The Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland -
Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr.,
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III,
the 20th Editor, The Christian
Pentecost Sunday, May 24,
May is Stroke Awareness
Thought for the week:
"Most worries are like puddles, by tomorrow they will have
1. TCR EDITORIAL
– PREACHING IS NOT THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THE PASTORAL MINISTRY:
The 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder
I had some grandiose ideas and some unrealistic thoughts when I
responded to my “call to ministry.” I had the notion that preaching was the key
to ministry and I was going to be the most dynamic preacher possible and when I
got my own church, the people were going to flock to my church in large numbers
because I was going to “feed the flock.”
I had the notion that superb preaching would fill a sanctuary. As a
matter of fact, when I thought about the ministry, preaching came to my
mind. And with my immaturity, I didn’t
distinguish the difference when I heard different parishioners say, “The pastor
is a good preacher” and “Our pastor is an outstanding pastor.” I heard both
statements as being synonymous meaning the preachers were good preachers,
proclaimers of the Word. It never
occurred to me that the parishioners were making a distinction between a
preacher and a pastor.
The other thing that clouded the distinction was the explanation I
heard about sermon preparation. The comment I heard was, “Sermon preparation
required a hour for each minute of sermon delivery,” which meant if a preacher
delivered a 20 minute sermon, the expectation was the he or she spent 20 hours
working on the sermon. A preacher who delivered a 40 minute sermon would have
spent the entire work week working on his or her sermon, which would not have
left time for the pastor to do anything else, like visiting the sick and
shut-in parishioners, teaching Bible study or any of the other ministerial
The “One hour preparation for each minute’s delivery” led to the joke
or notion that preachers only worked for 20 minutes. The subtle punch line of
the joke was that no one believed the delivery of the 20-minute sermon was the
result of 20 hours preparation.
It didn’t take me long in the pastorate to understand that pastoring
was a lot more than preaching. Admittedly, I quickly understood that preaching
was the gateway to my ministry. The
sermon was the one thing all of the parishioners could see. They could also see
my skills as a worship leader and a few, those who attended Bible Study, could
see my skills as a teacher. And even fewer numbers could witness my abilities
as a pastoral counselor. But by and large,
the delivery of sermon was the one thing all of the parishioners could observe,
so preaching was important.
Preaching takes a lot of
I learned the importance of preaching in my first pastorate. I quickly
discovered why the space where the pastor was expected to prepare his or her
sermon was called a “study.” Sermon preparation and outstanding delivery of a
sermon take a lot of study.
Sermon preparation for the first month or so of my ministry was pretty
much routine, but after about three months, I “ran up against a wall.” I had exhausted all of the clichés and had
preached my favorite texts. It was then that I discovered that sermon
preparation was work. I also discovered the conflict and the reality that I
didn’t have time to spend the entire week working on a sermon.
Visiting the sick and shut-in members took a lot of time. And often,
visiting the sick sometimes turned into counseling sessions and what I thought
was going to be a quick visit turned into an extended visit.
My first pastorate in Paris, Kentucky was a small town with a small
hospital. The serious medical cases had to be taken to Lexington, 17 miles
away. A visit to a sick parishioner taken to a hospital in Lexington took a big
chunk out of the day. It turned out that each visit to sick and shut-in members
took more time than it took to deliver a sermon.
Several weeks after settling in the parsonage, there was a knock at
the door and standing on the porch was a
gentleman and his wife and a young woman and a young man. I invited them in and the gentleman quickly
said, “Reverend, I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet and I am sorry to meet
you under these circumstances. My daughter and this young man need to get
married and they need to get married tonight.”
I looked at the couple and they shook their heads affirmatively and I
could tell that we were in a serious situation. I don’t think that we have
similar situations today, but then they were called “shotgun weddings.” The gentleman didn’t have shotgun in his
possession, but there could have been one in the trunk of his car. That was my
first wedding and it was an unplanned event in the life of my pastoral ministry. Unplanned events happen in ministry.
Several weeks after that, a parishioner died and I had to prepare for
my first funeral. I had never done a funeral and if truth be told, at that
point I had not attended many funerals. My paternal grandmother died while I
was in college and that was about the extent of my funeral experience. I was
being “baptized” in the pastoral ministry and precipitously learned that the
pastorate was more than preaching a sermon on Sunday. Sometimes a sermon had to be prepared on short notice
during the week.
Pretty soon my days were being filled with all kinds of ministerial
functions that I hadn’t thought of, e.g., ministerial meetings, meetings with
city and county officials, visits to the jail and to the prison (a long drive)
if members were incarcerated, and making routine repairs to the church and the
parsonage. And “in the day” church
members consulted the pastor when making significant decisions. Pretty soon the
Sundays were “running into each other.”
And in my case seminary classes added to the stresses of ministry and
“crunch of time.”
I often thought of how nice it would have been if all I had to do was
preach. And, if that were the case, perhaps it would have allowed me to spend
an hour for each minute of preparation.
I can just imagine the inner conflict and time-crunch for those
pastors who are in bivocational ministry. The term “bivocational ministry” just
might be an oxymoron.
I quickly discovered that pastoring was a lot more than preaching
because pastoring is intimately connected to building relationships. And as I
have said time and again, “Building relationships is time-consuming.”
And now more than 50 years in the ministry, I am convinced that
ministry is more than preaching. Preaching is important, but there is much more
to the profession than preaching if a pastor does ministry as it ought to be
I am somewhat disappointed when I hear preachers discuss pastoring in
terms of preaching. I have noticed one of the largest areas of concentration in some doctor of
ministry degree programs is preaching. I have a suspicion and am concerned that
our focus on preaching might be at the expense of other areas of the pastoral
Back in the day, we talked a lot about preaching, but the
conversations always seemed to gravitate to the problem areas of ministry,
e.g., how to resolve conflict, strategies for increasing revenue, issues with
the choir, how to motivate parishioners to participate in the life of the
church and other issues related to the pastoral ministry.
I suspect some have narrowed the profession of ministry and the result
is church members have a narrow focus of ministry and think their pastor’s only
responsibility is preaching. With the narrow focus of ministry, pastoral
compensation becomes more narrowly-focused. In many parishioners’ minds, the
pastor is getting paid to preach, especially if a pastor is bivocational or
doesn’t have a ministry of presence. The “narrow-focused” view of ministry is
justification for paying a pastor less.
preaching is the primary focus of ministry has sadly narrowed the perspective
and profession of ministry. I am certain that a number of parishioners who take
the narrow view of ministry as preaching are more likely to be more
undisciplined in attendance and have little problem missing worship from time
to time, stay home and view the preaching of televangelists and check out some
of the television gospel programs.
A pastor's primary
role is to provide pastoral oversight of his or her pastoral charge. Pastoral
oversight includes preaching, but much more. I am certain that some churches
are failing because some pastors function as if preaching is their only
requirement. Local churches need pastors who are administrators, teachers,
pastoral counselors who will visit the sick and shut-in members and be
shepherds to God's people and to the world.
On a recent FaceBook post, the Rev. Sayaunda L.
Casey cautioned against a narrow preaching-focused ministry versus an all-inclusive pastoral
ministry stating “We are raising a generation of individuals who seek Sunday
morning fixes to their lives when transformation is a daily commitment” and
went on to write, “Congregants must understand the importance of daily mental
work and the church must lead them in that process… [through a well rounded
And the narrow
focus of ministry has some
pastors so enamored on music and preaching that they have neglected their other
pastoral responsibilities, and the result is that church ministry suffers.
