passionate about missions, especially in Africa.

In her words, “I always enjoyed missionary work. I guess because there is so much to be done. It was the joy of working with people who were willing and anxious to work and spread God’s message around the world.” When asked about her advice to a new Bishop’s wife, Mrs. Bright replied “…learn people, be patient and understanding. Listen to the needs and concerns of people. Include the people because they want to be a part. I always tried to draw them as close to me as I could and say… help me and we’ll do this together. In working together you can accomplish a great deal. “She had a way of drawing people close, whether it was to give family and friends refuge in her home, a delicious meal or just a kind word. Her ready smile and soothing spirit will be missed. She had to kiss and hug everyone before leaving a church service or meeting. Her family was often the last to depart; and, at times it took a tired Bishop to finally admonish in his bellowing voice…. “Come on Vida, it is time to go home.” The family takes comfort in knowing that she was at peace when God called her to Glory with her beloved husband reaching out to let her know it was “time to go home.”

She is survived by and will be lovingly missed by her daughter, the Honorable Gwendolyn Bright; granddaughter Jonell Bright; nephew Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris and wife Cora; nieces Gloria Alford, Betty Bright and Sylvia Henderson; a host of other relatives, adopted families who called her “Mom” and “Momma Bright”; her church family and friends. “When you’re down to nothing, God’s up to something. Don’t tell Jesus how big your problem is; tell the problem how great Jesus is. “Happiness keeps you sweet, trials keep you strong, sorrows keep you human, life keeps you humble, success keeps you glowing, but only GOD keeps you going.” The funeral will be held Tuesday July 1 at Mother Bethel AME Church, 419 S. 6th St. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Service is at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Ivy Hill Cemetery. Terry Funeral Home handled all the arrangements.

**Reprinted with the permission of The Philadelphia Tribune


*Bishop Reginal T. Jackson

A couple of weeks ago, I read in the newspapers and saw on the television a story about a poll stating that Barack Obama is the worst president in the last fifty years. This had to be disheartening to the president and his supporters, combined with the lowest poll numbers of his presidency and increasing questions about his competency as president. As I listen and read all the critiques and criticisms of this president, I think to myself, “how soon we do forget.” I strongly disagree with much of the criticisms spoken about President Obama. First, let me make it clear, I do not agree with the president on a number of issues and do not believe he has been as strong and capable a president as he could be. For example, President Obama has compromised too much on his priorities and principles, when Republicans have been unwilling to compromise. President Obama has not played hardball when he needed to, especially when others have lied and misled the American people about him and his policies, and President Obama has not held his own staff accountable when they have not gotten the job done. For example, the disastrous Affordable Care Act roll out, the Benghazi incident and other miscues, no one was held accountable.

The worst president?  Seriously? How soon or how conveniently we forget. Let’s look back. With the exception of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, no presidents have had as much on their plate as Barack Obama. In January 2009 when he was sworn in the nation was in the throes of a recession. The housing, banking, and automobile industries were in free fall, hundreds of thousands of jobs were being lost every month, the nation was in deep debt and we were in two wars, costing us hundreds of billions in dollars and thousands in blood. What the nation faced required immediate action and bipartisan cooperation. Yet, Republicans had already decided to oppose everything President Obama supported; with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stating, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one term president.”

 President Obama proposed a $831 billion dollar stimulus package, measures necessary to aid the automobile, banking and housing industries and sought legislation to create jobs, including to address infrastructure needs to fix our highways and bridges, and to enhance our technology. True to their word, Republicans opposed everything President Obama proposed.  The vote in Congress on the stimulus bill was strictly partisan, not one single Republican in the House of Representatives and only three Republicans in the Senate, voted for it,  claimed Obama’s economic recovery plan would fail; that the national debt would increase, and every month Speaker Boehner ask “where are the jobs.” Finally, only one Republican voted for the Affordable Care Act, again Republicans claiming the Affordable Care Act would drive up health care cost and cause people to lose jobs.

Well let’s look at where we are today. The financial markets have rebounded and are as strong as they have ever been; the automobile industry is back, has repaid its loan and produced profit for the national treasury. The housing industry is rebounding with home sales increasing and foreclosures decreasing, the banking industry is again strong,  the national debt has decreased by $300 billion dollars, and more than 5,630,000 private sector jobs have been created, (4,151,000 lost under Bush) a net gain of 1, 479,000 jobs since President Obama came into office.  The Affordable Care Act which every president over the last seventy years has tried to achieve was passed; insuring millions of uninsured and despite claims to the contrary is reducing national healthcare costs and creating, not losing jobs. President Obama kept his campaign promise getting us out of two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, neither having had the support of the American people.

The biggest mistake President Obama has made is not telling the American people at the beginning of his first term, that it would take his entire first term to turn the economy around. Most of the people expected a quick recovery and because of this many people were disappointed when the recovery took so long. This miscommunication left the President vulnerable to false and misleading criticism from Republican leaders, many of them the same ones who supported Bush Administration, tax cuts and excessive spending which created the recession. How soon they forget, or think we forgot the mess they left the American people to reckon with.

Many people, including myself, are disappointed with the polarization and inability of President Obama to work with this Congress, but as the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” Republican leadership intimidated by the so called “Tea Party” and fearful of primary challenges refuses to work with this president. Their goal is to oppose this president on everything; they want it to be a failed presidency for their own partisan and personal interests. A few weeks ago former Republican Senator and Majority Leader Howard Baker of Tennessee died. He was the best example of a time in Washington, when partisan interests were put aside and compromises reached between the two parties in the national interest. Today, he would certainly be challenged as not being conservative enough for the Republican Party.

The United States today is certainly better than when President Barack Obama was sworn in. The economy is rebounding, the automobile, housing and banking industries are back, the national debt is declining, unemployment is lower than it has been since 2007, and the United States is no longer the only industrialized nation without national healthcare. Despite the turmoil in Iraq, the United States is leaving two wars which the American people didn’t support and we never should have entered.

Today we hear a continuous negative drumbeat about President Obama and how disappointed people are with his presidency. But look at where the nation was when he took office, and where it is now. He has not lived up to all my expectations, but what elected official lives up to all of our expectations? But to say he is the worst president of the last fifty years. How soon we do forget. I wish the best, and support our president as he leads our nation and the world in these difficult and complex times.
*Bishop Reginald T. Jackson is the Chair, Social Action Commission and Presiding Prelate of the 20th Episcopal district and Ecumenical Officer


*Sister Loy Brown

As we approach their 100 days of captivity on July 22, let us turn it up with prayers and action.

Let us pray to our Father who art in heaven, bring back our girls.

Two-hundred-and-twenty-three precious young women are still lost to us.  We are weeping for our children, hear our prayer.

We are grieving and we are angry. So angry that our beautiful girls have been abducted, stolen, from their lives and their innocence by such unspeakable evil. We are desperate for their return, and we are desperate for someone to pay attention to them, to save them, to rescue them.

Our pillows are soaked with tears. We carry our grief in our wombs. We cannot be comforted while our daughters, our brilliant and beautiful daughters, are in the hands of extremists who are threatening to sell them. Dear God.

Why does no one care about our girls, Abba? I am angry because I believe that if they were 200 students from Ontario or Ohio, the world would have turned itself inside out until they were found but because our girls are in Nigeria, they are just another story, another “what a shame” story.

But I don’t want to remain isolated in my anger; I want my anger to work for our girls. Use my anger, Jesus; turn the force of it towards justice.

There is still time.

Abba, I pray for rescue. I pray for ways to escape and favour for the journey.

I pray for people on the inside who are filled with doubt to begin to set the girls free. Reach into their hearts, into the shred of humanity that is still left, and may they stand up against their leaders and fight for justice from within this evil. Repent; and may they repent!

I pray for governments to move to action. I pray for the United Nations and the leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon, the people of influence all within the region, may they lean heavily and hard into the evil, until all of our girls are free. From the north and the south, from the east and the west, may we begin to rise up against such evil, such common evil.
We know that if this group succeeds, it will only be the beginning. Give us the courage and the resources to end this, now. Compel our leaders and wake them from their slumber. Dismantle the self-preservation instincts of governments.

