Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, Editor
EDITOR'S NOTE: This issue of The Christian Recorder Online is a modified version of the issue posted yesterday. The article about the pastor who was mistakenly arrested in South Africa has been updated with information received yesterday. The article about AIDS Day has been replaced by an announcement that today is World AIDS Day and an article released yesterday by the UMNS.
1. DECEMBER 1 - WORLD AIDS DAY:
Today, December 1, 2006, is World AIDS Day and today commemorates 25 years of AIDS Awareness.
Some things all of us can do and encourage others to do, in the fight against AIDS/HIV:
- Get Tested
- Safe sex
- Be a Friend to those who have HIV/ AIDS
- Participate in events that promote the fight against HIV/AIDS
- Make a contribution to churches and organizations who promote the fight against HIV/AIDS
- Educate people where you live, work, worship and play about HIV/AIDS
2. AIDS TAKES HIGH TOLL AMONG AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN:
Nov. 30, 2006
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Men "on the down low" are turning marriage into a risk factor for contracting HIV/AIDS.
The term "on the down low" refers to men who are having sex with other men but keeping it a secret, often from their wives or girlfriends, said Jane Pernotto Ehrman, a national health consultant for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
The practice is especially high among African-American men because it is "absolutely not OK to be homosexual" in the black culture, she added.
The secret is killing African-American women at an alarming rate. Statistics show AIDS is ranked among the top three causes of death for African-American women ages 35-44.
"Women are paying a mighty big price in this AIDS pandemic because many times they are the innocent victims," said Linda Bales, director of the Louise and Hugh Moore Population Project of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
"In the U.S. as well as in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions, women contract the HIV/AIDS virus from their husbands who have had sex outside the marriage," she said. "Sad to say, being married is a risk factor for AIDS."
HIV/AIDS among black women is three times higher than among Latino women and 18 times higher than among white women, Ehrman said. "Sixty-eight percent of all new HIV cases are black women - 75 percent of whom contracted the disease from heterosexual sex. These women are your everyday women, wives and mothers."
High rate among youth
HIV/AIDS is also increasing among young people. Ehrman quoted statistics that show youth and young adults between the ages of 13 to 25 years are contracting HIV at a rate of two every hour.
Another alarming fact is that an estimated 250,000 youth are unaware they are infected with HIV. By the 12th grade, 65 percent of American youths have become sexually active, and 1 in 5 has had four or more sexual partners.
"According to the surgeon general, the HIV virus can be in the body up to 12 years without having symptoms," Bales said. "The ramifications of this fact are enormous and can point to the importance of AIDS testing. If individuals know their status they would be able to make informed decisions. If people don't know they are infected, precautions go out the window. Churches can work in partnership with health officials by serving as places for testing."
The church's responsibility
Ehrman and Bales said the church needs to pay attention to this "human issue" and speak out about it from the pulpit.
"The church has a major role to play in stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS. It is vital for every congregation to sponsor sessions for young people on comprehensive sex education that includes a strong dose of AIDS information," Bales said.
"If the church neglects its faith-based educational role, the church is complicit in the spread of this disease," she added.
It's not about judgment but education, according to Ehrman, who cautioned that the subject needs to be approached with compassion.
"If you approach it from (the standpoint that) people on the down low are bad, or make judgments about a person's sexuality and how that fits biblically, then you miss the whole point," she said.
Ehrman recently talked about these issues at a workshop, "HIV/AIDS and the Church: A Call to Action," during the National Congregational Health Ministries Conference held in October in Memphis, Tenn. She also has conducted the workshop in her United Methodist district in Cleveland, Ind.
The program educates the church community about these issues. In the workshop, she explains what HIV is and how it differs from AIDS. She also talks about how the disease is transmitted, prevention and who is at risk. "It is done with frankness so that nobody is talking in code about anatomy or different risk factors," she said.
Pastors need to know how to talk about HIV/AIDS from the pulpit and how to handle the fallout from people who may be upset about hearing a pastor talk about the issue. "In the context of a sermon it needs to be looked at through Christ's eyes of love, compassion and acceptance," Ehrman said.
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Used with the permission of the United Methodist News Service Photos and stories also available at: http://umns.umc.org/
3. EDITORIAL: AME MINISTERS NEED TO BE WELL-TRAINED AND WELL-READ TO MEET TODAY’S THEOLOGICAL CHALLENGES:
I gave a presentation on how to write devotionals at the 13th District Planning meeting that was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The district has put out a devotional, “From the Cross to Pentecost” for the last two years. It is a project that was initiated by Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie. Approximately thirty ministers from across the district participate by writing short devotionals.
It was decided that it would be helpful for me to share with the devotional writers the “how to” of writing devotionals. One of the points that I made was the importance of being faithful to scripture and to our denominational theological beliefs while writing devotionals. I gave an example that we, as AMEs need to be careful that we don’t incorporate the heterodox beliefs of others into our devotionals. I used as an example, Bishop T. D. Jakes, a wonderful orator and a world-renowned speaker. I said that we probably would not want to use any of his quotes when addressing Trinitarian concepts because he is not a Trinitarian and does not hold to our beliefs of the “One true God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that the three are co-equal, co-eternal, and one in essence.”
