Bishop Richard Franklin Norris - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
1. EDITORIAL – HELPING DYSFUNCTIONAL CHURCHES TO BECOME HEALTHY, FUNCTIONING CHURCHES:
Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III,
The 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
First, let me thank the AME Church Family for your kind words, thoughts and prayers during the season of bereavement of the Sydnor/Smith/Thomas family in the loss of our family members, Mrs. Connie Sydnor and Mr. Timothy Sydnor, who both died on Easter Sunday. Both were members of Bethel AME Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where the Rev. Carlos Bounds serves as pastor.
We would especially like to thank Sister Ora L. Easley, Administrator, AMEC Clergy Family Information Center for sharing the information throughout the connection via the Clergy Family and General Officer Family Bereavement Notices. Our family felt all of the prayers that were extended on our behalf. Our family is sustained and comforted by the Word of God and we can feel, even now, the presence of Christ. We are so appreciative of all of the messages, cards, thoughts and prayers that we have received; the AME Church is truly a family. The homegoing services for cousin-in-law, Connie and brother, Timothy, were celebrations. I commend Pastor Bounds for his pastoral care to all of our family members and Bethel AME Church for their warm hospitality.
It’s time to move on.
Dysfunction is a reality
The two previous editorials dealt with the role of the pastor and the editorial took the position that “the pastor is a coach and not a team captain.”
I want to say something more about the team and the team members – the local church. We have all observed or heard about dysfunctional churches. Some of us have pastored dysfunctional churches, been members of a dysfunctional church or know or knew persons who were members of dysfunctional churches. Dysfunctional churches are populated by persons of all colors, located in every country, and are not denomination specific. A reading of Paul’s letters confirms the existence of dysfunctional churches in apostolic times. The issue of dysfunctional churches is not an AME phenomenon.
Having pointed out, that dysfunctional churches are an ecclesiastical reality, does not mean that we should “throw up our hands” and give up because churches do not have to be dysfunctional. There are a lot of churches functioning at their highest potential. There are effective churches all over the world. I don’t want to talk about effective churches, I have already addressed them. I don’t want to address churches in general; I want to address churches in the Methodist tradition in general and the AME Church in particular because we operate in an episcopal form of governance.
As I have pointed out, there are warning signals for dysfunctional churches. If a church has been in the same community for 50, 70, or 100 years and its membership, is less than say 100 and it is struggling to make ends meet and other churches in the area are growing; that’s a good clue that the church might be dysfunctional. Churches riddled with conflict, excessive membership turnover, high turnover of church officers, a lack of young people in the congregation, a history of not accepting pastoral leadership, uninvolved lay participation, low-energy pastoral leadership, Sunday-only ministry, and sanctuary-limited ministry are a few of the warning signals of the dysfunctional church. Another clue of a dysfunctional congregation might be a church absent of married couples, a church populated with a high number of divorcees. Generally, people who stay married have learned to work through struggles and relational issues. Conversely, congregations with high numbers of divorcees may have persons who have struggled with relational issues and sometimes those relational issues surface in other areas of their lives, including the church.
Some churches are dysfunctional because of poor pastoral leadership, part-time pastoral leadership or pastors who just don’t care or have a clue about pastoral leadership; and have no idea about pastoral care, team-building or delegation of authority. Unfortunately, in many instances the AME Church does not provide in-depth, recurring, competency and testable training. We do soft training, without accountability and pastoral incompetency is a result. When pastors show up at training without paper, pencils, and a laptop or with something to take notes, the training is definitely soft training.
Some churches have a long history of dysfunction and because of their reputation, pastoral appointments to them are viewed by pastors as punishment and they arrive at the local church with the goal of getting out as quickly as possible.
Churches that have experienced poor pastoral leadership year after year operate in dysfunction; and dysfunctional churches are unhealthy for the membership, the pastor and the pastor’s family. The unfortunate thing is that unhealthy churches do not know how to function normally because their dysfunction becomes their normal. I suspect that most clergy start out enthusiastic, but when pastors are put in a dysfunctional environment again and again, and if they cannot, for whatever reason bring about positive change, their enthusiasm wanes and they give up. A hostile environment contributes to pastoral burnout.
Some churches are hostile to clergy; there is no other way to say it. Some members are preacher-fighters; they may have had a bad experience with a pastor in the past or they may have grown up in a negative church environment.
There is blame on both sides because some clergy are hostile to church members; they don’t view church members as being a part of the pastoral team. Clergy hostility may be a result of trying, trying and trying to do the right thing, but never being appreciated. Dysfunction and unhealthy church relationships are exacerbated when clergy and members cannot resolve differences.
Transitioning a local church away from being dysfunctional to being functional can be a long process and takes exceptional pastoral skill and committed involvement of the membership. Some denominational leaders doubt that a severely dysfunctional congregation can be transitioned to being a healthy congregation and their strategy is to let the membership diminish to a certain level and then close the church.
So, what can be done?
Do we let churches die and close them? I have seen some of our churches closed; independents and Pentecostal groups purchase our churches, pay bottom-dollar for our land, and build thriving congregations.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church needs aggressive, testable, competency and accountable-training of our clergy and laity. Our Zion does not have time for soft training. We need to get serious about competency training and insuring that preachers maintain the highest standards of pastoral competency.
I don’t know whether to use the word; “some", "most", or "all” so I will say, “much” of our training evolves into preaching events; and preaching events are probably what we need the least. AME preachers are the best preachers on the face of the earth. We have the best preachers of any denomination. I won’t call any names because we have so many and not enough space in this column to list them; you know who they are without my having to list them. Our bishops, general officers, and connectional officers; our pastors from Episcopal Districts 1 – 20, from Newark, New Jersey to Miami, Florida and from the Washington DC area to Los Angeles, California, from England and the Netherlands to West and South Africa, the Caribbean and South America; and our AME endorsed chaplains – AME clergy are the best preachers on the planet. At this time, we don’t need to bring in anyone to teach us how to preach, many of our preachers can be resource persons to train clergy in other denominations the fine points of homiletics.
Our training should involve experts in their fields of pastoral care and leadership, teambuilding, biblical studies, and theology taught by trained biblical scholars. We need training evaluation and certification to insure competency. We need training, training and more training; we need rigorous training. Pastors and laity need to arrive at our training sessions prepared for training and not just show up. Many of the pastors who need training the most are often seen collaborating in the hallways and in the eateries.
But prior to training, the African Methodist Episcopal Church needs to look more closely at applicants for ministry. Our business is pastoral ministry, whether it is in the local church, hospital ministry, the chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, or some other form of ministry. We spend far too much time on people who have no intention of going into any aspect of pastoral ministry. We ordain people who we know will not be successful. The AME Church needs to learn to say, “No!”
The African Methodist Episcopal Church needs to address head-on the issues of dysfunctional churches and how to strengthen struggling churches. It has always amazed me that we have not had some of our most successful pastors lead mandatory, testable, competency-based training sessions. In the military we would have had pastors like Dr. Granger Browning, Dr. William Watley, Dr. George Moore, Sr., Dr. Kenneth Marcus, Dr. Floyd Flake and other pastoral giants in our Zion, who have clearly excelled, to share their pastoral expertise and to show us how they did what they did and how they developed their vision and how they motivated their congregations. Check out almost any AME meeting and we bring in the best preachers; every AME meeting, whether it is annual conference, mid-year convocation, Founder’s Day or whatever, is similar to the Hampton University Ministers' Conference. We focus on preaching to the detriment of strong teaching.
The AME Church needs to encourage pastors to rest and to take of themselves and their families. The agendas of our connectional and episcopal district meetings schedule meetings from early morning until late at night. When our meetings are finished, most of the restaurants are closed and people are too tired to fellowship. Tight agendas that do not build in free-time forces participants to build in their own free time and I suspect that’s why we have so many meetings in the hallways and in the restaurants when scheduled meetings are in session. The AME Church needs to model and teach our leaders how to relax.
Ministry is not compartmentalized, it is holistic; or rather it should be holistic.
If we are serious about turning around marginal congregations and serious about helping our churches to evolve from dysfunctional churches to healthy functional growing congregations, we must do some things differently.
If we are serious about empowering pastors and laity in holistic ministry, we must do some things differently if we hope to help dysfunctional churches become healthy, functioning churches.