I pray for courage to be in each school – the students, their parents, their teachers – who still stand in the crossfire between extremists and education even now today. They are feeling vulnerable and afraid, please guard them. Give them friends. May their communities rise up and surround them. This school, the girls are hope to a nation and to a world and let our hopes not be crushed.

Father, among all of the devastation that this group has wrought throughout their region, all of the deaths, so many sparrows falling to the ground, may we notice it, may we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand, and may we grieve our brothers and sisters, may we rise up and say “NO MORE” with you.

I feel so helpless. All I know to do this morning is to pray. It feels futile, but take this small seed...

May we help rescue, restore, and redeem our girls and their neighbourhoods from this evil still stalking the land.

We don’t understand it; this is complex in some ways but glaringly simple, still.

So we are fasting and we are praying and we are standing. We will use everything we have to help, everything.

Jesus, bring back our girls, whether by miracle or by diplomacy, bring back our girls. We will lean heavily on our leaders until these girls are as dear to them as they are to you and to us.

I pray for an earthquake and for the jail doors to be swung open only by the Spirit. I pray for safety. I pray for courage.

Abba, be near to our girls and keep them safe, envelope them in courage and in love. Speak hope to them: someone is coming for them. We have not forgotten.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - Amen!

*Sister Loy Brown, NGO Delegate, Missionary from Canada


*The Rev. Dr. Carlos Antonio McCloud

Mount Moriah joined efforts with the Future Generation Youth of Swainsboro, Georgia in its annual Back to School backpack giveaway.

Newly appointed pastor, the Rev. Dr. Carlos McCloud says, “We at Mt. Moriah have always looked for ways to better support our community, especially the children.”

Mt. Moriah AMEC wanted to ensure that all 4,500 children of Emanuel County have a backpack on the first day of school.
“No child in Emanuel County should return to school without a backpack. We owed it to the children to provide them with what they needed to be successful, and we at Mt. Moriah wanted to do our part,” McCloud said.

It was Mount Moriah’s pleasure to collaborate with Mr. Ronnie Shuemake, founder of Future Generation Youth, to make this event a success. Pastor McCloud said, “Mt. Moriah is a church with the community at heart.”

This year’s back to school event includes a session for parents that will be held at the church on August 1, 2014 at 6 p.m. The Emanuel County Parent Involvement Coordinator, Mrs. Susan Stevens will present parents with important information to ensure that the students have a successful beginning at the start of the school year. Door prizes wills be awarded.

On Saturday, August 2, 2014, the book bag giveaway and Fun Day will be held on from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  All 4,500 children in the county have been invited.

The children will receive information about health screenings, pre-college information and they will participate in recreational activities, including face-painting, jump houses, music, and delicious barbeque.

A special Children’s Day program was celebrated and a portion of the proceeds went directly to the effort to the program to provide each child with a book bag.

The goal of the New Mt. Moriah AME Church is to minister to the social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical needs of the whole person.

*Carlos Antonio McCloud, B.B.A., M.Ed, M. Div., D. Min. is the pastor of New Mount Moriah AME Church in Swainsboro, Georgia


On Sunday, June 22, 2014, at the 10:00 a.m. worship, a great host of members and friends gathered for the celebration of the 145th Church Anniversary of Pleasant Grove AME Church located in Hinesville, Georgia.  The church is on the Savannah West District, the Georgia Annual Conference of the Sixth Episcopal District. The Rt. Reverend Preston Warren Williams II is the Presiding Bishop.  Dr. Wilma Delores Webb-Williams is the Episcopal Supervisor, and the Reverend James E. Taylor serves as Presiding Elder. The Reverend John E. Morse, Jr. is the Pastor.

The theme for the celebration was “Continual Praise unto our God” (Psalm 34:1).  Superior Court Judge, Pastor John E. Morse, Jr. urged all present to engage in joyful praise to God for the blessings of 145 years of ministry and service.  Soul-stirring music, traditional as well as contemporary, was rendered by the Pleasant Grove Mass Choir, directed by the Reverend Debbie Morse, spouse of the pastor.

Presiding Elder Taylor read Psalm 34:1-10 and preached powerfully from the subject “A Reason to Praise the Lord.”  The Holy Spirit came, the people rejoiced, and souls were set on fire.  Sister Shirley V. Taylor, past Conference and Episcopal President of the A.M.E. Minister’s Spouses, Widows/Widowers Organization Plus Preacher’s Kids, joined the celebration.

Following the worship service Pastor Morse assembled the trustees for the Multi-Purpose Building Mortgage Burning Ceremony at which the Presentation Address was read by Brother Robert Campbell.  The twenty-year mortgage was paid off in three years.  The congregation rejoiced with thankful hearts over their accomplishment achieved through cooperative efforts and an abiding faith in God.  Following the ceremony Presiding Elder Taylor gave the grace, pronounced the Benediction and the people of God moved to the beautiful multi-purpose building for a sumptuous meal and fellowship.

Sister Delores Frasier, Reporter

As an AME pastor, I have had the duty of presiding over many funerals, either at the churches I’ve been the pastor of, or at the Funeral home, or at some other non-AME venue. I have found that there are certain protocols which we employ at each that may cause some anxiety in the inexperienced.
You get the call. Brother Steward or Sister Trustee has just passed and their non-member family person has called to let you know. They come from a big family that will be coming in from all parts of the country. They were very active in the community and had retired from their jobs after working in several positions for many years. With all this, the family does not believe your sanctuary will hold all the mourners comfortably.
They suggest having it either at the mortuary or at their good friend’s non-AME church down the road from you who just finished a building project enlarging their sanctuary considerably.

You consent, of course.
In my experience, the first thing you want to know is, “Are you the Officiant or a program participant?” If the latter, your role is much more muted in the funeral - whether that means saying the opening prayer, reading the scripture, or offering the eulogy/words of comfort.
If asked to be a program participant, you are not the one in charge. I know that’s hard to hear. After all, you were the one who went to see them every month to give them Holy Communion. You were there to offer pastoral care to the deceased when they needed it the most. But, just because you’re not the one in charge, does not mean you have permission to high-jack the funeral. Say your prayer. Deliver your sermon. Read your scripture with dignity and proper reverence and "sit down."

Now, if asked to be the officiant, even though it is not at your church, you have been placed in charge. According to the World English Dictionary, an Officiant is “a person who presides and officiates at a religious ceremony.” As the officiant, it is your responsibility to be in contact with the family to ensure that, even though not at an AME venue, that it is an AME service, following our order of worship and practices.

In other words, even though at the funeral chapel or at the large “non-denominational” church across town, it should still look and feel like an AME service. As the officiant, you should make sure of it.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do…” does not apply here. You may feel the pressure of complying with all of the local customs just because you are not at the church building in which you serve as the pastor, but resist that pressure.

When in an AME worship service, those gathered should know it. Our order of worship is designed to, with purpose and meaning, usher in the Spirit of God and usher our people into God’s presence, so don’t compromise.
There is purpose and theological significance to our closed casket service - the casket is not to be opened again for any “parting view” that many pastors are pressured into allowing. Other traditions have been allowed to encroach upon our sacred traditions. But just because that’s the way they do it there does not mean we should allow it at our services even if our services are not held in our churches.
Funerals are great teachable moments. When in a non-AME venue for a funeral, as the officiant or AME minister on-site, it is okay to let the bereaved know how, and more importantly, why we do what we do. There is a reason why many AME pastors don’t open the casket up at the end of the service. There is a reason why we have the prayer before the scripture. There is a reason why we read scripture as we process in and as we recess out of the sanctuary.

If it’s an AME funeral, let it be that - AME worship. If it’s not, follow local customs with dignity, honor and respect.

*The Rev. V. Gordon Glenn III is the pastor of St. John AME Church in Topeka, Kansas


The Connectional Prayer Ministry is calling our CME Family to prayer for all our churches and our leaders in this season of new beginnings.