The room got quiet. I sensed that I had touched on something unsettling and I could feel the disbelief among the participants. I had cast negativity upon a present-day icon. I know that a lot of people, even AMEs, love T. D. Jakes, but are not aware that he is not a Trinitarian. He advocates, as those who are referred to as Apostolic Pentecostals, the heterodox position of Modalism: Patripassianism, Modalistic Monarchianism, Sabellianism, which is referred to as Oneness Pentecostalism. It is also referred to as, “Jesus Only” theology.
Modalism is a second and third century heresy that taught that there is only one Person in the Godhead, the Father, who has manifested Himself at different times under different names or modes. Modalism maintains that God, the Father has manifested Himself at different times as Father, as Jesus, and as the Holy Spirit.
AMEs and other mainline Christians believe in the Trinity, which teaches the one true God eternally exists as three distinct Persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and thus, we can sing the Doxology.
I felt certain that I had presented new learning for many of the participants, but some of them appeared uncomfortable with the information about T. D. Jakes. I continued the training and concluded my PowerPoint presentation.
I never thought anymore about it until I received the letter from the Rev. Kenneth D. Love, pastor of Asbury Chapel AMEC, Louisville, Kentucky. He wrote:
“In the School of the Prophets session of the 13th Episcopal District Planning meeting your statement concerning the Apostolic theological position of the lack of belief in the Holy Trinity per Orthodox Christianity and your example of Bishop T. D. Jakes intrigued me. The reason for this I believe that a number of our AME preachers appear to be closely associated with Bishop Jakes and this difference in belief would seem to strike a furious fire.
I have ventured to the Potter's House Website and researched a few items:
a) Although the Doctrinal Statement clearly states their belief in a Triune God the definition speaks in a Modalistic viewpoint of God as a manifestation in three separate periods of time. This also lends itself to the belief in Patripassianism, Sebellianism and Monarchianism. [http://www.thepottershouse.org/PH_doctrine.html ]
b) T. D. Jakes, being an excellent orator, has been crafty in his usage of Trinity while promoting Oneness Theology. [http://www.carm.org/oneness/whatisoneness.htm] The Oneness or UPCI statement is almost verbatim to T. D. Jakes statement. [http://www.upci.org/doctrine.asp ]
c) The Apostolic doctrine does differ greatly from our practice of Open Communion/Open Table and their practice of Closed Communion.
I thank you for this enlightenment. I must admit that at first I disagreed with you but because I believe that my personal disagreement does not satisfy my foundational belief I have researched this subject and have found your statement true. As a pastor and minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church I believe we must protect the flock from erroneous teachings.”
His message concluded with, “My new concern is that many do not understand this watered-down doctrine and therefore promote it by imitating those who seemingly are successful.”
I responded to Reverend Love’s message.
“You are so correct in your statement, ‘My new concern is that many do not understand this watered-down doctrine and therefore promote it by imitating those who seemingly are successful.” That’s the reason for a trained clergy to be a well-read clergy so that he or she can distinguish aberrant doctrines and heterodoxy.
Some of our preachers may be preaching or quoting T. D. Jakes’ sermons without realizing his heterodox theology. I believe that many of our ministers have not picked up on Jakes’ heterodox theology; at least I hope that’s the case, that they just did not pick up on his heterodoxy. I would hope that they are not following him while knowing that Jakes does not follow our theological beliefs. Admittedly, T. D. Jakes is one of America’s greatest orators, but a Trinitarian, he is not; and he does not claim to be a Trinitarian. He follows the “Oneness” doctrine of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI).
T. D. Jakes is not a Trinitarian and he could not be licensed or ordained in the AME or any Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Church of God in Christ, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ or any church that practices orthodox Christianity; and he probably would not want to be ordained or licensed in an orthodox denomination.
Now, having said all of this, does not take away T. D. Jakes powerful ministry. We can learn something from him and he is still a friend and a powerful man of God. Our faith journeys have some differences and we, AMEs need to be aware of those differences. The issue is not Bishop T. D. Jakes; the issue is our commitment and knowledge of what we believe. Bishop T. D. Jakes knows that we have theological differences and he is faithfully committed to his theology; and, we need to be faithful to ours!
4. AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH “CONVO” DATES:
The African Methodist Episcopal Church has conducted several connectional meetings leading up to the General Conference called CONVOS. Each CONVO addressed issues pertinent to the Church that would be addressed at the General Conference.
The dates for the CONVOS leading up the 2008 General Conference are listed below. The locations for the CONVOS will be finalized later and will be published in The Christian Recorder, other Church periodicals and on the Official AME Church Website: http://www.ame-church.com/
CONVO # 9 – February 26 – 28, 2007
CONVO #10 – September 6 – 8, 2007
CONVO #11 – March 27 – 29, 2008
5. THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS:
Pastor Nolan T. Pitts, Retired
At the birth of Jesus, Luke states that there was a multitude, with the angel of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.”
