Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, Editor


Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III

Did you view or listen to the James Brown Celebration that took place in Augusta, Georgia last Saturday (12/30/06)? Did it make you feel good?

I was in seminary with the late Bishop Robert Walters in the sixties. He later became one of the bishops of the U.A.M.E. Church. He was an older student in seminary and we used to talk a lot about ministry. He was always in the big-brother teaching mode and I was in the listening mode. He told me, “All of your sermons will not be ‘home runs,’ and every preacher hits a foul ball every now and then and people understand and forgive you when you are not 100%, but there are times in ministry when you have to be flawless and be 100%; and those times are Holy Communion, baptism and funerals.” And, he reiterated, “Funerals are occasions for visitors, and you don’t want to do or say something that will embarrass your members.”

Let me share my opinion about the James Brown celebration that was held in Augusta; it’s just mine, no one else’s opinion, just mine.

I listened to the James Brown celebration led by the Reverend Al Sharpton that took place in Augusta last Saturday as I was driving from Nashville to Florence, Alabama and listening to the memorial celebration on the radio, I didn’t feel good at all; I was embarrassed by the sheer disorganization of the event. It was clear to me that the leaders didn’t practice what they were going to do. The memorial event was being manufactured as it progressed. Some of that also happens in ill-planned worship services also.

Funerals and memorial services / celebrations are more for the living than for the dead. Those events often put us in touch with how we live our lives and remind us, especially we older folks, that death is an impending reality. In my mind, those are important events that should not be conducted with frivolity. I have attended memorial events and funerals, appropriately done, that have been full of laughter and joy, but tastefully and respectfully done.

Comedians have a field-day parodying black preachers and I am uncomfortable with that. I don’t like the profession of ministry to be fodder for comedians’ jokes.

The James Brown celebration sounded to me, like a “Stepin Fetchit moment.” Let me say clearly, if my human rights are violated, I want the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson to be on my team; no doubt about it. As Civil Rights activists, they are among the best in the world. Those two could probably be a great help to President Bush and the nation in our fight against terrorism. Those guys are good at what they do best!

Sharpton shared the story about the casket being so heavy and they couldn’t get it on a flight so he and someone else (I can’t remember who that was) drove all night from Augusta, Georgia to get the casket to New York City. In my mind’s eye, I could see these two black guys hustling a body in the dark of the night from Georgia to NYC. As my daughter-in-law, Joanna, says, “TMI” – too much information. That story wasn’t about James Brown, that story was about two guys hustling a body in the dark of the night – Saturday Night Live could have a field-day parodying that scene. And besides, I have been on airplanes with trucks, tanks, and heavy artillery guns; so no casket is too heavy for an airplane. FedEx will deliver almost any package, no matter how heavy, if one is willing to pay the shipping fee.

The conclusion I came to from the James Brown celebration was, if someone wants to memorialize / celebrate / eulogize the life of a deceased person, call a pastor; a person who deals, on a regular basis, with death and dying and all of the emotions that go with the death event; you don’t call upon Civil Rights activist. Call one of our AME pastor or one of our bishops. Call a pastor who knows how to blend levity and liturgical dignity.

I was also embarrassed about the lack of any Christological or theological perspective. The part about James Brown talking to Peter and giving him advice on how to keep the angelic choir in the right musical key was beyond cute; it was nonsense. James Brown in heaven doing the shuffle – whoa, what kind of “end-times theology” is that? Is that pre-millennialism, post-millennialism, a-millennialism; what is it? I thought that Jesse Jackson was going to pull it in, but then he told the people to “Scream.” And, if that wasn’t enough, he told the people to “scream louder.” Now what was that all about? I hope that we don’t have any impressionable pastors who are going to tell their worshippers to “scream.” Scream for what? I went to the scriptures to see if I could find where Jesus, the apostles or the Old Testament prophets enjoined the people to scream. I couldn’t find that as a worship rubric. I then went to The Discipline to see if I could find the “scream rubric? I called a couple of Baptist preachers to ask for some clarity on the scream rubric. Nada! Nothing!

Is there a teachable moment here? Yes, there is a teachable moment! The teachable moment is that we, AME ministers, should take a moment to brush up on our eschatological understanding of death and the second coming of Christ. We need to know what we believe and be able to clearly and scripturally articulate our Christological eschatology.

The issue is not Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, they do not need my affirmation; they are good in their own right. Both of them are on “top of their game.” The question is, “Are we, AME pastors, on top our game.”

Christian ministers, and AME ministers, in particular cannot afford to be frivolous when dealing with Christological eschatology.

And, however we honor deceased persons; it should be done with dignity and respect.

Editor’s note: If some of you lay persons cannot find the definition of some of the terms in this editorial, please call your pastor and ask him or her for any of the definitions.


We are a global church and some of us; particularly those of us in the U.S.A. might be given an opportunity to travel overseas. And, especially those in the fourth Episcopal District who might go back and forth to Canada will need a passport. Our overseas brothers and sisters already know the importance of having a passport.

U.S. passports are valid for 10 years. Here is the website:




- Sister Ethel Mae Coward, 102, homemaker, died December 25, 2006. She was a member of St. Mark AME Church in Munford, Tennessee. Deaconess Coward was a member of St. Mark AME Church for ninety (90) years. She joined the church in 1916 at the age of 12 and has been an active member, in attendance, until her 102nd birthday, July 29, 2006, when she fell and was not able to regain her strength. She was consecrated a Deaconess by The Right Reverend Vashti Murphy McKenzie at the 2005 Annual Conference. Her longevity of membership and her age at being consecrated a deaconess is historic. The Rev. Patsy T. Brown is the pastor St. Mark AME Church in Munford, Tennessee. She was preceded in death by her husband, Brother Victor Hugo Coward. She is survived by three daughters, Melba Washum of Milwaukee, Helen Harris and Charlene Ashford, both of Memphis; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

- The Rev. Dr. Clement .W. Fugh will be the speaker for the Frankfort-Franklin County Ministerial Association (Ecumenical) Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Sunday January 14, 2006 at the South Frankfort Presbyterian Church on Third and Steele Streets. The program begins at 6:00 p.m.

Submitted by the Rev. Dr. Robert A. Strode, pastor of Historic St. John A.M.E. Church, Frankfort, KY; Office phone, 502.223-5752; Residence, 502 875-0288

- Dolores Cross, the former Morris Brown College president convicted of embezzling millions of dollars in government money to cover the school’s debts, was sentenced Wednesday (1/3/07) to five years probation and a year of home confinement.

- Quinn Chapel AME Church, Chicago held a freedom march that was precipitated by a gang war that was taking place in the public housing complex located a block away from the Quinn sanctuary. The event was a tremendous success. We gathered residents and kids along our march-path. By the time we arrived at Quinn's parking lot for fun activities, we had approximately 100 participants. Shortly after our march, the Chicago Police Dept. executed a major bust of the gangs that were involved in the constant shooting. By bringing public attention to the issues of drugs, gangs, and violence in our community, we achieved the positive results our citizens deserve.

- The Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of African American History and Culture received an "Artifact #1," a pew from Quinn Chapel AME Church, Chicago.


The “Lightening Rod” of African Methodism always grounds the electrical shocks he creates with a look of calm indifference and Saturday, December 10, 2006 was no exception. In the midst of a long awaited end to a well- executed planning council, lightening struck the Twelfth Episcopal District as Bishop Richard Allen Chappelle, Sr., presiding prelate, appointed ever so calmly the first female presiding elder in the 12th District, the Rev. Pollie Wallace Ragsdale. The council hosted by the Rev. Isaac N. Hudson and the Avery Chapel AMEC, Oklahoma City, OK leaped, electrified, to its feet as a body and erupted in thundering applause. All of the other Elders’ eyes were glued to the newly appointed presiding elder of the Tulsa District, Central Northeast Oklahoma Conference (CNEOC).

Rev. Ragsdale stood in awe, surprised as her name was read. Stunned, it took her a moment to soak in the history making occasion as others came pouring down the aisles and from the pulpit to offer congratulatory hugs, handshakes and words of encouragement.

Rev. Ragsdale is not new to this aspect of pioneering for women in ministry. She has a whole list of firsts in her thirty (30) year career. She was the first woman to preach in an annual conference, host an annual conference, to preach the opening sermon in an annual conference and to preach during an Episcopal District meeting in the 12th Episcopal District. She was also the first female to pastor a leading charge in the District. She was the first female clergy elected a delegate to a General Conference and the first to preach during a Mid-Year convocation. She is one of the charter members and organizing leaders of the Women in Ministry of the 12th District. She hosted the District’s first Women in Ministry Retreat, the theme of which was “And So They Came” pioneering the format for future meetings.

She has been faithful to the church her entire life. Born a P.K. (preacher’s kid) on a plantation in Lucy, TN, to the late presiding elder William Marshall and Mrs. Pauline Jones Miller, she learned to “crawl, walk and talk in an A.M.E. parsonage.” She is one of four daughters born to the couple. One sister, Mollie Miller, is her twin. Ragsdale jokingly and lovingly calls Mollie her “clone” even though Mollie is the older of the two by minutes because Mollie has been very supportive of her throughout her ministry. She reflected momentarily on what it meant to no longer be her twin’s pastor. She stated, “Mollie is a retired educator from the Tulsa school district and an outstanding teacher whose skills will enhance the training aspect of my role as presiding elder."

Ragsdale and her family moved to Taft, OK in 1958 then to Tulsa in 1960 where she has lived ever since. She received her early education in the Tulsa public school system. Before accepting her call to the ministry she entered the nursing field. She has received numerous certificates of training. She studied four years at the Jackson Extended Seminary under the tutelage of Deans J. A. Watkins, R. K. Young and B. S. Roberts.

She entered the ministry in 1977 and received her first pastoral appointment to Bethel, Bartlesville, OK in 1981. She has pastored with longevity at numerous charges since then. She pastored St. Paul – Tulsa and hosted the most recent Central Northeast Oklahoma Conference with her usual flair of effective and grand style.

Well renowned for her work throughout the Episcopal District, this was one of the defining moments in her career. She is also a hard worker in the Tulsa, Muskogee area. Besides all of her “firsts” accomplishments, she has served as conference trustee and until recently was vice chairperson of the Central Northeast Oklahoma Conference Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Conference Board of Examiners. She served as Christian Education Director for 15 years and conference treasurer of the Women in Ministry. For eight (8) years she served as the charter first vice president of 12th Episcopal District Women in Ministry.

A humble person, she perceives herself as one who knows the struggle of the ministry. Whenever she does something she says, “I strive to do my best.”

She loves to see people happy and states, “I believe in rejuvenating people who say they couldn’t and watching them become people who say I can.”

She is the mother of two daughters by the late Oliver Wallace, Jr., Alpha and Sayonara. She has three lovely grand children and two great grandchildren. Widowed at a young age, she stayed single for many years building her ministry before marrying Mr. Charles Ragsdale 12 years ago.

Civic affiliations include the AARP, Eastern Star, one of the Heroines of Jericho, Southern Christian Leadership Congress (SCLC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry and the Christian Ministerial Alliance of Tulsa.

She’s planning her work as presiding elder. She is contemplating a “Roast the First Female Elder” fundraiser to finance what she hopes will “rejuvenate the Tulsa District.” She envisions advancing African Methodism by church planting in developing regions of Eastern Oklahoma.