2. READER RESPONSE TO EDITORIAL AND OTHER ISSUES:
- To the Editor:
I appreciate receiving and reading The Christian Recorder Online and regularly forward the articles (particularly those that might foster conversation) to my email contacts. Only yesterday, one of the items discussed and agreed on by several individuals at an Atlanta North Georgia Annual Conference Women in Ministry event was the need for the AME Church as well as Women In Ministry to develop strategies to market itself utilizing contemporary tools of communication. Your remark in today’s submission only confirms and underscores the need for a marketing strategy utilizing contemporary tools of communication. Great job!
On another note, the essay “The Black Church is Dead,” sparked some FaceBook conversation, where some individuals agreed and others disagreed about the author’s conclusion about the Black Church. While I do not believe that the Black Church is dead, I will state that it (the church) might need some resuscitation to improve its vital signs. Dr. Cone is correct and it was also an appropriate way to conclude your article but sometimes we still do not like criticism even from within the family.
The Rev. Velma E. Grant
To the Editor:
I recently read a hard copy of The Christian Recorder and realized how much I miss receiving the paper. I think I will go back to a subscription. It is easier reading.
- To the Editor:
RE: Breaking News
Thank you so much for these updates!
Sister Monica Bailey
- To the Editor:
RE: Breaking News
You are such a vitally important and essential resource for the AMEC.
I subscribe to the online versions of both The New York Times and The Huffington Post, where Glaude's article first appeared. But I haven't had the time to peruse either publication in the past month. If you had not run the Freedman article, I would have missed out on reading it.
Thanks for staying on top of things.
Carol A. Bowie
Editor’s Note: Breaking News, News Breaks and other mailings from The Christian Recorder are only emailed to TCR subscribers. If you choose to view TCR Online by accessing the Blogger site you will only see what we post each week, nothing else. If you wish to keep up-to-date with everything that’s happening in the Church, if would be better to subscribe to TCR Online and in that way you will receive Breaking News and other items of interest.
3. MESSAGE OF GRATITUDE FROM BISHOP CAROLYN TYLER GUIDRY:
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Presiding Prelate of the Eighth Episcopal District, AME Church and President of the Council of Bishops wishes to thank everyone for their prayers, calls, and acts of concern while she is recuperating from bilateral knee replacement surgery. She is convinced that her rapid and encouraging progress is due to the anointed and steadfast love of her AME family.
Please continue to bombard Heaven for her speedy recovery and complete healing.
Bishop Guidry has been transferred to the Methodist Rehabilitation Center.
Contact information for Bishop Guidry:
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry
Methodist Rehabilitation Center
1350 East Woodrow Wilson
Jackson, Mississippi 39216
Telephone: (601) 984-8622
4. EBENEZER AME CHURCH, FORT WASHINGTON, MARYLAND RESPONDS TO ERRONEOUS REUTER WIRE SERVICE NEWS ARTICLE:
As you may be aware, Ebenezer AME Church, Fort Washington, Maryland was recently cited in a Reuters Wire Service article. The article was a gross mischaracterization of our Ebenezer’s situation. We wanted to share our response to that article. We have received many calls and inquiries from around the AME Connection. Our hope was that the factual information could be shared through The Christian Recorder Online and in the print edition.
Attached to this message is Ebenezer AME Church’s response to the erroneous press release and Ebenezer’s exciting new partnership with Industrial Bank of Washington, DC, one of the oldest black banks in the nation.
*Submitted by Trisch Smith, Trustee of Ebenezer AME Church and Head of Public Relations; Telephone: 240-447-8948
5. AME ASTRONAUT STEPHANIE WILSON A CREW MEMBER ON NASA MISSION STS-131 TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION:
By the Rev. Salatheia Bryant-Honors
Texas Conference reporter
Houston, Texas – On April 21, 2010, hundreds of family and friends went to Ellington Field to welcome NASA Astronaut Stephanie Wilson and other astronauts who flew on Space Shuttle Discovery.
Wilson is a member of Reedy Chapel AME Church located in Galveston, Texas. Reedy Chapel is the “Mother Church” of African Methodism in Texas. The Rev. Reginald Honors is the pastor of Reedy Chapel and the Rev. Salatheia Bryant-Honors is the co-pastor.
Wilson and the other crew members entered Hangar 990 to the loud cheers of family members. The crew – dressed in their NASA uniforms - waved at the guests as they took their seats on the stage with a large American flag draped behind them. Each astronaut addressed the crowd during the ceremony.
The 15-day mission to the International Space Station was Wilson’s third trip into space. The mission brought together the largest number of women – four - in space at one time. STS- 131 was the 33rd mission to the space station. The mission launched on April 5 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It safely landed on April 20, after a day’s delay because of poor weather conditions.
On STS-131 were shuttle commander Alan Poindexter, pilot James Dutton, mission specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Wilson, Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki and space walkers Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson. Wilson flew on STS-121 in 2006, and STS-120 in 2007.
Commander Poindexter thanked each crew member individually for their work. He called Wilson, “a robo pro” in reference to her robotics work during the mission. Wilson served as the lead robotics officer.
“Stephanie was a mentor to all of us,” Poindexter said. “This was her third mission on Discovery so she knew the ship inside and out. Stephanie is a detailed originated person. She had great command and executed as a pro. Stephanie you were awesome, thanks very much.”
Wilson acknowledged her parents who were in the audience and also thanked those in the NASA family who helped prepare the crew for the mission.
“We wish we could have taken all of you with us,” she said.
The Rev. Salatheia Bryant-Honors, a co-pastor at Reedy, and other members attended the welcome home ceremony at Ellington Field. Reedy Youth members Bryant and Kennedy Honors waved signs honoring Wilson’s return. Pastor Salatheia Honors wore a blue cap with the words: “Stephanie Wilson’s Ground Crew” on it.
The principal of Ambassador Preparatory Academy, Dr. Patricia Williams, also a Reedy member, along with a group of students from the Galveston-based charter school, attended the welcome home gathering.
Wilson was able to greet her Reedy members and students from APA following the ceremony.
During the mission Pastor Reginald Honors led directed prayer gatherings. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in her launch and safe return,” said the Rev. Reginald Honors. “It is good to have her back. Prayer works.”
Wilson has been a member of Reedy for about 10 years. She sings in the choir and is a member of the Steward Board. Wilson has also served as a Trustee.
Reedy Chapel is the “Mother Church” of African Methodism in Texas. Slaves were given the property at 20th and Broadway in 1848 to begin a church. After the end of slavery, Reedy was used as a school for freed slaves. The church is listed as a Texas Landmark and is on the National Registry of Historic Places for its Gothic architecture. Reedy was flooded with about 3 feet of water from Hurricane Ike, forcing its closure for more than 300 days. Wilson was among the volunteers who worked early on to clean the sanctuary of mud and debris left behind by the storm.
6. TRINITY AME CHURCH YOUTH RAISE $1400.00 FOR HAITI QUAKE VICTIMS:
The Rev. Donna Anderson, M.Div.
On January 12, 2010, millions of Americans watched the news in disbelief as reports regarding the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti were shown. Newscast after newscast reported staggering numbers of dead as the video portions revealed collapsed buildings and broken bodies. Knowing that Haiti, ranked 149th out of 182 countries in the Western Hemisphere, lacks resources to respond to an earthquake of this magnitude; the Trinity AME Church YPD President, Hazelmarie Anderson, knew she had to help.
With the full support from her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount, the Rev. Donna Anderson, youth director and the combined youth ministries of Trinity AME Church; YPD President Anderson successfully obtained sponsors for donations of tickets and food for a Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser. This resulted in $1400.00 raised for the AME Church Haiti Quake Relief Fund. We praise God for allowing our youth to touch and transform lives for Christ!
Trinity AME Church has 125 members and is located in Waukegan Illinois. The Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount is the pastor of Trinity AME Church.
7. BISHOP SARAH DAVIS, PRESIDING PRELATE, 16TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT MAKES FULL HAITI EARTHQUAKE UPDATE/REPORT:
To: Council of Bishops, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Date: Wednesday Evening, April 14, 2010
Re: Haiti Update and Recap of Travel March 23-27, 2010
Greetings, from Port of Spain, Trinidad where we are in Annual Conference:
Attached are (1) Post Haiti Earthquake Onsite Visit No. 002 [Travel Narrative] and (2) Notes from our Post Haiti Earthquake Steering Committee Meeting No. 01.
