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

The 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference, July 6-13, 2016


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

Well, it’s getting down to crunch time.  The 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference is days away and my tenure as the 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder is coming to an end. I am blessed to have reached the retirement age. There is so much more I want to write, but the “clock” is running out. I have been publishing The Christian Recorder Online and writing editorials since 2004, which means I have written about 600 editorials plus TCR News Breaks and TCR Breaking News. My position as the Editor of The Christian Recorder has been a fulltime job and a labor of love! 

I want to address the “Guidelines of anointing with oil as found in the book of James, Chapter 5 because I believe the anointing of oil needs readdressing. Readers tell me that they see preachers anointing the heads of parishioners using olive oil bottles bought in grocery stores. If after reading this editorial folks want to continue anointing with oil, I would just ask them to go to a religious book store and purchase a receptacle that is specifically designed for anointing oil. Or they can go to Walmart or another store and purchase a clear plastic bottle(s).  A clear plastic receptacle would be more appropriate than Bertolli or Berio olive oil bottles someone purchased at the grocery store. I would encourage them to take a little extra time to dignify the event.

I believe that most churches and ministers base the anointing with oil on the text found in James 5:14, which says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”  In looking at this issue, I have tried to do a simple exegesis (critical analysis of what the text meant to the biblical audience) and a straightforward hermeneutic (How the text applies to us today).

In the gospels we observe that Jesus commanded all believers to lay hands on the sick, but Jesus never commanded us to anoint anyone with oil. There is no record of Jesus ever anointing anyone with oil, and there are no descriptions of the apostles or other Christians in the early church anointing anyone with oil after the day of Pentecost. Therefore, anointing the sick (or anyone else) with oil is not an unwaiverable religious requirement that believers have to follow.  Anointing with oil is not condemned or forbidden, so one cannot dogmatically or theologically espouse the position that it would be wrong to anoint someone with oil.

However, upon careful analysis, James 5:14 clearly states that "people can ask for some of the elders of their church to come to them and pray for them and to anoint them with oil: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint [aleipho, "to rub, cover over, besmear"] him with oil in the name of the Lord." (James 5:14)

Bible scholars are not certain whether James was referring to the first-century practice of rubbing oil on the sick, or whether James was implying some kind of "sacred" anointing in the verse above.

Upon closer analysis, it is important to note that James used the Greek word for the common, everyday type of "anointing," not the Greek word for a "sacred" anointing in which the Holy Spirit is involved, and James wrote that a sick person "should"; not "must," call for the elders. In other words, James was not giving us a command and telling us that the only way divine healing will work is if church elders anoint a sick person with oil and pray for the person. 

If we follow James’ statement literally, anointing should not be done without a person’s request and if we follow that notion literally, it might be presumptuous of pastors to “spread oil” on everybody during an altar call or even when visiting members in their homes and anointing them without being requested to do so.

A good while ago I went to the chancel rail and following the preacher’s instructions to “talk to God in your own way” during the altar call. I was in deep private prayer when suddenly the preacher anointed me with oil. I was a little put off that the pastor was anointing everyone with oil. I did not ask to be anointed and was offended that the pastor would be presumptive in assuming that everyone wanted to be anointed. My personal talk with God was interrupted by the pastor’s presumptiveness.  Afterwards I wondered if the oil had been consecrated or blessed or just used as purchased at the grocery store. And to make matters worse the pastor anointed everyone kneeling at the altar using olive oil out of a Bertolli bottle.

I have several questions to those who anoint with, does the oil heal?  Does the oil have some kind properties that prayer doesn’t have? How does one determine when to use oil? Do you consecrate the oil? What is the difference between oil that has been consecrated and unconsecrated oil? If the oil is consecrated, what biblical scripture is used to support the practice of consecrating the oil? Should unordained persons anoint people with oil?

The verses in James, Chapter 5 says, “They (those who wish to be anointed) should call for the elders of the church, and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.” (NRSV) 

Presbyteros is the Greek word used in the James passage for “elder,” so it would seem to me that any anointing must be done by ordained clergy. I have seen unordained ministers and “evangelists” freely anointing people with oil.  

Neither Jesus nor the apostles, after Pentecost are recorded as using oil for healing, nor did they ever command anyone else to use oil for healing or for any other situation in which prayer is needed.

Therefore, we should be careful not to take James 5:14 as a dogmatic statement of how healing works. The best balance seems to be that anointing with oil can be helpful, but it is not a requirement for healing, or for any other purpose.

Anointing with oil has gained popularity in the church. I suspect that its popularity may be tied in with the Pentecostalism, neo-Pentecostalism and the charismatic movements and people may see anointing as an innovative approach to liven up traditional worship. 

There is no harm in anointing, but I believe that we should remain as faithful to the biblical passages as possible.

And one more thing

If you are a proponent for anointing persons with oil, please purchase an appropriate bottle or receptacle for the oil.

Ask yourself why you are anointing persons with oil. Is the oil consecrated? Can just anyone consecrate the oil?  Is there a healing property in the oil? Does olive oil have some kind of healing properties?  Can you use Canola Oil or Peanut oil?  If not, why not? 

Have you explained to parishioners why you are anointing with oil? What are your theological or religious reasons for anointing with oil? What does the anointing do? 


Jamye Coleman Williams

The 50th Session of the General Conference is for me a very special one as I look back over the years.  This is the 19th General Conference in which I have been in attendance, dating back to 1940 when we were small enough to meet in a church—Ebenezer AME Church, Detroit, Michigan.  This is the 14th General Conference at which I have been a delegate from 1964 in Cincinnati to this year of 2016.  So I come with nostalgia, with memories, and with hopes.  It is about our hopes that I will share a few thoughts. I also come feeling extremely blessed that God has allowed me to be present for the 200th Anniversary of African Methodism.

All of us, I am sure, have a great sense of pride in our history and legacy—not only as African Methodists but also as African Americans.  When we recall that in 1787 in Philadelphia when there were white men framing the United State Constitution, a few blocks away Richard Allen and others were in process of founding our Church.  Becoming in 1816 a denomination was historic.  Since that time we can point to so many firsts: Became the first African American denomination to own an institution of higher education, Wilberforce, and thereby to have the first African American college president.  Other landmark achievements include the founding of the first black religious newspaper, The Christian Recorder; the first literary journal, The A.M.E. Church Review; and the first book of religious law, The Discipline, and the first hymnal; and the establishing of the first publishing house, the Sunday School Union.

Our history and legacy are so significant that we should ever try to build on the successes and achievement of past generations.  We cannot, however, rest on those laurels.  It is a new day—a new century. Times have changed dramatically.  We cannot then conduct the affairs of the Church as if time has stood still.  We who represent the Moses generation must understand the perspective of the Joshua generation, and vice versa.