Mrs. Ann Gilkey, 12th Episcopal District Public Relations Director

Article Interview by: Rev. Diane Burl, Pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church, Fort. Smith, AR

- Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Marie M. Phillips Braxton, has published the book, When I Touched: Testimonies of God’s Transforming Power, a collection of personal stories that shaped the faith and lives of some of the women at Metropolitan AME Church. The book is full of heart-warming stories. To order the book call the church office: 202.331-1426


*Rev. Teboho G. Klaas

Tourism is listed among the sources of revenue through which economic regeneration takes place in the developing countries. This is especially true for countries in Southern Africa. Statistically, economists inform us in South Africa that for every eight tourists in our country, employment is created for one person unemployed. Certainly, I believe also, that for those employed their jobs are sustained as the tourists spend in the various industries in the country, including the hospitality, entertainment, transport, arts and cultural industries.

In the third quarter of 2006, we have seen a number of Church-driven tourism ventures taking place in this part of the world to which the people and the economies of the countries in Southern Africa reaped some benefits. The countries which I am certain have benefited from the recent visitations include Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. For this, we are grateful.

Although Connectionalism in the recent times endured some intense criticisms for some of its perceived omissions, we must not be blinded to the fact that it was in the spirit of Connectionalism we witnessed contingents of the members of our Church coming to the shores our countries to make a contribution to our economies. For this reason, and many others, we must celebrate the fact that we are a Connectional Church even as we wrestle with its meaning for us all.

Without prejudice to other touring groups from the A.M.E. Church-driven ventures which visited the shores of our countries in Southern Africa, I am writing with a specific purpose of acknowledging the recent group of women from the shores of the United States, led by the able and visionary leadership of Rev. Dr. Cecilia Bryant. The model of their visitation to Southern Africa during the Advent (2006) prompts my writing this piece. I am confident that the Leadership of the 18th and the 19th Episcopal Districts will officially acknowledge this visit, if not already acknowledged.

Strongholds moved and shaken

I was personally overwhelmed by the goodwill and compassion evidenced in the visionary leadership of the Rev. Dr. Cecilia Bryant, the Supervisor of the 5th Episcopal District. Earlier in the year, I read an announcement of this visit in the Christian Recorder Online. From the announcement, it was clear that this was not going to be the ordinary kind of tourism to the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho and the region. I since prayed for it because I knew it was absolutely necessary.

Indeed, a strong contingent of eighty women of goodwill and compassion from the shores of the United States of America did come to our shores; led by Mother Cecilia Bryant (I prefer this title because she is undoubtedly a mother. If you don’t trust me on this, check the delegation and see who part thereof was; distinguished women of faith they were, mothers in their own rights and yet they were willing to come under her wings and visionary leadership to be used purposefully of God). Some were AMEs and others were not. They were a team highly-charged with spirituality and possessing a multiplicity of skills; some were Pastors and others were Healthcare Professionals. Primarily, they came for impartation and pledged their solidarity with the people of the Lesotho, especially women and children who are at the receiving end of impoverishment and debilitating diseases.

Doubtlessly, the strongholds in Lesotho were moved and shaken, as they gave personal attention to people who were vulnerable to death, poverty and disease. They ministered to them spiritually and physically, collaborating with healthcare professionals of that country. They brought life to many who do not have access to medical care and taught us that it is possible to be true to the mission and purpose of the A.M.E. Church; alias; “…. to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ’s liberating gospel through word and deed…..”

Smiles were granted and restored to the girl-child in Lesotho. They were the embodiment of the Hope Christ is to children lacking opportunities, love and lost the urge to dream for anything better than their reality. Undoubtedly, these children were made “O-L-D” by the impartation of these women of faith, if Bishop Adam Richardson’s book (Headlines to Homilies) is anything to go by in order to explain this experience. They offered them Opportunities, Loved them and created an atmosphere for them to Dream to be who God has them to be.

By the testimony of the words of some of the members of the group, it is clear that they did not come just to tour but to spend themselves for the sake of Christ and His Church. They spent their own resources to come, stay and work in the areas of deployment by the Spirit of God, who revealed this ministry in and through Mother Cecilia Bryant.

The Global Women’s Advent Service

Hundreds of AMEs and non-AME in the 19th Episcopal District gathered at the F. H. Gow A.M.E. Church (Orlando West, in Soweto) in the evening of Wednesday, December 13th, 2006. Among the non-AMEs were Rev. Motlalepula Chabaku (a Methodist Preacher, former Speaker in the Free State Provincial Legislature and a Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature) and Pastor Meshoe (a member of the National Assembly and the wife to the President of the African Christian Democratic Party). These were an addition to a non-AME musical group which rolled the congregation to the Rock of Ages in an awesome way; not to mention individuals who heard the call and obliged by joining the service. It was an Ecumenical Advent Service; denominational labels did not preoccupy the worshippers but Praise and Thanksgiving was flowing out of their mouths. God, than doctrinal and denominational differences, was acknowledged as the One and the only One from whom all our blessings flow.

Satan licked his wounds that evening; the party in hell was abruptly called off and the cake was spoiled. The Scripture was fulfilled in our hearing and presence, “do not touch my anointed, do my prophets no harm (1 Chr 16:22; Ps 105:15)” as the worshippers prayed healing and deliverance over the health of some of the members of the visitors, who took ill on their way to the service. The bus had to u-turn back to the hotel but the Advent Service proceeded.

An expectant preacher, Rev. Fredolene Manganye (the Pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church and the wife to the host Pastor, Rev. Frans Manganye), delivered a purposeful and powerful sermon which unsettled and stirred consciences, punctuated with personal testimonies – “WORD ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH.” Sermons are often preached to entertain but this was not intended to make people to just feel good. It purposefully convinced people, offered Christ to sinners, extended an invitation and built people up, in line with the object of preaching in the A.M.E. Church.

On behalf of Mother Bryant and the contingent, Rev. Dr. Mankekolo Mahlangu-Ngcobo and the President of the Payne Theological Seminary later joined the service, just before preachment, and delivered a message from Mother Bryant and the visitors. The message was accompanied by a financial contribution towards the work undertaken in the 19th Episcopal District, which the Presiding Elder of the Greater Johannesburg District, Rev. Mexico, received on behalf of Bishop James L. Davis.

The Humility of Service

The profound aspect of the selflessness of these women of faith is hidden in the attitude which shaped their undertaking in and throughout this visitation. Even when they had accomplished what they did in the space of two weeks, instead of patting themselves on their shoulders, they took the seat of humility and marveled at what the Lord did through them. Instead of standing on a high pedestal of their achievement, they positioned themselves in the seat of humility. I mean women with impeccable credentials and powerful in their own rights were rather stunt themselves about what had been done for Christ and the Church through them. I vividly recall seeing their eyes wet with tears, relating their encounters.

Mother Bryant, herself, displayed this humility and would not be pumped to think too highly of herself. For her, this initiative was evidently not for herself-aggrandizement but the cross she had to bear with Lord.

This gesture was so meaningful, bringing Christ into Christmas. I remain prayerful to the Lord for the prosperity of all these selfless women of faith. Let the Grace of God abound in you. I salute your determination to right the wrongs systems create. Your act was not so much to prove that God lives but to point out to the downtrodden that God is at work for their deliverance, healing and salvation.

You have proven that there is another way beyond mere tourism and pity that is often exhibited in many ventures, some of which come in through Church ventures.

Because He Lives, I am

*Rev. Teboho G. Klaas
The Director: Health Programme
South African Council of Churches
9th Floor, 62 Marshall Street, Johannesburg 2001
P.O. Box 62097, MARSHALLTOWN 2017
Tel.: (+27) 011 241 7812 Fax: (+27) 011 492 1448/9
Mobile: (+27) 082 412 2960
Email: tgk@sacc.org.za


“The Importance of Planning, Organization and Structure in the A.M.E. Church”

Sister Angela Surcey Garner, St. Paul AMEC/11th District’s Media Team

Saint Paul A.M.E. Church in Jacksonville, FL, where The Reverend Marvin C. Zanders, II is the Senior Pastor, began their Spiritual Journey June 1, 2005, and celebrated “Half-time Sunday” on December 17, 2006. Our visionary leader was led by God to organize a stewardship campaign in preparation for the future of St. Paul. The original dream began as we moved from Houston and Johnson Streets to Myrtle Avenue, now, New Kings Road. With the purchase of land on the corner of New Kings and Richardson Roads, we are “daring to dream again” as we plan for adequate parking, additional buildings and more space. There were many repairs needed and with the growth of the congregation, we needed more adequate, reliable transportation, so the purchase of a passenger bus was part of Pastor Zanders’ vision and our dream.

To assist with the organization of our Spiritual Journey, we acquired the services of InJoy, a Christian company that helps churches and other groups with stewardship campaigns. The leadership was organized and our “journey” began with many planning meetings, much prayer and structure, which yielded many pledges and offerings at the end of May in 2005. We began repairs on many plaguing problems and purchased our new passenger bus in June. As the pledges and “daring to dream again” offerings came in, we were blessed with additional resources to bring our dreams to fruition. However, we were not expecting, nor were we mentally prepared for the challenges ahead.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 was a very stormy, rainy day and torrential rains fell for over an hour before Pastor Zanders’ Bible Study began at 6:30 in the evening. As the staff prepared for Bible Study, one of them noticed water coming in under the door in the area nearest the communications equipment closet; Pastor Zanders’ robes were in there also! She moved equipment from the floor to higher levels and took Pastor Zanders’ robes into his office with the news of an impending flood; he remained calm and said a prayer. All staff members went into immediate action in trying to stop the water from entering the building. At the same time, people were arriving for Bible Study. We put God first and continued our “Wednesday in the Word.”

The rain continued to fall and flood the administration building and sanctuary. After Bible Study, God showed that He was in charge and all we had to do was trust Him. He’d sent a future member of the St. Paul family to Bible Study for the first time that night. She’d learned of our present flood issue when announced at the end of Bible Study and walked with Pastor Zanders to assess it. God sent a City Administrator of Public Works! The lower administrative offices and our sanctuary were flooded from overflow of the retention pond! The following day, there were city inspectors, reporters and television cameras all over our campus. We were on a spiritual journey only God could foresee. “There can be miracles when you believe; though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.”

Without the proper organization and structure of the church, nothing would’ve been accomplished. Because of the pledges and offerings from our spiritual journey, we were able to pay for the very extensive, immediate repairs to our edifice. As a result of the flood, Pastor Zanders’ visions now included complete renovations to our sanctuary and lower offices. After approval from the Official Board, preparations for our renovations began. We finished 2005 in our Sanctuary and moved to our Chapel for Worship Services while the renovations were completed in the other building. We anticipated completion by Easter of 2006 and God brought that to fruition also. During Official Board Meetings and Church Conferences, all income and expenditures were detailed so everyone was aware of our progress.

We celebrated one year of our spiritual journey in June, 2006 and thanked God for all He had accomplished through Pastor Zanders and the Saint Paul family. We were blessed with a new passenger bus, lift station, land clearing, drying out of the administration building and sanctuary after the flood, renovations to both areas, we purchased new flood insurance, new top-line audio and video equipment was installed in separate rooms, worship monitors, reupholstered all of the congregational and pulpit pews, installed new carpet, new ceramic tile in the offices and narthex, new chandeliers, purchased new Dell computers for the Technology Center, and the blessings continue. Each time money was spent, it had been approved by the Official Board. To keep up with all that was accomplished, persons only needed to attend Official Board Meetings and Church Conferences. Everything was detailed on paper and explained thoroughly – which exemplifies the importance of organization.