Upon the completion of the 2014 General Conference, seven Episcopal Districts received new Bishops.  However, all our Bishops and the Districts they lead begin a new season in ministry.  Let us pray for wisdom, strength, and favor for our Episcopal Leaders, and for a spirit of unity and blessing on all our churches.

The new list of Episcopal Assignments is as follows (asterisk by Districts with new Bishops)

• Senior Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick - Eighth Episcopal District*
• Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr. – First Episcopal District*
• Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr. – Fourth Episcopal District
• Bishop Kenneth W. Carter – Sixth Episcopal District
• Bishop James B. Walker – Seventh Episcopal District*
• Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr. – Third Episcopal District*
• Bishop Teresa E. Snorton – Fifth Episcopal District
• Bishop Godwin T. Umoette – Tenth Episcopal District
• Bishop Bobby R. Best – Ninth Episcopal District*
• Bishop Marvin F. Thomas – Second Episcopal District*
• Bishop Charles J. King, Jr. – Eleventh Episcopal District*

Please pray for these leaders by name, along with their spouses and families. 

Let us continue to pray for our retired Bishops and their families: Bishop William H. Graves, Bishop Othal H. Lakey, Bishop E. Lynn Brown, Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr., Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham, and Bishop Marshall Gilmore. 

We offer this prayer during this new season

Great God, like our Lord Jesus, we pray that we may all be one in Christ.  Help us to embrace Your Will and Your Purpose for us in this new season in the Church.  In this time of tremendous transition, give us all the ‘peace that passes understanding.’  Relieve us of the anxiety that comes with change and give us the wisdom and courage to stay focused on the ministry to which You have called us.

We especially lift our Episcopal Leaders, both active and retired, for wisdom for the work in this present age.  Please keep them healthy and strong through this Annual Conference season and the powerful work that is before them. 

Bless us all as your people, lay and clergy alike, to work together for Christ and His Kingdom; in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The Connectional Prayer Ministry
The Rev. Kwesi R. Kamau, Coordinator


Bishop Don DiXon Williams

Earlier this year, I announced my retirement from Bread for the World. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot these past few months. After 26 years of fighting hunger and poverty with this great organization, I’ve decided it’s time for me to spend more time with my family and help the cause in a different way.
It has been a blessing to work with Bread for the World in the fight to end hunger. The relationships I have been able to nurture and grow, the people I have been blessed to work with, and the people I have been privileged to help have made this past quarter-century of my life truly fulfilling.
It’s no secret that hunger and poverty disproportionately impact our people. That’s what drew me to the position in the first place. I wanted to do something that would address the root causes of hunger and poverty and help give our community a voice. I wanted to enact changes that would ensure my grandchildren never have to go to bed hungry.

 During the search for Bread for the World’s next associate for national African-American church engagement, I kept all of this in mind. Our main focus was to find someone who would build on our foundation and continue this calling. We were looking for someone who would continue to amplify African-Americans’ voices in this fight to end hunger. We found the ideal candidate with the Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith.
I met Angelique years ago and have had the pleasure of getting to know her at various conferences and events since then. I have seen some of the relationships she has fostered with communities here in the U.S. and in Africa. I have seen that she is filled with the Holy Spirit. Her experience with the National Council of Churches, World Council of Churches, and experience within the African Diaspora will be crucial in helping write hunger into history not only in the United States but around the world.

While I will truly miss the work and my Bread “family,” I know Angelique’s passion for justice and strong relationships will help take the organization to new heights and further augment our work in the African-American community.     

As I spend more time with my family, I will continue to be a part of Bread and its mission to eradicate hunger by praying, acting, and giving. Thank you for allowing me and Bread to be a part of your lives. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to the Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith. I wish her and all of you the best. This is not goodbye, but "Until next time.” Know that I will still be around, fighting the good fight.     


Washington, D.C., July 18, 2014 –Bread for the World welcomes the Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith as the new associate for national African-American church engagement. Walker-Smith succeeds Bishop Don DiXon Williams, who announced his retirement this spring after 26 years with the organization.

“It’s no secret that hunger and poverty disproportionately impact people of color,” said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We are excited to have someone with such passion and experience build upon the solid foundation Don has laid for Bread for the World over the last quarter-century to ensure that African-Americans have a voice in this fight.”

Walker-Smith formerly served as the executive director of the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis for 19 years, overseeing a broad range of ecumenical activities. Her diverse background also includes years of experience with the National Council of Churches, World Council of Churches, and as moderator of the Justice Plenary, among others. Her resume also includes experience in Africa. She plans to expand Bread for the World’s focus to build bridges to and within the African Diaspora.

“It has been a blessing to work with Bread for the World in the fight to end hunger,” said Williams. “While I will truly miss this work and my ‘Bread family,’ I know Angelique’s passion for justice and strong background will help take the organization to new heights and further augment our work in the African-American community.”

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Walker-Smith is a graduate of Kent State University. She earned her master’s degree from Yale University Divinity School in 1983, and went on to become the first African-American woman to graduate from the doctor of ministry program at Princeton Theological Seminary. 

Walker-Smith will assume her new role on July 29, 2014.

Please click http://www.bread.org/what-we-do/mobilize/mobilize-people-of-faith.html  for more information on Bread for the World’s work to mobilize people of faith.


*By C. Michael Hawn

-- "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" by Edward Hopper - The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 509 and the AMEC Hymnal, No. 372

Jesus, Savior, pilot me
over life’s tempestuous sea;
unknown waves before me roll,
hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass came from thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

The sea is a favorite image of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century hymn writers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Traveling by ship, although an adventure was also potentially a long and arduous journey fraught with danger; especially storms and unseen rocks. Even a short list of hymns that incorporate the sea and storm metaphor is impressive:

-- “Jesus, lover of my soul” (1740) by Charles Wesley (The United Methodist Hymnal, 479) / AMEC Hymnal No. 592 (anthem), No. 253 (MARTYN) and No. 253 (REFUGE):

...while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high;
hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past…
(Stanza one)

-- “When peace, like a river” (1873) by Horatio Gates Spafford (The United Methodist Hymnal, 377) / AMEC Hymnal No. 448:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll.  (Stanza one)

God is often depicted as one who has control over the storms:

“God moves in a mysterious way” (1774) by William Cowper:

God moves in a mysterious way,
his wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea
and rides upon the storm. (Stanza one)

“O Worship the King” (1833) by Robert Grant (The United Methodist Hymnal, 73) / AMEC Hymnal No. 12:

His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm. (Stanza two)

Of course, the United States Navy hymn is a case in point. “Eternal Father, strong to save” (1860) by William Whiting:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
who bids the mighty ocean deep
its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea. (Stanza one)

For those with further interest in this theme, refer to an address by John Townley, www.astrococktail.com/hymnody.html.

“Jesus, Savior, pilot me” falls in a long and rich tradition of hymns that draw upon the imagery of the sea to establish the relationship between the believer and Christ. Edward Hopper (1816-1888) was inspired by the accounts of Jesus who stilled the storm found in all of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). Written at the request by George S. Webster, secretary of the Seaman’s Friend Society, the hymn was first published in the Society’s magazine, The Sailor’s Magazine and Seaman’s Friend in the March 3, 1871 issue. The designation was, “By the Rev. Edward Hopper, D.D., Pastor of the Church of the Sea and Land.”

Hopper, a graduate of New York University (1839) and Union Theological Seminary (1842), was well acquainted with the sea, pastoring the Sag Harbor Presbyterian Church on Long Island for eleven years, and then spending the majority of his ministry at the Church of the Sea and Land in New York City. It was in this latter congregation that he became well known for his ministry to sailors.

Stanza one demonstrates the poet’s knowledge of both the synoptic narratives and the sailor’s life with references to “unknown waves,” “treacherous shoal,” and “chart and compass.” Stanza two begins with a maternal simile, “As a mother stills her child, thou can hush the ocean wild.” The poet cites directly from Scripture the words of Jesus, “Be still,” demonstrating that Christ is the “wondrous sovereign of the sea.” Stanza three acknowledges the dangers of sea travel when one approaches the shore. In this case, the shore is the fear of death. The hymn ends with the comforting words of the Savior, “Fear not, I will pilot thee.”