At this General Conference my hope is that we realize that it is primarily a legislative body. It is the body that deals with the critical concerns, the serious issues, and the difficult problems that confront the Church.  It is, therefore, necessary that there be leaders among us who will be willing to take a position and have the courage to stand up and be counted.  A constant complaint in “lobby conversations” is that today we do not have as many floor leaders as has been the case in past generations.  The title of a recent book by Marion A. McMickle is an appropriate question at this time, in this place—Where Have All the Prophets Gone? We miss some of the voices of the past who did not maintain silence in the face of controversy or neutrality in the face of conflict.  I recall among them three of my former Wilberforce students—Ulysses Hughey, James Oxley, Woody Hall.

As a layperson let me speak directly for a moment to the laity.  Please remember that you are a most important entity of the Church.  I challenge you as delegates to look carefully at every issue, analyze every problem, and decide logically and prayerfully on a course of action.  I must remind you that you are free, unencumbered, not financially dependent upon the Church, and accountable only to God.

When we are called upon to vote on an issue, I would also remind you that your vote is yours.  It does not belong to anyone else.  You—and you alone—have the right to choose on what and for whom you cast your ballot. I urge you to be thoughtful and prayerful as you exercise this precious right.  Through the years men and women have fought and died for the right to vote.  After the Civil War black men fought for this right.  The suffragists fought for it.  The civil rights advocates fought and died for equal rights, including the right to vote.  Be willing to vote your conscience.

Finally, I urge you to realize that our rich heritage is worth preserving; our commitment to the Great Commission is worth implementing; our allegiance to our Church is worth sustaining.  We must not allow the divisions among us to interfere with our duty to God and His Church.  We must continue to have faith—a faith that I heard Dr. Jeffrey Cooper describe in a sermon “Faith No Matter What.”

It’s really not about us as individuals.  It is not about us if our concern is for the “me-ism” that permeates the world.  It is about some of us who will try to do the right thing and always be on the right side of history.

May god bless each of you and bless this 50th Session of the General Conference of our great African Methodist Episcopal Church.


-- Seventh AME District appoints a new pastor for Emanuel AME Church…

Just 24 hours after Dr. Betty Deas Clark was reassigned to Bethel A.M.E. in Georgetown, Reverend Eric Manning is…

-- “Emanuel AME pastor moved after five months on the job”

“Emanuel AME pastor moved after five months on the job” is the headline in The Courier and Post newspaper (Charleston South Carolina).


*The Rev. Velma E. Grant, M.Div., Th.M.

-- Sixteenth Episcopal District Post Conference Planning Meeting & Christian Education Leadership Congress

The Sixteenth Episcopal District Post-Conference Planning and Christian Education Leadership Congress with episcopal leaders, Bishop John Franklin White, and Supervisor Penny Hartsfield White, convened in Kingston, Jamaica, from May 31 – June 3, 2016. On Tuesday night the episcopal team gathered with members of the “Sizzling, Sensational, Sixteenth District,” at the Hotel Four Seasons to welcome the members and friends of the District. The night’s program leader, the Rev. Dr. Monica Spencer introduced the program participants including co-host presiding elders of the Jamaica Conference, Presiding Elder Leebert A. Dawkins (Pedro Plains District) and Presiding Elder Clarence O. Turpin (Blue Mountain District).

Presiding Elder Turpin had the distinct honor of recognizing and introducing his peers from the District including, Presiding Elder Rudolph U. Aaron (European); Presiding Elder Jonathan Wayne Anthony (Trinidad /Tobago / Grenada); Presiding Elder Anthony Parris (Barbados); Presiding Elder Andrew Morris Grant (Guyana/Suriname); and Presiding Elder Uklyn Hendricks (Virgin Islands).  The presiding elders and members of the Sixteenth Episcopal District, spanning across seas, oceans and countries, came together to work, study, learn, and celebrate African Methodism in the distinctive way that is unique to the people of the Sixteenth District. Herein is the beauty of the AME Church being an international Church, same polity, same theology but a different way of celebrating Jesus and participating in the community of faith.

The community of faith gathered on Wednesday morning June 1, 2016 with morning devotion led by the District Women in Ministry, followed by the morning Bible study session facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Monica Spencer. Dr. Spencer used the scriptural text, Matthew 9:35-38, The Evidence of the Harvest, for the study session. She engaged the small groups with questions such as “Where is the harvest?” “What kind of members is your church producing?”

The small groups and general discussions provided “food for thought” as the members contemplated and shared that “the greatest mistrust comes in operating finances of the Church, transparency is important…the doors of the Church are still open but not just on Sunday mornings…it is a travesty when our churches are only open on Sundays…we need to let go of  past hurts and move forward…we cannot stay in the walls of the church and find new laborers, we need to educate and motivate…we need to identify location of potential members and look at current programs.

The conversation, opinions and strategies shared by the members of the Sixteenth District, might be useful for other members of the Connection since there are certain issues that affect the A.M.E Church regardless of location or District. Members were reminded that (1) although they meet in the church, service to the community is important, (2) strategies need to be developed to meet the needs of the community, (3) need to develop methods to overcome failed members and show them their role in the church, (4) never give up on members because God never gives up on us (5) show these members how their contributions or their absences impacts the church. Dr. Spencer concluded the session by posing this question to those gathered for the morning study session, “God has invested in you, what are you doing with God’s investment?”

Wednesday evening, the Rev. Dr. Harry L. Seawright, pastor of Union Bethel A.M.E Church, Brandywine, MD., preached a dynamic sermon, which offered encouragement to the night’s listeners. Pastor Seawright preached using the scripture Daniel 6:1 (?), with the title The Courage to Stand! While preaching he reminded us that “scripture did not say weapons wouldn’t form, it said they wouldn’t prosper… when you pray expect God to do something amazing…” The evening concluded with the District and visitors participating in the sacrament of the Church, Holy Communion, with Bishop John F. White, chief celebrant assisted by the District presiding elders.
Following Thursday morning’s devotion, the Bible study facilitator was the Rev. Carlos Perkins, pastor of Saint Luke A.M.E. Church, Saint Croix located in the Virgin Islands. In discussing The Fruit of Discipleship, the Rev. Perkins asked those gathered to consider the culture of their church and its effect on their respective churches.

The Thursday morning plenary session facilitator was the Rev. Dr. Stafford Wicker, pastor of Antioch A.M.E Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia, whose topic was, Effective Plans for the Local Church. In this session, Dr. Wicker stated that every planning session should begin with prayer, every church should have a plan for ministry, and that in order to establish a connection to the community, there must be a commitment to Christ (the church and its members must be committed to Christ). Dr. Wicker interestingly shared the importance of teamwork, when he said “…sometimes you’ve got to hand your plan to other folks, let them work the plan.” He shared one particular instance where he was trying to rally the congregation around a project but the project became successful after a senior member (unbeknownst to the pastor), ran full steam ahead with the project, rallying other members to embrace said project because she believed in the importance of the project, and was able to convey the importance to others.