During “Half-time Sunday” on December 17, 2006, the congregation was blessed with a video program created by our media team’s very gifted “video master”, Brother Randy Bryant, with voice over by the Steward Pro Tem, Brother Willie Martin. The video detailed our Spiritual Journey from the beginning to present. The video presentation mimicked an actual NFL game and halftime show in that our journey has been filled with tackles, hard hits, fumbles and missed field goals… but God! He has blessed us with His defensive and offensive lines, allowing us to sack the enemy, giving us interceptions in their end zone; God blessed us with victorious first downs and game winning touchdowns. He continues to bless our journey as we prepare our youth and build the future St. Paul A.M.E.C. Jacksonville.

Half-time Sunday continued in the evening with the first Church Conference of the new conference year. Pastor Zanders presented a complete booklet of information containing leadership groups, ministries, contact names and numbers, financial information, and a complete, color-code, detailed calendar. Staff members spoke about their positions, how they could serve the congregation and others, and entertained questions. Screen presentations of forms and outlined details were shown on the worship monitors for a visual impact.

As we enter 2007, St. Paul A.M.E. Church is organized through this conference year. We held 1st Quarterly Conference on December 28, 2006, led by our Presiding Elder of the Alachua-Central District, The Reverend Joseph Sanchez. Pastor Zanders presented the informational booklet and detailed calendar to Elder Sanchez who commented, “The purpose of Quarterly Conferences is to report on the past quarter and plan for the upcoming one. St. Paul is definitely way ahead with such an organized, detailed calendar prepared before 2007.” Being blessed with an organized 11th District overall, Presiding Prelate, Bishop McKinley Young, St. Paul has an impeccable example to follow. We continue our Spiritual Journey led by God through His visionary, our Shepherd, Pastor Marvin C. Zanders, II, supported by his wife, Lady Winifred H. Zanders, sons, Marvin and Micah, and his flock, knowing that God is in complete control of our destiny. Our trust in Him knows no boundaries as we move through the second half, completely organized. Our congregation continues to grow as God gives the increase, and we continue to plan and build our future through our Spiritual Journey: Daring to Dream Again. There’s a place for you at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Jacksonville.


- By Maj. Kirk Slaughter
Commander, 210th MPAD

MOSUL, Iraq - In one of the most dangerous and poverty-stricken areas of Mosul, two battalion commanders set out to bring happiness to Iraqi school children.

Lt. Col. Steven Eveker, commander 352nd Corp Support Battalion, and Lt. Col. Mohammad, commander 222nd Iraqi Army worked numerous days coordinating between Mosul officials, the chaplains office at Forward Operating Base Diamondback, and Iraqi and American troops.

“This was one of the largest joint humanitarian missions conducted in Mosul during daylight hours since Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Eveker said. “Most missions conducted by the 352nd CSB occur under curfew hours, which really limit the Soldiers’ contact with the local population.”

The operation included more than 1,400 small bags of school supplies, 35 kerosene heaters, more than 50 boxes of clothes, more than 200 umbrellas, and 42 backpacks that were ready to be delivered to about 1,350 children at two schools in downtown Mosul, Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Cisco said (Chaplain Cisco is endorsed chaplain by the African Methodist Episcopal Church).

“The initial planning for the mission began in early October,” Cisco said. “Numerous email messages and letters were mailed to friends, families, churches, and supporters of the 352nd CSB requesting school supplies, clothing, and heaters for the classrooms.”

Approximately 30 soldiers from the 352nd CSB, 1345th Transportation Company, 714th Transportation Company, and the 399th Combat Support Hospital, went out into the community and interacted with residents while being protected by the Iraqi Army, which was pre-positioned on rooftops and street corners during the two hour mission.

A casual conversation took place between the two commanders as they walked down the middle of the streets of Mosul from the first school to the second school. Iraqi adults and children seemed excited, and smiles could be seen on their faces, as they walked along the sidewalks and occasionally made contact with IA and American soldiers.

The two commanders led the parade of soldiers, the unit ministry team, and reporters through what used to be labeled as a very dangerous street in Mosul.

“Lt. Col. Eveker is very well-liked, trusted and respected in the 222nd IA and throughout the community of Mosul,” Mohammad said. “He is a good man and we work well together, and that is why we can do humanitarian missions like this.”

“Lt. Col. Mohammad understands the complexities of the military, economic, political, and religious challenges for the city of Mosul,” Eveker said. “This is what makes him a great leader and commander. He is fighting for a freer Iraq and a more democratic Iraq. His soldiers are very disciplined and that is why we were able to walk down the streets of this city while they protected us.”

Once inside the second school, the two commanders met with the school principal, who appeared surprised at the visit. A short meeting – with tea – took place, and then both commanders went into a classroom and started handing out school supplies to the students.

“When we first went into these schools the children appeared terrified and scared of the Iraqi soldiers and me,” Eveker said. “The most rewarding thing about this mission was how quiet, timid, and thankful these children were. And as we left their classrooms they would burst out with laughter and excitement as to what had just happened.”

“Can we make an impact on every child in Mosul? Probably not,” he said. “But we did make an impact on the children we saw today.”

As the two commanders walked back up the street to their vehicles off in the distance one could hear the sounds of two suspected bombs go off.

More than 1,000 children, ages 7-13, received school book supplies and candy during this joint humanitarian mission.

“For our soldiers to see the indigent population and feeling the effects of a war torn nation in the daylight was a memory that will be forever etched in their minds,” Sgt. Charles Sebok, 352nd CSB Chaplains assistant, said.


God has indeed been very great in guiding us through the past year. 2006 happens to be a landmark year in the history of AMEC, as AME begins its ministry in India for the first time.

We are grateful to God for God’s guidance in bringing about twenty-six churches of AME-India. There are many more churches waiting to join AME. The month of December had been quite busy for all the churches as they were engaged in preparing for the special services, while being in the festive spirits. Representing AME we were invited to deliver the Christmas and New Year message to the people encouraging them to renew their commitments and press on in their faith.

Sarah and Rev. Abraham have travelled extensively during the last month, visiting these churches to encourage them in this festive season. We praise God for the protection and travel mercies. We were able to help in providing small gifts to the children to encourage them, as well as provide some clothes, rice and mats to the widows, the poor and the destitute.

On 26th December the Nepali Church at Bangalore had conducted a Gospel meeting, which was attended by 400 people, mostly coming from the North-Eastern part of India, Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, and other Nepali speaking people. Rev. Abraham delivered God’s sermon during this occasion and it was translated by Pastor Khrist Pal Rai into Nepali language. The Nepali congregation which began with just five people two years back has grown to fifty and still keeps growing. Seven new converts are ready for baptism and more are expected to come forward in the coming months. We request you for your valuable prayers for Pastor Khrist Pal Rai (and his family) as he gives leadership to this church.

A Children’s Rally was held on 16th December at Tirusulam, Chennai, in which around 300 children from the surrounding attended this programme. There was a lot of display of talents in this occasion. Pastor Paulraj who has pioneered a new ministry here wants to tap the young talents to strengthen the Sunday School. Kindly remember him and his ministry in your valuable prayers.

At Ammanambakkam, a lady named Jayanthi who was suffering from some unknown sickness for the last two years as a result of witchcraft, has been healed through fasting prayers. Her whole family has accepted Jesus as their personal saviour and have opened up their house for a new cell group to meet regularly. Praise the Lord for it.

In the same town a new cell group has begun at the Police Colony. Request your prayers for four Hindu families who are regularly attending this cell would come to know the Lord.

At Melachery a Hindu bus-conductor Shunmugam who was suffering from severe stomach-ache was healed after prayers and now his whole family are regularly coming for worship.

At Attoor eight new Hindu seekers are attending the cell groups, kindly pray for their salvation.

Pastor Samuel from Kancheepuram reports that he had organized a meeting for the first time in which he distributed prayer oil to 150 people, as a result of it five Hindu ladies and two Hindu men who had healing experiences have come to know the Lord and have accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour. Pastor Samuel also informs that there are four people ready for baptism. Kindly pray for their spiritual maturity.

In another occasion Pastor Samuel and the youth of his church went out on bicycles covering Tiruvannamalai district and distributed 3000 tracts on 17th December 2006. Please pray for the Holy Sprit to minister to the people as they read the tracts.

Pastor Samuel is a Hindu convert, who has planted a church in a place where there were no Christians. He is very enthusiastic and zealous for the Lord. He is also very creative in his ministry. The church does not have electricity and in the rainy season they struggled a lot, because during the rains the church became a place of refuge for many people. On behalf of AME-India we have helped them in acquiring the electricity for the church. Please pray for Pastor Samuel, as he had a heart attack recently, he is slowly recuperating, he needs complete healing.

As we have entered into the New Year we expect that God is going to do greater things to establish God’s rule in India and the world, as we attempt to assist God in this venture. Let us join together in prayer for the establishment of AMEC in India.

Thanking you for your valuable prayers.

Yours Co-workers in Christ,

Ms. Minnie Sarah & Rev. Abraham Peddiny


The 152nd Session of the Missouri Annual Conference was held October 25-29, 2006 in North St. Louis County, and co-hosted by Ward Chapel A.M.E. and Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Churches, pastored by the Reverends Marvin L. Sullivan and Edmond E. Lowe, respectively. The main venue was the St. Louis-Airport Hilton hotel. Although this was the first time for either of these congregations to host an Annual Conference, there was no evidence that this dynamic duo were novices. This was one of the finest Missouri Annual Conferences ever to be hosted.

On Sunday, October 22, the pre-conference musical of the Missouri Women’s Missionary Conference Society (MCWMS) was the first activity and set the tone for the entire week. The Missouri Conference Choir, under the direction of Bro. Kenton Saunders, Jr. presented a high praise service in song. One of our own, of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performed a selection as special guest conductor.

The following evening, Monday, the Women In Ministry, with the Rev. Beverly Stith as president raised the Conference one step higher in the presentation of “Those Nine Preaching Women.” Nine women clergy preached on each of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our beloved Bishop, the Rt. Rev. John Richard Bryant, taking advantage of a teaching moment reminded the audience that we should never confuse the fruit with the gifts. Many people have gifts, but the measure of a person’s spiritual walk is the quality of the fruit, not the gifts.

The MCWMS continued their ministry on Tuesday evening with their “Roll Call of Angels, and Wednesday during the hour of power. The guest speaker during the Wednesday noon service was Her Excellency Molelekeng Ernestina Rapolaki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho. She spoke to the Conference about the effect of the AIDS epidemic in her country and was extremely grateful for the assistance provided by the A.M.E. Church. Supervisor, Rev. Dr. Cecilia Williams Bryant was leading a campaign for individuals to purchase bricks to build an orphanage in Lesotho.

The Annual Conference officially opened the morning of October 25, with the roll call of the clergy and lay members of the Conference. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. Alvin Smith, pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church, the Mother Church of the Conference. The message was titled “When Is Enough, Enough?” the scripture text was I Kings 19:3. Our hearts burned! Many were encouraged to not give up, remain steadfast, and continue putting their trust in the Lord.

The Missouri Conference Lay Organization held their annual service on Friday under the leadership of President Lamar Rose. The speaker for the evening was Rev. Gill Ford, Region Four Director of the NAACP. On Saturday day evening the MCYPD under the direction of YPD director, Theresa Pool, treated the Conference to a dinner theatre by the youth. The youth presented “History, the Way We See It” which consisted skits and biblical references about history from their perspective.