During our initial session with the civil engineer we learned two things which could have significant financial implications for us in the months and years ahead:
• None of the standing, yet damaged buildings will be approved with only renovation work being done to them. All post January 12, 2010 built buildings “must” be built to seismic specifications. (i.e., all of the yet standing AME Churches and Schools will have to be torn down and rebuilt).
• Whether a building can be rebuilt on its current location is a decision the government makes. No buildings can be rebuilt or renovated at its current location within the city limits of Port au Prince without first receiving the Government’s approval
Accordingly, even after we receive the civil engineer’s report (projected for May), we still will not be able to move forward if the Government has not yet given us approval to build in the same location. Once the engineer’s report is in hand, we will proceed to prepare a projected budget.
To date we have disbursed $ 62,139.51 US Dollars of the $ 122,748.16 received in the 16th District directly from donors (As of March 31, 2010). We have not made any request for funds received in the CFO’s Office. These funds will be needed (and more) for the work ahead of us for construction of our churches, schools and multipurpose centers.
I am preparing a complete report for presentation to the General Board in June 2010 with recommendations
Post Haiti Earthquake Onsite Visit No. 002 - Travel Narrative:
Bishop Sarah Davis
Tuesday thru Saturday, March 23-27, 2010
Travel to Haiti
Commercial airlines are now flying into and out of Haiti and thus our flight canceled on three previous occasions prior to March, 2010, was on time and arrived safely at Toussaint Louverture International Airport, Port –Au-Prince, Haiti (IATA:PAP), March 23, 2010. IATA: PAP is still under the control of the United States Air Force and yet serves as one of 2 operational airports near the epicenter of the earthquake (Jacmel Airport is the other airport in service and is under the control of the Canadian Forces). IATA: PAP is also serving as the Air Force camp, storage facility for shipments and control site for air operations.
The movement of the hundreds of persons flying into to Haiti on Tuesday, March 23rd, was commendable. While the receiving and processing of incoming passengers through immigration and the handling of all luggages from plane to owners was being conducted in a make-shift warehouse, the process took less than one hour once bused to the area from the air plane. It was crowded and hot, but surprisingly, the process moved quickly. American Airlines has done much to have adequate number of personnel on hand to give direction and to handle the processing of its passengers once they are at the airport in Haiti.
Accommodations and Food in Haiti
While much of life appears to be moving along with as much normalcy as can be expected with buildings still crumbled in place and debris everywhere and streets crowded, there still were no public living accommodations that we could find in Port-au-Prince. Some persons traveling to Port-au-Prince are staying in the homes of residents of Port-Au-Prince whose homes were not destroyed (example: Reverend Francois Murat’s aunt’s home still stands while his neighbors on either side of his aunt’s home were destroyed). However, power and water supplies remain issues for everyone in Haiti. Supervisor Claytie and I secured housing in Petionville about 45 minutes in the eastern suburbs of Port-Au-Prince at one of several hotels which are open. [It should be noted that the prices of hotels, food, rental cars and supplies everywhere have been unbelievably inflated.]
In Petionville, grocery stores are open and in full swing. In Port-au-Prince the street markets and vendors are as busy selling whatever they can. If the destroyed buildings, tent communities and all the debris were not in front of you as reminders, one would think that all was as it was prior to January 12, 2010.
Ground Travel in Haiti
Traffic has always been challenging, both in how persons drive and in the volume of traffic on the poorly maintained streets. In a post-earthquake context, the traffic is three times as bad; the streets have pot holes the size of ditches and many streets are impassable due to brick, mortar and building debris which has been dumped on to the streets. Two lane streets have “four lane” traffic. Pedestrian traffic is almost as challenging as the automobiles, busses and United Nations military patrol vehicles.
The Mission on this Second Post Earthquake Visit
The purpose of this second trip to Haiti (first trip was February 15th by vehicle from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) was to visit each of the 8 churches damaged or destroyed; to talk with the members of the congregations at the various sites; to meet with engineers, agency volunteers and NGO’s on behalf of our 398 families who have been displaced since January 12, 2010; to meet for a brief Annual Conference session to make Presiding Elder and Pastor appointments for the 2010-2011 church year and resolve outstanding property issues; and finally to meet with persons named to the Steering Committee (Haiti) to plan our way forward and to discuss immediate needs now that the emergency phase of the recovery is behind us.
Mission Activities Tuesday – Saturday
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Visit with SADA Staff at SADA office; met with Mr. Don Tatlock of Church World Services who had just delivered the four (4) boxes of medical supplies which we had requested of Church World Services after our visit February 15th through Dr. George Flowers, Director of Global Witness and Ministry. Delivered to SADA were medical supplies which, in normal circumstances, would take care of 1000 families for over a four month period. Mr. Tatlock indicated that the 35 tents which were promised to 35 of our 398 AME families who have been displaced from their homes were still held up in the Dominican Republic, but should be delivered during Holy Week.
Later that evening we arrived and met with Presiding Elder Mehu of the St. Paul P.E. District and Reverend François Murat to review the agenda for the week of travel and meetings.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 7:30 a.m.
9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Our first stop was at Mary Beckett AME Church. At 9:00 a.m. we met with members of the Haiti Annual Conference. The 2 Presiding Elders and 12 Pastors were present along with approximately 50 lay members from the 13 Churches of the Haiti Annual Conference.
Following devotion the Bishop greeted the congregation and explained the purpose of the weeklong visit. Members were invited to share the status of their current situations. All were grateful for the emergency assistance given to heads of households (398 families) for food/medical and hygiene supplies/water following Bishop’s February 15th visit.
Presiding Elders and Pastors were given their 2010-2011 appointments back to their churches. Bishop emphasized that these appointments were now current should any of the pastors need to present verification of their positions with the AME Church in carrying out the business of the Church during this post earthquake time.
Bishop and Supervisor were given a very thorough tour of Mary Beckett AME Church, Croix-des-Bouquets, with Pastor Robert Petit pointing out the damage done by the earthquake.
1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Travel
We arrived at our second church site: Christine Smith AME Church, Petionville around 3 pm.
The Church and grounds are all damaged and the building and parsonage which was incomplete will all have to be rebuilt.
About 30 members of the Christian Smith AME Church came to meet us at the Church; seven members and Pastor traveled by Bishop’s vehicle to the Church from the meeting at Mary Beckett AME Church.
Bishop met with Reverend Murat and Sis. Elvire Douglas that evening to get an assessment of the emergency procedures, hear about the state of affairs of the church community from their perspectives and to receive input for the agenda for Friday-Saturday’s Steering Committee meeting.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
6:30 –8:45 a.m. Travel
Canaan Christ, Tombe Gateau, Rte. Jacmel
Once at Tombe Gauteau, we were shown the damages of the Church and then taken to the 2 plots of land which were purchased prior to the earthquake for the Church, where the rebuilding of the Canaan Christ Revient AME Church might be realized.
Next stop was at John Hurst AME Church, Gressier, where the entire roof and back wall completely destroyed. The Pastor’s home and fencing are severely damaged and will also need to be rebuilt. The fence will need to be built post haste to protect our property from persons currently interested in claiming it.
Loula Brokentong AME Church, Mariani, was the last church visited before traveling back to the St. Paul AME Church site in Port-Au-Prince to meet with the Civil Engineer. Pastor Marc shared with us that the congregation had grown almost 25% since the earthquake and even though they are meeting outdoors, the people are still coming. This church has major structural damages.
2:30 p.m. Meeting with Civil Engineer, Mr. Tommy Galbaud, at St. Paul AMEC Port-Au-Prince
• Mr. Galbaud explained that all post-earthquake building work in Haiti will have to meet seismic specifications. It is doubtful that any of our churches will be able to be renovated as none had seismic specifications met in the initial building of the Churches, thus it is suspected that not only the destroyed churches would need to be rebuilt, but also those which have been damaged.
• The Bishop inquired of the work done by Mr. Tommy Galbaud and whether he would be able to give the attention needed to do the work of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Haiti. He responded that he would be working primarily with the religious community in post earthquake engineering and construction and could service the needs of the AME Church. He indicated that he had refused the Government job offer in order to work with the religious community.
• Bishop Davis promised to send formal letter requesting Mr. Galbaud’s services.