The Thursday noonday preacher was the Rev. Dr. Darryl Williams, pastor of Saint Mark A.M.E Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who used the biblical text Joshua 6:1-5, coupled with the title We’ve Got Something to Shout About! Dr. Williams preached “…shout before the victory…all of us have something to shout about…we have noise makers and not God glorifiers…the shout means more when you’ve got something to shout about…it doesn’t matter how high the wall, how strong the enemy, when God says shout, shout.”

Afternoon lunch preceded another plenary session, this time facilitated by the Rev. Joy L. Gallmon, pastor of New Mt. Pisgah A.M.E Church, Lake City, Florida (she was also the preacher for the Friday closing service). Pastor Gallmon’s topic was Crafting Community: Creating Christian Education Curriculum and she shared a few important points. (1) a community of faith approach to Christian Education makes use of directly shared experiences, (2) Christian Education is not teaching about Richard Allen, we use Richard Allen’s story to point to Jesus Christ, (3) our structure is good, we have to use our structure to deepen our relationship, (4) everything that we do in worship is important, everything that we do teaches.

Although the District is comprised of several countries with many languages and dialects, the chant “Sensational, Sizzling Sixteenth District, number one,” is one that is enthusiastically chanted in unison by the District. In unison, on Thursday night, the District gathered for a wonderful night of culture where the songs, poems, skits, music, and rhythms of the Sizzling Sixteenth were showcased proudly by individuals from within the District. The Rev. Roy Francis, pastor in the Windward Conference served as the amiable and efficient moderator/host of the evening session where attendees, sang, danced, laughed, and celebrated Christ and affiliation with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Bishop John F. and Supervisor Penny White have embraced, and are embraced by members of the Sixteenth District, who although separated by land, oceans, seas, and languages were joined together on that night “Culture Night,” to celebrate the lessons learned from the sermons, discussions and plenary sessions from the preachers and teachers who were each dynamic in their own right. It truly is a wonderful thing to witness, participate in, and celebrate with members of our international Church across land, oceans, and sea, proving that the love of Christ knows no boundaries and that the African Methodist Episcopal Church is indeed one Church in many locations.

*The Rev. Velma E. Grant, M.Div., Th.M. an associate pastor at First Saint Paul A.M.E Church in Lithonia, Georgia and President of the Sixth Episcopal District Women In Ministry (WIM)


101 - Mayberry, Harold R. (Rev. Dr.)
102 - Thompson, Taylor T. (Rev. Dr.)


- 210 Treasurer/CFO:
211 - Lewis, Richard Allen (Dr.)

- 220 General Secretary/CIO:
221- Cooper, Jeffery Bernard (Rev. Dr.)

- 230 AMEC Department of Retirement Services:
231 - Harris, Jerome V. (Rev. Dr.)

- 240 Global Witness and Ministry:
241 - Flowers, George F. (Rev. Dr.)

- 250 Historiographer/Director of Research & Scholarship,
Editor of AME Review:
251 - Fry Brown, Teresa L. (Rev. Dr.)

- 260 President/Publisher, Sunday School Union:
261 - Belin, Roderick Dwayne (Rev.)
262 - Green, Henry E. Jr. (Rev.)
263 - Parker, Joseph (Rev.)

- 270 Editor of The Christian Recorder:
271 - Glenn, V. Gordon III (Rev.)
272 - Grant, Velma E. (Rev.)
273 - Thomas, John III (Mr.)

- 280 Department of Christian Education:
281 - Bass, Kabrina W. (Ms.)
282 - Gallmon, Joy L. (Rev.)
283 - Green, Vivian (Rev.)
284 - Johnson, Amanda L. (Ms.)
285 - Jones, Roy P. Jr. (Rev. Dr.)
286 - Pierce, Garland F. (Rev. Dr.)
287 - Smith, Robin Porter (Mrs.)

- 290 Church Growth and Development:
291 - Hampton, Dennis J. (Rev.)
292 - Mclamore, Charles Carnell (Rev. Dr.)
293 - Mayes, Terence L. Sr. (Rev. Dr.)
294 - Wade, James C (Rev. Dr.)


- 310 Clergy Member:
311 - Bess, Thomas Leon (Rev. Dr.)
312 - Curry, Eduardo K., Esq. (Rev.)
313 - Golden, James T., Esq. (Rev.)
314 - Green, O. Jerome, Esq. (Rev. Dr.)
315 - Howard, Delman (Rev.)

- 320 Clergy Alternate:

- 330 Lay Member:
331 - Anderson, Derek H.
332 - Dawson, Warren H., Esq.
333 - Mayberry, Patricia M., Esq.
334 – Rhodes, Brian Matthew, Esq.
335 - Wright, Tania E., Esq.

- 340 Lay Alternate:
341 - Battle, Starr L., Esq.

- 400 Bishop:
401 - Alexander, James A. Sr. (Rev.)
402 - Anthony, Wayne Johnathan (Rev.)
403 - Beaman, Silvester S. (Rev. Dr.)
404 - Brailsford, Ronnie E. Sr. (Rev. Dr.)
405 - Brookins, Francine A., (Rev. Dr.).
406 - Calloway, Kelvin T. Sr., (Rev. Dr.)
407 - Cooper, Katurah York (Rev. Dr.)
408 - Eason, Gregory Vaughn Sr. (Rev. Dr.)
409 - Goff, Norvel Sr. (Rev. Dr.)
410 - Gray I, Terence Renard (Rev.)
411 - Greenebarr, Cecelia (Rev. Dr.)
412 - Hendricks, Uklyn Augustus (Rev.)
413 - Henning-Byfield, E. Anne (Rev. Dr.)
414 - Ingram, Daryl B. (Rev. Dr.)
415 - Mitchell, Michael Leon (Rev. Dr.)
416 - Mugala, Paul M. Sr. (Rev.)
417 - Pierson, Mark S. (Rev.)
418 - Reid, Frank Madison Iii (Rev. Dr.)
419 - Richburg, Caesar R. (Rev. Dr.)
420 - Rumph, James Arthur (Rev. Dr.)
421 - Scott, Magnus W.T. Sr. (Rev.)
422 - Seawright, Harry Lee (Rev. Dr.)
423 - Seibo, Samuel D., (Rev.)
424 - Simms, Moses A. Jr. (Rev. Dr.)
425 - Tyler, Timothy E. (Rev. Dr.)
426 - Wicker, Stafford J. N. (Rev. Dr.)
427 - Williams, Allen L. Sr. (Rev.)
428 - Williams, Darryl R. (Rev.)
429 - Wright, Frederick A. (Dr.)
430 - Yates, Elizabeth E. (Rev.)
431 - Zanders, Marvin Clyde II (Rev.)