Originally in six stanzas, the missing three follow, the first of which draws heavily on the synoptic narratives:

When the Apostles’ fragile bark
struggled with the billows dark,
on the stormy Galilee,
thou didst walk upon the sea;
and when they beheld thy form,
safe they glided through the storm.

Though the sea be calm and bright,
sparkling with the stars of night,
and my ship’s path be ablaze
with the light of halcyon days,
still I know my need of thee,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

When the darkling heavens frown,
and the wrathful winds come down,
and the fierce waves, tossed on high,
lash themselves against the sky,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
over life’s tempestuous sea.

While these stanzas demonstrate the author’s knowledge of the sea and the life of the sailor, they add little in terms of literary quality or narrative value to the hymn.

John Edgar Gould (1822-1875), a Bangor, Maine, native who was a composer, publisher, and merchant in New York City, composed the tune. He gave it the name PILOT when it appeared in The Baptist Praise Book (1871). A compiler of gospel song collections in Philadelphia after 1866, he was well acquainted with sea travel himself, dying in Algiers, in northern Africa in 1875.

C. Michael Hawn is University Distinguished Professor of Church Music, Perkins School of Theology, SMU.

Categories: History of Hymns

**Used with permission of the United Methodist News Service                 


Dillard President Walter Kimbrough was named Male President of the Year, one of three awards for the host institution which also earned awards for female alumna of the year Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, and best nursing program. The awards ceremony also featured its first back-to-back winners in Alabama State for best fine arts program, Oakwood University for best choir, and best female coach at Prairie View A&M University, whose former coach Toyelle Wilson won last year, and this year went to Dawn Brown; both who captured SWAC women’s basketball titles in their respective award years.

The awards ceremony was part of the 2014 HBCU Media Week Presented by Dillard University. The two-day conference drew more than 40 HBCU communications executives, faculty members, presidents, alumni officers and vice-presidents from HBCUs around the country. Highlights from the event included a remote Q&A session with national Craig Melvin, host and correspondent for MSNBC, and Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now on the TV One network.

Best Marching Band - Southern University Human Jukebox
Best Choir - Oakwood University Aeolian Choir
Best Student Government Association - Prairie View A&M University
Best Student Organization - Fisk University HCASC Team
Best Student Newspaper - Morehouse College Maroon Tiger Newspaper
Best Alumni Publication - The A&M Magazine, Florida A&M
Best Research Center - Hampton University Minority Men’s Health Initiative
Best Fine Arts Program - Alabama State Univ. Department of Theater Arts
Best Business Program - Morgan State University Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management
Best STEM Program - Johnson C. Smith University College of STEM
Best Nursing Program - Dillard University College of Nursing
Best School of Social Work - Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work
Male Faculty Member of the Year - Greg Carr, Howard University
Female Faculty Member of the Year - Ayoka Chenzira, Spelman College
Male Coach of the Year - Dawson Odums, Southern University
Female Coach of the Year - Dawn Brown, Prairie View A&M University
Male Athlete of the Year - Dray Joseph, Southern University
Female Athlete of the Year - Jazzmin Parker, Texas Southern University
Men’s Team of the Year - North Carolina Central University Men’s Basketball
Female Team of the Year - Hampton University Women’s Basketball
National Alumni Association of the Year - Florida A&M University
Male Alumnus of the Year - Michael Strahan, Texas Southern University
Female Alumnus of the Year - Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, Dillard University
Male Student of the Year - Kelcey Wright, Albany State University
Female Student of the Year - Priscilla Barbour, Prairie View A&M University
Male President of the Year - Dr. Walter Kimbrough, Dillard University
Female President of the Year - Dr. Carolyn Meyers, Jackson State University
HBCU of the Year - Hampton University


Members of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization gather to address voting rights, health care, economic opportunity, educational equality, and criminal justice reform among other priorities.

JULY 16, 2014—Vice President Joe Biden will deliver remarks to thousands of delegates, members and guests of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), at its annual convention on July 23. The event is being held from July 19-23 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Vice President Biden’s remarks are scheduled for Wednesday, July 23 at 11:00 a.m. (PST)

The 2014 NAACP convention, “NAACP: All In for Justice and Equality,” occurs in a year of important civil rights anniversaries and milestones, including the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer. It also occurs on the heels of the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision, which invalidated Section IV of the Voting Rights Act.

WHO: National civil rights leaders, elected officials, and policymakers including: NAACP National Chairman Roslyn M. Brock; NAACP National Vice Chairman Leon Russell; NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks; former NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge; U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson; former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, and more.

WHAT: 105th National Convention of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, with members and digital activists worldwide.

WHEN: July 19-23, 2014

WHERE: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, 3950 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas NV 89119
MEDIA: The Vice President’s remarks will be open press. Additional logistical details for media are forthcoming.

For more information, please visit http://www.naacp.org


View the video in the link below.  An excellent message in grammar:

Devarieste Curry

A few nights ago, I saw the film "Freedom Summer," a documentary by Stanley Nelson about 10 weeks in 1964 when more then 700 student volunteers from around the country went to Mississippi to try to shatter the foundations of white supremacy. At the conclusion of the film, one of the panelists who had been involved in the effort, urged the young people to "Make some noise," to help dismantle the entrenched inequality that still exists in this country. While I believe young people need to raise their voices against present day inequality, I believe young and old need to raise their voices against those who have forgotten the price paid for our freedom and continue to engage in corrupt activities that undermine the cause of freedom.

We continue to witness the downfall of the African American politician elite. Those with the best education and the best  connections and often from the best connected families continue to lose valuable political offices because of conviction of engaging in (or guilty pleas) corrupt behavior, behavior that often has been captured on tape or other electronic means. Among those who have squandered hard won rights are: Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.; former Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick; former District of Columbia Councilman Michael Brown, son of former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown; former District of Columbia Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr., son of former Councilman Harry Thomas, Sr.; former District of Columbia Council Chair Kwame Brown; former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin; former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson (along with his wife).

When we voted for these people, we rightly expected that they would continue to ascend the political ladder and be powerful voices for the masses who are not so well educated or connected.  Instead, we continue to witness the parade of horrors (consider the recent indictment of the Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina). To magnify the loss and the impact on African American, minority and poor communities, these fallen warriors (or at least expected warriors) are not being replaced by those who have shown much of an interest in continuing the struggle for freedom and fighting against the new Jim Crow.

All of the people mentioned above had two things in common. First, they forgot who they are and whose they are, and in the forgetting, sold themselves for thirty pieces of silver.  They were greedy and focused on no one but themselves.  Second, these corrupt "leaders" ignored certain foundational principles that at one time were a central part of the African American community (at least the community in which I was raised) and that the African American leaders of old followed with fidelity.  How do we stop the cycle?  We must redouble efforts to pass on the well-tested foundational principles to our young, so that they not only will make some noise, but they will operate with a well-equipped tool box that that will allow them to ascend the halls of power and to remain firmly perched, even when storms roll in, as they inevitably will.  Here are nine principles that I believe will help plant anyone on a firm foundation.

1) Become familiar with moral and theological philosophies that predate modern rules of conduct and that in fact serve as the moral underpinning of our society.  Moral standards, which often are based on religious foundations, leave less wiggle room about what is acceptable than do ethics codes, which have been drafted by lawyers and often have loopholes.  The Book of Proverbs, one of the oldest codes of conduct, offers a wealth of guidance on how to operate ethically, dispensing advice on a wide range of topics, from honesty and integrity to the value in seeking counsel from others.  The Book of Proverbs and similar codes of conduct in other religions (Judaism, Islam, and Taoism all have codes of conduct) offers sound guidance whether one is Christian, of another religion, or disclaims being "religious."  Anyone who keeps the following principles in his tool box will be well on his way to leading a moral and ethical life.  For example, Proverbs cautions that ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but practicing what is right always delivers one from an ignominious downfall (Proverbs 10:2); that the wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment (Proverbs 10:16); and that the integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity (Proverbs 11:3). All of these Proverbs caution against the very kinds of activities that continue to ensnarl young African American politicians who should be moving up the political ladder.