Something has gone wrong, or people have refused to accept, and have ignored the peace that Jesus birth brought into the world. Every year around Christmas time, the record shows, without a doubt, that the rate of crime to include, robbery, theft, homicides and swindling, increases.
Even depression and suicides wreaked havoc on many lives during this time of the year.
Renewed family feuds raise its ugly head during the holiday period.
It ain’t supposed to be like that. Some use Christmas-time to get even and to vent stored up anger. Others take on negative attitudes if the gift they receive is not what they wanted, and if it is perceived that the gift is too cheap. It makes one wonder whose birthday is it.
Some are still paying off bills from last Christmas. It seems, for many, as if Christ has been given a leave of absence.
Lives have been lost caused by fires brought about because of defected tree lights/wiring and faulty smoke alarms.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that something has gone wrong.
There is a dark side of Christmas.
An older gentleman recently said to me, “I’ll be glad when Christmas is over.”
I replied to him, “Christmas is never over.”
Another gentleman said, “Christmas is just another day off from work.”
There are those who dread Christmas-time.
I believe those who dread Christmas, dread it is because of their misconception of what Christmas is all about.
Where does the Church stand in the midst of all this? Has the Church failed its mission to get the message to the masses?
Christmas is a holy-day and not just, a holiday.
If you are one of those who dreads Christmas, it just might be that you dread Christmas because you have taken Christ out of Christmas.
Have a joyous Christmas.
“To God be the Glory.”
6. SOME IMPORTANT NUMBERS FOR US TO REMEMBER:
- World AIDS Day is Dec 1…Within the next 25 years; AIDS is expected to become the # 3 cause of death in the world.
- As of November 28, 2006, 2878 members of the military have died since the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003.
- As of November 26, 2007, the Iraq War has lasted longer than World War II.
- 40% of all children born in America are born out of wedlock.
7. READER RESPONSE TO EDITORIAL AND OTHER ISSUES:
- Greetings to my AME Family,
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of my entire family to publicly thank each and everyone for their expressions of comfort during our time of bereavement. I thank God everyday that I am a part of this magnificent body of Christ. It is at times like this that we understand the true meaning of bearing one another's burden.
Bishop Messiah, William, Justin, Silvester and I are truly appreciative that you prayed for us and to let you know that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Bishop Wilfred J and Supervisor Carol I. Messiah
- To the Editor:
Re: Debt-Free And Prosperous Living...
Looking through the back issues of the Christian Recorder, I found the article you wrote on, “Debt-Free And Prosperous Living,” dated April 10, 2006. It's a great article.
When I receive my issue of the Christian Recorder the first article I immerse myself in is yours. Thank you. I just finished reading your article dated October 23, 2006, entitled, “The grass is green over here too and our ice is as cold as anyone else's ice,” is extremely true.
Let me say a little about myself, I have been preaching for some fifty years, seen the inside of a few schools, and have been pastor of Quinn Chapel AMEC in Lovejoy, Illinois, a great congregation, for around 19 years (by choice); the church is historical and 178 years old. I was ordained as a traveling elder under Bishop Joseph Gomez.
Your articles are great keep up the good work.
- To the Editor:
RE: Editorial in the July 31, 2006 issue of The Christian Recorder, regarding the practice of “Anointing with Oil”
After reading your article, my comment is a commendation, “Write on, brother”! That editorial should be required reading for every pastor, and those aspiring to be pastors in the Connection. Every Board of Examiners should require that all candidates to read this Article.
We once had a 3:30 p.m. service and the guest preacher added a new twist to her “anointing with oil”: While she as applying the oil, one of her members had a 3 foot banner of ribbons that she waved constantly while the anointing was ongoing at the altar! Another member of the group had a very large, square head cloth that she would throw into the air from time to time. One of the sisters fainted and fell to the floor, when she recovered, got up and sat on the pew; the “scarf-thrower” threw the scarf over her head! It was quite a show!
In my humble opinion, I think they have watched too many televangelists and are “playing worship” and leading their parishioners to do the same; much in the manner that my childhood friends and I played “house.” It is heartbreaking to see what has happened and is happening in our Zion. Most of our worship services have simply another place of entertainment…So much of the sacredness is gone from it…Even the Communion Service and the Altar Calls are no longer what they should be.
Again I say “Write On, Brother!
Linda J. Boling
P.S. - Ditto on the Editorial in the October 9, 2006 issue.
8. BISHOP GREGORY G. M. INGRAM’S PLANNING MEETING 2006:
By: Delanda S. Johnson
Hundreds of African Methodist Episcopal Churches across Texas descended on the City of Richardson, Texas the week of November 15-18 for the Rt. Rev. Gregory G. M. Ingram’s planning meeting. Bishop Ingram is the presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District.