The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church 2012
beginning on Page 91 lists the responsibilities of the Itinerant ministry.
Preaching, as it should be, is the first entry and it has 12 areas of
responsibilities related to the pastoral ministry.
Responsibilities of the pastoral ministry beginning on Page 92, The Discipline lists 30 areas of
The Rules of the
Itinerant ministry are addressed on Pages 95 - 99. If pastors of any
denomination followed the rules of The
Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the
pastoral ministry would be off to a good start.
The Bible also
gives us clues about effective pastoral ministry. Jesus spent a lot of time addressing pastoral
leadership in terms of shepherding.
A shepherd leads,
feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects the flock. Jesus mentions the
compassionate shepherd whom the
sheep know (respect) - because
of his or her care of the flock.
Shepherds have to
speak to the flock to help guide them in safe passage. Shepherds have to
comfort and correct and that is done through preaching. Pastors have to feed
the flock and that is done through Holy Communion. Pastors have to lead,
nurture, and protect the flock and that is done through the pastoral functions
of ministry. It is no accident that the word "pastor" means
Ministry is a
well-rounded profession and pastors and parishioners would do well to focus
upon the full scope of the ministry rather than on one portion of the ministry.
The Apostle Peter
also addressed the profession of ministry, "Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over
them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;
not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those
entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd
appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away"
(1 Peter 5:2-4). Peter challenged his fellow elders to "shepherd the flock of God among you" by
"exercising oversight" and that requires pastors to do more than
The epistle of
Titus is clear about pastoral relationships. Paul's charge to Timothy, the
other preachers who accompanied him in ministry and to the various churches
underscored his understanding of the all-encompassing nature of the pastoral
ministry; it was not limited to preaching.
An important aspect
of ministry is reciprocity in that pastors expect their parishioners to be
obedient to their pastoral oversight and likewise pastors need to be obedient
to the authorities (Read presiding elders and bishops) over them.
In sum, pastors are responsible to the church for
proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, leading and guiding spiritual worship,
administering the Sacraments, using his or her skills in administrative
leadership, and engaging in pastoral care ministries to meet the needs of persons
in the church, to include visiting the sick and shut-in members and to be the
“shepherd of the flock.”
2. READER RESPONSE
TO EDITORIAL AND OTHER ISSUES:
TCR Editorial – A Problem or a
Condition – There’s a Difference:
so much for the article with the title above.
most of our overseas districts we are experiencing conditions, not problems.
includes the following: Economic conditions, political conditions, and
conditions. We have conditions, not problems in Africa.
personally agree that conditions are not as easy to solve as problems.
need planning first before trying to solve or work on them. Problems, in most
cases are human-created whereas, conditions are some time created by natural forces
and time is needed to work on them.
Rev. Willard Machiwenyika
Re: Thank you request for information
My name is Chrispine Samuneti. I am a full
member of African Methodist Episcopal Church. I live in the 17th Episcopal
District, North Western Zambia where the Rt. Rev. Messiah is our beloved
Bishop. Kindly note that I am very grateful to inform you that you are keeping
me in the same loop by giving me updates over what's going on in the AME Church
around the world.
Finally, I am requesting that you send me
the whole list of programmes in our Church i.e., schedules from
1st to last month of the year.
I will appreciate your action taken.
God bless you and kind regards,
Brother Chrispine Samuneti
TCR Editor’s Note: The AME Church Website is the best place
to find information about what is happening in the African Methodist Episcopal
church: http://www.ame-church.com/; Click
here for all of the AME Links: AME LINKS
3. NEWS AROUND THE
-- Hood Theological
Seminary confers D.H.L. Degree to AME Bishop
Saturday May 15, 2015 Bishop William P DeVeaux was awarded a Bishop William P.
DeVeaux, Presiding Prelate of the 2nd Episcopal District of the AME
Church had conferred upon him the Doctor of Humane Letters from Hood
Theological Seminary an AME Zion institution located in Salisbury, North
Carolina. He was honored for his academic achievements and the impact he has
made on the church community.
College, Monrovia, Liberia
news from Liberia - Monrovia College - Out of 21 high school students selected
for aptitude testing; a Monrovia College senior student, McArthur Toe had the
highest average of the final 4 Liberian students awarded scholarships to the
Robert Bosch Campus of the United World Colleges. He will go to Germany to
by the Rev. Dr. Katurah York Cooper, Pastor/Founder Empowerment Temple AME
Church and Vice President, Academic Affairs at AME University in Monrovia,
University confers honorary doctorate of humane letters
recent commencement ceremonies, Wilberforce University President Algeania
Warren Freeman conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Xenia
4. AME LUNCHEON AT
THE HU MINISTERS’ CONFERENCE:
AME luncheon at the Hampton Ministers Conference will be held on Wednesday June 10, 2015 at Noon at the Crowne
Plaza Hotel, 700 Settlers Landing Road Hampton, VA 23669.
Cost of the Luncheon is $25.00 and the luncheon is always a great time of
you need further information call Bethel AME Church (757) 723-4065
5. MR. JOHN THOMAS III INTERVIEW WITH AKA INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT DOROTHY
It is not strange that there would be a strong
tie between the oldest free-standing Black denomination in the United States
and the oldest historically Black sorority.
AKA founder Ethel Hedgeman Lyle was a lifelong member of the AME
Church. Additionally at least seven
International Presidents have been active members of the AME Church including
the most recent two: Carolyn House
Stewart and Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson.*
In late February, President Buckhanan Wilson agreed to share her
experiences and insights with The Christian Recorder via a telephone
interview. She has an accomplished
career in marketing and is currently a Senior Vice-President at Goodwill
Industries where she runs the mission programs funded by the retail stores in
the Milwaukee and Chicago area.
Buckhanan Wilson has two adult children.
She resides in Milwaukee and is a member of St. Mark AME Church where
the Rev. Dr. Darryl Williams is the pastor.
- Could you please share how you became involved
with the AME Church?
I grew up in Sumter South Carolina, a small town
45 miles from Columbia, South Carolina.
I was born into the AME family.
My grandparents were one of the original families at Beulah AME Church
in Mayesville, S.C. My grandfather, who raised me was very active and an
officer in the church.
Over 90% of our family members are members of the
AME Church. So, when I moved to Milwaukee, it wasn’t a matter of which church I
would join. It was going to be an AME Church.
I joined the church [St. Mark] in 1985 and have been a member since that
time. I really enjoy what this faith
stands for. Further, for me this is
personal, my membership is in honor of my grandparents. I will always stay because of their love and my
love for it. Through the years, we have
lost a few family members to other denominations, just like other families we
know, however, for most Wilsons; our AME faith is as steady as a rock.
- How has your involvement with the AME Church
influenced your professional life?
I’m affiliated with a number of organizations
focused on service including The Links,
Top Ladies of Distinction, and of
course Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority,
Inc. There is a strong AME presence in the sorority and in these
organizations. We all talk about our
involvement and it goes back to the church.
[My family] lived in a small town and our lives pretty much revolved
around the church. We attended church on
Sunday and then spent several nights during the week supporting the other
activities and work of the church. My interest in speaking and being involved
in leadership all evolved in the church.
I also learned humility and about servant leadership from my grandfather
through his work in the church. I vividly remember my grandfather stating
“Don’t ask people for the opportunity to serve them if you don’t plan on doing
it well.” That lesson stayed with me.