2) Be knowledgeable about your organization's code of conduct.  Although the book of Proverbs is the starting place for building an ethical foundation, whether you are a politician or are employed in the government, a corporation, or a non-profit, you should become familiar with and ardently follow your organization's code of conduct.  Know what activities are prohibited.  If the rules are unclear or if you disagree with them, speak with someone who can interpret them.  In fact, if you are a senior executive with decision making authority, you should consider hiring an attorney to brief you on the detail of your governing codes as well as applicable laws that govern certain behavior.

3) Have a line that you will not cross when it comes to ethics. Before being confronted with an ethical dilemma, a thoughtful person will have given some thought to the things she will not do, regardless of the possible adverse consequences or who makes the request. The strongest moral decisions we make are ones we make before we are tempted.  In his book, Street Smart Ethics: Succeeding in Business Without Selling Your Soul, Clinton W. McLemore calls these advance decisions "preemptory decisions," saying that an ethical person makes the decision one time - in advance of trouble.

4) Recognize that small or initial ethical compromises open the door to further compromises. Let your conscience be your guide; if something does not feel right, it probably is not. This means you also must make it a habit to do the right thing.  Advice in 1951 by noted theologian and philosopher Dr. Howard Thurman in his book Deep is the Hunger is just as relevant today.  He said: "We are living in the midst of events that [demand that we stand up and be counted. The options are often very few. . . . It might not be a bad idea to get in the practice now and develop the climate within [yourselves] that makes it possible for you to make up your mind to be counted." Making up your mind to be counted as an elected official means you make up your mind to do the right thing and to make decisions that benefit other than yourself.

5) Operate on a buddy system, and choose as a buddy someone who is not a "yes" person. Most people who want to do the right thing have confidants with whom they vet difficult issues. Develop such a relationship with people who have a reputation for doing the right thing.  As Proverbs 28:23 cautions, the one who criticizes should in the end gain more favor than the one who offers empty praises. True leaders value honesty. (Proverbs 16:13).  If someone who loves and respects you warns you against doing something, you should at least think critically about the planned action before doing it.  If nations fall because of a lack of guidance, but succeed with advisers (Proverbs 11:14), so do people.

6) Have the ability to work independently as well as part of a team. This will help you to resist negative pressure. The ability to work independently comes from having confidence in one's own ability and in not needing the approval of others.

7) Do not use as a motto, "Everybody else is doing it." This approach is almost guaranteed to lead you to trouble.  If you are certain of the foundation on which you stand, you will not be so concerned about what everybody else is doing.

8) Recognize that the temptation to engage in unethical conduct often sneaks up on you, especially if you do not have the proper ethical foundation. As noted philosopher C. S. Lewis said, such temptation often comes "over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man or woman, whom you recently have been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still.  It will be the hint of something [that violates] the technical rules of fair play … something which the … ignorant, romantic public would never understand … but something, says your new friend, which 'we' and at the word 'we' you try not to blush for sheer pleasure - something 'we always do.'" C.S. Lewis, as quoted in Street Smart Ethics: Succeeding in Business without Selling Your Soul, Clinton W. McLemore.  Recognizing this should keep you in a questioning mode about certain proposed or planned conduct.

9) Remember, you can never win by engaging in unethical conduct. Proverbs 21:6 illuminates the folly of engaging in corrupt activities by reminding us that a fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. The probabilities of being caught and punished are high. It is not a matter of if you will be caught; it often is a matter of when you will be caught and brought to justice.

Thus, in conclusion, while all of us need to keep fighting and remain engage in the political process to advance the cause of freedom, a part of that fight is to speak out against corruption, irrespective of who commits the corrupt act and to remind those elected to political office to make sure they carry the right tool box into office with them.  When they do not, we must not hesitate to hold them accountable.


The Right Reverend Julius Harrison McAllister, Sr.
Mrs. Joan McAllister, Episcopal Supervisor

South Mississippi Annual Conference
September 10-14, 2014
Saint John A. M. E. Church
551 Division Street
Biloxi, Mississippi  39532
Church Telephone:  (228) 553-9976

The Reverend Sherry Tillman, Host Pastor
The Reverend Joseph Young, Host Presiding Elder
The Reverend George W. Tyler, Associate Presiding Elder
The Reverend Sylvester Marshall, Sr., Associate Presiding Elder
The Reverend Anthony Mills, Associate Presiding Elder

North Mississippi Annual Conference
September 24-28, 2014
Bethel AME Church
403 North Edwards Street
Mound Bayou, Mississippi
Church Telephone:  (662) 741-2648

The Reverend Horace McKay, Host Pastor
The Reverend John L. Moore, Jr., Host Presiding Elder
The Reverend William Hardiman, Jr., Associate Presiding Elder
The Reverend Archie Smith, Associate Presiding Elder

Central North Louisiana Annual Conference
October 8-12, 2014
Bethel AME Church
2700 Jones Avenue
Alexandria, Louisiana  71302
Church Telephone:  (318) 448-0137

The Reverend JioVonte` Watkins, Host Pastor
The Reverend Lloyd Washington, Jr., Host Presiding Elder
The Reverend Michele Goodloe, Associate Presiding Elder

Louisiana Annual Conference
October 22-26, 2014
Bethel AME Church
1358 South Boulevard
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70810
Church Telephone:  (225) 344-6931

The Reverend Herman O. Kelly, Host Pastor
The Reverend David Campbell, Jr., Host Presiding Elder
The Reverend Otis S. Lewis, Sr., Associate Presiding Elder
The Reverend Jacob W. Hilton, Jr., Associate Presiding Elder

Post Conference Planning Meeting
November 20-22, 2014
Bonner-Campbell Campus
Edwards, Mississippi 39066


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

Based on Biblical Text: Ezekiel 37:14: And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.

Not many ministers of the Gospel have been able to resist preaching from this very familiar vivid yet intriguing text known as the “Dry Bones.” It could be the brilliant manner in which the writer describes how sinew comes upon sinew or how bone attaches to bone that attracts us to this magnificent resurrection story. Maybe it is that missionaries, exhorters and each of us called to Pastoral ministry have an innate desire to speak life into spiritually dead men and women. Our desire is that those we are charged to lead would find resurrection power for their own lives in this exciting passage of Scripture.

All who have answered the call to serve want to do the best job possible for the Lord. It is clear to me, after years of work, that no matter how prepared we are, no matter how dedicated we are, no matter how committed we are, we are nothing without the Holy Spirit!

Like many of my colleagues, I love all of the members of my congregation. There are many of us who truly love the souls of the men and women we are charged to lead. And we truly desire to preach and teach with all diligence to bring these men and women to believe in Jesus Christ. But, it is impossible for us to accomplish this feat on our own as this is the sole work of the Holy Spirit. 

We can however, begin our work according to the Word of God, prophesying with God’s help. However the truth is, if we proceed in our own power we will find ourselves confronted with a wall that we can not get through on our own. We will invariably meet with a wall that we cannot get over or around by ourselves. Even our most fervent effort will not be sufficient as we will find men and women behind that wall that we still have not reached. No matter how much we may want to strengthen their resolve or cause them to be stronger in faith, we cannot because we by ourselves lack the power to do so.

Thank the Lord, there are many things that we are able to do. We can, like the Word challenges us, lead by example, letting our light so shine that others may see God’s good works in us. We can be faithful to preach the Word in season and out of season. We can be examples of righteousness, not only talking the talk but walking the walk. We can be examples of faith in prayer, fervently praying without ceasing trusting and believing that prayer changes things. We can be role models for seeking first the kingdom of God in any and everything thing we undertake.