Alyce Ann Naomi Purvis Hendricks will be assisting Pastor William Howard Smith at St Paul-Agnew AME Church in Pulaski, Tennessee, as a musician, Vocalist, and worship assistant on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month.
In the area of benevolence and missions, the scholarship assistance Alyce Ann Naomi Purvis Hendricks is a result of a nearly two year effort to secure a student from Martin Methodist College to assist St. Paul- Agnew AME Church in Pulaski, Tennessee.

Dr. Ted Brown, Martin Methodist Colleges President and St Paul-Agnew's pastor, the Rev. Howard Smith dialogued about this program coming into place.

Alyce Ann Naomi Purvis Hendricks also serves as the musician for Oakwood Seventh Day Adventist Church, Huntsville, Alabama. Additionally, she's a member of the Martin Methodist College Chorus in Pulaski. She's a committed Christian Educator and an Evangelist.

 Alyce Ann Naomi Purvis Hendricks was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 9, 1994 to Ms. Alycia Hendricks and Melvin Purvis. She has been singing since she was two years old for an audience and started off as the Tennessee Kuumba Baby, reciting and writing poems since age 5, has been playing the piano since age 4.  Alyce loves to sing to glorify God and does it freely. She has been in other contest and performances for 20 years and says she does them because she enjoys touching lives of many around the world.

In 2012 Alyce was privileged to go to China along with ADRA on a mission trip to build biogas tanks that help provide heating and electricity for poverty homes. Her most humbling experience was in the summer of 2014 when she was blessed to go with Oakwood University 4HIM Missions to Kenya to donate clothes and work as a medical missionary in the clinics and orphanages there. Then for 2014 Christmas, Alyce was asked to come to Belize as a Singing Evangelist to minister to over 5 churches and speak for a youth revival about the effects of music on the brain. She loves to explore the world and help people, especially the elderly.  Alyce believes music is a true medicine from God and will sing for anyone at any time if they are feeling down and strives to lift and help heal as many hearts as she can.
Oakwood University is where she began her pathway to becoming a nurse. She was there for three years then transferred to Pulaski Tennessee to attend Martin Methodist College majoring in nursing with a minor in music.

Alyce aspires to become a geriatric nurse practitioner to work with the elderly and later become a musical therapist. Because she was brought up alongside her 89 year old Grandmother Alice who still sings, and plays the piano, she wants to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and only use her talents for God and kingdom-building.

Her ultimate goal is to make it to heaven and be able to sing in the choir with the angels and Jesus all over the universe as well as lead others to the Savior so they will arrive with her on that great day.


Mrs. Ophelia Chamberlain

I know you are thinking, what I mean about making friends with Thought.  Well I mean just that!

We have our casual everyday friends, such as friends at work, at the gym, at church, at school and many other places.  We deal with these friends every day of our lives in one way or the other.  However, we are not conscious of our friends that are the closet to us.  Who are our very best friends and guests?  They are our closet and dearest friends whom for this article I will refer to as “Thought” and its constituents.  Notice when referencing to “Thought” I will always begin the name of “Thought” with a capital T.

“Thought” is with us always, whether we choose for “Thought” and his constituents to be with us or not; they will always come along. “Thought” is the one who we check-in with first upon awakening in the morning.   We begin to take orders from “Thought” the moment we open our eyes.  What directions and goals does “Thought” have for you today?  Sometimes we have to be careful about “Thought,” because if “Thought” has not been properly trained to assist you in the proper way; your life could become a disaster as soon as you wake up.

You wonder where our thoughts come from. Well, let’s look at the situation like this. After being born, we are indoctrinated into a certain belief system.  The ground laid for most of our beliefs originated from our parents or the style of life with which we were born and raised. Our beliefs play one of the most important roles in our lives. For instance, I was raised with some beliefs, you probably never heard of.

One of my strongest ones for me were, if I ever washed my hair, summer or winter and go outside I would catch a cold and die. That one caused lots of inconveniences for me. Another, if I did not go to church, I would go to hell.  I suppose I am hell bond, by now. Some of these beliefs stay with us forever. Therefore, this is why I believe we should check our beliefs for their truths.  Is everything you believe true?

Now let us talk about the “Thought” bubble.  “Thought” has a domain, which we will refer to as the “Thought” bubble. The “Thought” bubble is located in another dimension; one you have forgotten, but don’t worry it is there. 

Maybe I should break down the definition of the “Thought” bubble. Thoughts are pure energy. This energy exists within you and outside of you. We also must understand this energy of “Thoughts” is all of our own acknowledgment. You notice I did not say “all of our own making,” because due to the fact that all “Thoughts” do not come from our own making. We create some thoughts on our own, but not all.  How many times have you made the statement, “Where did that “Thought” come from?”

Starting your day off with some of “Thought’s” negative suggestions, may not be in your best interest. One of the worse things you could possible do, for instance, is to wake up to the “Thought” that your day is going to be one of the worse days in history for you. This could possibly be true, if you believe it. Maybe you should start your day off by paying attention to “Thought’s” most positive suggestions.

I want you to understand that we are getting ready to cross over into the nature of our spiritual beings. “Thought” is a spiritual being.  Do not forget the spiritual being is our dearest friend, “Thought” who is always with us.  

Thought will always meet us at the door, assisting us to the chambers where its other associates are. These are our favorite people we converse with all the time.  We have a nickname for our friends. There is that special one that we love dearly. Some name it “Me, Myself and I AM,” and some have gone so far as to name it God. However, it does not matter what you choose to call it.  It will acknowledge and recognize its name and surely answer.

Then there are the ones or ones that choose not to identify themselves. These are the ones in the background that always have something to say about the situation, whether they are knowledgeable about it or not.

The entities that communicate with you are basically what we refer to as self-talk entities.

Think about this, who do you think is talking to you now?  Now you have to notice, “Thought” has not trained its helpers when and when not to speak.  If you notice one thing in particular they all begin to think at once, none of them using any discipline.  Sometimes they are all so busy, giving you advice and the chatter is so bad, you cannot hear yourself think. This type of commotion means one thing; there is no discipline amongst them. Let’s talk about how we can train them for our greatest good.

Number one, we have to establish which one is the controller. To identify who the controller is, listen to the details of the explanation that is given to you.  For instance, we are going to have to put our thinking into categories that will be understandable for the subject of “Thought’s” benefit and ours also.

*Ophelia Chamberlain graduated from Forest Park College with an associate degree in Human Services, along with 60 hours from UMCSL College of Saint Louis MO in Social work. She retired from the Housing Authority of Saint Louis County and now resides in Columbia, South Carolina.