Bishop Ingram and his wife, the episcopal supervisor, the Rev. Dr. Jessica Ingram are great leaders that lead by the Holy Spirit. The have given the theme “Always Moving toward Excellence” for the 10th Episcopal District conferences and meetings. Bishop Ingram teaches that, “The quest for the best and striving to be all that you can be is the essence of who we are and what we are all about. This means we cannot do just enough to get by and anything less than our best is a sin.”
Bishop Ingram stressed at each of our annual conferences that “we are what we repeatedly do and excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” He went on to share again and again, “When we become satisfied with less than best efforts for God, our witness is damaged, power.”
Ingram said, “Excellence comes from a life of faith, from being more interested in God than self, from having the courage to be different. To become excellent means that you are willing to take a risk and not blend in with the crowd, it means that’ll do, won’t do.”
Throughout the conference, Bishop Ingram and Supervisor Jessica met with the Finance Committee, Women’s Missionary Society, Minister’s Spouses, Lay Organization, etc. with the focus being, “Making A Difference.”
Bishop Ingram shared his goals for the 2006-2007 conference year as: “First, hard work; second, ‘stick-to-it-iveness,’ and, third; a lot of prayer.” He went to explain, “We must reach the people with God’s love and the exciting life offered to the followers of Jesus Christ. We must teach, using the Bible to focus on the Word and to seek and to assist each other in Christian growth through church school classes, exciting Bible studies, spiritual retreats and discipleship groups. Worship by knowing the power of God to change lives and missions and service knowing that we are called by God to make a difference. We must become doers of the word and not hearers only.”
The Rt. Rev. Richard Franklin Norris of the First Episcopal District gave the opening sermon. The First Episcopal District consists of the eastern half of Pennsylvania, all of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, New England States, and Bermuda.
Bishop Norris attended Morris Brown College, and received the B.A. degree from Rutgers University. He accepted his “call to ministry” at the age of 15. After earning his baccalaureate degree, he graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary with an M.Div degree and went on to earn the Doctor of Ministry Degree from New York Theological Seminary.
Rev. Dr. Marcus Cosby closed the Conference with a powerful message that inspired the congregation.
The Rev. Dr. Marcus Cosby, the senior pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas gave the closing message for the conference. Dr. Marcus is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and English from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, a Master of Divinity Degree in Homiletics and Christian Education from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree in Homiletics from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary of the Associated Chicago Theological Schools.
Among the gifts and talents with which God has blessed Pastor Cosby, none are more meaningful and fulfilling to him than preaching and teaching. He stated, “I seek to empower and uplift all humanity through the life-changing, uncompromising Word of God.”
On a local level, Henderson County area African Methodist Episcopal Churches were represented at this Conference. They are Johnson Chapel AME Church, Malakoff, Texas, which retained their pastor, the Rev. Cynthia Cole; Union Station/Bethel AME Church, Larue, Texas, which retained their pastor, the Rev. Betty O’Neal; and Allen Chapel AME Church, Athens, which welcomes a new pastor, the Rev. Mary Miller.
9. THE TWELFTH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT ARKANSAS ANNUAL CONFERENCE WOMEN’S MISSIONARY SOCIETY:
*Mrs. Ann Gilkey
The 138th Session of the Arkansas Annual Conference Women’s Missionary Society opened under the leadership of the dynamic trio; Episcopal Supervisor, Mother Barbara Jeanne Chappelle, Mother Charolett Martin, Episcopal President; and Sister Phyllis Johnson, Arkansas Conference President.
The Business session was held at Bethel AME Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas on November 14, 2006 with the election of officers and a memorial service. Four delegates and one Alternate were elected to attend the WMS Quadrennial Convention, July 20, 2007 in Philadelphia, PA. The delegates were in order of election. The first two tied, Sister Lovie Aaron and Sister Anita Brannon, Sister Ann Gilkey, Sister Jerralyn Smith and alternate, Sister Gracie Douthard. The meeting concluded with the honoring of Life Members coupled with a beautiful luncheon at Shorter College Gymnasium catered by Sims Bar-B-Que.
The First Vice President, Sister Jerralyn Smith presided over the Annual WMS Night in White program. Dr. Barbara J. Chappelle capped new members, Sisters’ Carmelia Mitchell, Donna Willis, Mary Blocker, Nedra Allen, and Antwan Criswell in a special ceremony that recognized their joining the WMS. The event was topped with a beautiful play entitled,” The Missionary Officers Who Wanted to Go to Heaven.”
The service project was to stock the pantry of the Kitchen for the Shorter College Students. Many food items were collected and given to the school cafeteria to help cut down the cost of food.
Many Arkansas Conference Ministers attended the Annual Night in White and showed their support for the WMS by wearing their white suits.