When I think of the many demands associated with the call to ministry it congers up several vivid even though unrealistic pictures of what one must be like to be considered anywhere near perfect. I have a humorous mental picture of what, for example, must constitute perfection as a pastor. One picture of a perfect pastor is one who preaches exactly 20-25 minutes, then sits down. He or she condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He or she is dedicated to work from 8 AM to 10 PM doing everything from preaching to custodial service. He or she demands a meager salary yet wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car, and gives most of the salary back to the church. He or she stands ready to contribute to every good work that comes along. No matter how old the preacher is they have been preaching for 30 years. The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and spends all his or her time visiting with older folks. The perfect pastor makes 15 visits a day on church members, spends all his or her time evangelizing the unchurched, and can always be found at the office.

The perfect missionary using similar criteria is one who puts everything and everybody before themselves. One who is never down, never “blue.” He or she spends two-thirds of every day tending the needs of other families, the final third seeing to their own while keeping themselves fit to serve the rest of the week. He or she receives no salary yet wears nice clothes, has a nice family, drives a good car and can be counted on to purchase several tickets for the “Gospel Fest” and a few dinners for the “Building Fund Rally.” They have a burning desire to work with the young folk and spend many hours visiting the nursing home yet can always be counted on to answer their phone.

But, even for the “perfect” minister of the Gospel, when it comes to the creation of life and the task of saving men and women’s souls from spiritual death, they will find they have come upon a mysterious territory into which they cannot infiltrate. Here they will uncover their limitations. They will, in fact, find that they have entered the domain of miracles, where God alone reigns Supreme. God alone has the power to give life and God alone has the power to take life away. We can never raise a single person from the grave of sin neither can we bring a single sinner to the feet of Jesus Christ. That is the work of the Holy Spirit!

So how does this truth affect the “called to serve”? If we are powerless, should we just not do anything? Should we just not care? Should we rest believing, “God’s Spirit has to do the work, so I’ll just fold my arms and take it easy?”  Of course, we can not do that. Our heart's desire must be that every one of us be saved. Our prayer for mankind is that they might be saved. So then we can not just sit still and do nothing.

We would do well to realize that we must be practical. We must understand that in our own power we are unable to command the winds to assemble from the “four corners of the earth” to stand men’s spiritually dead souls upright. However, we can use the wind from whatever direction it may blow.

I have friends who love to sail. The sailors I know understand that they can not stop the storm, nor can they create the storm. However, they do not just sit still. The sailboat, I have learned, has different shaped and different size sails. The boat has sails of different cuts and forms that enable them to use every ounce of wind that comes. Sailors understand how to unfurl the sails in case the wind becomes too strong for the boat. In other words, although sailors can not control the wind, they can use whatever wind God is pleased to send.

Like the sailor, we who have picked up the mantle of service, can not control the wind. We are unable to, in our own power; command the mighty wind of influence that streams from the Omnipotent Spirit of God. We recognize that we are not able to control the wind nor is it within our power to turn the wind or cause it to blow anyway other than the way God wills it to blow. We understand by faith that as the Bible says, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.” However, with God being our helper we can make full use of the wind. In our inability to save men, we have to turn to God and we have to lay hold of God’s power.

Every time and everywhere we are blessed with an opportunity to share God’s Word of Truth with someone, from the pulpit or on the street we come face to face with spiritual death. We must however be conscious of the fact that we cannot, by ourselves, remove it. We are fully aware that only the Holy Spirit can quicken men’s dead souls.

There is however an undeniable attitude of the heart that we must assume. By faith we can know that there are certain results that we can expect as a result of our obedience. The first thing that must happen is that our heart must be deeply humbled. Our heart must be completely emptied and disconnected from the carnal us. Our heart and our mind must be focused on the things above recognizing our position in the world and the Lord’s admonition not to be worldly.

The fact is we may study the message we intend to deliver, checking it and re-checking it for validity doing all the work necessary to examine the original text. We may even deliver the message with perfectly correct interpretation and expression. However, we cannot by ourselves quicken a soul with our message.

I must confess that I may ascend to the pulpit preach with power, illustrate with eloquence, explain and reinforce the truth with mighty oratory that charms the hearers. It may even be that I, on a good day,   am able to hold the hearers in awe for several minutes. However, no eloquence of mine can raise the dead. I confess today before God and every reader that I have no power on my own. I submit that a voice other than mine must be heard and a power greater than that of thought or persuasion must be brought to bear or no soul will be saved.

What I am trying to get someone to understand is that only as the Spirit of God shall bless men by me, shall they receive a blessing through me. Whatever my ability or my experience, it is the Spirit of God, who must bless my labor to save souls. Therefore, the scripture says we do not glory in this work, for necessity is laid upon us.

What I learn from Ezekiel’s story in our text is that no servant should dare take on the critical work of ministry with the slightest bit of confidence in self. To approach God’s people thinking that we are anything by ourselves would certainly prevent the Holy Spirit from working through us. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts". I want somebody to understand that by ourselves we have no Word that will lift and no Word that saves. We have no power by ourselves. All power is of God alone. We must understand that no soul will be saved apart from the Spirit of God, and we dare not venture into the mission field without prayer.

No matter how skillful we may claim to be at exegeting biblical text, making the first century wording relevant to our right now concerns, it is through constant dialogue with God that our heart is clear as to what God would have us say. In other words, the message could not be delivered without our constant groans and cries to God for help in every sentence that we utter.  And when the message is communicated, the work has only begun. The messages are but a test, and we must cry out continually in prayer; asking, pleading for the anointing to fall fresh with our every attempt to minister. Our prayer must be "Let the Spirit of God be upon me, that I may speak deliverance to the captives; else men will still remain in the prison house in spite of all my toil."

It is comforting to know that the Holy Spirit does not depend upon our mind or our abilities. The preacher in me is forced to add, “Somebody ought to say amen!” Even Jesus Christ laid aside all inventiveness and originality as He uttered only the words of his Father, the words which the Holy Spirit brought to him. He said to his followers, in that unforgettable communication, before he went out to Gethsemane, "The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." So it is our duty as the “called of God” to imitate Christ, dispensing with our own originality willing not to think our own thoughts, or to speak our own words, but speak only those words, which God shall give to us. It should be our desire that we would rather speak a few words out of the Holy Book than thousands of words from some philosophical interpretation. We should rather be a fool with God than be a wise man with the most gifted academics, for "the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

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


By Joshua Barajas 

July 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM EDT

The deadliest-ever epidemic of the Ebola virus has claimed 603 lives in West Africa since an outbreak was confirmed in February, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 85 new cases and 69 deaths were reported between July 8-12, indicating a “high level of transmission” of the hemorrhagic fever across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  The WHO anticipates the virus will spread to neighboring countries as efforts to contain the outbreak continue to fall short.

Health workers are having difficulty accessing affected West African communities because there’s a deep mistrust of doctors, and many patients believe that hospitalization is a “death sentence.”

The Ebola virus, which has no cure or vaccine, is easily transmitted by bodily fluids or infected tissues and has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. In Guinea, government officials banned public funerals for Ebola victims to reduce the risk of exposure. Sierra Leone officials have advised the public to not consume "bush meat,” or dead animals found in the bush, including monkeys, chimpanzees and bats.

Symptoms of Ebola include vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding and can emulate other tropical diseases such as malaria and cholera.

Named after the location of its first appearance, the virus was first documented in a village near the Ebola River in 1976. The death toll then was 280. WHO said the current strain is unrelated to past outbreaks.


The Rev. Alvin E. Attah

An ongoing epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus disease has spread throughout Guinea and beyond the nation's borders in West Africa. At least 844 infections and 518 deaths have been reported.

In a statement on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the latest figures from health ministries in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea showed a total of 844 cases since the epidemic began in February.  Between June 23, 2014 and July 8, 2014, health officials in West Africa say about 25 more people have died from Ebola, taking the total number of death to 518. The WHO said 50 new cases of the deadly disease had also been recently reported. It said Sierra Leone had accounted for 34 of the new cases and 14 deaths, while Liberia reported 16 new cases and 9 deaths. This Ebola outbreak is the most severe in recorded history, both in the number of cases and deaths.