Other highlights of the Conference were:

- Christian Male Witness Night held Thursday evening. Mr. Charles Dooley, St. Louis County Executive was presented as the Sons of Thunder Award for his outstanding witness and leadership in the community. Bishop Willie James Ellis of New North Side Baptist Church preached the sermon, “The Rain Will Come Again.”
- Ordination and Holy Communion service was Saturday morning; the Rev. Dr. Michael Battle, President of Interdenominational Theological Center, delivered the ordination sermon.

- The Rev. Portia Cavitt of the Kansas-Nebraska Conference delivered the noonday sermon of Thursday; “Stay on the Ship” from Acts 27:31.
- The Friday hour of power sermon was preached by newly ordained, Rev. Matthew Shannon, “Thin Line between Obedience and Disobedience” from Deuteronomy 28:1-6.
- Seven new licentiates were admitted on trial into the Annual Conference.
- Five Mothers were consecrated Deaconess
- Four preachers were ordained deacons.
- Two deacons were ordained elders.
- Two new charges entered the Conference, St. Stephen and Imani.
- Bishop Bryant reported that 15 churches in India were under the umbrella of the 5th Episcopal District.
- Newly elected Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill was present during Closing Worship service.

The closing Worship and Commissioning service was Sunday, October 29, and Bishop Bryant was the preacher. His sermon reminded the conference about “Serving the Lord” and referred to “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” as a positive role model for servant-hood. The Mother Conference of the 5th Episcopal District is looking forward to a year of “Serving Well” under the leadership of our presiding elders the Reverends W. Bartalette Finney, and C. Jessel Strong. We praise God for the 160 baptisms, 373 conversions and 491 new members He added to the Conference. Let us always be forever mindful, “that unless souls are saved, nothing is saved.” And to God be the glory!

Submitted by the Rev. Sandra E. Burton,
Missouri Annual Conference Public Relations Reporter
Pastor, Immanuel A.M.E. Church


During the Seventh Episcopal District’s 2006 series of annual conferences, a new and exciting concept was added to the pre-conference activities. On the Friday and Saturday preceding each of the annual conferences, a “Youth Summit” was conducted by the Christian Education Department under the leadership of Bishop Preston Warren Williams II, presiding prelate and President of the Council of Bishops, and Ms. Kabrina Bass, Episcopal Christian Education (CED) Director. During the summer and fall, a total of 6 Youth Summits were held at high schools located in each conference with a total of more than 2,000 youths and 600 adult chaperones who participated. According to Ms. Bass, “The goal of the Youth Summits is to address the Christian education needs of children ages 6 to 15 with activities specifically designed for their overall growth process.”

On Friday and Saturday, August 19th and 20th, the Palmetto Annual Conference held the first Youth Summit which took place at Kingstree High School with more than 200 youths who participated. One week later, over 450 young persons, chaperones and volunteers gathered at Sneed Middle School in Florence, SC for the Northeast Annual Conference Youth Summit which was conducted under the direction of Rev. T. A. Johnson, Conference CED Director; Sis. Omijean Timmons, Florence-Dillion District CED Director; Sister Phyllis Reaves, Marion District CED Director; Bro. W. M. Jefferson, Sumter District CED Director; Rev. Herbert L. Temoney, Dean of Florence-Dillion Christian Education; and many others who instructed children about Salvation, the Scriptures, Church Etiquette, the Parts of the Church, AME History, Manhood, Womanhood, the Bishops and Episcopal Districts of the Church; and also led the members of the summit in praising God through Praise Teams, Mime Ministries and Living History. Bishop Preston W. Williams II also dined and fellowshipped with the youth, reinforcing his commitment to make a difference in the lives of our young people.

On September 8th & 9th, a refreshing dimension was added to the Columbia Annual Conference’s pre-conference activities in the form of an innovative and fun filled Youth Summit. Over 650 youth and adults from across South Carolina assembled at Newberry High School where their minds were challenged with exciting and informative topics such as: AME Beliefs & Structure, Church Liturgy, Biblical Studies, and Career Exploration. Many young people took part in a well planned exploration trip and all were blessed with words of motivation from Bishop Preston W. Williams II, who challenged the church to provide a more child friendly environment. One week later, the South Carolina Annual Conference held their Youth Summit at Woodland High School with more than 400 youth and adults who attended.

On September 29th and 30th, preceding the Piedmont Annual Conference, and under the leadership of Rev. Charles R. Watkins, Piedmont Conference CED Director, and Mrs. Margaret Wilson and Ms. Sarah Williams, Presiding Elder District CED Directors, more than 425 young people gathered at Abbeville High School to receive instruction on the Pentateuch and the Bishops of the Church, among various other areas of study. One week later, the Central Annual Conference held the sixth and final Youth Summit which drew approximately 500 young people. The youth were engaged with many fun-filled and educational activities including a Tail Gate party sponsored by the Sons of Allen, and all young people were invited to attend SC State University’s football game. Thanks to Bishop Williams and his Christian education staff, who had the depth of vision and power of fore sight to implement this tremendous series of educational summits, the Seventh Episcopal District is the better because of the AME Youth Summits that took place here.

Each Friday evening under the theme, “Let the Praise Begin,” children were encouraged to express their own personal ways of praising God through non-traditional worship experiences such as dancing, praise and mime teams, and a drum choir. In line with Bishop Williams and the Episcopal CED Department who think “outside the box,” the youth were engaged with fun worship exercises such as dancing the classic “Electric Slide,” as well as the brand new “Lean & Rock With It,” and “Walk It Out.” After warming up, the children attended classes from approximately 9 to 10 PM and then went to bed.

Bright and early each Saturday morning the day began under the theme, “Meditation in the Open Gardens.” Between 7:30 and 8 AM boys and girls prayed separately, often holding hands outside in the fresh morning air. From 9 to 10 AM they attended workshops on a variety of subjects designed to under gird their foundation of biblical knowledge as well as advance their overall growth process. After lunch, they attended a class entitled, “Living History,” where they learned historical facts about various areas in South Carolina where they live. After dinner, they attended a workshop called, “Faith Prints,” where each child explored the concept that their soul has a singularly unique print just like their finger or foot prints. Here, children gave a special offering to God such as their lives to Christ; as well as prayers for wellness, peace, closer relationships with their parents, and thankfulness. According to Ms. Bass, “This is the first time an AME district has coordinated Youth Summits on an Episcopal level and there are plans to continue these ground breaking summits with the coming of the Seventh District’s 2007 series of annual conferences.”


8:30 am: 2nd Annual Alumni Breakfast, ITC Cafe
Speaker: Dr. C. T. Vivian, Civil Rights Activist
Cost: $15.00 Students: Free

10:00 am: Business Session/2007-2009 Elections
Franklin Boyd Auditorium, ITC Campus

12:00 noon: Lunch-ITC Cafeteria

1:00 pm: Wreath Laying Ceremony
H. M. Turner Gravesite (Transportation available)

2:30 pm: Workshop Facilitator-Bishop E. Earl McCloud
"Personal & Institutional Financial Management"

5:30 pm: Dinner-Flipper Temple AME Church

7:30 pm: Worship Service
Flipper Temple AME Church
Preacher: Rev. Ellis Washington


What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations in which someone wanted us to give more than 100%.How about achieving 101%? What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that may help you to answer these Questions:



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%
K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%


1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

AND, look how far the love of God will take you
L- O- V- E-O-F-G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that: While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

(Author unknown)


Mrs. Jereline Morgan, the sister of Mrs. Aline Allen, and the sister-in-law of Presiding Elder Thomas G. Allen passed. Services for Mrs. Morgan will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2007, 11 a.m. at Davis Creek Baptist Church, Prattsville, AR.

Professional services are being handled by:
Brandon’s Mortuary
329 West 3rd Street
Malvern, AR 72104-3717
Phone: (501) 337-9171

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Presiding Elder and Mrs. Thomas G. Allen
#5 Saxony
Little Rock, AR 72209

P.O. Box 55987
Little Rock, AR 72215
Phone: (501) 562-7902.

Please remember the family in your prayers.

Submitted by:
Anita Brannon
12th Episcopal District Administrative Office


Submitted by: Bishop Sarah F. Davis

Services for Mr. Claytie Davis, Sr., father of Supervisor Claytie Davis, Jr., and the father-in-love of Bishop Sarah F. Davis are as follows:


Saturday, January 6, 2007
9:00- 11:00 a.m.,
Carter Chapel C.M.E. Church
549 West 8th Street
Port Arthur, Texas 77640
409-982-8445 voice


Saturday, January 6, 2007
11:00 a.m.
Carter Chapel C.M.E. Church
Reverend Robert McBride - Pastor


Mrs. Eliza M. Davis and Family
1500 Stillwell Blvd.
Port Arthur, Texas 77640
(409) 982 -1572


Supervisor Claytie and Bishop Sarah Davis
12214 Rocky Knoll Drive
Houston, Texas 77077
(281) 759-5123 voice and fax

Services have been entrusted to:
Gabriel Funeral Home
2500 Procter Street at DeQueen Blvd.
Port Arthur, Texas 77640
409-983-6661 voice


We regret to inform you of the passing of Sister Josephine Richmond, sister of Reverend Marguerite E. Handy, associate minister at Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia, PA (West District, Philadelphia Annual Conference). Rev. Handy is also the Executive Director, Faith Base Initiative in the Mayor’s office in Philadelphia. The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.

Viewing and Funeral – Friday, January 5, 2007
Viewing – 10:00 a.m.
Funeral – 11:00 a.m.

Phillip C.M.E. Church
754 S. 3rd Street (3rd & Fitzwater Street)
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Rev. William Green, Pastor
Phone: 215-928-1136

Condolences may be sent to:
Rev. Marguerite Handy and family
4100 Parkside Ave., Apt. 305
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-878-6556
Fax: 215-878-6031 (Home)
Fax: 215-686-4411 (Office)

Please remember the Handy and Richmond families in your prayers.


The passing on December 31, 2006 of Reverend Henry Jackson, founder of Hope AME Church, Prairie View, Texas in the 10th Episcopal District.

Service Arrangements:
The Wake:
Thursday, January 4, 2007
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Green Chapel
3318 Link Rd
Houston, TX

Funeral Services:
Friday, January 5, 2007
11:00 am
Wesley AME Church
2209 Dowling Street Houston, TX 77003 Phone: 713-659-6682

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Sister Ruth Jackson
600 E. Whitney St.
Houston, TX 77022

Please remember the Jackson family in your prayers.


The Clergy Family Information Center
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Chair
Commission on Social Action

Mrs. Ora L. Easley, Administrator
Email: Amespouses1@aol.com
Phone: (615) 837-9736
Voice Mail: (615) 833-6936
Fax: (615) 833-3781
Cell: (615) 403-7751


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.



Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, Editor


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To the Editor:

I have a question and comment I would like for you to consider publishing for your online Recorder subscribers. Why can't we allow each mainland Episcopal District to host the General Conference? I find it simply amazing that neither the 7th District, 9th District nor the 12th District have hosted the GC in recent memory, if ever. The justification for their exclusion has typically been based on the belief that neither of these Districts have the requisite hotel space and convention facilities to accommodate the General Conference. These two rationales are urban legends and logistically erroneous. If anyone has ever visited Charleston, SC, Birmingham, AL or Oklahoma City, OK you know these great cities host activities far bigger than the General Conference. Having the GC in historic Charleston would allow many AME members to visit Allen University in nearby Columbia, SC. The state of South Carolina is home to more AM E churches than any state in the United States. Shouldn't that count for something? Oklahoma City is actually the most central location in the US thus reducing travel time for participants coming from either the West Coast or the East Coast. I find it remarkable at how we talk so much about "inclusiveness" and fairness yet we exclude these excellent venues from consideration as future GC sites. If it was up to me, the GC in 2020 would be held in the Sooner State of Oklahoma.