Attending this meeting were Bishop Davis, Supervisor Davis, Presiding Elders Reverend Mehu and Reverend Maurice, Pastor Jean Baptist and Reverend Murat.
Friday, March 26, 2010
7:30 –9:30 a.m. Travel
We arrived at Bethel AME Church, Cabaret at 9:30 a.m. to a crowd of more than 100 persons. Pastor Jacky Pierre gave Bishop the amended list of persons who lost everything they had due to the earthquake, but who were not on the initial list Members of the congregation voiced their pleasure that the AME Church responded so timely after the earthquake. Many said this type of response helped them not to feel alone in their helplessness. Bishop canvassed the congregation to get a sense of where they were all staying since their homes were destroyed.
Tents, medical attention and child care are immediate needs of people in the Cabaret area. Agriculture is the way of life in the Cabaret area and all is gone again. Help in getting the land back for farming and farming tools and seeding are absolutely necessities now.
Before leaving the Bethel AMEC, the pastor and people took Bishop and Supervisor about 500 feet from the church up the mountain to a plot of land which the Church could be built on should the owners sell. The Bishop and people prayed over the land asking God’s favor with the owners.
Around 11:30 a.m. we headed back to the Port-Au-Prince area to Rosetta-Lee AME Church.
Pastor Jules Andre’ Pierre met us at Rosetta-Lee AME Church, Petite-Place-Cazeau, Port-Au-Prince, just before 1:00 p.m. We observed the damages to the church, school and the living quarters of the founder, Missionary Rosette Lee, which was the Pastor’s home prior to January 12th. The Rosetta Lee AME School building including the second floor which was never completed is damaged and will need to be rebuilt. The fence which provides security to the property (school and church) was completely damaged and will need to be rebuilt immediately.
Pastor Jules Andre’ and his family are back living in the tent in the back of the church and school as the tremors of the week of March 17th shook the bedroom so badly, they are fearful of returning to the house for any sleeping.
We left Rosetta-Lee for St. Paul and the Steering Committee meeting scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (See Steering Committee Meeting Report below)
St. Paul AME Church, Port-Au-Prince is completely destroyed and was visited during Bishop and Supervisor’s February 15, 2010 visit to Haiti.
Saturday, March 27, 2010, 8:30 a.m. – 12 Noon Steering Committee Meeting, at St. Paul AME Church location, Port-Au-Prince
(See Steering Committee Meeting Report)
Steering Committee Report:
Steering Committee Haiti Members
Bishop Sarah F. Davis, Presiding Prelate 16th Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC)
Mr. Claytie Davis, Jr., Episcopal Supervisor of Missions – 16th Episcopal District AMEC
Sister Elvire Douglas, Connectional WMS Officer/Treasurer of Haiti Annual Conference/16th District Disaster Relief, Coordinator/ Official Interpreter of 16th District
The Reverend Joel Mehu, Presiding Elder, St. Paul District, AMEC
The Reverend Joel Maurice, Presiding Elder, Mary Beckett District, AMEC
The Reverend François Murat, Haiti Conference Director of Youth Ministry/16th District Official Interpreter
The Reverend Jean Baptiste Jean, Attorney/Pastor St. Paul AME Church/Conference Trustee Chairperson
The Reverend Jacquet L. Michelet Mars, Educator, Pastor Lula Brokentong AME Church
The Reverend Jacky Pierre, Pastor of Bethel Cabaret/Educator
Sister Carolles Milburn, Educator - Office of Minister of Education/Haiti Conference WMS President WMS
Brother Claudy Philoma, Civil Engineer/Trustee Board Loula Brokentong
• Three bids are currently being solicited for fencing John Hurst AME Church and property; the Trustee Board of the Haiti Annual Conference are in charge and will advise Bishop Sarah of bid selected so that funds can be released for the work.
• A Memorandum of Understanding between the current John Hurst member who is staying on property to guard it, and John Hurst Church, specifying when he is to vacate the premise after the fence is constructed is being drafted by Pastor Jean Baptiste Jean (Attorney). Once the MOU has been approved by Bishop Sarah, Pastor Maurice and Trustees will meet with the resident.
• Civil Engineer, Mr. Tommy Galbaud, ARCHICODEC, 127, Ave La Hatte, Petit-Goave, Haiti, has been sent a formal letter of engagement from Bishop Sarah Davis, requesting an engineering evaluation of our churches which were destroyed and/or damaged by the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Mr. Galbaud estimates that the work can be completed with 22 days of receipt of engagement letter. (Estimated May 15, 2010).
• Presiding Elder Wayne Anthony (16th District, Windward Island) has offered the use of one of his ships to pick up and deliver goods collected around the Connectional Church to Haiti. We are waiting on him for the green light to make the announcements concerning which ports of call the ship will make and details concerning the logistics for those wishing to ship goods to Haiti via the ship.
On Going Work:
Thirty-five tents from Church World Services were to arrive during Holy Week or week after; Presiding Elder Mehu is following-up and will make distribution as soon as the tents arrive in Port-au- Prince and will advise the Bishop of the shipment.
• Plans for other tents to be donated and/or purchased
Bishop to have persons check with those who have promised tents for Haiti to determine if we need to purchase tents for the families still without adequate shelter.
• Some church persons voiced desire for tarps vs. tents, and large plastic sheets
Until jobs opportunities are available again and until farming-agriculture are restored, families will need some financial assistance for purchasing the life sustaining requirements. Lines are still very long; rice is the commodity being distributed daily.
Need Large Plastic Containers for storing water
• Mobile Clinics needed in inner city area of Port-au-Prince (St. Paul AME Church) and in our outlying church communities
• Christine Smith AME Church – Kenscoff
• Canaan Christ Revient AME Church – Tombe Gateau
• Bethel AME –Cabaret
• Psychological /Social Counseling
• Trauma Counseling
• Grief Counseling
(1) Financial Assistance
Families have no income; stipends will be needed until jobs are available again and/or the farms are producing crops;
• Stipends for basic necessities
• Stipends for light farm equipment and seedlings
(2) Youth Idleness
Summer months of May, June, July, August with no schools, the young children and youth need activities to keep them focused.
Ideas for Action: Vacation Bible Schools
Teams Could Come in for One/Two Weeks Periods of Time and Provide VBS
New Skills (training classes) Computers/Music/Dance
(3) Adult Encouragement/Training
Ideas for Action: Revivals/Evangelists/Services of Encouragement (People need to be reminded that God does love them)
New Skills (training classes)
8. 13TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT TEAM-13 MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
13th Episcopal District Joining Fight against Prostate Cancer
The 13th Episcopal District will be joining forces with churches across the county in a nationwide Father's Day Rally against Prostate Cancer on June 20, 2010. Did you know that African American men have a 60% higher prostate cancer incidence rate and a 150% higher death rate than all other men? This is the largest racial disparity for any type of cancer. To address this crisis Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) implemented a “Father’s Day Rally against Prostate Cancer” and we will be joining their effort. For more information on the national campaign go to: www.RAPCancer.org.
We will be asking each church in the 13th Episcopal District to participate. In the coming weeks, you will receive more information about how your church can participate.
2010 Believe Grant Applications due June 1, 2010
As most of you know, Believe Incorporated is a non-profit organization that represents the secular educational, economic, community development and outreach efforts of the 13th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. Believe Incorporated seeks to identify new resources and provide small grants to churches, organizations, and individuals who are members of the 13th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church.
If you are in a 13th District AME Church in need of financial support for a project or an individual needing help with theological training, please go the Believe Inc website to learn more (www.believeinc.org) or complete the attached application which is due June 1, 2010. Click here to get application.
13th Episcopal District has Official Facebook Page
The 13th Episcopal District now has an Official Facebook Page. Become a fan and stay connected with the happenings in the 13th. The link to the page is www.facebook.com/team13ame .
Bishop McKenzie is a Faith Columnist in The Washington Post
Bishop McKenzie has been selected by the Washington Post to be an "On Faith" Columnist where she is joins others including TD Jakes, Archbishop Tutu, Norman Lear, and Garner Taylor addressing key issues. Read her latest column at:
In addition, you can hear a daily devotion by subscribing to www.thisisyourwakeupcallonline.com or get a daily prayer by subscribing to www.vashtimckenzie.blogspot.com.