*Mrs. Ann Gilkey is the Arkansas Annual Conference Public Relations Director
10. THE TWELFTH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT ARKANSAS ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2006:
*Mrs. Ann Gilkey
The Arkansas Annual Conference of 2006 is history. It was a historical event. Greater Bethel AME Church in North Little Rock, AR where the Rev. James Thomas is the pastor was the site of a well-planned conference. The Presiding Bishop of the Twelfth Episcopal District, the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen Chappelle, Sr., led the opening worship service on November 15, 2006 at 10:00 A. M. The presiding liturgist was the Rev. Dr. Eugene Brannon, Presiding Elder of the Little Rock District. We were moved to the mountain where Jesus spoke with a powerful exegeses from Matthew 5:7-9 verses with a soul stirring and electrifying message from the Rev. Rickey Hicks, Pastor of Rufus K. Young AME Church in Little Rock, Arkansas entitled, ”The Attitude of a Christian.” The message engaged our hearing of the fact that many of us spend a lot of time and effort pointing our fingers at others when we need to make sure we have found peace within ourselves.
Educational night at the Arkansas conference was led by the Rev. Jeff Carr, pastor at St. Paul AME Church in Morrilton Arkansas. High honors were given to Sister Lovie Aaron for a great job in the coordination of the program. The R. K. Young Steppers, the Arkansas Baptist College Community Choir, Philander Smith Gospel Choir, and the Shorter College Choir inspired and helped to magnify the occasion. Dr. Cora McHenry acknowledged and recognized those who continued to support Shorter College in its efforts to educate students. The 2006 Class was present and represented the largest graduating class since 1997. The Rev. Mary Williams, Registrar of Jackson Theological Seminary gave expressions for the Seminary and noted the enrollment is currently 21. She encouraged commitment from all ministers and laity. The Little Rock/North Little Rock-Fort Smith Districts took up an offering in support of both the Seminary and Shorter College.
The Rev. H. D. Stewart, Pastor of Moody Chapel AME Church in Little Rock was the chief liturgist during noonday service on November 16, 2006. We found ourselves “ship-wrecked” as the Rev. Gwain Hammock, pastor of Soldiers Chapel AME Church, Hamburg, Arkansas spoke from his soul from Acts 27:43-44. The thunder rolled and the lightening flashed as he spoke on the subject “Enduring Storms.” He pointed out the fact that it is not as much as how heavy or difficult the storm, but if we can make it through the storm.
The Rev. John T. Grissom, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church in Sweet Home, Arkansas presided during the Ecumenical Services on Thursday Night as the Sons of Allen revived our spirits with songs and praise coupled with a dynamic message from Bishop Steven Arnold, senior pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock. Bishop Arnold took us through the fiery furnace with a message from Daniel 3:16-19 on the subject,”When God is with you.” He let us know that when God is with us, there is a difference in our living, dedication to our service, and discerning in our spirits. He also stated there ought to be a difference in us with God in our lives.
Awards were presented to William Cochran for his work in business, Elmer Webb for his work in the community; and twins, Eric and Derick Daily for their work in youth activities. A special presentation from the Sons of Allen in the amount of $1,000.00 was given to the Shorter College Trustees for scholarships.
The Noon Day services on November 17th was presided by the Rev. Clarese Adams of Allen Temple AME Church in Little Rock. The speaker selected, kept the fires burning as we heard the words from the Rev. Carol Anderson, pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Holly Grove with a message entitled, “ Standing Firm in a Crumbling Culture” taken from Jude 1:24-25. The message inspired us to keep our eyes on Jesus because our faith is what keeps us from crumbling. We are not to droop and not to whither in front of our enemy but we are to stand firm in our faith.
The Arkansas Conference Lay Organization presided by Mrs. Kizmet Johnson on Friday night released their magic with “Worship through Music.” It was an evening to remember with “angels” from the Spirit of the Twelfth choir singing songs, “Praise Him”, “Lord I need You”, “Anyway You Bless Me”, and many other soul stirring songs.
The evening was topped with the Circle of Honor Induction of Mrs. Maggie Fingers, a member of St. Andrew AME church; Mr. Corey Williams, a member of Moody Chapel AME Church; and Mrs. Katherine Baker, a member of Lee Chapel AME Church receiving honors. Special presentations were made to Mr. William B. Thompson and Mr. And Mrs. Benjamin Davis. A scholarship in the amount of $1,500.00 was presented to Ms. Latasha Donley, a student at Shorter College.
The Right Reverend Richard A. Chappelle, Sr., presided over the Ordination and Memorial Services on Saturday, November 18, 2006. Although there were no ordinates, the robes of victory were lifted up as Rev. Shelia Alford, Pastor of Metropolitan AME Church, Ardmore, Oklahoma took us to the Isle of Patmos from Revelations 7:9-12 with a message entitled, ”It is written, so let it be.” The message asked, how will our work be written? Are we reliable, dependable or are we content with a Sunday-to-Sunday Experience? During the memorial it was stated, there were no deaths this conference year - “Praise God!”