So, the AME Church was and has been very pivotal in my growth and
development. Specifically, I learned
lessons in humility and how to serve others in my community.
- Could you please share with us some of the work
you have done as the International President of AKA?
My interest in AKA came early. I joined the
sorority at Benedict College (Psi Chapter) and have been active for 37
years. [Upon taking office], the first
thing I wanted to do was to reflect to the members of the organization my deep
faith. We had a spiritual send
celebration off at St Mark and we opened up the service to persons from across
the Midwest region to come and worship together for the vibrancy of this
role. We had about 1200 members in
attendance, including many AMEs.
The theme for the sorority over the next four
years is “Launching New Dimensions of
Service.” We will lead with our
signature ASCEND youth enrichment
program. It focuses on 20,000 high
school students that we will work over a four-year period to prepare them for
college or the world of work. Our other
programs include the AKA 1908 Playgrounds
Project, where we will provide environments to keep our kids safe by restoring,
refreshing and renewing 1,908 playgrounds nationwide.
Our global programming efforts include working
with Africare to address childhood hunger on the continent of Africa. We also plan to expose our children to the
work of the United Nation through the UN Global Classrooms project.
In other words, Alpha Kappa Alpha members are using our collective impact to
continue to shape history through our programs. Our sorority engages in meaningful high
impact activities. We do things that are worthwhile and that is why we feel the
way we do about our organization and our history. Our Story is the American Story.
- President Buckhanan Wilson, earlier this year
VH-1 debuted a show called Sorority Sisters.
It has provoked a backlash and as of our interview there are calls from
various Black Greek-Lettered Organizations (BGLOs) for its cancellation. What are your thoughts?
What was distressing about the Sorority
Sisters show is the thought that someone could come in and attempt to
capriciously rewrite our history. Just
like our churches, [BGLOs] have been a positive part of our communities for
over a century. These groups have done more to help elevate the
African-American population than many groups out there. So any attempt to make a mockery of our
contributions and the role we have historically played to uplift our race, was
certainly not going to be tolerated.
Yes, our BGLOs have a light-hearted side as evidenced by our step shows;
however the majority of our efforts are focused on providing service to our
Of our 983 chapter over 90% of our members are
graduate members. When you look at that amount of volunteer power in the
community working with our people and that piece not even mentioned on this
show that was a problem for many of our members across all sororities. So the
sororities worked together to target advertisers and the show has since been
taken off the air by VH1.
- After the decision to not indict in the Darren
Wilson case, Alpha Kappa Alpha prohibited its members from wearing the
sorority’s paraphernalia in the protests.
Would you care to comment on this decision as well as its eventual
We encourage BlackLivesMatter
and all levels of social activism and social justice. Again that is a part of our history and has
been since our existence. Currently we
have a social justice program that focuses on ACTION. We have our “AKA Days at the state capital in
over 30 locations over a 60 day period.
This year our platform is criminal justice system reform, particularly
in the area of law enforcement. And as
always we are encouraging members nationwide to register citizens to vote and
intensify our efforts so we can affect needed change.
Because we have the responsibility as leaders to
manage organizational risk, we did initially provide guidelines around the
protests, which included attire, for our members. In response to member concerns we re-evaluated
our position and reversed the decision.
It’s always okay to shift a position.
We did this quickly so the focus could continue to be on those who had
lost their lives and the need for reform in our criminal justice system. Alpha
Kappa Alpha has always understood that it is not our role to be the story,
but to drive needed changes through social justice and advocacy.
- What are some of the challenges that you see
facing institutions of the Black community such as BGLOs and the Church?
BGLOs and the church remain vibrant contributors
to society and to our communities.
Basically we’re figuring out what our members need, what our members
want, how to remain relevant and how we must meet the needs of our communities.
There are a lot more options now for community involvement and younger people
today want to be part of a cause, to make a difference and to see immediate
[change]. We have to be willing to
change with the times and reinvent ourselves in some cases. The AME and BGLO legacy of perseverance and
overcoming must continue to be reinforced with the current and future
generations. We must show that there is
room for all generations to coexist and to be productive within our respective
organizations. As we continue to do
that, then we are ensuring our perpetuity.
*This information comes from the blog of
Presiding Elder Anne Henning-Byfield https://annehenningbyfield.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/happy-aka-founders-day/ Additionally, AKA is the only Sorority to
have its members elected as Bishops in the four major United States Methodist
denominations: UMC—Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly; AME—Bishop Sarah Frances Taylor
Davis; AME Zion—Bishop Mildred “Bonnie” Hines; CME—Bishop Teresa Snorton
*John Thomas III (13th District) is a
member of the General Board and PhD candidate at the University of Chicago.
6. A CELEBRATION,
INDEED! 2015 MID-WINTER CONFERENCE OF THE 9TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT:
Reverend Alvelyn Sanders
you hear it? If you listened closely, shouts of rejoicing could be heard from
the 9th Episcopal District across the African Methodist Episcopal connection
from Boston to Botswana, from Louisville to Los Angeles, from Detroit to the
Dominican Republic as hundreds of AMEs journeyed from the four corners of the
state of Alabama for the Formal Dedication and Cornerstone Laying at the Daniel
Payne Community Plaza in Birmingham, Alabama.
celebration occurred during the four-day 9th Episcopal District’s Mid-Winter
Conference, “Celebrating the AME Difference: Connecting Christ, Church, and
Community,” April 15-18, 2015. Any time God’s people gather to conduct the
business of the church and worship God is a celebration, but in this case the
jubilation and praise reached an even higher decibel because of the sheer
magnitude of what the Plaza symbolizes for the people of Alabama and the
African Methodist Episcopal Church. It
was an amazing celebration of the power of the God-given-vision bestowed upon
Servant Bishop James L. Davis and brought to life by the people of the 9th
Episcopal District who dared to trust God with their resources – their money –
to claim and possess the land for God’s glory. The Plaza is a shining example
of how the AME Church makes a difference by using its human and financial
resources, and by following the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Plaza and its extraordinary renovations represent $ 4.7 million in
contributions from just 1,116 donors whose individual donations ranged from 87
cents to $32,000 spanning a fundraising campaign that started in 2010.
did this,” exclaimed Bishop Davis to the standing-room-only audience at the
Friday evening event, “A Soiree of Elegance.” Bishop Davis and Episcopal
Supervisor Arelis B. Davis expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the people of
the 9th Episcopal District for being a part of the vision and for taking the
reins and making the vision come to life. The original goal was to raise $1
million. Yet, clergy, lay, and friends far exceeded that goal – four times
over. Even on that night, the Board of Trustees of the Daniel Payne College
Legacy Village, presented a check to the 9th Episcopal District for
$538,477.93 as a result of the sale of the most recent 9th District
headquarters in downtown Birmingham – a sale at an amount almost doubling the
original purchase price.