By David R. Brubaker on June 22, 2016 Leading Ideas

David Brubaker says that while every congregation is a political system, political activity doesn’t need to be manipulative, polarizing or demeaning. He outlines four requirements for a church to function as a healthy political system.

Congregations, like all organizations, are arenas for political activity. While we tend to think of politics as pertaining to governmental entities, the phrase “workplace politics” communicates the reality that political activities occur in multiple organizational settings. Power and authority are negotiated and contested in every organization, thus political activity is also endemic in every organization.

Congregations are indeed political systems. But they don’t have to be dysfunctional and polarized.

While every congregation is indeed a political system, political activity does not need to be manipulative, polarizing, or personally demeaning. The Greek word translated as “church” in the Christian Scriptures, ekklesia, means “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly.” Likewise, the word “synagogue” is derived from the Greek word synagein, and means “to bring together.” In Hebrew, a synagogue is referred to as beit ha-knesset, which has the same meaning — a “house of assembly.”

When citizens leave their homes to “assemble” in a synagogue or church, they inevitably form a political system as well as a spiritual and social one. Yet the reality that congregations are not only spiritual and social systems but also political ones is for many congregants a deeply disturbing thought. Politics appears to be brutish, nasty, and coarse — particularly in the current U.S. election cycle. Bringing such malodorous activities into a religious congregation strikes many congregation members as something abhorrent. Can a congregation be a healthy political system, or are we condemned to replicate the political grandstanding, intransigence, and polarization that now dominate our national politics?

I would suggest that there are four essential requirements for a congregation to function as a healthy political system:

1) Clear and consistent decision-making policies and practice

Destructive political activity often results when individuals and groups in a congregation do not understand — or do not trust — existing decision-making mechanisms. Fuzziness in decision-making is a chronic cause of negative politics in congregations.

2) Clear lines of authority and accountability

Position descriptions for professional staff are as essential for healthy congregational functioning as they are in any other organization. Periodic role clarification is needed as individual positions turn over or are revised. Every position description should also clarify to whom that position is accountable, and provide for annual review and accountability, in order to ensure meaningful accountability.

3) Clear channels for communication and participation

Nearly every congregation I’ve attended or worked with gave significant attention to how it was communicating “to” the congregation. The combination of verbal announcements when the congregation gathers, a printed bulletin, a website, and email blasts are today all standard. But less attention is given in most congregations to how the leadership hears back “from” the congregation. Two-way communication is essential in contemporary congregations, as members experienced with social media and open discussions in university classrooms generally won’t abide one-way communication for long.

4) Dignity and Respect as Cultural Norms

By far the most important requirement for healthy politics is that congregations hold and practice strong cultural norms of dignity and respect. Author Donna Hicks defines these terms this way: “Dignity is our inherent value and worth as human beings; everyone is born with it. Respect, on the other hand, is earned through one’s actions.” To be treated with dignity, therefore, is the inherent right of every human being — even if we are unable to accord respect to the behavior of a given individual.

When implemented, these four requirements for healthy congregational functioning produce dramatically different political behavior. Congregations are indeed political systems. But they don’t have to be as dysfunctional and polarized as our more visible political systems currently are. Commitments to clarity and to upholding human dignity are the two most essential requirements for healthy congregational politics. Whatever the state of politics in your congregation, it’s never too late to start improving them.

*This article originally appeared in the newsletter of the Congregational Consulting Group and is used by permission of the author. The website for the Congregational Consulting Groups is www.congregationalconsulting.org 


*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins

Based on Biblical Text: Joshua 7:1 (NIV): But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

Let me provide a little background before moving forward.

God gave Joshua specific instructions before the Israelites invaded Jericho. God told the Israelites that every living thing was to be put to death and all the “stuff” belonging to the people of Jericho was to be dedicated to the Lord’s treasury. He was absolutely clear that none of the Israelite soldiers were to keep any of the spoils. Joshua, the leader, knew it would not be a good idea to question God and His plans. Therefore, he gave the specific instructions to everybody. Everyone obeyed God, except Achan. Achan sinned, and took some of the wealth for himself.

The truth is that many of us might even sympathize with Achan. After all he risked his life fighting hard like everyone else. This was Achan’s chance to get ahead. He could pocket a little “change,” and finally get something tangible for his battlefield valor and his devotion to Joshua. Why not get something out of the deal, right?

Well, the problem with Achan taking some of Jericho’s wealth was it was an act of disobedience. God’s strict requirement was obedience and what God got from "Brother" Achan was clearly disobedience. Lamentably, disobedience is a sin of which we are all familiar.

Far too often, we allow the pursuit of something tangible to cloud our judgment. The truth of the matter is we often let our pursuit of “stuff” keep us from being obedient. In many instances it is our desire to accumulate “stuff” that causes us to take our focus off God. We hear God say, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house,” however we squander our tithes gathering more “stuff” at the mall and we short-change God on Sunday. My point is it is like Achan’s sin of disobediently of keeping the spoils of battle when our “stuff” becomes our god.

I’ve learned over the course of my ministry, folks do not like when the pastor talks about money. Believe you me; I don’t make it a habit. Let me make it clear that our “stuff” does not have to be money or even a pile of tangible objects. No beloved, our “stuff” can be a frat or lodge meeting, a social gathering, a football, baseball or basketball game, or even a chance to get in some more hours at work so we can buy some more “stuff.” In other words, our “stuff” is anything that takes our eyes, our minds, our focus and our heart, off of God.

Our God is everywhere, knows everything and sees everything. Achan did not escape God’s notice. God saw Achan’s sin when he took some of the "devoted things" that belonged to God, and God’s anger was kindled, not just against Achan, but against all Israel. We need to understand that it only takes one!

Achan did not seem to care that his actions got everybody else in trouble. It did not appear that he gave much thought to the fact that his disobedience was going to cost Joshua his next victory. I make this point to warn us as we are inclined to point the finger of blame at Achan. Let us first take a look at ourselves. It is a fact that we are selfish by nature. We are in fact selfish enough to believe our actions only affect us. Most of us don’t stop to think about the effect our actions have on others. I contend that in many instances we just don’t care. We think, “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want.” The preacher in me has to say, “I know I’m right about it.”

The truth of the matter is our disobedient actions don’t just hurt us they hurt others around us. Our text does not say that only Achan would suffer for his disobedience. It says, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.”

The fact is God has rules for a reason. God’s rules are meant to help our carnal flesh keep its focus. Can you imagine what the kingdom of God would look like if all of us who profess to be God’s children obeyed God's rules! God’s church bank accounts would be full, and God’s houses would be full.