9. BISHOP MCKINLEY YOUNG GUEST SPEAKER FOR 104TH CHURCH ANNIVERSARY IN SOUTH FLORIDA:
By The MHAME Communications Ministry
The Mount Hermon African Methodist Episcopal Church, 401 Northwest 7th Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida celebrated its 104th h Church Anniversary on Sunday, April 18, 2010 on this memorable occasion. The Guest Speaker was Bishop McKinley Young the presiding prelate of the Eleventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. The Reverend Willie J. Cook, Sr., M.Div is the pastor.
The theme for this church anniversary is “Empowering People, Impacting Communities and Changing Lives."
Mount Hermon African Methodist Church of Ft. Lauderdale has a rich and glorious history it is the oldest predominantly Black denomination in the United States, founded in 1906, Mount Hermon is the oldest A.M.E. Church and the second oldest Black church in the Fort Lauderdale area. With a humble beginning, Mount Hermon started as a small group of worshippers in the township of Fort Lauderdale who would gather on Sundays to hold religious services outdoors under a tree. A few of the worshippers from this group purchased property from the Dallas Land Company on April 25, 1906. The founders of this Zion named it "Mount Hermon African Methodist Episcopal Church."They were led by the Reverend W.A. Woods and the Reverend Mark Smith, Annie T. Reed, Mamie McGill and I. H. Williams.
Bishop Young was assigned to the Eleventh Episcopal District in 2004 by the 47th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This assignment places Bishop Young over some 440 churches throughout the state of Florida and the Bahamas. Bishop Young also serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Florida. Bishop Young served as the Presiding Bishop of the 10th Episcopal District, (Texas) for the Quadrennium 2000-2004. During this Quadrennium Bishop Young chaired the Board of Trustees for Paul Quinn College.
From 1996 through 2000, Bishop Young was the Ecumenical and Urban Affairs Officer for the AME Church, and the Endorsing Agent for all Chaplains in the denomination. In 1992, Bishop Young was elected and consecrated the 109th Bishop of the AME Church; and was assigned to the 15th Episcopal District, which includes the southern part of the Republic of South Africa, Namibia and Angola.
Bishop Young is a native of Atlanta, a son of the parsonage and a product of the public schools of Atlanta. He furthered his education by obtaining degrees from Morris Brown College, Atlanta; Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts; and the University of Chicago Divinity School, Chicago, Illinois. Bishop Young received the Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary) from Morris Brown College and Paul Quinn College and a Doctor of Divinity (Honorary) from Edward Waters College.
In South Africa, he led members of the 15th Episcopal District in the Centennial Celebration of the AME Church in Southern Africa. While serving as Secretary of the Council of Bishops, and Presiding Bishop of the 15th Episcopal District, he participated in the reception of 12,000 members of the Angola Independent Methodist Church into the AME Church. This formed the Angola Annual Conference of the 15th Episcopal District of the AME Church.
Bishop Young Chairs the Board of Directors for AME-SADA, the Service And Development Agency of the AME Church providing leadership in International Development. He also serves as Chair of the Commission on Annuity Investment and Insurance. Previously, he served as President of the General Board, Chair of the Commission on Global Witness and Ministry; and Women In Ministry.
He serves with honor and distinction as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council, the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) 1998-2006. Bishop Young was re-elected to the Central Committee of the WCC at the Ninth (9th) Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2006.
Bishop Young is married to Dorothy Jackson Young of Boston, Massachusetts. They are the parents of Mr. Ron and Mrs. Karyn Young-Lowe; The Reverend Julius and Mrs. Deana Young McAllister; Mr. Roderick and Mrs. Andrea Young Jones, Miss Stephanie Lynn Young and grandparents of Little Miss Jennifer Renee Lowe, Master Julius Harrison McAllister, III, Master Peyton Leigh Jones, Master Colin McKinley Young McAllister, little Miss Jessica Christine Lowe, and Master Dylan David Jeremiah McAllister.
The community is cordially invited to attend this memorable celebration.
*The Reverend Edrena Houston Brown, MACE contributed to this article
10. 4TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT OPEN LETTER TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS:
Peace and Grace to each of you, your families and those whom you serve. Your courage, advocacy and intervention on behalf of “the least of these,” ignite the fires of hope among those who look to you for both representation and leadership.
Representing the oldest African American Church, and the largest African Methodist denomination, which is composed of diverse continents (Africa, Europe, Asia and North and South America), I believe that the time is now for a comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. The passage of this legislation will positively impact jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil and begin to eradicate the negative impact upon human resources here and around the world.
Failure to act has resulted in increased poverty world-wide. War, forced migrations, higher unemployment and death from hunger and disease are also threatening. As you know, the poor in America also suffer greatly as a result of unaddressed environmental impact.
As Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, may I express my gratitude for the work you have already done and encourage you to continue to build a consensus on this important matter of human justice.
- Climate change will hit the poor around the world the hardest, including increased hunger, water scarcity, and devastating health consequences. Certainly there will be an increase in the number of refugees.
- Today, fulfilling Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbors and care for “the least of these” includes protecting the poor from climate change and helping them adapt to the consequences they did not cause. The American values of compassion and fairness call for our country to overcome climate change in a way that protects and helps the poor, here and abroad.
- Addressing climate and energy security is the right thing to do because it will create American jobs, clean up our air and water, and enhance our national security.
Request: I ask that you work with Senators Graham (R-SC), Lieberman (I-CT), and Kerry (D-MA) to create a strong bi-partisan bill that you would co-sponsor this year.
“Without a Vision, the People Perish”
The Rt. Rev. John R. Bryant, Presiding Prelate, Fourth Episcopal District (Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin; countries of Canada, and India). Bishop Bryant is all the Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
11. THE FREE AFRICAN SOCIETY:
*Mr. Robert Thomas Matthews, III
Director of Public Relations of the Sixth Episcopal District Lay Organization of the AME Church
Local Lay Vice President of Cobb Bethel AME Church; West Atlanta District Lay Historiographer
Every AME is, or should be, familiar with the Mission, Vision, Purpose and Objectives Statement of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which states that we should be engaged in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the AME Church evolved. But what do we do not know of the Free African Society is how it originated; what were its objectives, and what contributions it made.
This treatise will attempt to answer these questions for our understanding and clarity.
The Free African Society was founded on April 12, 1787—approximately seven months before Allen and others left Saint George’s Methodist Episcopal Church. It was a non-denominational organization which was formed to elevate the spiritual, economic and social status of the Philadelphia African American Community.
Its principal founders were Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, but it also included other prominent black leaders as well as persons such as Joseph Clarke—a white Quaker who became its treasurer.
The organization’s charter also mandated that Quakers would always occupy the office of treasurer in order to make the Society’s dealing with financial institutions easier. Each member of the Society was required to contribute one shilling per month to the organization’s treasury and support.
The Society, though not religiously affiliated, proved to be much like a church in serving the black community. It gave aid to the widowed, the sick, and the jobless. It regulated marriages and kept record of marriages, since they were not recorded for blacks at the time by the civil government. The Society also taught thrift, censured drunkenness, condemned adultery, and attempted to improve the morals of its members.
It also established schools for blacks in the Philadelphia area, since at that time none existed for blacks and there were no provisions made for public schools for blacks in Philadelphia until 1839. Thus, one of the earliest Sunday Schools in America was begun at Mother Bethel Church in 1795 to teach blacks how to read and write. Cyrus Bustill opened a school for black children in his home in 1803 and Absalom Jones enlarged Bustill’s school and opened another one in 1804.
Since its charter stipulated that the Treasurer would always be a Quaker, who was most often white, the society eventually began to take on a Quaker form of worship which deeply disturbed Richard Allen, since he preferred that the worship he attended be by and large the one which he knew to be Methodist. Being unable to accept these practices and verbalizing his concern eventually caused him to be “Read Out” of the Free African Society on June 20, 1789.
In 1791, the Society also decided to purchase a permanent place of worship for its “African Members” with which Allen also agreed. History records that Dr. Benjamin Rush (a signer on the Declaration of Independence), Robert Ralston and even President George Washington supported this effort and made financial contributions to Richard Allen in support of it.