Daniel Payne Community Plaza, the former Daniel Payne Middle School, is a
60,000 sq. ft. building located on nineteen acres of land. The property was
purchased by the Daniel Payne Foundation of the 9th Episcopal District in
August 2014 as a $2.5 million cash-sale. This property plus the 153 acres owned
by Daniel Payne College, Inc. just across the street from the Plaza makes the
AME Church one of the largest landowners as an African American institution in
the state of Alabama. The Plaza is named for the sixth Bishop of the AME
Church, Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, who was one of the founders and former
presidents of Wilberforce University in Ohio as well. Payne Theological
Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio is also named after Bishop Payne
Mid-Winter Conference in total was a proud moment in the life of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church. Attendees were able to witness the versatility of
the complex and the enormous capacity for the building to be used as a tool for
ministry. In just four days, the Plaza was the site of Conference business
sessions and workshops; spirit-filled worship services, an elegant, catered,
seated dinner for 800 people and a basketball tournament featuring youth teams
from the ten Presiding Elder Districts of the 9th Episcopal District.
were treated to a guided tour of the facility, a special reception to celebrate
the formal dedication and lunch was served daily. Additionally, the Daniel
Payne Community Plaza boasts a lush landscape with plenty of space for outdoor
events as well.
Conference would not have been successful without the blessings of God, the
leadership of Bishop James L. Davis, the presiding elders and the dedicated
planning-team and host churches who were responsible for significant logistical
tasks and the quick-turnaround of spaces used for multiple purposes.
Juanda Maxwell (Montgomery-Selma District) served as the Chair of the DPCP
Dedication Celebration Committee. The host pastors and churches were: The
Reverend Sheila Williams, St. Mark AME, Dora; the Reverend Vernita O. Farness,
Allen Chapel AME, Woodlawn; and the Reverend Gloria Patrick, St. Mark AME in
4,000 people attended the Mid-Winter Conference over the four-day period.
Daniel Payne Community Plaza is located at 1500 Daniel Payne Drive in
Birmingham, Alabama. Please call (205) 326-4499 to book events.
of the Mid-Winter Conference - Thursday, April 16, 2015:
9:45 a.m. Workshop: Differently and Distinctly African Methodists, featuring
ethicist and scholar, the Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman, Associate Professor of
Constructive Theology and African American Religions, Claremont School of
Theology in Claremont, California, and an Itinerant Elder in the African
Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Coleman presented a compelling look at the AME
Church historically while analyzing our present strengths and opportunities for
enhancement. She implored clergy and laity: “Don’t just preach Jesus, be
3:00 p.m. Formal Dedication and Laying of the Cornerstone Worship Service.
Presiding: The Reverend Dwight E. Dillard, Sr., Vice Chair of the Daniel Payne
College Legacy Village Foundation, Inc., Board of Trustee member and Presiding
Elder of the Birmingham-Florence-Tuscaloosa District.
Unveiling of the Specially Named Spaces in the Daniel Payne Community Plaza:
Harris-Todd Building named for the Reverend Dr. Jerome V. Harris and the late
Reverend Dr. Anderson Todd.
Named In Memoriam:
Reverend Dr. Samuel Matthew Davis Episcopal Suite
Bishop Cornelius Egbert Thomas Executive Dining Room
Hattie Bryant Whit Greene Library
Donnell Banks Anderson Room
Thomas E. Greene Room
Theopolis Dickerson Fields Peters Room
7:00 p.m. Founders Day Worship Service:
Preacher: Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Presiding Prelate of the 10th
Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop McKenzie
“preached down the house” to a capacity-filled worship space! “Yeah, He did it
and now, do it again!” was the subject of the Spirit-filled message encouraging
the congregation to possess a “can-do” mind! Text: Joshua 15: 13-14. Bishop
McKenzie asked, “What’s holding you back from the promises of God?” She was
joined by a significant delegation of clergy from the state of Texas who were
on-hand for the worship service.
Friday, April 17, 2015 -11:45 a.m. Opening Worship Service:
Preacher: Retired Bishop Philip R. Cousin, Sr. Bishop Cousin enjoyed a special
“homecoming” to the initial episcopal district where he was assigned after his
election and consecration in 1976. He marveled at the Daniel Payne Community
Plaza and shared with the people of the 9th Episcopal District that there is
“no other place” in the Connection that can compare to the Plaza in Birmingham.
Using the subject, “Don’t Forget the Bones” (Text: Genesis 50: 24-25; Exodus
13:19), Bishop Cousin reminded the Conference to honor, cherish, and preserve
the legacy that has been created with the Daniel Payne Community Plaza.
6:30 p.m. A Soiree of Elegance:
Speaker: Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams, retired General Officer of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church. What a fabulous affair for such an auspicious
occasion! AMEs arrived in their finest attire and the gymnasium was transformed
to an elegantly catered, seated dinner for 800 people. Dr. Williams shared her
priceless wisdom on the value of the AME legacy and guests were inspired by the
soul-stirring vocals of Mrs. L’Tanya Moore Campbell. It was an evening of
beauty, joy, and thanksgiving!
Saturday, April 18, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. Basketball Tournament
Teams from the 10 Presiding Elder Districts of the 9th Episcopal District
participated in a fun, exciting, and highly competitive basketball tournament!
There were a few brave adults who took to the court for a chance at victory,
too! The gym was alive with great enthusiasm, cheering, and even some boasting
and healthy bragging on "b-ball skills!" A winner was not declared.
The finals for the basketball tournament will be played during the Summer
Meeting/Christian Education Congress, which takes place June 22-24, 2015 on the
campus of Troy University in Troy, Alabama. Winners will be determined at that
time. That means more basketball to come!
7. AME, DR, VALERIE
ASHBY TO BECOME ARTS & SCIENCES DEAN:
-- Ashby, chair of
chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill, will oversee Duke’s core academic units
NC - Valerie Sheares Ashby, a professor and chair of the chemistry department
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), will be the next
dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University beginning
July 1, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead and Provost Sally Kornbluth
Valerie Sheares Ashby is the daughter of the late Rev. James N. Sheares, former
pastor and Presiding Elder of the Western North Carolina Conference and Shirley
Sheares, a Life Member in the Women's Missionary Society and former Second
District WMS president. Dr. Sheares Ashby was an active YPDer and served on the
will oversee the university's core academic units, which offer courses and
degrees across the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. She succeeds Laurie Patton, who will be the
new president of Middlebury.
Ashby is a distinguished professor of chemistry who has shown extraordinary
aptitude for academic leadership,” Brodhead said. “Warm, thoughtful and a
creative problem solver, she has high respect for inquiry and teaching across
the span of the Arts & Sciences, and she will represent Duke’s academic
vision to students, faculty and outside audiences in a compelling fashion. I am
delighted to welcome her to Duke.”
joined the UNC-CH faculty in 2003 after serving as a faculty member at Iowa
State University since 1995. She was named Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished
Term Professor of Chemistry in 2007, when she also began serving as the
director of the UNC National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education
Professoriate and Research Education Support programs. In 2012, she became
chair of the chemistry department. A native of North Carolina who grew up in
Clayton, Ashby earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (1988) and Ph.D. (1994) in
chemistry from UNC-CH.
could not be more excited to welcome Valerie Ashby to Duke. She is a gifted teacher, a distinguished
researcher and a talented academic leader who understands the essential role of
a liberal arts college within a research university,” Kornbluth said. “Her
commitment to a broad and diverse education for our students, and to
identifying and nurturing an excellent faculty, is evident to all who have
followed her career. I look forward to
her engagement across Duke."
research is in the area of synthetic polymer chemistry with a focus on
designing and synthesizing materials for biomedical applications such as X-ray
contrast agents and drug delivery materials. She has numerous publications and
holds eight patents. In 2010, Ashby was named a National Science Foundation
American Competitiveness and Innovation Fellow and an honorary member of the
Tau Sigma Honor Society. She has received multiple other honors from her peers,
including the distinguished Order of the Golden Fleece (2012) and the UNC
General Alumni Association Faculty Service Award (2013).
was nominated by a Duke search committee that included faculty members,
students, trustees and administrators and was chaired by Angela O’Rand,
professor of sociology and former dean of social sciences. “The search
committee was enthusiastic and unanimous in its support for Valerie Ashby,”
O’Rand said. “We saw many extraordinary candidates, but Professor Ashby stood
out as without peer and with the complement of scholarship, experience and
vision that will serve Duke well at this time."
as an outstanding teacher, Ashby received the Carlyle Sitterson Freshman
Teaching Award (2008), the UNC-CH Student Undergraduate Teaching Award (2009)
and the Johnston Teaching Award (2013).