In Monrovia, the Liberian Capital, individuals confirmed as positive with the Ebola Virus are quarantined at isolations centers managed by the government. One’s chances of survival are very, very slim. To most of them, their “death warrant” is already signed. 
In Monrovia, the Eliza Turner Memorial AME Church of the 14th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church committed its midyear outreach to people quarantined at isolation centers most of whom have very little chances of survival. Items worth close to $1,000 including beverages, eggs, toiletries and gospel tracks were donated to the Liberian Ministry of Health to support its work in catering to people in the isolation centers. Speaking during the presentation of items on July 9, 2014 to the health authorities, Rev. Alvin E. Attah, Pastor of the Church thanked Health Workers across the country who risks exposure to the virus to help save people who are infected. In his words, “we are all vulnerable, but to our brothers and sisters in there: we love them; we are praying for them; we share their pains, and this is our widow’s might to encourage them. Let them keep trusting Jesus for He is able to see them through.”

Receiving the items, the health authorities thanked the Eliza Turner AME family for the thoughtfulness, the concern and boldness to reach out to these inmates. “This is the first of its kind since the outbreak of the Ebola virus, and we hope other religious organization and humanitarian organizations could emulate the good will of the AMEs”, said the Assistant Health Minister Curative Services.

Bishop Clement W. Fugh is the Presiding Prelate of the 14th Episcopal District


*Dr. Oveta Fuller

This season
The National HIV Testing Day was June 27

Many Episcopal Districts are preparing for or have recently assembled and completed their Christian Education Congresses.

AME churches with the fall series of Annual Conferences are thinking about pastoral appointments and pastors and congregations will make their annual pastor’s report.

Some churches also use the pre-Annual Conference time to plan for the next conference year. It is a time of focus for AME Churches all over the globe.

National HIV Testing Day is relevant to every AME member, every Christian and every human being. As the news media reports concern for the currently uncontrolled nature of an Ebola virus epidemic (the largest ever) as it occurs in West African countries, it is an opportune time to give special attention to National HIV Testing for control of HIV/AIDS. (More will come on the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic.)

Anytime is a great time to attend to HIV Testing! By now you know this.

Resources you can use

Here are two helpful resources available for wide use. Both are tailored to The Black Church and HIV. Both correctly recognize HIV/AIDS as an infectious disease that is a health equity and social justice issue. They recognize it as an imperative for the Black Church- its leaders, its members and those served in the larger community.

One resource, The Black Church and HIV Toolkit is discussed below. The other, a Healthy Churches 2020 Conference will be discussed at a later time; however, it can be accessed anytime at http://healthychurches2020.org/about-the-conference

The Black Church and HIV Toolkit

Through engagement with the Commitment to Action of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the Health Department of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has launched the Black Church and HIV Initiative. The NAACP provides a toolkit as part of this national programming.

The Black Church and HIV Initiative provides multiple resources tailored to meet church needs. These include a Pastoral Briefing, Activity Manual, AIDS Vu map links, HIV Testing, Sermon Ideas on HIV and other resources. All can be accessed by free download from http://www.theblackchurchandhiv.org/toolkit/.

An Activity Manual

The NAACP Pastoral Briefing and Activity Manual provide an understanding and call to action for HIV/AIDS as a Social Justice issue. The Health Equity resource page places HIV in the Black community in the context of overall health issues. The HIV Testing resource explains the importance of testing and contains a highly relevant list of useful user-friendly internet resources for planning an HIV testing campaign.

The Activity Manual contains a list of items that can be effective in planning a day of focus on HIV/AIDS engagement. The manual states “Specifically, we are inviting pastors, like you, to do any of the below:

• Preach a sermon about HIV as a social justice issue or the disproportionate way it is impacting the Black community; Film your sermon and upload it to YouTube to share with others;

• Promote the Day of Unity on your social media channels; If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #DayofUnity to join the NAACP conversation.

• Provide HIV screenings at your church in partnership with a local health agency;

• Include information about the impact of HIV in your church bulletin;

• Announce collaboration with other local churches to tackle HIV in your community;

• Incorporate HIV into your health ministry;

• Start an HIV ministry and announce it on the Day of Unity; (or World AIDS Day, National Day of Testing, etc.)

• Host an educational workshop for your congregation;

• Mobilize volunteers from your congregation to work with people living with HIV;

• Host an event that highlights the disproportionate impact HIV is having on the Black community;

• Encourage other pastors in your community to participate in the/a Day of Unity.”

These are effective feasible items that a church and its leadership can do.

The NAACP is stating that the Black Church must engage; HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease that we can stop. Many of the suggestions in the Activity Manual have appeared in the TCR G20 column. Some AME leaders and churches already are engaged in such, and they can do more. Other churches need to get started. Every church or church leader can do something. This includes promoting an HIV test taken voluntarily by each leader. Actions in the manual are consistent with effective ministry preparation in the Payne Theological Seminary required course “What Effective Clergy Should Know about HIV/AIDS”.  We must effectively engage.

On One Accord

We are on one accord. Effective sustained action by clergy, as leaders of the Black Church will move closer towards control and elimination of HIV/AIDS. Effective sustained engagement of the Black Church is necessary to stop HIV/AIDS. Effective and widespread sustained engagement can be done.

If questions, or if further information is needed about the NAACP Black Church and HIV Initiative: A Social Justice Issue, contact The Rev. Keron Sadler, Manager or Shavon L. Arline-Bradley, Director, of the NAACP Health Programs Department at healthychurches2020@gmail.com. 

AMEs and others are on one accord. We are strategically and divinely placed “for such a time as this.” As recently reported and celebrated in the TCR, the Rev. Attorney Cornell William Brooks, an AME Itinerant Elder is the newly appointed National President and CEO of the NAACP. Further, the Rev. Dr. Thelma Bryant-Davis served as a co-author of the Activity Manual.  On the inside cover of the Pastoral Briefing, Senior Bishop John R. Bryant, Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District, aptly sets the agenda and states the undergirding reason for The Black Church and HIV Initiative.

“The Black Church is the only institution that has loved our people from the cradle to the grave. We loved them through slavery, through poverty, and through racism. We cannot make HIV the exception to our love. As the Mother Institution, we must love our people through the valley of HIV.”

- Bishop John Bryant, Chicago

Enough said. Get this resource and use it!

About the author:

The Rev. Dr. A. Oveta Fuller is a tenured professor in Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Director of the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan. An Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she is a former pastor and 2012-13 J. William Fulbright Scholar to Zambia. She works with community partners for HIV/AIDS elimination and teaches a course, “What Effective Clergy Should Know about HIV/AIDS.”  Contact Info: Email: fullerao@umich.edu, Phone: 734 647-3830


Bill Dickens, Allen AME Church, Tacoma, Washington

The motto of the United States Marine Corps is captured in the Latin phrase – “Semper Fidelis,” and Marines shortened to "Semper Fi."  The translation of “Semper Fidelis” into English means "forever faithful" or “forever loyal.” 

Contemporary American society seems inundated with antisocial behavior that calls into question, "To what or to whom we are faithful? 

Reckless behavior and criminal malfeasance transcends race, income, gender and class categories.  No one it seems is immune from the probability of personal theft, sexual debauchery, robbery, assault or most alarming, being a homicide victim.  

How did American life become synonymous with a “taste for crime?” 

The obvious answer is the ubiquity of sin.  How can we circumvent this social evil so that our quality of life will not be compromised, diminished or cut short?  The not-to-obvious answer to the latter question is the focus of the June 20, 2014, Adult AME Church School Lesson. 

In I Corinthians Chapter 10:1-22, Paul provides a response to dysfunctional behavioral patterns by drawing upon the lessons of history and the practical applications of responsible conduct and wholesome living. 

Paul reminds the Corinthian members that their Jewish ancestors, like themselves, were prone to behavioral abnormalities (vss. 6-13).  The Exodus experience saw many Jews engaging in conduct unbecoming of followers of YAHWEH.  Many engaged in idolatry, riotous living, and sex orgies and became serial transgressors of the Mosaic Law. 