Even though he was now disassociated with the Society, it appointed Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, William Grey, and William Wilcher with the task of locating and purchasing the property on which this church would be built. They purchased a plot of land from Mark Wilcox located at 6th and Lombard Street, which then was a very over-populated black community. Members then decided they wanted a church built at 5th Street, south of Walnut Street—a white community. Also, the church’s denomination was still uncertain; members voted to be Episcopalian, though Allen and Jones desired to be Methodists.
As we often find today, Allen once again found himself parting ways with the Society over the appropriate worship style that was not Pentecostal, not Anglican, Baptist or Roman Catholic, but distinctly and unequivocally one that was Methodist.
Allen was “stuck” with the property at Sixth and Lombard Streets. Using his own money and perhaps that of his first wife, Flora, whom he married in 1790, Allen bought this property and hauled the famous blacksmith shop to the site, were he fitted it for the a place of worship now know as Mother Bethel, and dedicated it on July 29, 1794.
The Free African Society eventually decided that their church would become affiliated with the Episcopal Church and asked Allen accept the role as its pastor. He declined the offer stating that he was, and would forever be a Methodist. Absalom Jones accepted the offer and Saint Thomas Episcopal Church was born—the first “African” Episcopal Church in America, with its first “African” pastor—which opened its doors on July 17, 1794 and still exists to the present day. Even though he disagreed with this group over the choice of become a part of the Episcopal Church —Richard Allen—with a spirit of good will, participated in the ground breaking ceremony of Saint Thomas Church.
The Free African Society ceased to exist around 1885, though the reasons why it ceased to exist are unknown. One of the reasons is believed to be that it never quite recovered from the Yellow Fever Epidemic, during which it amassed a substantial debt. Additionally, it is also believed that the Society eventually ran out of dues paying members and that its work was by and large replaced by other benevolent societies and fraternal organizations such as the “Prince Hall ‘African’ Lodge #459”—to which many of its founding member belonged.
Today the spirit of the Free African Society still lives and operates through the Mission, Vision, Purpose and Objectives of churches such as Saint Thomas African Episcopal Church and our own African Methodist Episcopal Church, as well as the schools, colleges and other institutions which would be subsequently founded by them.
For more information and Credits please see
- http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2197296/The-Free-African-Society-of-Philadelphia-The-History-of /
- The Life Experience and Gospel Labors of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen: To Which Is Annexed the Rise and Progress of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States (1800; repr. 1960),
- Wesley, Charles H. Richard Allen, Apostle of Freedom. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1969
*Mr. Robert Thomas Matthews, III is the Director of Public Relations of the Sixth Episcopal District Lay Organization of the AME Church, Local Lay Vice President of Cobb Bethel AME Church, and the West Atlanta District Lay Historiographer
12. DR. BILL DICKENS SHARES LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT RICHARD ALLEN GLEANED FROM FREEDOM’S PROPHET AUTHORED BY DR. RICHARD NEWMAN:
I recently purchased and finished reading Freedom’s Prophet; Dr. Richard Newman's splendid 2008 biography on Bishop Richard Allen. The paperback edition is organized into ten chapters covering approximately 340 pages. The book is well-researched and presents a balanced and fair picture of Bishop Allen without engaging in unnecessary deification of the person. We do this too often (deification) for both Allen and Dr. M. L. King, Jr. The book makes a compelling and convincing argument that Allen's role in history should be understood in the context of him as an early American Founding Father because of his keen understanding of the principles embedded in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and applying those principles in his quest for moral uplift of African people. Here are (at a minimum) Ten Interesting Things readers will learn from the biography. This book (Freedom's Prophet) is truly a must-read for any AME member serious about wanting to understand their Founding Father.
1. Richard Allen's eulogy of President George Washington.
2. Walkout at St. George Methodist Episcopal occurring probably 1792 and not 1787.
3. Richard Allen's remarkable business acumen as a chimney sweep businessman.
4. Daniel Coker's contribution as the 1st elected (not consecrated) AME Bishop. Coker subsequently declined the position and yielded to Allen.
5. Jacob Tapisco's role as Allen's Associate Minister at Mother Bethel and co-author of the first AME Discipline.
6. Rev. John Emory's (Emory University named after him) role in hindering Allen's quest for an independent AME Church. Because of Emory's obstinate behavior, Allen founded the AME Church without the need for Presiding Elders.
7. Rev. Peter Spencer's role in establishing the first independent black denomination (African Union Methodist Protestant Church in 1813). This occurred three years before the AME denomination was formed.
8. Allen's repurchase of Mother Bethel for an amount of $10,000.00. A white Presiding Elder, using legal and financial chicanery, forced Bethel to be closed and put on an auction block.
9. A Church Split at Mother Bethel. Several disgruntled Bethelites regarding Allen's management style breakaway and form the 'Wesley Church'
10. Allen's political economy support of:
11. African Colonization (rebuked by his Bethel members who were staunchly anti-colonizers)
12. Haitian Emigration (Allen wanted freed blacks to emigrate to Haiti in hope of economic prosperity and political freedom).
13. WARD CHAPEL AME CHURCH, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI HOSTS FIRST EVER MIDWEST SOUTH DISTRICT CONFERENCE:
Kansas City, Mo, April 8-10, 2010: For the first time since the Midwest Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church consolidated from three presiding elder districts to just two, namely the Midwest South District and the Midwest North District, the newly formed Midwest South District, which encompasses AME Churches in both Kansas and Missouri from Kansas City to the Oklahoma border, held its first District Conference, under the capable leadership of Presiding Elder Steven A. Cousin Sr., April 8-10, 2010.
The host for this historic occasion was Ward Chapel AME Church in Kansas City, Mo, and the host pastor was The Rev. Roger D. Jackson. The theme, which guided the worship, reports and institute, lifted from 2 Corinthians 4:7, was “An Excellent Ministry.”
The Conference opened with worship on Thursday evening. As has become the custom of this team of presiding elders, Presiding Elder Donna F. Roberson of the Midwest North District preached the opening message entitled, “Watch Your Mouth” from Proverbs 18. Elder Roberson reminded us that “there is power in your words, so watch your mouth” and to consider four things before repeating information: “Is it true?”, “Is it complete?”, “Is it necessary?”, and “Is it kind?”
The Ward Chapel Choir took us to higher heights in worship through song, reminding us that “He Made the Difference” and that we serve a “God of a Second Chance.”
Following Roll Call of clergy and district stewards on Friday morning, the second day of the Midwest South District Conference was under-way with a conference institute presented by The Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Cousin Sr., pastor of Bethel AME Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the brother of Presiding Elder Cousin. Dr. Cousin related excellence in ministry with putting God first and being dedicated to offering excellent customer service.
Dr. Cousin is a graduate from Hampton University, Boston University School of Theology and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted that “People rate churches by what they experience and will come back when they have received quality service” and that “we insult God when we present less than excellence in music, preaching and friendliness.”
Dr. Cousin concluded the institute by leading us through the Vision (what we will become), Mission (why we are here) and Plan (how we will get there) of excellence in ministry to multiple standing ovations and shouts of “Glory, Hallelujah!”
That spirit of Excellence continued at the noon day Hour of Power worship experience as The Rev. Carieta Cain Grizzell, newly appointed pastor of Grant Chapel AME Church in Wichita, Ks preached us happy from the subject “Turn Your Mess into a Message” from the theme scripture, which was read by her husband, The Rev. Martin Grizzell, pastor of Myers Chapel AME Church, Great Bend, Ks. She reminded us that “God has entrusted us with His ministry in spite of our mess!”
That evening, the youth took charge of the worship service during youth night. Youth from across the district took part in the liturgy which featured the Ward Chapel Youth Choir who sang, “Remember, God is Standing By” and “Jesus is on the Main Line.” Also featured were the praise dancers from Allan Chapel AME Church of Kansas City, Ks and Ebenezer AME Church of Kansas City, Missouri.
The Youth Night preacher was our institute leader Dr. Cousin, who focused on our theme scripture, admonishing us that “It’s not about us.” Dr. Cousin re-emphasized to us that “Excellence in ministry is not about you, but it’s about God” and that “Every excellent thing in our lives comes from God.”
Youth night closed with an altar prayer being offered for the preachers and laity to be committed to excellence in ministry.
A gift of pew bibles was presented by the pastors of the district lead by Pastor Anthony Steele of St. Paul AME Church, Wichita, Ks. and Pastor Roger Jackson, to the pastoral team of Pastors Darlene and Adam Easley who pastor churches in Independence, Parsons, Coffeyville and Independence, Kansas.