Bill Dickens

Editor’s comment: Since we are a global Church, why limit holding a future General Conference to the U.S. mainland? Let’s think globally and look at a General Conference being held in the Caribbean or on the continent of Africa. Maybe not now, but we ought to be thinking about it.


Greetings to my bishop, the Right Reverend Paul Kawimbe

We have received a call this morning from the Rev. Kulu of Eastern Congo District telling us about the catastrophic situation that our members there are experiencing.

Six of our AME Churches in Kivu North are experiencing trouble due to tribal wars in Massisi and Rutshuru. The members left their regions and are refugees in their counties in other zones. About 1,500 AME Members are suffering.

Please we call up on our AME religious leaders to assist them in any way you can. The AME refugees are in need of clothing, Sheets (Bedding), food and medicines,

Please help.

Meanwhile, we are busy in preparing the conference. We expect to hear from you soon.

May God bless you.

On behalf of the Bishop's Administrative Assistant for our Conference

The Rev. Felix, the Conference Secretary


Rev. Edrena Houston Brown, M.A.C.E.
Christian Recorder, Staff Writer

- Dr. Dennis Dickerson, AME Historiographer/Executive Director, Department of Research and Scholarship and Editor of The A.M.E. Church Review was appointed to an endowed chair at Vanderbilt University; as of January 1, 2007 he is the James Lawson Professor of History.

- The Rev. Dr. James Miller, Pastor of DuPage A.M.E. Church will be the guest speaker for The MLK Ecumenical Community Service at Wheaton College, Edmond Chapel on Monday, January 15, 2007 at 7:00 p.m., Over 2,000 persons are expected to be in attendance, college students, community leaders and the members of the community.

- Pastor James H. Russell and the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church, Panama City, Florida of the 11th Episcopal District will sponsor a New Year's Eve "Community Gospel Explosion" on December 31, 2006 featuring the Brooklyn All Stars of Brooklyn, New York at 4:00 p.m., at Greater Bethel AMEC located at 706 Hamilton Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401. For further information please call (850) 785-9612.

- The Rev. Thomas Brown, Pastor of Union Bethel A.M.E. Church, New Orleans, Louisiana will be the guest evangelist for the Stewardship Revival at DuPage A.M.E. Church, Isles, Ill. in the Fourth Episcopal District. January 24-26, 2007. Come and be blessed!

- The Reverend Dr. Daniel W. Jacobs, Sr., President of Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia announces the 113th Founders' Day Convocation. Rev. Ellis I. Washington, Pastor of St. Matthew A.M.E. Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of the First Episcopal District will be The Preacher of the Hour for the Alumni Worship Service.
Bishop C. Garnett Henning will deliver the closing sermon on February 8, 2007. The Founders' Day celebration will commence on February 6-8, 2007 at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia and Flipper Temple A.M.E. Church, Atlanta, Georgia where The Rev. Augusta Hall, M.Div., serves as Pastor.
Registration is $100.00. For further information please call (404) 527-0080.

- Founders' Day celebration for the Second Episcopal District, Presiding Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Presiding Prelate will convene on February 22-24, 2007 at Saint Joseph's A.M.E. Church, Durham, North Carolina. Rev. Phillip R. Cousin, Jr., Host Pastor.

- The Rev. Gregory G. Groover Sr., pastor of Historic Charles Street AME Church in Boston and a community leader, who was active in the city's search for a new schools superintendent, will be named the newest member of the Boston School Committee. Before his appointment as pastor of Historic Charles Street, Rev. Groover was pastor of the Bright Temple A.M.E. Church in South Bronx from 1987 - 1994, where his work was recognized in the book "Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Kozol.

- A.M.E. University Wilberforce Choir of the Third Episcopal Church, Bishop Robert Vaughn Webster, Presiding Prelate and the Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake, serves at the President of Wilberforce University, will be Featured on upcoming motion picture soundtrack of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Slavery Act in the US. The upcoming release of the film Amazing Grace, based on the story of William Wilberforce who championed the abolition, music inspired by The Motion Picture, Amazing Grace soundtrack will be released January 23, 2007 and the film will make its first debut, February 23, 2007 in theatres.

- The Second Annual Lay Organization Anniversary of the North District of the 11th Episcopal District, South Conference will be held on Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 4:00 p.m., at Saint Paul A.M.E. Church, Delray Beach, Florida. Mrs. Denise Holmes, President, Rev. Dr. Waymon Dixon, Host Pastor, Rev. Dr. Raymond Heastie, Presiding Elder. Come and be blessed!

- The Annual Layperson of the Year Banquet will be held at Saint Phillip A.M.E. Church, Decatur, Georgia of the Atlanta Georgia Conference Lay Organization will held on January 12, 2007 at 7:00 p.m., donations for tickets are $35.00 per person.

- Allen Temple A.M.E. Church, 2101 North Lowe Street, Tampa, Florida, Rev. Willie J. Cook, Sr., M.Div., Pastor will celebrate an Ecumenical Worship Service in honor of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, January 15, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. The Community is cordially invited to attend.

- The Reverend Dr. LeRoy Attles, Sr. will be the speaker for the Martin L. King "Prayer Breakfast" at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, Boston MA., at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 15, 2007.

- The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III will be the speaker for the Chattanooga, Tennessee Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration that will be held at 3 p.m. at the New Enon Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
* If you are interested in publishing your events, please submit your events to; ebrown49@hotmail.com

- The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) Allen’s Temple, Flagstaff, St. Michael celebrated and enjoyed Kwanzaa for the first time in Barbados on Wednesday 27th Dec, 06. The Presiding Elder of Barbados and Grenada, the Rev. Anthony Parris spoke of the self-determination of the founder of the AME Church, Richard Allen and Richards’ other colleagues who did not give up the fight and struggle back in 1787 to form the AME church.

The Rev. Dr. Dudley Trotman, pastor of the Allen’s Temple, congregation and visitors were all well-informed by Mrs. Gill-Barnett and her husband Mr. Val Barnett of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa that has to be practiced throughout the year, these principles being, Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Co-operative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. Drum call was done by Caroline Sobers Minister in Training. Certificates of Honor were presented to the Rev. E. Brewster, the Rev. E. Small, Mrs. Linda Small, Mrs. Edith Nurse, Veta Best, Marcell Boxill, Wesley Smith, and F. Carter the stalwarts of the church for their steadfastness, dedication and self-determination in keeping the church on course during its difficult periods over the last decade.

The coming year marks the 200th anniversary of abolition of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, significantly it also marks the 220th anniversary of the church which played a pivotal role in challenging the Slave Trade as its founder members were born into slavery.

Buddy Larrier
Public Relation Officer


With the arrival of 2007, attention across the Connection will turn to the preparations for the 48th General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. An important part of planning for the General Conference will be the series of Convoys, beginning in February at which ideas for legislation and church reform will be discussed. Foremost among these discussions should be how to integrate more effectively young adults into the decision-making process of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Examining the status of young adults in the hierarchy of the AME Church yields many bright spots. All churches, circuits and stations are required to send a young adult representative to the District Conference. Every Annual Conference is mandated to send at least one young adult delegate (ages 18-30) to the General Conference. Additionally, current interpretation of the law regarding the composition of the General Board instructs that one member of each Episcopal District delegation must be a young adult*. The Laymen’s Organization elects young adult delegates at the Conference and Episcopal levels to its Biennial Convention and the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) has embarked on the Young Women’s Initiative. Most notably, the Connectional President and Director of the Young People’s Department (YPD) of the WMS are members of the General Conference.

The existence of these positions and initiatives shows that the AME Church values Young Adult involvement in its affairs. The young adult voice, however, is missing at the heart of African Methodism—the Annual Conference. In the State of the Church Address at the 2005 General Board Meeting in Dallas, TX, Bishop Richard Allen Chappelle, Sr., expressed concern that young adults were being elected as delegates to the General Conference without having participated in the work of the Annual Conference. As a remedy for this situation, Bishop Chappelle suggested that every church be required to send—in addition to the adult delegate—a young adult delegate to the Annual Conference. This idea is in keeping with established AME Church practice of including young adult delegates to the District and General Conferences and will enable young adults to be better prepared for service to the Church. Additionally, I submit that the Conference YPD President should be a member of the Annual Conference. As previously stated, both the Connectional YPD Director and President are members of the General Conference; yet only the Conference YPD Director is currently a member of the Annual Conference.

The addition of young adults at the Annual Conference level is vital to the current and future functioning of the AME Church if it is to be inclusive. Bishop Chappelle’s concerns regarding the future of the Church are warranted, and only by actively including young adults in our governing processes can we hope to make progress and successfully pass the baton on to future generations. By making the Conference YPD President a member of the Annual Conference and sending a young adult delegate from every charge, the AME Church gives the church of tomorrow an opportunity to learn from and serve with the leaders of today.

*2004 Doctrine and Discipline references: General Board- pg. 156, General Conference- pg. 206, District Conference-pg. 228, Laymen’s Organization- pg. 401

John Thomas III is a member of St. John AME Church (Nashville, TN- 13th Episcopal District). He serves on the General Board and is the official Spanish translator for the 16th Episcopal District. He is an alumnus of Morehouse College and will be graduated with the Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University in June 2007.


Sister Angela Surcey Garner, St. Paul AMEC/11th District’s Media Team

Saint Paul A.M.E. Church in Jacksonville, FL, where The Reverend Marvin C. Zanders, II is the Senior Pastor, was blessed with many bicycles donated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office this year. The Sons of Allen, led by Pastor Zanders, the President, Brother Faheem Rasheed, and Steward, Brother Albert Buckner, chose this project during the summer, with prayers the bicycles would be ready for distribution by Thanksgiving and Christmas. One Saturday afternoon, the Sons of Allen assembled outside in the parking lot with all of the bicycles, particularly the ones that needed repair, and there was food for everyone. Our Shepherd, Pastor Zanders, and our East Conference Lay President, Brother Joseph S. Coppock, Sr., also members of the Sons of Allen, were there to help get the ball rolling on this mission. Two members of the Women of Allen, Sisters Deborah Limbric Rasheed and Christine Garner Atkinson, also our East Conference Lay Director of Public Relations, were also on hand to assist the men.

After eating delicious chicken, potato salad, and drinking cold beverages, the Sons of Allen were ready to work. Each member selected a bicycle, determined the problems and repaired them. The ladies were the test riders and there was one youth, Brother Ollie Collins, V, who also assisted with test rides. As each bicycle was refurbished, it was tested for safety. There were original problems like broken or disassembled chains, disconnected brakes, missing pedals, loose handlebars, missing or loose seats, flat tires and other problems they could repair during a complete restoration. The Sons of Allen worked very hard, long hours to get these bicycles ready for distribution.

Before sunset that Saturday, most of the bicycles were repaired and ready to go. We stored them until youth who were to receive them were selected. During the Holiday Season, beginning with Thanksgiving, we announced the bicycles were ready and began to distribute them. After sending permission slips to the homes of the youth that requested them, the parents returned the slips signed with their approval. Each week since Thanksgiving, we’ve blessed many of our youth with newly refurbished bicycles. We are blessed by their joy and the gratitude from our youth and their parents. It is St. Paul’s mission to “share Christ and meet needs”; this project is a good example of carrying out that mission.