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


I write this with mixed emotions. I am at the airport in Addis Abba, Ethiopia waiting for the flight to Gondar. This northern city is the location of the University of Gondar. I am attending a 25th Anniversary Medical Sciences Conference there and will present some results on the Trusted Messenger Intervention (TMI) efforts to address HIV/AIDS. The invitation unplanned by me was received a few days before leaving Michigan for TMI fieldwork sites in Zambia. I am grateful for the unanticipated opportunity.

This is my first travel to Ethiopia or even to East Africa, "the Horn of Africa." It seems that God is enlarging my territory in God's timing and for God's purposes. I am simply sitting in the back seat of the two-seater bicycle with my hands up in the air thinking, "Wheeee... what is next?"

I have mixed feelings because of what I see. The conference organizers arranged lodging in Addis Abba for overnight to go with a 9:00 p.m. arrival from Johannesburg, South Africa. The connecting flight to Gondar boards at 6:45 a.m. It is a short night's sleep.

The four-star hotel provides buffet breakfast, fast Internet, shuttle service and every amenity for comfort. It was exciting to see what was brought to my room from the breakfast buffet since I depart at 5:30 a.m. from the hotel to the Bole International Airport. Great croissant, eggs and Ethiopian coffee along with fruit, fresh squeezed juice and a serving of a “meat or veggie with onions” dish that I do not recognize. The waitperson explains the name and informs me that "it is quite good."

After using the hotel shuttle service back to the airport and checking in and through security I passed through an area where there are long seats. On most there are people curled up and covered with their jacket or clothes.

While I feel some kind of unusual way from long flights and such early rising and unknown foods, my travel has been a blessing. I am only in Addis for six hours outside of the airport, but was not asked to spend the lay-over night time sleeping on a cart in the lounge of the airport; thus one source of mixed feelings. We could have saved some funds if I just stayed in the airport overnight.

We have so much and often appreciate it much less than we should.

Ethiopia is known to some as the distant place of origin of dire pictures of drought, famine and starvation from the 1980s and even more recently during the 2010 droughts. The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Medical Schools are leading a major overhaul to increase the number of trained medical and health care professionals who remain in the country to serve the Ethiopian communities.

Like many countries in Africa, "brain drain" is an issue. Some of the best and brightest qualify for and gain an education out of the country. They find better salaries, work conditions, upward mobility and greater family satisfaction and opportunities in other countries, so they do not return for long-term careers in their home country. The USA has many African Diaspora persons who fit this category. There are mixed feelings and many issues about what to do.

Ethiopian officials and leadership are pouring funds into increasing resources to train medical personnel at all levels to remain in the country to address health issues. Currently the estimate is about 1.0 - 2.6 physicians to serve every 100,000 persons in this country.

Ethiopia has a population of 95 million people. This is the second largest population in Africa-- only Nigeria has more people. An average family size is about 6-7 persons. One estimate states that 16% of the population lives on less than $1.00 per day. The national currency is the Birr (ETB). One USD is 21.7 ETB.

Addis Abba is the capital city of Ethiopia. It is an urban jungle growing larger each week with new buildings and more people. Another estimate states that 55% of the Addis population lives in compounds or slums. On the bright side there is now an estimated 82% literacy rate. The predominate language is Amharic although many also speak English.

It is a beautiful country, as I wonderfully discovered in travel north to Gondar early the next morning.

All has gone well with getting the visa onsite and immigration, hotel transit, early morning flights and arranged connections. I am staying at the Goha Hotel in Gondar. 

Gondar is an ancient city in the mountains in northern Ethiopia bordering Kenya. It was established as a retreat for kings hundreds of years ago. So different than the bustling Addis Abba based on what I could see in the short time overnight there.

In Gondar, my hotel room looks into a valley with a peaceful city. The hotel is on a low mountain/ high hill. I can hear the call to prayers from a mosque in the area below. Ethiopia is about 60% Christian and 33% Islamic. This area is absolutely lovely, rainy season clear air and lots of green and rich looking soil. My host says Gatlinburg, TN and Gondar are similar in terrains. I agree.

I understand better why Ethiopian long distance runners can train well here in the highlands. Goat herds and their shepherds, donkey pulled carts, package-laden mules and people working manually on road expansion are all visible. These are right along side modern SUVs, many small motor taxis that have one center front wheel and two back wheels and the 400-bed hospital near campus that recently was built by the USA. 

People are gracious. One shop keeper at the hotel started to address me in Amharic because he thought I was Ethiopian. It is a high compliment.

So much history in this part of the world - The Horn of Africa.

It is beautiful and rich in heritage and natural resources. While I would love to stay longer to explore and better experience this land and its people, I am looking forward to being home in Michigan, or at least to the USA. I anticipate returning to Ethiopia. Will see what the future holds.

Mixed feelings.

Conference starts tomorrow morning. Need rest... Peace. Out.

*The Rev. Dr. Oveta Fuller is currently on Sabbatical leave from the
University of Michigan and is currently in Africa and will submit her column as her schedule permits.  She is the incoming Director, African Studies Center Associate Professor Dept Microbiology and Immunology University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan


*Brother Bill Dickens


Years ago I created a byline to be included with all of my outgoing email messages. The byline reads: “Knowledge is an asset, Ignorance is a liability.” In developing this byline I wanted readers of my email to understand that information has value, but rejection of knowledge is costly. Too often we find ourselves in situations where rejection of knowledge and truth results in discomfort, chaos and confusion. The irony is despite these unfavorable outcomes many choose to reject true knowledge and opt for anti-truths. This decision to ignore eternal truths and cling to distorted messages and beliefs is the cornerstone of the Adult AME Church School lesson for June 26, 2016. The Apostle Paul challenges us to not embrace a social perspective that puts emphasis on pathological behavior and anti-social attitudes. Such behavior will not lead us along the path of truth. Such behavior will only lead us along the path to perdition.

Bible Lesson

The Book of Romans is St. Paul’s magnum opus. Arguably no book in the entire New Testament provides greater depth and insight in Christian theology. Chapter 1:18-32 emphasizes the importance of faith and personal responsibility. The lesson text is unambiguous concerning behavioral traits offensive to a Holy God. The section of our Church School lesson text outlines specific behavior that is incompatible with theological and spiritual truth. Paul’s instruction about behavior and responsibility is important because he is writing to largely a Gentile population at the Roman Church. Many Jews have been deported from Rome leaving the early church overpopulated with non-Jews who are making their transition from pagan beliefs to Christianity. Paul emphasizes that while many know the truth about unacceptable behavior and conduct many choose to ignore these eternal truths and opt instead for a lifestyle filled with behavioral traits, which are the antithesis to the truth. Willfully ignoring the truth can have serious repercussions in our faith experience. Verses 26 – 30 offer specific evidence of immoral behavior in opposition to God’s will. Homosexuality, lying, haters of God, backbiting and disobedience to parents are all cited as actions that will be met with swift punishment. A new life in Christ requires that old habits must be put away. It is imperative that we discontinue rejecting the truth for lies and debauchery.