The Christian Debutante-Masters under the direction of Mrs. Jeanie Gray was held on Saturday night, November 18, 2006. Tributes were given to the Allenites, Sub-Debutantes, Sub-Masters, Debutantes, and Debutantes Masters. Their motto, Daily Magnify Christ was obvious as the young people said the pledge in unison. Mrs. Lyndajo D. Jones, 12th Episcopal District Coordinator of the Debutante/Masters assisted with certificates.
The Young Peoples Division under the direction of Ms. LaRhonda Collins, Arkansas Conference Youth Director and Mr. Wesley Baker, Arkansas Conference Youth President, conducted the business at hand and elected two delegates and one alternate to the Quadrennial on Saturday afternoon. The YPD performance was outstanding as they greeted us in songs and liturgical dance. The play entitled “Safe” helped us understand in life, the enemy is always attacking us, but in keeping our minds focused on God, we can, and will be, “Safe.” The 12th Episcopal District Young Peoples Division President, Mr. Reggie Cleaver made a special appearance from college to be with his home conference. We send “shouts out” to Mr. Cleaver as he runs for Connectional YPD President!
The Conference at Study was held daily at 9:00 a.m. and focused on the Connectional Theme: “SERVING WELL;” Church Administration; and Christian Stewardship. The general membership of the church participated in these timely seminars and workshops each morning of the Annual Conference conducted by Bishop Chappelle.
The Closing Service on November 19, 2006 was presided by the Rev. Charles M. Cleaver, Sr., presiding elder of the NLR/FT Smith District. We held on as the mountains rocked and the valley rolled when our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Richard A. Chappelle, Sr., with his innate gifts of auditory, proclaimed the edict of God who will take care of us. His text from the Gospel of Luke 16:19-31 focused on the subject, “Too Little, Too Late,” gave us a peep into hell and let us know we often get too much self in us and there is a danger in being too well-fixed that we forget about the less fortunate and if we are not careful, it will be too little, to late.
We were blessed again to have wonderful music. Brother LaBaron Mizer, Music Director for the Arkansas Conference, Brother Jason Bivens, Arkansas Conference Musician, Conference Choir and guest choirs are to be congratulated for a job well done.
The Arkansas Conference Minister joined the other conference ministers as they wore the Official Clergy Stole of the 12th Episcopal District. The stole was worn during the opening and closing of the Annual Conference along with the appropriate clergy attire and robe. This was a show of unity in the ministerial body.
Many friends came from other districts, conferences and churches. We were pleased to have Raymond Frazier, representative from Senator Blanche Lincoln’s Office and Frank Scott from Governor- elect Mike Beebe’s Office. We were also pleased to have the Rev. Ronald Braxton from Metropolitan AME Church, Washington DC, and the Rev. Wesley Reed from Lee Memorial, Cincinnati, Ohio. Both are candidates for Episcopal Service. We were please to have had Presiding Elder C.V. Boyd, Sr., Presiding Elder T. G. Allen, Presiding Elder T. B. Lamb, Presiding Elder Napoleon Davis, and Presiding Elder Edward E. Davis. We were also graced with the presence of Dr. Anna B. Graham, Sister Martha Simpson, Montez Bell, Connectional Technology chairman, Neal Arp, Candidate for 2nd Vice President, Connectional YPD. And a host of visitors from the Central Conference, the West, East/Northeast, East, Northeast Oklahoma Conference, and the “Solid South. “
Special thanks was given to Rev. James Thomas and the entire Bethel AME Church Family of NLR, AR for their warm and gracious hospitality, delicious meals and far reaching love during the 138th session of the Arkansas Annual Conference.
A standing ovation was given to Bishop and Mother Chappelle for their excellent guidance, wonderful love, blessed spirit, and peace that have culminated to be one of the best conferences ever.
From the words of our Bishop, “Let it be known that the Mother Conference has truly had a blessed Conference.”
*Mrs. Ann Gilkey, Arkansas Conference Public Relations Director
11. IN A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY, AME CHURCH PASTOR SHOT BY THE POLICE HAS RETURNED TO HIS PASTORAL DUTIES:
*The Rev. Teboho G. Klaas
AMEs in South Africa are relieved that the Rev. Motlotlo Ezekiel Rabotapi, an Itinerant Elder in the Mokone Conference (19th Episcopal District), is recovering from the wounds of a gun shot resulting from a mistaken identity by the police, last week Monday. On Friday, walking on crutches, he was released from the hospital.
The incident of the shooting occurred while he was on a casual walk, visiting members of the congregation.
Escape for the Prison
Ten days have passed since a Mr. Annanias Mathe escaped from one of the most secured prison facilities in South Africa, the C-Max Prison. He was classified as hardened criminal, an escape risk, and on trial with 51 charges which range from murder, attempted murder and rape to hijacking and armed robberies. He is a Mozambican national.
His escape remains a puzzle as, according to recent reports, no proof has been found which points to any prison official having assisted him to escape.