We hope to obtain more bicycles this year to share with others. Until then, the Sons of Allen will continue to schedule Saturdays to complete repairs on the few bicycles we have left. This project brings the men’s ministry together in fellowship and service. What a blessed way to work together in preparation for sharing with others. The Sons of Allen exemplified leadership and teamwork in bringing this project to fruition. And yet, there’s room for more; all of our men should get involved. There’s a place for you in the Sons of Allen Men’s Ministry.


The buzzing sound of excitement was heard in classroom B-2 at Seifka High School, Maseru, Lesotho, December 18-22, 2006. These sounds were being made by 21 energetic, secondary and high school students from the 18th Episcopal District Schools. The Summer Science Institute students (twelve boys and nine girls) represented five of the A.M.E. secondary and high schools: Boitelo, Maruthane, Johnson-Baker, Serutle, and Gregg Memorial.

These summer student-researchers were recommended by their headmasters to attend the inaugural Summer Science/Math Institute for Students. The Science/Math Institute was sponsored by the 18th District where the Right Reverend Sarah F. Davis is the Presiding Prelate. The 18th District provided room and board scholarships for the students. The institute was facilitated by Dr. Carol T. Mitchell, Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska - U.S.A. (who also happens to be the twin sister of Bishop Sarah.)

The purpose of the Summer Science Institute was to involve secondary and high school students in laboratory experiences that supported the theoretical science information they had learned from lectures and readings in textbooks at their schools. Since equipment and materials are virtually nonexistent at the students’ homes schools for these types of experiences, Dr. Mitchell brought materials from the U.S. so that students could conduct experiments involving chemistry, biology and physics. Additionally, mathematics investigations involving design, measurement and other applications were included in the week-long institute.

On the first day of the institute the student-researchers were presented with their own laboratory jackets which were gifts from the College of Education at the University of Nebraska – Omaha, Teacher Education Department and staff workers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Students wore their laboratory jackets proudly each day of the institute.

Students were engaged in experimentations and problem-solving activities throughout the week. Work included using the periodic table of elements to understand the reactivity of elements. Students were shown some of the elements such as iron, zinc and copper. Students said that they had read about these elements but had never seen the elements nor performed experiments with them. Students made models of compounds using toothpicks and marshmallows. Examples of models made by the students were: methane, water, carbon dioxide, sodium chloride and others. Different types of chemical reactions were completed. Other investigations included phase change, pressure, and indicators. One of the favorite investigations of the students was using a special indicator paper to do finger printing.

Thirty minutes each afternoon the students and Dr. Mitchell sat under a big tree near the classroom getting to know each other. The students taught Dr. Mitchell words and phrases in their native language. In addition to learning science and math, the time spent under the tree was used to discuss qualities of leaders and leadership; to learn about careers in science and math, and the requirements necessary to pursue further studies after high school.

The final event of the Summer Institute was a problem-solving competition where students applied science and mathematics concepts to design and construct a parachute. Students were challenged to design the parachute and determine the materials that would give them the best competitive descending time. Students worked for three afternoons testing different designs and parachute materials.

Students enjoyed the math and science work despite the fact that this was their summer vacation. Students reported to Classroom B-2 every morning at 8:00 AM and departed at 3:30 PM. One student said, “This institute must be extended to maybe two weeks.” Another student said, “This institute was really important to me because my knowledge is improved...please come to us again to continue with this course.”

The closing ceremony on Friday included a presentation by the Institute’s student president, Lerka Semela. Semela spoke on behalf of the students as he shared with the Secretary of Education, Paulina Mokhosi and Bishop Sarah Davis all that the students had learned during the week. The other officers who also presented were: Khomong Thebe, vice president, Lebohang Ralesekele, secretary and Tseliso Kesi, communications coordinator. Dr. Mitchell presented the students with a science book, periodic tables, and personalized book marks.

Bishop Sarah, Education Secretary Mokhosi and Dr. Carol have already begun to discuss plans for the 2007 Summer Science Institutes and the need to extend the time of number of class sessions.


Maseru, Lesotho was the site of the first Summer Math/Science Teacher Institute, December 14-16, 2006. Nine mathematics and science teachers (four Primary; four Secondary; and one High School) spent two and a half days studying science and mathematics at the Sefika High School. The institute was facilitated by Dr. Carol T. Mitchell; associate professor of science education at the University of Nebraska – Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska – U.S.A. Participating teachers represented four Provinces Moholong, Maseru, Mafeteng, and Butha Buthe. The Institute was coordinated by Secretary of Education Paulina Mokhosi. The Right Reverend Bishop Sarah F. Davis is the Presiding Prelate of 18th Episcopal District.

The purpose of the three day Math/Science Institute for Teachers was to focus on increased student involvement and achievement in mathematics and science by focusing on teaching/learning strategies and a variety of assessments. The teaching/learning strategies included inquiry, constructivism, learner differences, and assessment.

The institute work included science teaching attitude survey, National Science Teachers Association Science Standards, inquiry, and investigations for science, mathematics, and reading. Learner differences and appropriate assessments were also a part of the institute.

Teachers completed a science attitude survey about science and teaching science. This information was used to help teachers determine their level of comfort with science and teaching science. This was important for elementary teachers who teach all subjects and science. The next phase of the work included an introduction of the National Education Standards as presented by the National Science Teachers Association. Basic sciences concepts were identified and related to the concepts that local standards’ test identify. Other areas of focus for the three day work included inquiry, content in mathematics, chemistry, biology, and K-6 science.
Investigations were a major part of the three day institute. Examples of the work included a cube problem on inquiry, measurement investigation, analysis of data, and identification of an equation for the graph. Graphing techniques for primary, secondary and high school students were explored.

Teachers were required to complete four readings from science journals. These were used as a springboard for discussions and investigations related to inquiry, learner differences, and assessment. The articles were from the Science and Children journal published by the National Science Teachers Association.

Other work completed by the institute teachers included consideration for learner differences, learning styles, multiple intelligences and appropriate strategies to accommodate students most effectively.

Teachers worked collaboratively in grade level groups (primary, secondary and high school) to complete investigations, determine concepts and appropriate assessments for the concepts.

Dr. Mitchell used the constructivist approach as she facilitated the institute. Falling balls, dancing raisins, inflating balloons, and the unquenchable candle were all used to explain science concepts.

The Institute ended with teachers giving presentation to facilitator, Dr. Mitchell; the Secretary of Education, Paulina Mohkasi; and The Right Reverend Bishop Sarah F. Davis, Presiding Prelate, 18th Episcopal District about their learning gains during the institute and what they would take away from the experience.

A primary teachers said, “I have learned so much and I would come back again.” Another teacher said, “I expected to be taught difficult things which would not help in my daily work. But what I gained is of a great importance.” A primary teacher said, “The workshop should take at least a week. Three days are not enough for this important lesson.” Finally, a high school teacher commented, “I can certainly be improved by practicing the five E’s (engage, explain, explore, and extend with evaluation taking place at each step). Although it looks time consuming, but I predict the results would be excellent.”

Participating teachers were presented lab coats, commemorative book markers, a book (Science Matters). Selected teachers received a science journal, science book, and lab materials. The lab coats were gifts from the College of Education at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

This was Dr. Mitchell’s second visit to the 18th District. In October, 2005, she conducted two Science/Math Workshops during the Educator’s Conferences in Lesotho and Swaziland. The inaugural Institute participating teachers and their schools were: Francis Laleru (Moruthane A.M.E. Secondary School); Rev. Tseliso Malealea (Johnson-Baker High School); Metsabello Molonyane (Johnson Baker A.M.E. High School); Mamohlaoli Lewaneka (Serutle A.M.E. Secondary School); Madi Buseng Pitso (Serutle A.M.E. Secondary School); Mamotse Mosoeu (Makhaoba Primary School); Limakatso Nketsi (Morifi Primary School); Hopolang Khesa (Lebopo Primary School); Evodia Malakane (Makhoaba Primary School).


Sgt. Kevin McSwain

MOSUL, Iraq—Soldiers from the 352nd Corps Support Battalion delivered toys and school supplies to a Christian village during a humanitarian mission in December a week before Christmas.

The 352nd, a battalion assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), visited Pishabur, a small village near the Syrian border and passed out gifts to children.

The company currently supports the 25th Infantry Division for logistical missions.

“We received donations from friends and family in the United States,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Cisco, battalion chaplain and an Itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, “and we gave out soccer balls, toys, and baby beanies.”

The humanitarian mission occurred just in time for the season of giving, and he said this would not have been possible if so many people didn’t sacrifice their time.

“It took a long time to coordinate this particular mission,” he said. “We wanted to deliver the gifts before Christmas, and if it wasn’t for our families back home working hard, this would not have been possible.”

The goal of the mission was to promote community relations and show citizens of the village that service members are here to help.

“Community relations are very important to our mission,” said Maj. Danny Robles, executive officer for the 352nd. “We are showing the people in this village that we are here to help them, and hopefully they will cooperate during future missions in their area.”

Cisco said the choice to visit this village was not by chance. A liaison, a contractor who lives in the area, talks to the local leaders and picks what village service members will visit.

“We coordinate these missions with the help of the local leaders and people of influence in the community,” he said.

“They tell us what problems they are having in their village and we do what we can to help them.”

Khaled Yago Murkus, the elected official of Pishabur, said he was honored to have service members visit his village.

“This is a very special day in the history of our village,” he said. “Many people here have dreamed of the day they would be able to meet an American Soldier. This was like a dream come true, and we hope this will not be the last time.”

Murkus said coalition forces helped them reclaim the Christian village after losing it more than 50 years ago. He said the village has been around for more than 400 years and has been destroyed and rebuilt four different times.

“We have had a hard time here in the past because of our beliefs,” he said. “But with the help of coalition forces, we were able to reclaim our land and rebuild our village.”

The mission was not only helpful to the people in the village; service members were able to experience a part of Iraq they fight to protect but rarely get to see.

“This was also a good time for the Soldiers of the battalion to take time out from their regular job and actually see what kind of affect they have on the local population,” Robles said.

He said Soldiers are able to volunteer for these missions in addition to their regular duties, and he feels it is an experience every service member should be able to enjoy.

“Missions like this help Soldiers see a purpose for being here in Iraq,” Robles said. “It gives service members the chance to make a difference in an individual’s life.”

Editor’s note: Chaplain Mark B. Cisco, D. Min. is the Chaplain, 352 Corps Support Battalion, deployed to Mosul, Iraq and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church minister.

Chaplain, Mark B. Cisco is originally from Liberia, West Africa and is now an American Citizen.

He is a graduate of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary (LBTS) and Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). Chaplain Cisco also holds graduate degree in counseling and psychological Services from Clark Atlanta University and a Doctor of Ministry from Turner Theological Seminary at the ITC.

He is currently in Iraq serving as the Chaplain of the 352 Corps Support Battalion. He is directly responsible for over one thousand soldiers and is the pastor of leading Gospel congregation on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Mosul, Iraq.

Chaplain Cisco has coordinated two humanitarian missions for the Children of Iraq. The first humanitarian mission was held on 6 December for the Iraqi School Children in down town Mosul, Iraq; and the second humanitarian mission was implemented on 18 December for a local village in Northern Iraq.

Chaplain Cisco expects to return to the United States in early June 2007. He will be happy to visit your school, community, church and share his pastoral ministry in Iraq. His e-mail address is Mark.Cisco@us.army.mil

Chaplain Cisco is married and has three children.