Bible Application

The magazine, New Scientist, published an interesting article in May 2010 about why people reject the truth. The article looked at the pattern of denial applied to specific scientific issues: evolution, global warming, origin of the universe, etc. The authors concluded that people who reject scientific truth, e.g., deniers, do so because they see themselves as underdogs. All set themselves up as courageous underdogs fighting corrupt elites engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the truth or foist a malicious lie on ordinary people. Is there an “underdog” element present for why many people suppress God’s truth?

"Such logic doesn’t appear to hold up to evidence since God has always revealed Himself as a protector of the underdog. God’s truth is liberating, this benefits the underdog. God’s truth is eternal; this provides hope for the underdog. All evidence points to God’s truth as the sustainer of life. Denying and suppressing such evidence only makes us a liar, underdog or not. There is no victory in vice. QED"

*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


*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby

I’ve spent some time, as we approach the 2016 General election, reflecting on the presidency of Barack Obama.  Much could be said about his presidency - his ability to get things done in spite of mean-spirited and bigoted Congressional efforts to block his plans, his toughness in the face of angry racists, his grace and compassion as he spoke in the wake of too many tragedies involving gun violence and his sense of humor and ability to laugh at himself and to poke fun at those who tried to get under his skin.  It could even be noted that his very presidency changed America - today’s third graders find the image of a black “First family” to be perfectly normal because they were born during his tenure.

Much could be said about Barack Obama, but what stands out for me is the way that he expresses his faith.  He doesn’t make a lot of noise about it and never affiliated with a church in Washington - sparing whatever church he could have joined serious security concerns - and he doesn’t use his faith as a political tool.  The way that he conducts himself in office and in life - his humility, his positive spirit, his strength and his devotion to his family as a husband and father speak to his practiced love for the Lord.  His actions speak louder than his words.

Remember that in a time when some politicians interweave religion and the politics of division and fearful anger, when some of those who call themselves the “Christian right” don’t appear by their actions and attitudes to be either Christian or right, and when some “church folks” talk holy talk and trumpet their righteousness but don’t treat others as they want to be treated.

One of the wonders of the Gospels is that Jesus never clearly came out and said, “I am the Christ.”  He didn’t have to, because His work and His teachings epitomized God’s love and brought hope and salvation to all who believe - especially those pushed to the margins of the religion and society of His day.  His actions spoke louder than His words.

Regardless of your “faith label,” be like Jesus, for every major world religion calls true believers to love God with every fiber of their being and to love others as much as they love themselves.  Love the Lord enough to practice your religion by your thoughts, words and deeds and by making the lives of others better.  God will bless you for doing so, give you strength and joy, and make you glad that you can say, as did my ancestors in faith, “I’m gonna live so God can use me, anywhere, Lord, anytime.”

*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


-- Congratulations to Dr. Joanne Williams-Cooper for being listed in the Atlanta Magazine as one of the top Physicians in the area of Primary Care in the Metro Atlanta Region.

Congratulations to Dr. Joanne Williams-Cooper for being listed in the Atlanta Magazine as one of the top Physicians in the area of Primary Care in the Metro Atlanta Region.  The Atlanta Magazine annually recognizes the top physicians in the metro Atlanta area.  Dr. Williams-Cooper expertise is in preventive medicine. She is the wife of General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Jeffery B. Cooper.

Congratulatory expressions can be emailed to:

Dr. Joanne E. Williams-Cooper
-- The Rev. Ronald A. Boykin and Sis. Helen Boykin Celebrated their Forty-Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Congratulations to the Rev. Ronald A. Boykin and Sister Helen Boykin, Pastor and First Lady of Seaton Memorial AME Church of Lanham, Maryland, parents and grandparents, who celebrated their forty-fifth wedding anniversary on June 12, 2016.

Celebratory messages can be sent to:

The Rev. Ronald & Helen Boykin
14521 Penderlea Court
Gainesville, VA 20155

The Rev. Ronald: revboykin@aol.com 
Mrs. Helen Boykin: mrshelenboykin@aol.com

-- The Reverend Michelle Yvette Frayer is a Cum Laude Graduate of Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio with a Master of Divinity Degree

The Reverend Michelle Yvette Frayer is a May 20, 2016, Cum Laude Graduate of Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio, with a Master of Divinity Degree. Additionally, she made the Dean’s List for the spring, 2015 and spring, 2016 semesters.

She received the Dr. Jayme Coleman Williams and Dr. McDonald Williams Annual Scholarship in 2015 in Memory of the Rev. F. Douglass Coleman, Sr. The Reverend Frayer is presently an associate minister and Itinerant Deacon at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Congratulatory messages may be emailed to the Rev. Michelle Y. Frayer: frayerm@musc.edu.

-- The Reverend Gregory M. Kinsey and Mrs. Antoinette Kinsey are pleased to announce the birth of their second grandchild

The Reverend Gregory M. Kinsey and Mrs. Antoinette Kinsey are pleased to announce the birth of their second grand child, baby boy “Camren Sinclair Kinsey," born to their son Adam and Shaquanda Kinloch-Kinsey on Friday, June 17, 2016 at 9:43 p.m., weighing 7lbs-10oz.

The Reverend Gregory Kinsey is the pastor of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ridgeland, South Carolina.  Mrs. Antoinette Kinsey is the MSWAWO + PKs Coordinator of the 7th Episcopal District.

You may contact the proud parents at akinloch4@gmail.com or mail a card to:

Mr. and Mrs. Adam Kinloch-Kinsey
80 Pelican Circle
Beaufort, SC 29906

The Fifth Episcopal District is saddened to announce the passing of Mrs. Gloria J. Thompson, Life Member of the Women's Missionary Society.  Sister Gloria was a past Conference President of the California Conference WMS and a past First Vice-President of the Fifth District WMS and has served in several Connectional WMS capacities.  She served as a delegate to the last three sessions of the AME Church General Conference (2004, 2008, and 2012).  She is a life-long member of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Oakland, California where the Rev. Dr. Harold Mayberry is her pastor.  She is the mother of Darryl Thompson and loving grandmother to Joseph and Darryl, Jr.

Celebration of life service arrangements are pending.

Expressions of sympathy may be extended to:

Mr. Darryl Thompson and Family
55 Turtle Creek Street
Oakland, CA 94605


It is with great sadness that we share the news of the sudden passing of Mrs. Susan Nomvula Hoorn, wife of our supernumerary minister, the Rev Benjamin Marthinus Hoorn, emeritus Presiding Elder.  Mrs. Susan Nomvula Hoorn passed on yesterday, 19 June 2016.  Presently associated with St. Paul AME Church in Carnarvon, they were looking forward to celebrating their 35th Wedding anniversary this coming Saturday 25 June 2016.