Police misidentifying two persons
While he is still hiding, two persons have been victims of misidentification as the police intensely search for the fugitive. Rev. Rabotapi is one of the two persons and the other person was coincidentally arrested because he was found in possession of dagga, a far distance away from where Rev. Rabotapi was shot.
None of the two were aware of the escape and that they would be mistaken to be looking alike to the fugitive.
According to reports, the police were using an unmarked vehicle when they approached him and they also did not identify themselves. As result, scared that they could be thugs camouflaging as the police and attempting to rob him, Rev. Rabotapi ran away. He was shot in his attempt to run away from them and one of the policemen hit his left foot which demobilized and grounded him.
Thank to the policeman who is reportedly said to have identified him as the Pastor of the AME Church because there are allegations that he could have been killed while grounded by the shot on his left foot. We read in a weekend newspaper article that one of the policemen on the scene, while grounded, was heard to have suggested finishing him off.
Clearly, the policemen were also panicking because the person they were after is regarded as dangerous and possibly armed. The bag that Rev. Rabotapi held was reported to have been found with some church documents and a Bible.
Rev. Rabotapi was rushed to the hospital for treatment. The policeman involved has been charged for an attempted murder and further investigations are underway regarding the circumstances following the shooting.
An intelligent and humble Pastor
It was about two years ago that Rev. Rabotapi got married and he was ordained an itinerant elder in the same year. He is now serving his second assignment since ordination as the itinerant deacon. He is one of the intelligent Pastors of the Church, known to have covered most of seminary education within two years. Yet, he is one of the humble Pastors.
The worst could have happened. Sadly, he now has a wound to treat, which will become a scar later, for something he was oblivious to. We celebrate that he is now recuperating from the unfortunate incident and has rejoined his congregation on Friday. Thanks be to God for his saved life.
Rev. Teboho G. Klaas
Because He Lives, I am
*The Rev. Teboho G. Klaas is the Director: Health Programme
South African Council of Churches and an AME Pastor
11. SAINT PETER A.M.E. CHURCH CELEBRATES 123RD ANNIVERSARY:
A spiritual and glorious day was celebrated at Saint Peter African Methodist Episcopal Church located in the Peach Belt of Fort Valley, Georgia on Sunday, November 19, 2006.
This special occasion culminated with an Anniversary Service in observance of our One Hundred and Twenty-Third year of dedicated Christian Ministry to God, the Connectional African Methodist Episcopal Church, and to the community of Fort Valley.
Detailed planning for this exciting day was spearheaded by visionary leadership of the Reverend Bertram C. Smith, the first lady, Sister Wendolyn M. Smith, the core steering team of Brother Ashley Ballard, Sisters Willie M. Johnson, Milenda Kincy and the Anniversary Committees.
The Anniversary theme, "Harvest Blessings," was most appropriate for this Thanksgiving season. "Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever: They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor." Isaiah 60:21 NIV
Harvest Blessings were bestowed on Sister Gladys Toomer and Brother Emory Lightfoot, Sr. for their dedicated work to Saint Peter which most symbolizes the dedicated work of our late Brother, Mercant E. Singleton. Sister Toomer is the Church School Superintendent, Stewardess, member of the Christian Education Department. Brother Lightfoot is the Assistant Superintendent, Church School, Van Driver, Member of the Board of Trustees and Christian Education Department.
The Saint Peter's Mass Choir blended their melodious voices in singing songs of Zion, under the direction of the Minister of Music, Brother Gerald Lee. The Sweet Melodies added more zest to this significant day by singing praises to the Lord. Directors: Sisters Carolyn W. Sampson and Rubye Tukes.
Reverend Bertram C. Smith joined with the choir in singing the preparation song, "Lord, do it."
Reverend Smith gave an elaborate presentation of the guest speaker, Dr. Wanda Smith West, the sister of Reverend Smith.
The speaker, Dr. Wanda Smith West is a native of Macon (Bibb County), Georgia. She is a graduate of the public schools in Bibb County. A graduate of Morris Brown College (B.S.); Mercer University (M.A.); University of Georgia (Ed.S.); South Carolina State University (Ed.D.); Leadership Georgia, and other leadership accomplishments.
Dr. West has compiled an extensive list of excellence in leadership of teaching and management in her field of endeavor. She is recognized locally, state-wide and nationally in the field of education. She is the first female superintendent of Twiggs County, Georgia Public School System and has compiled an impressive record of elevating Twiggs County School System to the point where the system was recognized as a Model for rural school districts.
Dr. West is an active and dedicated member of Steward Chapel A.M.E. Church in Macon, Georgia where she is an organist, pianist and a steward.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Macon Chapel of Links, Inc.
Dr. West gave a dynamic speech to the congregants utilizing the Church's theme, "Harvest Blessings." She shared with the congregation that, “The harvest is full, but the laborers are few.” Other key points included explaining the meaning of harvest blessings. She went on say, “Harvest denotes quantity, plentiful, abundance” and
“Blessings are beatified person, joy, happiness.”