District Stewards, Pastors, and component leaders from the Women’s Missionary Society and the Lay Organization were on hand throughout the District Conference to make reports on the work thus far this conference year and for the on-going work of the Church.
At the final hour of power on the last day, we ended where we began in excellence in worship and praise. Special music was presented by the gospel ensemble “Inspired” from Boonville, Mo. who sang “God Has Smiled on Me,” “Work on Me” and “(God said) He’ll Make Things Alright.”
The Rev. William Sheppard, pastor of St. Matthew’s Chapel in Boonville, Missouri preached us happy from Genesis 32:24-28, a sermon which proposed the provocative notion that “There is a Wrestling Match within God’s Church.” Pastor Sheppard admonished us against “wrestling over stuff we have no control” and concluded that “God is tired of the wrestling match going on in our churches.”
The spirit of excellence permeated throughout the District Conference from the sermons that were preached, to the reports that were given and the teaching that was received. The good people of Ward Chapel AME Church in Kansas City, Mo. under the leadership of Pastor Roger Jackson opened their doors and hearts to the Midwest South District Conference making all attendees feel at home.
In the wake of the Midwest South District Conference, under the leadership of a true pastors’ pastor Presiding Elder Steven A. Cousin Sr., we are on track to continue to purposely exhibit “An Excellent Ministry” for our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
14. PAIN AND DEVASTATION AT THE COURTHOUSE:
*The Rev. Gloria L. Sydnor Smith
As a trial lawyer, it is fun doing trial work. I get to meet new people through jury selection. I get to paint a picture during opening statements. I get to ask the tough questions to police officers. I get to do a lot of fun things. But it is not fun to witness the pain and devastation at the courthouse.
There is too much crime in the African American community. It looks like we hate each other. Instead of blaming the white man, we need to take a serious look at ourselves. It is black on black crime that not only kills but separates black people from each other. So instead of being a community based on love and cooperation, we have become a community based on hate and paranoia. This is very painful, and we need to help ourselves because the judicial system was not designed to help us. It is designed to resolve conflict, plain and simple. We will never find true justice in a judicial system. The first priority is clearing the docket, not justice. The system does not care about who’s right and who’s wrong. It only cares that the case is resolved, right or wrong. That’s why innocent people are incarcerated and why guilty people go free. True justice only comes from the Almighty and Eternal God. We can’t get justice anywhere else, no matter how hard or how long we try.
The judicial system attempts to provide for and be sensitive to everyone’s needs. Prosecutors are there to seek justice for the victim. The prosecutor’s office hires people to provide moral support to the victim and their families. Defense attorneys are there to represent the defendant and to make sure that his or her rights are protected. There is no one there to help the family members of the defendant. They did not do anything wrong, yet they are treated like they are the defendant. But for all the things that the judicial system attempts to provide, it falls short. Everyone is overworked because of all the violence and some people that work in the judicial system just don’t care. They don’t feel the pain because it is not happening to them.
There is plenty of pain to go around in the African American community and only one solution. We need to seek God with our whole hearts and truly turn all of this mess over to Him. There is no system that is greater than the Creator of the Universe. God loves justice (Psalm 11:7). Therefore, if we truly want justice, we will only find it by faith in Christ Jesus. And when that is done, what we will come to understand is that we need mercy more than we need justice. Lord, please have mercy on the African American community.
*The Rev. Gloria L. Sydnor Smith, Esq. is the pastor of Whitman Chapel AME Church in Belpre, Ohio
15. INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP IS STILL A HOT TOPIC IN THE AME CHURCH:
*John Thomas III
“Indigenous Leadership” continues to be a hot topic on the Connectional scene. There is no question that the AME Church took the right step in 2004 by making the bench of Bishops more culturally diverse. The election of three African Bishops was a beginning, not a solution, to addressing the issues of leadership and development in Districts 14-20.
The differences of opinion regarding “indigenous leadership” have become clearer since the watershed 2004 General Conference.
The predominant understanding of indigenous leadership is that persons from Districts 14-20 need to be elected to serve in Districts 14-20. This perception is borne out of years of issues regarding the quality of Episcopal oversight outside of the United States. The underlying assumption for this viewpoint is that an indigenous Bishop will be better able to supervise the work of the Church than a foreign-born Bishop. Many denominations have “indigenous leadership” and almost every denomination with the office of Bishop allows that office to be a local person either elected or appointed by the denomination.
The AME experiment in “indigenous leadership” through Bishops is frequently touted at Connectional meetings as a success and there is no doubt that the three “indigenous” Bishops have performed well. The current implementation of “indigenous leadership” has several structural conflicts which might make it untenable in the long-term. In the AME Church, Bishops may serve no more than two consecutive terms in a given District before being moved. That means that a Bishop may be “indigenous” (i.e. serve their home District) for no more than eight years. In 2012, we will be faced with the fact that the “indigenous” Bishops of Districts 14 and 17 must be moved because they have served eight years in their Districts. Some would argue that a Bishop elected from Districts 14-20 has a greater affinity for those areas than an American and would still be “indigenous” to an extent. (That is akin to believing that a Mexican can be Bishop in a Canadian Church because both countries are in North America). Our “indigenous” Bishops, deal with the same language and cultural barriers that our United States-born bishops have encountered due to the international character of their districts. For instance, an English speaking Bishop presides over the predominately French speaking 17th District. The Bishop of the 14th District presides over five different countries. The Bishop of the 15th District spent four years as the “non-indigenous” Bishop of the 20th District before being assigned to his homeland in 2008.
While having Bishops from Districts 14-20 is important, the issues affecting our churches in areas outside the United States cannot solely be resolved with “indigenous” Episcopal leadership. Because the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th Districts are composed of several different countries, the concept of “indigenous leadership” is relative. Most of the day to day decisions in Districts 14-20 are made by Presiding Elders and Lay leaders. While the Bishop is the ultimate authority, the lack of a strategy to nurture and support capable clergy and lay leadership outside the United States has contributed to the uneven development of the church. This is the “indigenous leadership” which we need to be concerned with. The problem is compounded when countries are divided into Annual Conference and/or Presiding Elder Districts with no clear national leader other than the Presiding Bishop. When an Annual Conference is a nation, a different approach must be used. The lack of such strategy has crippled the AME Church’s ability to deal with the political realities and structures of certain areas. For example, many of our nations do not have an AME office because the Episcopal District office is viewed as the Conference headquarters. This absence of national presence weakens the AME Church presence.
If the AME Church is truly serious about “indigenous leadership” for areas outside the United States, persons from the 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th Districts must be elevated to the Episcopacy as soon as possible, more Episcopal Districts are needed in Africa, and the eight year Episcopal term limit must be addressed. The current method of an American dominated General Conference electing and assigning Bishops also needs to be evaluated. The United Methodist Church and the AME Zion Church made similar adjustments to their governing structure without sacrificing their Connectional nature. Fully implementing “indigenous leadership” has the potential to strengthen the work of the Connectional Church. The process, however, must continue in a systematic and thoughtful fashion.
*John Thomas III is a Ph.D Candidate at the University of Chicago
16. WHEN WE GRIEVE:
*The Reverend Dr. Monica C. Jones
Matthew 7:24: Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Psalm 119:49-50: Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.
These Holy Words say better than any writer, what our Lord and Savior provides for us as we bid farewell to loved ones. We are human, and in our humanity we do not want to watch family members and friends die. Yet, as clergy and ministers of the Gospel, we, too, must shed tears while being a comfort to others.
As the Georgia Conference worshiped recently at the home going of a fallen member of the cloth in the Sixth Episcopal District, I watched solemnly as speaker after speaker spoke of the good works of this great pastor and the our Presiding Prelate, Bishop DeVeaux, gave words of encouragement. I listened to the beautiful songs of hope and pondered about the apparent finality of it all. I did not know Rev. Benson personally, but I stood with dozens of others in his honor and shared in the grief that could be felt so deeply. Periodically, my thoughts went to how fragile life can be as I remembered other home going services that were taking place on that same day around the AME Connection.
When death comes, whether unexpected or not, we feel the pain; however, when it is sudden, the shock can paralyze us. No words seem to help. We cry. We hurt. We grieve. And yet, the Psalmist declares to us, that in our distress, this is our comfort: The Lord’s promise gives us life!