The young Corinthian church also consisted of members who displayed similar characteristics. As the old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”   

The risk the Corinthians faced was that their lifestyle preferences could have lead to the same consequences of the Exodus Jews – punishment and wrath from YAHWEH. 

Paul exhorts his readers to eschew and remain free of such amoral conduct.  Our fidelity and loyalty should be firm in the salvation work of Jesus.  Maintaining a proper distance with such immoral behavior is important if we are to have a consistent and clear witness.  We are indeed a peculiar people and in training to becoming Ambassadors for Christ.  Illicit conduct is unbecoming of a follower of Jesus.  This doesn’t mean we are “holier than thou,” but, it does mean we understand the importance of striving to distinguish between doing what is right as opposed to what is expedient. 

Living a Godly lifestyle will put us in a minority position given society’s preference for "anything goes." 

However, like the Marines, we may be few, but we are proud -"Semper Fi!"

*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.


I’m writing this week’s Meditation from Florence, South Carolina - the site of the Seventh Episcopal District of the AME Church’s Annual Summer Leadership Congress.  When traveling out of town on Tuesdays in the past, I sent out the Mid-Week Meditation a day early, since doing it on my iPad instead of on my home desktop was more than a little bit difficult and inconvenient. That changed a few months ago when my desktop was showing signs of an impending crash.  Instead of getting a new desktop, I opted for a laptop.  It stays in my home office most of the time but when I’m traveling for more than a day or two, I simply unplug it and take it with me.  It’s portable, but powerful and enables me to do things on the road that I formerly had to do at home.  I can now almost literally take my office with me and be more productive.

Portable technology makes me more productive and less stressed and what could creatively be called “portable faith” can do the same for our spiritual lives.  Many decent and well-meaning people limit their relationship to God to an hour or two on Sundays, when they worship with those who share their faith and then go home and leave their “Sunday religion” in the pew with the hymnals and Bibles.

“Sunday morning religion,” however, can’t help you to cope with life’s daily rough spots and challenges or enable you to love God and love others as God’s Word directs us to do - it can leave you feeling isolated and incomplete for the rest of the week.  When we take the time each day, however, to pause, pray and count our blessings, we’ll have more than “Sunday religion.”  We’ll love serve, praise and call on the Lord each day, realizing that God gives us peace of mind and productively guides us through each new day.

We’ll find new meaning, completeness and assurance in our lives when we take God off of our “to do” list and allow God to direct our thoughts, words and deeds.  Give God control of your life and take the Name of Jesus with you wherever you go.  You’ll make new progress, experience new peace of mind, and be able to joyfully say with those who continually called on the Lord in spite of slavery’s chains, “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus.”

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

*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


-- First female Presiding Elder in our denomination will observe her 102nd birthday on July 21st

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

-- Julius McAllister III inducted into the Tallahassee Chapter of Distinguished Young Gentlemen of America, Inc. 

Congratulations to Julius Harrison McAllister III, grandson of Bishop McKinley and Dr. Dorothy Young (3rd District) of Columbus, Ohio and Bishop Julius and Mrs. Joan McAllister, Sr. (8th District) of Jackson, Mississippi and the eldest son of the Reverend Julius and Mrs. Deana Young McAllister, Jr., Pastor and First Lady of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Tallahassee, Florida.  In June Julius was inducted into the Tallahassee Chapter of Distinguished Young Gentlemen of America, Inc.  The DYG of America, Inc. firmly stands on the principles of Manly Deeds, Academic Excellence and Servant Leadership

-- Jennifer Renee Lowe graduated from Claremont High School in Claremont, California and will continue her education at Hampton University

Congratulations to Jennifer Renee Lowe, granddaughter of Bishop McKinley and Dr. Dorothy Young (3rd District) of Columbus, Ohio and Mrs. Leola Lowe and the late Mr. Edward R. Lowe of Brunswick, Georgia.  Jennifer is the eldest daughter of Mr. Ron and Mrs. Karyn Young-Lowe of Alta Loma, California. 

Jennifer recently graduated from Claremont High School, Claremont, California and will continue her education in the fall at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.  Jennifer and her family are members of Ward AME Church in Los Angeles.

-- Ms. Stephanie Young appointed as Associate Communications Director for the White House

Congratulations to Stephanie Young, youngest daughter of Bishop McKinley and Dr. Dorothy Young (3rd District).  On Monday, July 14th the Office of the House Minority Whip, Steny H. Hoyer D-MD, announced that Stephanie Young, Hoyer's National Press Secretary, will be heading to the White House.  Hoyer said, "Stephanie has done a tremendous job as my National Press Secretary.  She has been a wonderful resource for the press and a key part of House Democrats' messaging efforts, and I wish her all the best as she heads to the White House."  Stephanie will serve as an associate communications director for the White House.  She has already worked with President Barack Obama, first as the regional press secretary in Florida for Obama's re-election campaign and again in 2013 as director of constituency press for the presidential inaugural committee.  Stephanie is a member of Allen AME Church in Washington, D.C. 

Congratulatory responses may be emailed to:

Supervisor Dorothy Young:  supdjy@gmail.com
Bishop McKinley Young: bishopmyoung@gmail.com 

-- Dr. Eraina M. Ross-Aseme and Mr. Patrick Chukwidifu Aseme Announces the marriage of their daughter

Please join us in congratulating our daughter, Pamela Ifunanya Aseme and new son-in-law Samuel Elliott Terrell II for their moment of Holy Matrimony on July 5, 2014.
The happy couple will honeymoon in the Bahamas. The Rev. Barbara A. Ross performed the marriage ceremony. We are very proud of our daughter and new son. May God bless them with many years of happiness and sweet memories!

Dr. Eraina M. Ross-Aseme is the Pastor of Gregg Tabernacle AME Church in Kansas City, Missouri and Mr. Patrick Chukwidifu Aseme, R.N. is the 1st Gentleman.

Note of congratulations and well wishes can be emailed to:

Mr. And Mrs. Samuel Elliott Terrell II: paseme0@gmail.com 
Dr. Eraina M. Ross-Aseme and Mr. Patrick Chukwidifu Aseme: e_aseme@yahoo.com


West Kentucky Conference Evangelist, Sister Theresa C. Leavell transitioned from this life to eternal rest on July 12, 2014. She was a member of Saint Mark AME Church and a Life Member of the Women's Missionary Society. Sister Leavell served faithfully in ministry as an Evangelist and she was elected and served as a delegate to three Quadrennial Sessions of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Additionally, she has served as President of the West Kentucky Conference Lay Organization.

Services for Sister Theresa C. Leavell were held Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at Greater New Beginnings Christian Church, 2100 W. Oak Street in Louisville, Kentucky.


The Third District Office is saddened to announce the passing of Mrs. Ella Mae Whitted, mother of Presiding Elder, the Rev. Dr. Betty Whitted Holley, on Thursday, July 11, 2014. Dr. Holley is the Presiding Elder of the Springfield/Xenia District of the Ohio Conference and the Professor of Environmental Ethics and African American Religious Studies at Payne Theological Seminary.

Arrangements for Mrs. Ella Mae Whitted are as follows:

Home Going Service was held on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at Victory Temple Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Condolences/words of comfort can be sent to:

Dr. Betty Holley
3203 Roanoke Court
Fairborn, OH 45324

Telephone: (937) 974-3502


It is with deepest regret that we announce the passing of Willie Ullysee Peter Moon, Sr. on July 9, 2014.  Willie Ullysee Peter Moon, Sr. was the father of Rev. Sherita M. Seawright the Assistant Pastor of Union Bethel AME Church and the father-in-law of the Rev. Dr. Harry L. Seawright, pastor of Union Bethel AME Church in Brandywine and Temple Hills, Maryland. Please keep the family in your prayers.

Memorial Service was held on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Beasley Funeral Home in Laurens, South Carolina.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Sherita M. Seawright
1609 Portland Avenue
Fort Washington, MD 20744


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.

Did someone you know pass this copy of The Christian Recorder to you? Get your own copy HERE: http://www.the-christian-recorder.org/

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