She previously received several teaching awards at Iowa State.
also has a passion for increasing diversity in higher education and creating
and expanding pathways for underrepresented minority students to access
educational opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential. She is
a national consultant and adviser to National Science Foundation and National
Institutes of Health diversity programs, and has mentored numerous
undergraduate and graduate students in varying disciplines. Since 2014, she has
served as faculty director for the Initiative for Minority Excellence at the
UNC Chapel Hill Graduate School.
am honored to be selected to be the dean of the Trinity School of Arts &
Sciences,” Ashby said. “Duke is one of the finest institutions in the world,
known for academic excellence, interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge in
service to society. I look forward to the opportunities to work collaboratively
with the outstanding students, faculty and staff that comprise the Duke
8. NAACP PRESIDENT
& CEO TO DELIVER THE COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT PAYNE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY:
Friday, May 22nd, Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will deliver the
Commencement address at Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio. Brooks
will also receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
a year into his appointment as the 18th President and CEO of the NAACP, Mr.
Brooks successfully led a 134 mile multi-generational, multiracial and
multi-faith march, titled Journey for Justice, from Michael Brown’s home in
Ferguson to the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City in pursuit of criminal
justice reform. The march led to a
meeting with the Governor of Missouri and continued discussions on policy
reform as it relates to racial profiling and policing in the state of Missouri.
Under Mr. Brooks’ Administration, Congress also passed the Death in Custody
Reporting Act, which will require states to report to the U.S. Department of
Justice information on every instance in which a person dies while in the
custody of a law enforcement official.
to leading the NAACP, President Brooks led the New Jersey Institute for Social
Justice where he directed the Institute’s successful efforts to win the passage
of three landmark prisoner reentry bills in 2010, hailed by The New York Times
as, “a model for the rest of the nation.” He has also served as Executive
Director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, Vice-Chair of the
New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority, and Second Vice-Chair of the East
Orange General Hospital Board of Trustees.
longtime lawyer and civil rights activist, Mr. Brooks holds a JD from Yale
University, a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston University School of
Theology where he focused in social ethics and systematic theology and a BA in
political science, with honors, from Jackson State University.
Friday, May 22, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Wilberforce University Alumni Multiplex, 1055 North Bickett Road,
9. HOPE CENTER FOR
RECOVERY PROGRAM ASSISTANT DIRECTOR HONORED WITH IMPACT AWARD:
Rev. Stephanie Raglin, assistant director for the Hope Center Recovery Program
for Women, has been presented with the Impact Award for Fayette County by the
Bluegrass Alliance for Women. Raglin serves as director of the Hope Recovery
Program at the Fayette County Detention Center, where she works with the
Department of Corrections to help troubled female inmates.
Rev. Raglin is also the pastor of Shorter Chapel AME Church in Paris,
nominator describes her as a staunch advocate for the personal growth and
well-being of girls and women in Fayette County. The Impact Award is presented
annually by BAW to recognize women in Central Kentucky who are working to
improve the lives of women and children.
the recovery center, Raglin leads the Peer Mentoring Program, which teaches
women how to maintain gainful employment as well as encourages them to reach
for educational opportunities and explore other career options for their
future. The goal for these women is to transition back into society as
responsible, productive citizens.
10. US PRESIDENT
NAMES YOUNG ECUMENICAL LEADER TO WHITE HOUSE PANEL:
-- Dr Ulysses
Burley III is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
President Barack Obama has named Dr Ulysses Burley III to a presidential
advisory panel on HIV and AIDS.
of a new generation of World Council of Churches (WCC) leaders, Burley is one
of the youngest appointees to the
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) in the United States.
32, he is a medical doctor, a Clinical Research Associate at Northwestern
University Feinberg School of Medicine and a lay preacher in the WCC member
church the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), advising on HIV and
AIDS and a regular blogger on the site called the Salt Collective.
celebrate with him and also remember to lift him up in prayer for his new
ministry”, said WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who met Burley
in Washington, D.C., last week.
provides advice, information, and recommendations regarding programmes and
policies intended to promote effective prevention of HIV and to advance
research on HIV and AIDS.
White House asks PACHA to provide recommendations on how to effectively
implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, as well as monitor the strategy's
serves on the WCC gender advisory group and is a member of the WCC’s executive
committee and its central committee, the main governing body of the council.
was elected as a central committee member at the WCC's 10th Assembly in Busan,
Republic of Korea, in November 2013.
his training as a medical doctor, Burley completed some of his studies in South
began working with HIV and AIDS patients, and says that his work strengthened
his ties to his own faith tradition and to ecumenical work.
11. FBI SAYS RACIST
ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN INFILTRATING POLICE DEPARTMENTS FOR YEARS:
claim comes after what the FBI says has been nearly a decade of federal law
enforcement’s confirmed and documented acts of infiltration by white
supremacist groups into American police departments.
S. Wooten and M. David for Counter Current News | May 19, 2015
have said it for years, but now the Federal Bureau of Investigation is claiming
that police departments have been deliberately infiltrated by racist, white
claim comes after what the FBI says has been nearly a decade of federal law
enforcement’s confirmed and documented acts of infiltration by white
supremacist groups into American police departments.
FBI warning first came back on October 2006, but it fell on largely deaf ears.
Now, the report entitled “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” is
being revisited by many experts in fighting back against organized hate group
the 2006 report, the FBI found that federal court determined that members of a
Los Angeles sheriffs department had organized a Neo Nazi gang. The officers
involved did not keep their racist ideas to themselves either, as the FBI found
that these same officers “habitually terrorized” the African American
FBI also found that the Chicago police department fired a detective after it
was discovered that he had strong ties to the Ku Klux Klan. That detective, Jon
Burge, was found to have tortured over 100 African American suspects.
City of Cleveland, in news lately for their shooting of Tamir Rice, and other
extreme instances of police gunning down unarmed African Americans, found that
police locker rooms had been overrun with “white power” graffiti and vandalism.
Texas, a sheriff department found that two of their deputies not only were in
the Klan, but were actually prominent recruiters for the hate group.
the just as the FBI had warned, the number of white supremacist members
infiltrating law enforcement has soared.
the years of 2008 to 2014, that number of documented infiltrators rose from
just shy of 150, to one thousand. Even worse is the fact that most of them were
never fired after their hate group affiliation was discovered.
you agree that something needs to be done about this, help us raise awareness
and SPREAD THE WORD!
THE TRUTH IS THE LIGHT
*The Rev. Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.
Based on Biblical Text: 1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word,
neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
What John is trying to teach us is really
very simple. John is saying clearly if we say we have been transformed by the
blood of Christ, the evidence of our transformation should show up in the way
we treat our brother and our sister. In other words our life ought to be a
demonstration of love and compassion.