The Rev. Kenneth Robinson, M.D.
Memphis, TN
December 21, 2006

“For the last four years, I have been commuting between my home and church in Memphis, and my work at the Department of Health in Nashville,” Robinson said. “Recently, I informed the Governor of my desire to return to Memphis full-time; first, to my wife Marilynn, and also to my life and work in and with the congregation, communities and systems I serve there.”

On December 20, Governor Bredesen formally announced the upcoming transition of Dr. Robinson from the Administration, at the end of the term on January 19, 2007.

In an expanded statement, Robinson said, “It has been a privilege and a blessing for me to have had the opportunity to serve the citizens of Tennessee as Governor Bredesen’s Commissioner of Health during his very successful first term. With his support, this has also been a particularly productive four years for the Department of Health, during which the Department’s budget has increased by $131 Million, with 460 new employee positions. The Department’s 3500 employees have given leadership to the public and to State government, creating a culture of consciousness for improving the historically poor health status of our citizens.

It is indeed extraordinarily unusual for a governor to incorporate several major Public Health issues into the centerpiece of his agenda, so I leave exceptionally pleased that Governor Bredesen has adopted the prevention of obesity and diabetes, and infant mortality reduction, as major Administrative initiatives. I trust that my early articulation of our state’s low-ranking health status, and his early and ardent roll-out of “Better Health: It’s About Time!” helped to pave the way for his expanded focus today on personal behavior change, community-based coalitions and partnerships, interagency collaborations; and on the need to engage in data-driven redirection of state resources.

I’m confident that Governor Bredesen will continue to focus the state on the epidemic of obesity in children and adults, the burden of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the prevalence and devastating impact of adolescent pregnancy, the pall of infant mortality, and the shameful racial and ethnic disparities that magnify these issues for minorities in the state. Again, I cannot adequately express my personal gratitude for these four years.”

Statement from Governor Phil Bredesen about Commissioner Robinson:

"Kenneth Robinson leaves a very strong legacy at the Department of Health and I want to thank him for his service to our state. From the first year of this administration, Kenneth has been a champion of better health outcomes for all Tennesseans, especially among our young people, underserved communities and minority communities."

Rev. Dr. Robinson is certain to remain active and highly visible as he has been for the last 25 years in matters involving public health, the elimination of racial health disparities, and access to care for minorities, the poor and uninsured. However, his primary role will once again be at the helm of his progressive church, St. Andrew AME, in South Memphis. When he accepted Governor Bredesen’s invitation into the Cabinet in 2003, it was with the agreement that he would remain at St. Andrew as Pastor, albeit in a reduced capacity. For four years, he has continued to lead the church with the invaluable support and presence of his Co-Pastor – his wife, Marilynn, and a strong management team at the church. He has been in the pulpit every Sunday. St. Andrew recently dedicated its new Worship and Ministry Center, an $8.8M capital expansion project with a 1000-seat sanctuary, an educational wing for the church’s associated charter school, new administrative and ministry offices, and space for community events and congregational fellowships.

“With Governor Bredesen’s overwhelming re-election mandate, and his demonstrated commitment to address several of the issues that were also top priorities for me at the Department of Health, it’s a good time to leave the administration, confident of the Department’s future focus.

It’s also a great time to be back in Memphis, allowing me to focus my efforts on the new growth opportunities afforded by our expanded worship and ministry facilities at St. Andrew. I will be more readily accessible to my members, staff and programs at the church, and more available for the many civic roles I relish renewing in the city. Indeed, my strengths as Health Commissioner were the products of decades of ministry; from building bridges and developing public-private partnerships, from tapping assets and resources to empower families and communities, and from creating systemic approaches to holistic health in communities like South Memphis. I’m both pleased to have had the chance to take these methodologies to scale statewide, while also being particularly excited now about the prospects for the extension of our reach and work at St. Andrew.

I cannot thank my wife, Rev. Marilynn S. Robinson, enough; for her patience, keen insight and advice, ubiquitous presence, and exemplary leadership at St. Andrew during the time of my reduced involvement. While useful for having kept me in touch, E-mail and PDAs clearly pale in comparison to the value she’s added as an exceptional, hands-on Co-Pastor. The prospect of continuing to serve alongside her, and of being at home every night, is the greatest aspect of having completed my term as Commissioner.”


The First Term of Governor Phil Bredesen
January, 2003 - January, 2007

The Tennessee Department of Health:

· Executed, on time, the Governor’s charge to deliver expanded primary care services into 48 County Health Departments, exceeding The Department’s own projections; and efficiently administered other components of the Governor’s Safety Net plan, including new contracts with 24 Community Health Centers operating in over 80 sites. Historically provided critical safety net funding to over 60 faith-based and community-based clinics with the capacity to expand services to uninsured adults.

· Added substantially to the Governor’s MethFreeTN initiative, by successfully securing a disproportionately large, $17.8 Million federal grant (of a total $50 Million federal appropriation) to enhance the delivery of recovery services across the state; with The Department now being cited by the federal government as the most successful grantee in fulfilling HHS’ current priority for this funding stream.

· Executed a massive expansion of the State’s preparedness infrastructure, excelling in the associated state rankings; particularly notable because of Congress’ displeasure with many other states’ utilization of appropriated federal preparedness funding.

· Worked with THA and our state’s EMS network to implement a vital Hospital Resource Tracking System to facilitate disaster communications and triage.

· Successfully countered the prevailing public panic when the nation’s influenza vaccine supply was unexpectedly truncated, and provided at that time sound counsel to the Governor against following some of his peers’ articulated intent to use investigational, international vaccines.

· For the first time, met the Department’s CMS targets for timely investigations of complaints against healthcare facilities on behalf of the most aged and frail of our citizens; successfully prosecuted hundreds of health provider offenders, received national recognition for improving our statewide immunization rates, elevated our cancer registry to heights and standards not previously seen by the federal government, far exceeded the federal government’s goals for screening older, underserved women for breast and cervical cancer, and provided access to treatment for compulsive gamblers.

· Resolved audit findings which had been outstanding for years, and developed a model for State department internal audit procedures.

· Implemented significant enhancements in our information systems and health informatics capabilities, resulting in increased Departmental efficiency, paperless filing of documents and vital records, and expanded web-based services providing public on-line access to data; for instance, ensuring that birth certificates can now be ordered in every County Health Department.

· Provided multilingual resources to increasingly diverse ethnic populations within the state, received new federal funding for facilitating healthy communities of color, gained recognition by the Southeast Regional Office of Civil Rights for our exemplary Title VI compliance efforts, published a landmark report on the health status of Populations of Color, and sponsored an Administration bill establishing the Office of Minority Health in statute, appropriately institutionalizing this function within the work of the Department.

· Followed the Governor’s model for increasing diversity in appointments and contracting, and instituted a major Department-wide approach to Hiring for Diversity, resulting in a 16% increase in representation of minority employees across the Department, and an employee base which more closely resembles the population of the State, and the population we serve.

· Implemented several, substantial service expansions under contract with the Bureau of TennCare, to address the John B consent decrees; performing all the EPSDT screens for children in state custody, operating TennCare’s Outreach/Call Center, and providing on-site, school-based preventive dentistry for 60,000 children a year.

· Expanded the screening of every newborn infant in the state to over 45 metabolic disorders, placing Tennessee at the national forefront of comprehensive newborn screening programs; this year identifying disorders or disease in 126 infants whose timely diagnosis and treatment will considerably improve or perhaps save their lives.

· Built exceptional interdisciplinary public/private partnerships with the healthcare industry; to promote patient safety, to address Tennessee's problem of high usage of prescribed controlled substances, to decrease unintentional deaths, suicides and homicides, and to keep Tennessee prepared for natural or man-made mass casualty events.

· Targeted existing funding to better address the prevention of adolescent alcohol and drug use, and adolescent pregnancies.

· Expanded Home Visiting programs to every county - a best practice for reducing infant mortality and child abuse - and competed successfully for a CDC grant to establish a Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) - a statewide population-based survey of new mothers’ behaviors, attitudes and experiences, designed to provide data to reduce adverse birth outcomes, such as pre-maturity, low birthweight and infant mortality.

· Created a national model for a functional and productive interface between Public Health and the Faith Community, through the institution of faith-based health promotion curricula, multi-county interfaith-Public Health teams, media and web-based resources, and contractual partnerships with a wide range of major intermediaries in the faith community ministering to people of color.


Rev. Edrena Houston Brown, M.A.C.E.
Christian Recorder, Staff Writer

The Illustrious Reverend Dr. Marvin L. Crawford, M.D., M.Div., Pastor of Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, Lithonia, Georgia of the Sixth Episcopal District, was the Attending Physician for The Legendary Godfather of Soul the late Mr. James Brown. According to Dr. Crawford he stated that; "Mr. Brown was admitted to Crawford Long Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, December 23, 2006. He died as the result of an acute coronary syndrome, congestive heart failure on Monday, December 25, 2006 at 1:45 a.m., Christmas Day."

Dr. Crawford was sought by The Advisor and Caretaker long time family friend, Mr. Andre Moses White, The Advisor of James Brown Enterprises, Co-Owner of The Sentinel Bulletin, Atlanta, Georgia and Stock Holder and Board Member of Wayfield food store Chain of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. David Cannon, President of James Brown Enterprises was also present on Saturday, December 23, 2006 while admitting Mr. James Brown to Crawford Long Hospital.

When asked Dr. Crawford about the last moments, as he shared with Mr. Brown as his attending physician on the day of December 25, 2006? Dr. Crawford shared that; "He was resting comfortable on the bed and he responded kindly as always. At the moment I got the news he was in distress, I could only think we are about to see one of the miracles greatest icons, transcending back to his Maker."

According to Mr. Andre Moses White, Advisor for Mr. Brown, on December 24th "Mr. Brown was feeling better, but the Lord called him home on December 25, 2006. Mr. Brown was God's Man, a Saved Man and a Good Man. I believe God gave him a cup of life and Mr. Brown did feel it. His last advertisement published in the Sentinel Bulletin before his death was "Let's Keep Christ in Christmas and he died on Christmas Day.”

Because of Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Crawford's profound and high quality of professional experience in the medical field expressed by, Mr. White; “We could have not asked for a better doctor than Dr. Crawford. He was attentive to Mr. Brown around the clock and assisted in any possible manner that he could and also prayed with Mr. Brown in doing God's work."

As a highly respected internal medicine physician across the United States, the A.M.E. Connectional Church and in the community, Dr. Crawford is noted for his ability to implement spiritually into patient care and is one of the nation’s authentic experts in this area. Crawford is noted for assisting in the development of the Morehouse School of Medicine curriculum on spirituality and medicine which was one of the first programs in the nation with a media release in over 400 newspapers and other sources.

He is a graduate of Albany State University, where he graduated magna cum laude and pursued his medical training at the University Of Iowa College Of Medicine, while also preparing for ordination in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Crawford completed a residence program in Internal medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and later received the Master’s In Divinity with honors from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Crawford is a physician at Crawford Long Hospital, Atlanta Medical and Teacher at Grady Teaching Hospital and Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.


*Dr. Manning Marable

Several weeks ago, with much media fanfare, the James Baker-Lee Hamilton Committee submitted to President George W. Bush its long-awaited, bipartisan report on the U.S. war in Iraq. On balance, the report provided Bush with a face-saving strategy for pulling out all U.S. combat forces by the beginning of 2008. The Baker-Hamilton report favors an increase of U.S. advisers being embedded inside Iraqi troops, and direct negotiations with regional powers Iran and Syria.