Praying that the Lord of Hosts will strengthen this man of God during this his time of trial and challenge.

Expressions of sympathy may be emailed to: bhoorn@telkomsa.net, Rev. Benjamin Marthinus Hoorn.


We are saddened to announce the Passing of Mrs. Wilburn L. Boddie, one of the founders of AME-SADA its longest serving Board Member. She transitioned to her eternal home on June 15, 2016.

1) Mrs. Wilburn L. Boddie, 95 Years Old

2) Wake: Friday June 24, 2016, 6-9 p.m. at Ward Memorial AME Church, 241 42nd St. NE, Washington, DC 20019

3) Viewing: Saturday June 25, 9-10 a.m., Ward Memorial AME Church.

4) The funeral: Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 10 a.m.

5) Funeral Home for Mrs. Wilburn L. Boddie

Marshall- March Funeral Home
3408 Suitland Road
Suitland MD, 20746
Telephone: (301) 736-1616
We regret to inform you of the passing of Miss Jessica Gabrielle Crawford.   Jessica transitioned to her heavenly home, Monday, June 20, 2016.   She is the daughter of the Rev. D. Lavel Crawford, Sr., pastor of Avery Chapel AME Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Mrs. Stephanie H. Crawford.  She is survived by five siblings, Dana, Jr., Tangiere, Christin, Chelsea and Morgan.

Jessica’s warm spirit and genuine love will forever be remembered.  She was fondly embraced and well-loved by everyone who spent time around her.  She was a member of Avery Chapel AME Church in Oklahoma City She died at the tender age of 20 years old.  She is greatly loved and is greatly missed by her parents, siblings, family members, church members and many others.

The Celebration services will be Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.:

Avery Chapel AME Church
1425 Kelham Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

The Rev. D. Lavel Crawford, pastor
The Rev. Harvey Potts, Presiding Elder
Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr., Presiding Prelate

Jessica may be viewed from 10:00 a.m.-10:45 a.m. in the sanctuary prior to the service.

Arrangement has been entrusted to:

Mackay-Davis Funeral Home
1616 NE 36th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111.

The family asks for your continuous prayers.

Written expressions of sympathy to her family may be sent to the following:

The Rev. & Mrs. D. Lavel Crawford
1332 NE 20th Place
Moore, OK 73160

Email: dlavelc@gmail.com     

Avery Chapel AME Church
1425 N. Kelham Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73117

The following arrangements have been made to accommodate travelers who will be attending the Celebration service:

Fairfield Inn
1101 East I-240 Service Road
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73149     (405) 840-5557
2 Queen Rate:  $84.00 – Thursday Night
$88.00 – Friday & Saturday


We are saddened to announce the passing of Ms. Barbara Ann (BobbyAnn) Dyson, mother of the Rev. Dr. Barbareta McGill of the Western North Carolina Conference. 

The arrangements are as follows:

Celebration of Life Memorial Service:
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Abundant Life Church
100 Linden Ave.
Wilmington, DE 19805

Pastor Paul Grapes, Officiant
The Rev. Dr. Barbareta McGill, Eulogist

In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made in memory of Ms. Dyson to Abundant Life Church.

Expressions to the family may be sent:

The Rev. Dr. Barbareta McGill
3005 Red Grape Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27607-4865

Telephone: (919) 593-5115


We are saddened to inform you of the sudden passing of Sister Melinda R. Wilhite Evans.  Sister Evans was the sister of the Reverend Priscilla Taylor, a Local Elder on the Ministerial Staff at Young's Chapel AME Church in Louisville, Kentucky where the Reverend Everett Hobson is Pastor.

Funeral Arrangements:

Family Visitation, Friday Evening, June 24, 2016 from 4-9 p.m.

Celebration Service, Saturday Morning, June 25, 2016.
Viewing from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Celebration Service 11:00 a.m. at
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church
3801 Forest Manor Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46226

The Rev. Brian Shobe, pastor

Services have been entrusted to:
Stuart Mortuary

Condolences may be sent to the Wilhite, Bridges, and Carter


The Third Episcopal District sadly announces the passing of the Reverend Hurdie Billingslea, Jr., retired Itinerant Elder whose last pastorate was at St. John AME Church in Worthington, Ohio.  Upon his passing the Reverend Billingslea served as an associate minister at Mt. Vernon Avenue AME Church in Columbus, Ohio.  We unite in prayer with his wife, Eleanor Billingslea and other family members in the loss of their loved one.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, June 27, 2016

Visitation at 10:00 a.m.
Homegoing Celebration at 11:00 a.m.

Mt. Vernon Avenue AME Church
1127 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Columbus, OH 43203
Telephone:  (614) 253-4323
Fax:  (614) 253-3039

The Reverend Dr. William S. Wheatley, pastor and eulogist

Arrangements by:

Diel Whittaker Funeral Home
720 E. Long Street
Columbus, OH 43203
Telephone:  (614) 258-9549
FAX: (614) 252-5835

Condolences may be sent to

Mrs. Eleanor Billingslea
1635 Brentnell Avenue
Columbus, OH 43219

The Third Episcopal District sadly announces the passing Mrs. Costella Ayres, Life Member WMS and the wife of the late Rev. Dr. W. C. T. Ayres (Presiding Elder).   

Sister Ayres was a long time member of St. Paul AME Church, Columbus, Ohio and life member of the connectional Women’s Missionary Society and the Ohio Annual Conference WMS. She was currently a member of Holy Trinity AME Church, Las Vegas, Nevada and the Southern California Annual Conference Women’s Missionary Society as a life member of the connectional Women’s Missionary Society.

She is survived by her sons, Anthony of Las Vegas, Nevada.; Theodore (Joyce) of Modesto, California; Sherman (Josette) of Lorena, Texas; daughters, Brenda Ayres Brown of Las Vegas, Nevada; Pastor Angela Blunt (Pastor William) of Monroe, Michigan; and Evelyn Willis of Columbus, Ohio; and 16 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren.

We unite in prayer with the family members in the loss of their loved one.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 24, 2016
Visitation at 10:00 a.m.
Memorial Service at 11:00 a.m.
St. Paul A.M.E. Church
639 E. Long Street
Columbus, OH 43215

The Rev. Dr. Taylor T. Thompson, pastor
The Rev. Angela Ayres Blunt, eulogist

Arrangements entrusted to:

Caliman Funeral Services
3700 Refugee Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43232 

Telephone: (614) 328-9267

Interment Green Lawn Cemetery

Condolences may be sent to:

The Ayres Family
C/o St. Paul AME Church
639 East Long Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Office telephone: (614) 228-4113
Fax: (614) 228-4711 Families in care of:

Stuart Mortuary
2201 N. Illinois Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Telephone:  (317) 925-3000
Fax:  (317) 925-3204


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


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

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