God’s message to us, from the beginning has
been, “love one another”. However, lamentably what should be our spontaneous
love for each other is not so spontaneous. It seems most times love for our
brothers and sisters have to be pulled out of us. We have to be constantly
reminded that we should be putting the feelings of others ahead of our own.
As a young man graduating from High School
I was presented a brand-new bible from the Sunday School Department, and
written in the inside cover were the words, “In honor preferring one another”
(Romans 12:10). I have always been taught that is an example of how Christians
are supposed to live. We are taught God’s rules beginning very early on and we
live trying them out. The fact of the matter is life would be so wonderful if
there were a lot more trying going on.
God promises that for those of us who
really know Him, the reactions and responses rife with selfishness and deceit
will be replaced by the reactions and responses of Christ. That is the reality
John confronts us with in a few verses prior to our text. John points out that
“Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer.” Note - we do not have to pull a
gun, or draw knife to be a murderer. All we have to do is look the other way
when the Lord is calling us to help someone.
There is so much talk of the beautiful
white robes we will wear when we pass from earth to heaven. I contend that
Christ would be even more pleased with our living if those robes were soiled
from the labor of helping our brothers and sisters. Knowing we are loved ought
to make us be more loving.
John is actually teaching us about agape
love. He is teaching us that the unconditional love that God has for us is the
same love we ought to express toward each other. It is however, a love that
goes against our carnal nature that actually compels us to love only those who
love us. Agape love says, “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who
despitefully use you”.
Agape love is most often expressed in
subtle but effective ways. We find agape love in our challenging moments, when
we are called to exhibit an extra ounce of patience toward a difficult child.
Agape love is in our sacrificial moments, when we open our fist and share with
someone until it hurts. It is also in our vengeful moments, when we have the
power to retaliate but we chose not to use it.
The truth of the matter is we cannot know
Agape love unless we also know how to forgive. Agape love and forgiveness go
hand in hand. In fact they must to go together, because we cannot live in this
world without the “hell hounds” nipping at our heels. Satan’s helpers are everywhere,
riding the backs of the saved and the unsaved. And if we cannot return hate
with love, we will soon be nothing more than a bitter wretch of a man or woman.
John masterfully unravels the truth of our
salvation. He reminds us that God expressed His love for us through the gift of
Jesus Christ. We respond to that love by loving others. John puts it another
way when he writes: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and
every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not
knoweth not God; for God is love”.
God must be distressed when a person
professes to be a Christian, and they are so unforgiving and un-loving. My
prayer is that this writing helps us to understand that salvation and hatred do
not mix. The fact of the matter is - salvation and hatred are like oil and
water. It is impossible to love Christ and hate our brother and our sister.
As Christians we are validated by the
quality of our character. The challenge comes in how we handle life’s abuses?
Are we generous and patient? Are we full of resilience and gentleness? Are we
loving and forgiving? Can the Lord depend on us to hold our tongue and express
His love in deed and truth? Are we a true Christian?
If so we are challenged to show agape love.
Christ has forgiven us, we should forgive others. The mercy God has shown us we
should show it to others. God’s Word has taught us we are called to teach
others. God has been patient with us we must be patient with others. God has
blessed us we must bless others.
*The Rev. Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr., is
the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
GETTING TO ZERO: DEFEATING DIABETES - A SECOND RUN:
"The Diabetes Health Monitor is an
initiative of the AMEC Commission on Health. Copes of the booklet are available
to all congregations of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Send email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include numbers of Diabetes Health Monitors
requested and a street or P.O. Box address for delivery. Also please include in
the email message - name of church, health coordinator, pastor and a phone
number of person(s) making the request.
Clear useful information about multiple
issues in defeating diabetes also is available from the American Diabetes
Association (ADA) by phone (1-800-DIABETES or 1-800 342-2382) or online www.diabetes.org. The ADA resources include
frequently seen symptoms, living with diabetes, food and exercise, recipes,
diagnosis for pre-diabetes and resources that may be available in areas around
your zip code.
While diabetes can run within families,
awareness and steps to manage diet and exercise can prevent progression to
diabetes. Diabetes and its complications can be defeated. Protective measures
to reduce impact and progression are described by Dr. Susan Leath in the spring
The CDC estimates that African Americans
are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. We
are more likely to have severe complications such as near-end renal failure and
Let's tackle those things that lead to
diabetes so to reduce impacts of this non-infectious disease that is highly
prevalent in communities served by the AMEC. We thank the contributors and
leaders of the Connectional Health Commission for the timely focus on diabetes
to provide a tool that can be used. "
That’s what we’re talking about! You can be
made whole in mind, body and spirit. The
church- especially the global African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), can be
a major advocate and resource for wellness.
The joyous faces of Bishop Gregory Ingram
and Dr. Jessica Ingram light up the cover of the spring 2015 issue of Diabetes: Health Monitor. The issue,
available now as provided by the AMEC and Connectional Health Commission (CHC),
is more than a delightful cover. Inside are pages of sound wisdom, Godly insights
and practical tools for preventing or taking control to manage diabetes.
In the recorded healings by Jesus, often he
would ask an affected person, “Do you want to be made whole?” In modern day
conversation, the question is “Would you like to be well? Do you want to change
your situation and condition of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual
wellness? What can you do, what are you willing to do to be whole?” The
question, from ancient times to now, inquires about what a person perceives as
their desired state and what they are willing to do for themselves. The answer
affects what will occur to get to a different situation or move towards
Diabetes can be prevented or at least
managed. Even if genes that predispose one to a disease run in the family,
development of diabetes often can be avoided by early adjustments in everyday
life habits. Effects of diabetes can be minimized by daily actions of an
individual. Although insulin production
and uptake by cells for metabolism are influenced by genetics and environment,
individual actions and choices have a huge impact on disease development and
severity of symptoms.
Diabetes type 2 typically occurs with adult
onset and is traditionally termed as “sugar diabetes”. It occurs when insulin is not made in
adequate amounts or insulin present in the blood cannot be used by cells.
Insulin is a hormone that affects metabolism of food for energy. It is produced
in the pancreas and allows cells throughout the body to take in glucose from
the bloodstream. Glucose is one end product of the digestion of foods and
beverages we consume. Cells use glucose to make energy to fuel their functions.
A well-functioning body requires a balance
of food intake, output in energy use and energy storage. Insulin regulates
availability and use of glucose for cells. Lack of insulin function can result
in high or low levels of glucose in the blood. Too much (high sugar,
hyperglycemic) or too little (low sugar, hypoglycemic) can lead to a range of
complications. Some of these are weight loss, fatigue, kidney disease, glaucoma
and blurry or loss of vision, neuropathy that leads to foot and limb numbness
and poor healing of skin lesions, hypertension, stroke, mental health, heart
disease and pregnancy complications.
Monitoring levels of glucose in the blood
and determining the accumulated glucose that sticks to blood cells over time
(A1C levels) are important in detecting diabetes development or in managing
disease. They are affected by type and amount of food intake and energy output.
Blood sugar can easily be measured as needed by individuals with a glucose
monitoring kit. A1C and fasting glucose blood levels are performed periodically
as part of routing medical care by medical personnel.
Diabetes affects the entire body.
Unchecked, diabetes is not pleasant. Management requires engagement with
medical care and continuous attention by individuals and family members.