Bush, however, almost immediately distanced himself from key proposals in the Baker-Hamilton report. He now seems prepared to flagrantly flaunt his contempt for the majority of American voters, who purged both the Senate and House of their Republican majorities last November. Why does Bush defy public opinion by pursuing this unpopular war?

The answer lies not in America’s need to “combat Islamic terrorism,” but in the economic necessity for the United States to control international markets and valuable natural resources, such as petroleum. Bush’s economic strategy is that of “neo-liberalism” – which advocates the dismantling of the welfare state, the abolition of redistributive social programs for the poor, and the elimination of governmental regulations on corporations.

In a recent issue of the New York Times (December 5, 2006), Professor Thomas B. Edsall of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism astutely characterized this reactionary process of neo-liberal politics within the United States in these terms: “For a quarter-century, the Republican temper – its reckless drive to jettison the social safety net; its support of violence in law enforcement and national defense; its advocacy of regressive taxation, environmental hazard and pro-business deregulation; its ‘re-moralizing’ of the pursuit of wealth – has been judged by many voters as essential to America’s position in the world, producing more benefit than cost.”

One of the consequences of this reactionary political and economic agenda, according to Edsall, was “the Reagan administration’s arms race” during the 1980s, which “arguably drove the Soviet Union into bankruptcy.” A second consequence, Edsall argues, was America’s disastrous military invasion of Iraq. “While inflicting destruction on the Iraqis,” Edsall observes, “Bush multiplied America’s enemies and endangered this nation’s military, economic health and international stature. Courting risk without managing it, Bush repeatedly and remorselessly failed to accurately evaluate the consequences of his actions.”

What is significant about Edsall’s analysis is that he does not explain away the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and current military occupation as a political “mistake” or an “error of judgment.” Rather, he locates the rationale for the so-called “war on terrorism” within the context of U.S. domestic, neo-liberal politics. “The embroilment in Iraq is not an aberration,” Edsall observed. “It stems from core [Republican] party principles, equally evident on the domestic front.”

The larger question of political economy, left unexplored by Edsall and most analysts, is the connection between American militarism abroad, neo-liberalism, and trends in the global economy. As economists Paul Sweezy, Harry Magdoff and others noted decades ago, the general economic tendency of mature capitalism is toward stagnation. For decades in the United States and Western Europe, there has been a steady decline in investment in the productive economy, leading to a decline in industrial capacity and lower future growth.
Since the 1970s, U.S. corporations and financial institutions have relied primarily on debt to expand domestic economic growth. By 1985, total U.S. debt – which is comprised of the debt owed by all households, governments (federal, state and local), and all financial and non-financial businesses, reached twice the size of the annual U.S. gross domestic product. By 2005, the total U.S. debt amounted to nearly “three and a half times the nation’s GDP, and not far from the $44 trillion GDP for the entire world,” according to Fred Magdoff.

As a result, mature U.S. corporations have been forced to export products and investment abroad, to take advantage of lower wages, weak or nonexistent environmental and safety standards, and so forth, to obtain higher profit margins. Today about 18 percent of total U.S. corporate profits come from direct overseas investment. Partially to protect these growing investments, the United States has pursued an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy across the globe. As of 2006, the U.S. maintained military bases in fifty-nine nations. The potential for deploying military forces in any part of the world is essential for both political and economic hegemony.

Thus the current Iraq War is not essentially a military blunder caused by a search for “weapons of mass destruction,” but an imperialist effort to secure control of the world’s second largest proven oil reserves; Bush also invaded Iraq because it was the first military step of the Bush administration’s neo-conservatives (such as Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank) to “remake the Middle East” by destroying the governments of Iraq, Iran and Syria.

*Dr. Manning Marable is Professor Public Affairs, History, and African-American Studies at Columbia University, New York City. “Along the Color Line” appears in over 400 publications internationally, and is available at www.manningmarable.net .


“Expertly done . . . original and touching”- Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press
“A wonderful job” – Paula Parker, Buddyhollywood.com
“A Strong Redemptive Theme” – The Dove Foundation

CENTURY CITY, Calif.– A young girl begins a journey to seek out the one man who can save her soul in The Last Sin Eater, coming to theaters on February 16, 2007. “Enlightening while entertaining” (Baptist Press), The Last Sin Eater, explores a community in the Appalachians that practice the belief that a human “sin eater” can discharge the dead of their sins and a young girl preoccupied by her own sense of guilt and mortality, driven to uncover the truth behind the long held tradition. Directed by Michael Landon Jr. and starring Academy Award Winner and Emmy Nominee Louise Fletcher and two-time Golden Globe Nominee Henry Thomas, The Last Sin Eater is based on the award winning novel by Francine Rivers. The Last Sin Eater, marketed by Fox Faith and distributed by The Bigger Picture, can be seen in theaters in more than 128 U.S. and Canadian cities, showing on over 500 screens. Locations and theater information are available at FoxFaithMovies.com.

Local CBA retailers including Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Stores, Berean Christian Stores, Mardel and a number of significant Christian retailers are offering specially priced movie tickets, distribution of Bible study guides and other in-store activities. Fox Faith is making discussion guides, clip DVD’s, and other materials available to its network of more than 90,000 churches, ministries, youth groups, and others organizations for grass roots peer-to-peer marketing.


When a mysterious man "absolves" her grandmother's sins by eating bread and wine at her grave, 10-year-old Cadi wants the same redemption---while she's still alive! But in her quest for deliverance she uncovers a dark secret that threatens to divide her family. What will happen when the two face each other---and the One who can truly save them based on the award winning novel by Francine Rivers.

About Fox Faith and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Fox Faith is the newly created faith-based label from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC. Fox Faith was created to provide compelling entertainment to the Christian audience as well as those seeking quality, inspirational and spiritual entertainment. Additional information about specific titles and programs can be found at www.foxfaith.com and www.foxfaithmovies.com.

A recognized global industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming on VHS and DVD as well as video acquisitions and original productions. Each year the Company introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets – from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce – throughout the world. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC is a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company.

For screener and artwork requests,
Visit www.foxpressroom.com or contact
Elliott Wallach 509.323.0111

Elliott Wallach
Edify Media, Inc.


- February 5-7, 2007- GDC Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa

- February 14-18, 2007 - The Dominican Republic Annual Conference, Mission David A.M.E. Church, Las Terranas, Dominican Republic; the Rev. Jamie Coplin, pastor/ co-host P. E. (809) 529-5832; the Rev. Abraham Rodriguez Jones, Co-Host Presiding Elder

- February 22-25, 2007 - The Haiti Annual Conference, Port Au Prince, Haiti; St. Paul A.M.E. Church, the Rev. Joel Mehu, host pastor/presiding elder; the Rev. Jean Joel Maurice, co-host presiding elder, sister Elvire Douglas, Administrative Assistant, tel: (509)407-4158

- March 1-7, 2007 - Dr. James Wade and Team, AMEC Department of Church Growth & Development, Evangelistic Crusade, Hickman's A.M.E. Church, Grenada, West Indies

- March 22-25, 2007 - The Guyana/Suriname Annual Conference, Nieuw Nickerie, Republic of Suriname, Shiloh A.M.E. Church, the Rev. Andrew C. Morris-Grant, host pastor/ presiding Elder.

- March 26-April 8, 2007 - Break & Travel Days

- April 1, 2007 - Bishop Tyler Guidry preaching at Shorter A.M.E. Church -Denver, CO

- April 11-15, 2007 - The Virgin Islands Annual Conference, Grady A.M.E. Church, 631 Sunny Acres, St. Croix; the Rev. Jocelyn T. Dowdye, host pastor, 340 778-1099; the Rev. Louis A. C. Davis, host presiding elder, (340) 277-6613

- April 18-22, 2007 - The Jamaica Annual Conference, St. John A. M. E. Church, Palmer's Cross, Clarendon, Jamaica; the Rev. Newton Dixon, host pastor; the Rev. Lebert A. Dawkins, the Rev. Barrington S. Lawrence, the Rev. Lenora Thompson-Prince, co-host presiding elders, Tel. (876) 960-5673

- May 3-6,2007 - The London/Holland Annual Conference, Grady AME Church, Amsterdam, Holland; the Rev. M Dube, Host Pastor, the Rev. Rudolph U. Aaron, host presiding elder tel. 44-0208-844-1747
- May 7-13 Break Week

- May 16-19, 2007 - The Windward Islands Annual Conference, Sealy Memorial A.M.E. Church, St. Michael, Barbados; the Rev. Anthony Parris, host pastor/co host presiding elder; the Rev. Wayne Anthony, co-host presiding elder (868) 680-9772

- May 21-22, 2007 - The 16th Episcopal District Planning Meeting/Dedication of Episcopal Residence, Chapel of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, Kingston, Jamaica; the Rev. Clarence Turpin, host pastor

For Information about travel to any of the scheduled meetings in the 16th Episcopal District please contact: Ms Celestine Palmer at cwpalmer16thdist@aol.com or the Rev. Stephanie Butler at: info@stephaniebutler.com


Homegoing services for the late, Rev. Carlis (Buck) Law, associate pastor of Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church, Webster, Florida, will be held on Saturday, December 30, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. at Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church.

The Rev. Dr. George L. Champion, Sr., will deliver the Eulogy, The Rev. J. V. Williams, Pastor and the Rev. LeRoy Kennon serves as the Presiding Elder.

Rev. Law is the husband of Mrs. Matron Law of Webster, Florida and the brother-in-law of Retired Pastor, Rev. I. F. Mitchell, Sr., of DelRay Beach, Florida.

Condolences may be sent to:
Mrs. Matron Law
Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church
812 N. W. 8th Street
Webster, Florida 33597

Submitted by: Rev. Edrena Houston Brown
Christian Recorder, Staff Writer


Mrs. Minnie Tatum, sister-in-law of the Reverend Linda Brown, a Local Elder at Historic Saint Paul in Lexington, Kentucky died on Sunday, December 17 in Bronx, New York. Mrs. Tatum was the sister of the Reverend Brown's husband, Milton Brown.

Service arrangements:
Thursday, December 28, 2006
3 pm -8 pm
Butler United Methodist Church
Bronx, New York

Friday, December 29, 2006
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Home Going Worship
10:00 a.m.
Butler United Methodist Church
Bronx, New York

Condolences may be sent to:
Mr. Milton and Rev. Linda Brown
C/o Historic St Paul AME Church
251 North Upper Street
Lexington, KY 40507
Home phone: 859/543-2411 (Mr. Milton Brown and Rev. Linda Brown)
Email condolences to: Demples4@juno.com


The homegoing services of Rev. Joseph Oliver, associate minister responsible for Community Development Outreach will be held Tuesday, January 2, 2007.

11:00 AM
Ward AME Church
1177 W 25th Street
Los Angles, CA 90007
213/ 747-1367 - voice
213/ 748-6251 - fax
Rev. C. Dennis Williams, D. Min - Pastor

pastor-williams@wardame.com - email or
jdupontw@aol.com - Public Relations Commission

Condolences may be sent to his wife, –

Mrs. Jacqueline Oliver
3122 W 43rd Place
Los Angeles, CA 90008

323/ 294-7077

Submitted by:
Mrs. Jackie DuPont Walker, ConsultantSocial Action Commission


The Clergy Family Information Center
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Chair
Commission on Social Action

Mrs. Ora L. Easley, Administrator
Email: Amespouses1@aol.com
Phone: (615) 837-9736
Voice Mail: (615) 833-6936
Fax: (615) 833-3781
Cell: (615) 403-7751


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.