She used the analogy of sowing seeds of growing crop to that of raising our children in a Godly way. The harvest is full, but the dedicated teachers are few. She made reference to the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6, verses 24 and 27 that record, "The Lord Bless Thee and Keep thee…And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." She encouraged us to, “Gather your harvest, the Word of the Lord” and “Teach children so that they can persevere.”
The message was inspiring and the members acknowledged those who died. Four faithful, dedicated members were called by God from labor to reward since Saint Peter's last anniversary. They are as follows:
Sister Annie Alridge Rumph, a lifetime steward, past president of the local lay organization; Sister Sylvia Simmons Williams, a stewardess; Sister E. LaVerne Ford, a stewardess, lay member, Christian Education member; and Sister Mary Fowler, a stewardess.
Saint Peter's family and friends were overjoyed to see Sister Marion S. Pendleton Bryant in attendance. Sister Bryant's family and friends gathered in Vienna, Virginia on September 15, 2006 to celebrate her 100th birthday. She is the oldest living member of Saint Peter.
The work is all divine, as Saint Peter celebrated an anniversary which will long be remembered in the annals of our rich history.
To God be the glory, great things He hast done in the ministry service of this church. The Reverend Bertram C. Smith, Senior Pastor.
Submitted by Brother Alphonso Ben Varner
12. DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
With the exception of small children, only a few people wait for Christmas the way that college students (and teachers) count off the days. It has to do with many things, not the least of which are; homeward travel, home cooked meals, parades and the proximity to the end of a semester.
The academic community, like the rest of the nation, tends to miss the point.
Each remembers the "what," but neither recalls the, "why." In Christendom, it is a reenactment of the leper story which speaks of those who, caught up in the celebration, miss the true essence of the Kairos moment. Thanksgiving, after all, is really about Thanks-living. When the turkey has been eaten and when a new school year has begun, God is still “beside us to guide us,” ordaining, maintaining His Kingdom.
Dr Quincy Scott, Dean of the Chapel, Shaw University, Raleigh, NC
13. CLERGY FAMILY CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENT:
We are pleased to announce that Rev. Theophilus A. Natter of Bethel AME Church, Accra, Ghana, 14th Episcopal District received the Ph.D in Clinical Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy on November 17, 2006 from the International University for Graduate Studies of St. Kitts and Nevis, West Indies. The Rev. Dr. Natter is the spouse of Tommie Ann Hill Natter.
Congratulations may be sent to:
10323 Blue Oak Drive
Houston, TX 77065-3775
Or Email: OXFORDHOUSED@aol.com
14. CLERGY FAMILY CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENT:
The Rev. Anthony Bradshaw, pastor of Fountain AME Church in Barataria, Trinidad, and Mrs. Caren Holder Bradshaw proudly announce the arrival of their son, Joshua, born on November 13, 2006. Mother and baby are well. Baby Joshua arrived prematurely weighing 3 lbs. and is still in the hospital until he puts on some more weight. Apart from that, he is in good health and we thank God for that.
Sister Sandra Anthony
15. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
The passing of Sister Geneva Mathis, mother of Rev. Daniel Brown, Jr. Pastor of Greater Bethel AME Church, Homestead, Florida.
Service Arrangements entrusted to:
Barrettt-Fryar-Thompkins Funeral Home
14545 Carver Drive
Richmond Heights, FL 33176
Friday, November 24, 2006
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Hurst Chapel A.M.E. Church
10080 West Jessamine St.
Perrine, FL 33157
Home Going Service:
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Martin Memorial A.M.E. Church
14740 Lincoln Blvd.
Richmond Heights, FL 33176
Condolences may be sent to:
The Rev. Daniel Brown, Jr.
13021 SW 260th St.
Homestead, FL 33032
From Marva CampbellMSA South Conference President11th Episcopal District
16. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
The passing of Dr. Clayton Duke Wilkerson, former Dean of Turner Theological Seminary, ITC Atlanta, Georgia.
Service arrangements for Dr. Clayton Duke Wilkerson:
Sunday, November 26, 2006
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Murray Brothers Funeral Home 1199 Utoy Springs Road, SWAtlanta, Georgia 30331Phone: (404) 349-3000Fax: (404) 349-3559
Monday, November 27, 2006
Allen Temple A.M.E. Church
1625 Simpson Road, NW
Atlanta, GA 30314
Phone (404) 794-3302
Rev. Claude Ray James, Pastor
Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings (Retired) - Eulogist
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
The Reverend Joan Stewart (daughter)
2228 Engle Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
17. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
The Clergy Family Information CenterBishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Chair
Commission on Social Action
Mrs. Ora L. Easley, AdministratorEmail: Amespouses1@aol.com
Phone: (615) 837-9736
Voice Mail: (615) 833-6936
Fax: (615) 833-3781
Cell: (615) 403-7751
18. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend Gregory G. M. Ingram; 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.