The bad and the good news
The CDC estimates that 13% of the African
American population over 20 years of age has diabetes. Globally diabetes is one
of the fastest rising chronic diseases.
Some 80% of persons who will develop diabetes live in middle or low
income countries; many are undiagnosed.
Diabetes is affected by type, amount and
timing of food intake and influenced by weight, physical activity, stress
levels and the timing and amounts of insulin. The metabolism of the body is
fine tuned to balance these for a constant supply of energy to use or to store.
Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully
Diabetes Health Monitor content
Diabetes, as a metabolic disorder, can be
managed or disease avoided by lifestyle changes. The spring 2015 issue of
Diabetes Health Monitor provides diabetes basics and insights into efforts AMEC
episcopal districts and churches are making to promote preventive health care
for members and communities.
The issue shares how in the midst of a New
Jersey Annual Conference meeting Bishop Gregory Ingram declared that it is
“Hokey-Pokey time”. Such provides a short, fun and effective “just move”
physical activity in the midst of sitting through sessions of a conference.
Most people know how or can easily learn the in, out and turn movements of the
“Do the Hokey-Pokey” song. Most people can sing while also mastering some level
of hokey-pokey movement to elevate the heart rate and increase blood flow into
muscles. Exercise is important to wellness, but it is a central part of
managing diabetes and keeping acceptable blood glucose levels.
Another article in the spring 2015 issue
includes ongoing efforts at The Empowerment Temple in Baltimore. The pastor of
the large AMEC congregation, Dr. Jamal Bryant leads efforts to regularly
provide opportunities for members to monitor health indicators and adopt
changes for a healthy lifestyle. Their Health Ministry provides periodic blood
pressure, diabetes and HIV/AIDS screening, ongoing nutrition and aerobics
classes, and offers an exercise boot camp led by a church member and owner of a
personal fitness business. Church meals purposefully provide fish, vegetables
Small consistent lifestyle habits make a
difference in preventing the onset of diabetes or in diabetes management after
The issues include recipes for healthy and
tasty favorite foods such as collard greens. The CHC director, Dr. Miriam
Burnett, debunks three common myths that contribute to late diagnosis and poor
management that can bring on the most devastating effects of diabetes.
Organizations with an expansive network
structure like the AME Church are ideal for promoting wellness and helping to
influence changes towards health promoting actions.
Churches and their leaders have access to
people, opportunity to increase understanding and hopefully some influence on
daily lives. A connectional commission
such as the Connectional Health Commission can lead initiatives for the entire
denomination. The option of how to implement each initiative can be decided by
the leaders of an individual Episcopal District, Annual Conference or local
church. They can decide how to engage to meet specific area needs.
Diabetes Health Monitor is an easy read.
The CHC, headed at the episcopal level by Bishop Wilford Messiah, has provided
an on-target offering and examples of how small consistent efforts can make big
changes in the outcome for diabetes.
Diabetes can be deadly if unchecked.
Thankfully, routine medical care can screen for known symptoms for accurate
diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes. If either of these is diagnosed, take
charge and get informed. Do what is required to improve nutrition, exercise and
stress levels and consistently take medication if prescribed.
Diabetes can be defeated!
*The Rev. Oveta Fuller Caldwell, Ph.D. is
an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of
Michigan (U-M) Medical School, Associate Director of the U-M African Studies
Center and an AMEC itinerant elder and former pastor. She lived in Zambia for
most of 2013 to study HIV/AIDS prevention among networks of religious leaders.
14. iCHURCH SCHOOL LESSON BRIEF FOR SUNDAY, MAY
24, 2015 - FROM NONSENSE TO SENSE - ACTS 2:1-7, 12; I CORINTHIANS 14:13-19:
How do archaeologists, cryptanalysts and
linguists decipher extinct languages? The task of deciphering communications is
to provide illumination on arcane and vague communication to something of
communicative value for the analyst. Has there been a case in history where
this was successfully accomplished, without the means of something like the
Rosetta stone or people that still speak a similar variant of the language in
Obviously you start out by collecting
statistics. How often do characters appear, how often do certain characters
appear together, etc.? But what do you then do with those statistics? How does
it help knowing that A E I O U are vowels, or that u almost always follows q
and that h frequently follows t in English?
Deciphering different languages reminds me of
Carl Sagan's reasoning about communication with extraterrestrial civilizations.
He says (in Pale blue dot) that science must be fairly universal, and it will
provide the basis to understanding each other.
Just like science has its share of
challenges in decoding and deciphering different forms of communications, the
same is equally true for the Christian Church. The Church School Lesson for May
24, 2015 examines how we should manage the issue about different languages
being used in church to worship and glorify God. Are spiritual linguists needed
or should we just “go with the flow”. Let’s see how the Apostle Paul answers
Power of Speaking in Tongues (Acts 2:1-7,
In Acts Chapter 2 Dr. Luke provides a
detailed description of the advent of tongues as a witness to the power of God.
Many attendees were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. The attendees were
primarily from the region of Galilee. They were united in custom, language and
socio-economic status. Shortly after arrival the Holy Spirit manifested His
presence in the gathering causing many to begin speaking in a tongue different
from their own language. At the time of
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit many Jews from other countries became
astonished at hearing Galileans speak in languages different from their own.
The aristocratic Jews were astonished and amazed at how such a communications
‘miracle’ could occur. Dumfounded about what they had just seen they could only
ask (v. 12) - ‘What does this mean’?
of Speaking in Tongues (I Corinthians 14: 13-19)
The story just described in Acts provides
an historical backdrop for how tongues and different languages were used in
worship. God dispatched the Holy Spirit to that location so that Jewish leaders
can see His power to communicate using “low-status people” (Galileans). I
Corinthians Chapter 14: 13 – 19 tackles a different issue. The situation in
this chapter involves how the gift of tongues can be properly used during
Paul reaffirms the importance of tongues in
ministry but cautions about its overuse. The Apostle makes clear that speaking
in tongues without the benefit of a spiritual translator hinder spiritual
growth. Some may speak in tongues as a form of their private worship/praise.
However, in public venues like congregational worship services, speaking in an
unknown tongue absent an interpreter only benefits the speaker and not the
masses. If we seek to benefit the masses coming from a prophetic communication
the proper protocol according to Paul would be to have an interpreter present
to translate the message. If the interpreter is absent the prophecy can’t be
understood due to the “language barrier”. An interpreter enables us to migrate
from a potentially “nonsense” environment to an environment with clarity. As
Solomon indicated in his Proverbs – “In all thy getting get understanding.”
Tomorrow, May 25th 2014, is the day set
aside for Memorial Day. Americans pause to show respect for the military men
and women who sacrificed their lives in service for their country. President
Obama will visit Arlington Cemetery and pay homage to the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier. In many military battles
soldiers die due to vague and/or ambiguous orders and directions. Failure to
communicate can carry a huge price. These types of communication disorders can
be minimized if the battle plans are clearly outlined and implemented. The
importance of communication snafus has created a relatively new filed in higher
education called Communication Disorders. Communication Disorders majors study
just about any disorder than impairs language abilities, speaking, hearing, or
otherwise normal communication with others. This field deals not only with
those people born with disorders, but also those who become afflicted with them
later in life. As a Communication Disorders major, your focus will be two-fold:
you’ll learn what fundamentally causes these disorders, as well as ways to
manage them. This field is a scientific
study of the term glossolalia.
Glossolalia, often understood among
Protestant Christians as speaking in tongues, is the fluid vocalizing of
speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning. In some cases
this is part of religious practice. Some consider it as a part of a sacred
language. The topic of tongues as a communication tool goes as far back to
Genesis with the public building of the Tower of Babel. Readers will recall in
that particular situation God used a diversity of tongues and languages to
create confusion about how to build the Tower thus creating a work stoppage and
the discontinuation of the project. As simple as it may sound, the purpose of
communications is to communicate. Speaking in diverse tongues that do not help
others not trained in the language is pointless and useless. Information is
indeed power in all aspects of our lives. However information only has a value
when it is understood and applied.
African American Inspirational Quote for
today: “Very early in life I became fascinated with the wonders language can
achieve. And I began playing with words. Gwendolyn Brooks
*Brother Bill Dickens is currently the
Church School Teacher at Allen AME Church in Tacoma, Washington. He is currently a member of the Fellowship of
Church Educators for the African Methodist Episcopal Church
MEDITATION BASED ON MATTHEW 5:14-16:
*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby
Music is one of my joys in life. I came to appreciate diverse musical styles
and forms as a member of the “Marching 100" Band and the Concert Band at
Columbia, South Carolina’s Booker T. Washington High School, the “Garnet and
Blue Marching 101 Band" at South Carolina State University and of the
Columbia Community Concert Band. I still
pull out and fiddle around with my old clarinet two or three times a year.
I did so this past week at a Beaufort
District Workshop on Music and Worship.
The clinician was an accomplished organist and former accompanist when I
occasionally played while serving as pastor of Morris Brown AME Church, so we
did a number together - along with a percussionist and an old “Marching
101" friend and bass guitarist at the church that hosted the workshop -
and we did pretty good!”
I surprised those at the workshop, but I
also got a surprise after the workshop, when the percussionist thanked me for
letting him participate and said, “By the way, I videoed us and put it on
Facebook.” I’m pleased to say that we
also got good Facebook reviews, but I have to admit that if I knew our
performance would be featured online, I’d have practiced before playing!
Social media sites like Facebook and
Instagram are fun, but they also serve as a reminder that we have to be on our
best behavior in the age of technology, because we never know who may see what
we do. That reality goes beyond today’s
social media and also applies to the lives that we live.
Regardless of whom we are or what we do and
regardless of how private we think our lives are, all of us come under
unexpected scrutiny sooner or later.
Children see and model their parents’ behavior - for better or worse -
and those around us often shape their impressions of us by the things that we
say and do - things that we never expected anyone to see or notice.
That’s why it’s good to let the Lord Jesus
guide us. When we walk in the “Light of
the Lord” and let God’s Holy Spirit order our steps and direct our actions, God
will never lead us wrong. We’ll find new
strength, new hope and new joy, and those who need encouragement and
inspiration will see the light of Jesus shining through in our words and deeds
- even when we don’t know that they’re looking at us.
Take the advice of the writer of the
Biblical Book of James, who encouraged us to be “hearers and doers” of the
Word. You’ll find new meaning and
purpose in life, your words and deeds may unexpectedly inspire those around
you, and you’ll live out the words of the old Spiritual that says, “I’m gonna
live so God can use me, anywhere, Lord, anytime!”
Get Ready for Sunday, and have a great day
in your house of worship!
*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby is the
Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District of the South Carolina Annual
Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
The Reverend Berton Zephaniah Lewis, a
retired minister in the Oklahoma State Annual Conference, died on Wednesday,
May 20, 2015. He is survived by family
members to include his spouse, Sister Inetta Lewis and daughter, Sister Lettie
Funeral Service for the Rev. Lewis is
Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 11 a.m.
Telephone: (405) 258-0175
Arrangements have been entrusted to:
Parks Brothers Funeral Service
Telephone: (405) 258-1177
Resolutions may be sent via Fax: (405)
Condolences may be sent to the family c/o:
Sister Lettie Green / Daughter
Telephone: (405) 258-1356
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to inform you of the passing of
Mrs. Theautry Hicks, the mother of the Rev. Tyrone Hicks, pastor of St. Andrews
AME Church in Sacramento, California and the mother-in-law of the Rev. Phyllis
Hicks, First Lady of St. Andrews. Mrs.
Hicks passed from this life to eternity on May 15, 2015. She was a longtime member and Stewardess of
Murph-Emmanuel AME Church, North Highlands, California.
Celebration of Life for Mrs. Theautry
Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 11 a.m.
Murph-Emmanuel AME Church
North Highlands, California 95660
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to:
Morgan Jones Funeral Home
Sacramento, California 95817
Telephone: (916) 452-4444
Cards and expressions of sympathy may be
Antelope, California 95843
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of
Brother Ward D. Spivey III. He was the brother of Marian Spivey Sudler and the
son of Mrs. Helen E. Spivey. Sister Sudler is the Executive Administrative
Assistant to the Rev. Dr. Jessica Kendall Ingram, Supervisor of the First
Episcopal District. Sudler is also the Director of the Philadelphia Conference
Board of Christian Education.
The following information has been provided
regarding funeral arrangements.
Viewing and Funeral, Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Viewing – 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Homegoing Celebration – 11 a.m.
Telephone: (215) 222-7992
The Rev. Terrence C. Hensford, pastor
Professional Care entrusted to:
Expression of Sympathy can be sent to:
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with deep regret and heavy hearts
that we inform you of the passing of the Rev. Dr. George L. Byrd of Knoxville,
Tennessee, the senior superannuated Itinerant Elder in the East Tennessee
Conference at the ripe age of 91.
His remains will lie in state on Saturday,
May 23, 2015 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.:
Knoxville, Tennessee 37914
Telephone: (865) 522-6396
The Rev. Keith R. Mayes, Pastor
Receipt of family/Viewing will be Sunday,
May 24, 2015 at 4:00 PM with the celebration of life at 5:00 p.m.:
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Knoxville, Tennessee 37915
Telephone: (865) 524-5912
The Rev. Dr. Robert E. Keesee, Presiding
Elder Emeritus will be the eulogist.
Condolences may be sent to:
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918
Cleveland, Tennessee 37311
Toll Free: (800) 824-8283
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
The Third Episcopal District regretfully
announce the passing of the Rev. Jamey K. Smith, son of the Rev. Mary Ann
Smith, associate minister of Shaffer Chapel in McIntyre, Ohio; and the husband
of Tina Pullie Smith and father of Tinisha (Solomon) Sheridan.
The Homegoing Celebration was held on
Saturday, May 16, 2015 at:
The Rev. Roosevelt Thompson, officiating
Condolences may be sent to:
Mrs. Tina Smith and family
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mrs.
Hazel Register-Kelly who was the grandmother of the Rev. Allan R. Robinson,
pastor at New Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Conference,
The following information has been provided
regarding funeral arrangements.
Viewing and Funeral was held on Saturday,
May 16, 2015 at:
Ebenezer Baptist Church of Charlotte
The Rev. Leonzo D. Lynch, pastor
Expression of Sympathy can be sent to:
The Rev. Allan R. Robinson
BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
L. Easley, Administrator
Clergy Family Information Center
(615) 837-9736 (H)
(615) 833-6936 (O)
23. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE
Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland;
the Publisher, the Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour and the Editor of The Christian
Recorder, the Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III offer our condolences and
prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the peace of Christ
will be with you during this time of your bereavement.
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