When we grieve, we are being human. God expects us to cry. But if we are to truly be the Lord’s faithful children, carrying the banner, high, our grief must give way to gratitude – the gratitude in knowing that our God is still good, and when God calls our loved ones, they have passed on not to death, but from death to life. And so it is.
*The Reverend Dr. Monica C. Jones is the newly appointed pastor of Flipper Chapel AMEC in the Savannah District, Savannah, Georgia.
17. 2010 SOCIAL WORK CONGRESS WILL EXPLORE WAYS TO DEVELOP NEW GENERATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS:
Congress Will Engage Social Work Students and Up-and-Coming Social Work Leaders
WASHINGTON— The 2010 Social Work Congress will bring together 350 leaders in the social work profession to create a plan to develop the next generation of social workers and address issues that challenge the fast-growing social work profession.
The Congress, which is convened and supported by 12 social work organizations, will be held April 22-23 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. The event will also feature a briefing by members of the U.S. Congress who are social workers, a speech from Jared Bernstein, chief economist and economic policy advisor to Vice President Biden, and appearances by noted authors Daniel Brook and Kirstin Downey.
Co-conveners are the National Association of Social Workers, Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Deans and Directors of the Schools of Social Work, and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors.
“The social work profession is expected to grow faster than average over the next eight years and we must prepare a new generation of social workers to step into the roles and shoes of those of us who are retiring in the next decade,” said Elizabeth Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers.
“We are also facing huge social and economic upheaval so we will use the Congress to encourage leaders in our profession to step up and be heard,” Clark said. “That is why this year’s theme – ‘Reaffirm, Revisit and Re-imagine the Profession – is so fitting.”
The Congress will begin with participants looking at a “diagnostic statement” drafted by the co-convening organizations. They will then vote by group on a set of 10 imperatives to advance the profession.
A 2010 Student Social Work Congress will be held virtually in conjunction with the live Social Work Congress. The Student Social Work Congress will connect 400 social work students in classrooms around the nation. The colleges will be geographically dispersed and include classes from historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving universities. Students can view the general sessions and the final voting process. They will also chat with one another live, participate in polls, and vote on final imperatives.
NASW Assurance Services is the presenting sponsor. Event supporters include the Association of Oncology Social Work, the Association of Social Work Boards, Clinical Social Work Association, Association of Black Social Workers, National Network of Social Work Managers, Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, Society for Social Work and Research, and the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 150,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.
18. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS MOURNS THE LOSS OF SOCIAL WORK PIONEER AND CIVIL RIGHTS ICON DR. DOROTHY I. HEIGHT:
Pending National Social Work Reinvestment Bill is named in her honor
WASHINGTON—Today, the nation lost one of the foremost leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and the social work profession. Dr. Dorothy I. Height was a renowned civil rights leader and a vital force in the struggle for human rights and equality in the United States for more than half a century. She most recently presided as chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held for more than 40 years.
A proud social worker, Dr. Height earned her graduate degree at the New York University School of Social Work and began her career as a caseworker in the New York Welfare Department. Dr. Height went on to hold several leadership positions with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), where she led a national campaign to integrate all YWCA facilities.
Her tireless efforts on behalf of others exemplified the social work commitment to social justice and advocacy. In 2009, the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act was introduced into the 111th Congress by U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD) and U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns (NY). The bill would create a national commission to study the impact of social work interventions and fund social work training and research grants.
When the Social Work Reinvestment bill was introduced in Congress, Dr. Height said, “We take social work and social workers for granted. Social workers know firsthand what the issues are. We are prepared, but we also need support to keep contributing. What we need are more people with skill and commitment to help us deal with the nation’s problems and to help us move forward. The proposed Social Work Commission provides a way for us to do just that—move forward.”
“Words cannot express our sorrow in learning about Dr. Height’s death this morning, says Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers. “She, like pioneer social workers Jane Addams and Frances Perkins, made lasting change in the lives of thousands, while shaping some of the most important social shifts in American history.”
Dr. Height was mentored by some of the most accomplished women of the Progressive Era, including Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt. And she mentored many of the nation's most recognizable female leaders today, including Former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and poet laureate and author Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Height also remains the longest serving president (1947-1957) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an international public service organization.
The vast scope of Dr. Height’s many accomplishments has earned her repeated national recognition. In 1989, President Ronald Reagan presented her with the Citizens’ Medal Award and in 1997 President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded her with the Congressional Gold Medal and she was inducted into the Democracy Hall of Fame. Most recently, Dr. Height served as an advisor to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Dr. Height’s legacy will be celebrated by the social work profession later this week at the 2010 Social Work Congress (April 22-23). She is the recipient of NASW’s 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.
19. ECUMENICAL LEADERS RECALL DOROTHY I. HEIGHT AS A TIRELESS SUPPORTER OF CHURCH UNITY:
Washington, April 20, 2010 -- Dorothy I. Height, who began her activist career as a teenager marching in New York's Times Square shouting, "Stop the lynching," was remembered Tuesday as one of the last great voices of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Height, 98, who led the National Council of Negro Women for four decades and continued to speak out on justice issues in her 90s, died early today.
"We remember Dr. Height both as a civil rights leader and as a tireless champion of church unity," said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.
"History will not forget the contributions Dorothy Height made to the cause of freedom and justice," Kinnamon said. "We in the church will never forget the essential role her faith played in motivating her lifelong quest on behalf of persons of all ages, races and ethnicities. She knew that persons of faith can be an irresistible force for justice when we join hearts and hands, and she was a leader in that march throughout most of our lifetimes."
A United Methodist, Height was the first recipient in 2004 of the National Council of Churches J. Irwin Miller Award , named for one of the Council's lay presidents, Kinnamon noted.
Presenting the award was Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and NCC president in 2004.
"Friends, I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of the J. Irwin Miller Award than Dorothy Height," Hoyt said at the time. "She is a living legend in the movement for civil rights in this nation. She has dedicated herself to improving the quality of life for African-American women and children. She is known internationally for her work for human rights for all. The world is truly a better place because of the work and witness of Dr. Dorothy Irene Height.
"Dr. Height is also an unassuming and gracious woman of God. When you first see her, impeccably dressed from head to toe, with soft smile, and a twinkle in her eye, you would not imagine what a powerful woman she has become."
Height was also honored by Church Women United in 1999 as a recipient of the CWU Human Rights Award.
"Dr. Height was a tremendous supporter of Church Women United since our beginning in 1941," said Djamillah Samad, Church Women United national executive in New York.
Height and her friend Eleanor Roosevelt, then First Lady, saw the organization as an important witness for peace on the brink of the Second World War. "We are going to miss her greatly. It was through the leadership and guidance of women like Dr. Height that working with social justice issues from a Christian perspective became and remains the focus of CWU today,” Samad said.
In 1937, while she was working at the Harlem YWCA, Height met famed educator Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had come to speak at a meeting of Bethune's organization. Height eventually rose to leadership roles in both the council and the YWCA.
In 2006, National Council of Churches staff was invited to preview performances of a musical about the life of Dorothy Height, “If This Hat Could Talk." The "hat" referred to Height's wide-brimmed trademark hats that she wore throughout her life.
20. MINISTRY RESOURCES SHARED AT THE 13TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT MID-YEAR CONVOCATION HELD IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY:
Ms. Carolyn Cardwell, Instructional Technology Administrator at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary gave an outstanding presentation at the 13th Episcopal District’s Mid-Year Convocation on using technology to enhance ministry. Her presentation was absolutely awesome. The internet sites below provide excellent ministry resources. Ms. Caldwell’s superb PowerPoint presentation and other resources can be accessed by clicking on: http://www.slideshare.net/ccardwell/presentations, http://www.slideshare.net/ccardwell/preaching-teaching-and-leading-with-technology or putting the address in your browser.
Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie is the Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Cardwell’s presentation absolutely informative and I recommend other Episcopal Districts utilize her expertise. Take the time to review these websites and strongly recommend that you save these resources.
21. THE ELUSIVE TOMORROW:
*The Rev. N.T. Pitts
One of the most common and repetitive words that we hear every day is, “tomorrow.”
Frankly speaking, I have never seen a “tomorrow,” all I have ever seen is a today. How often have you heard these expressions; “I will see you tomorrow?”, “I will pay you tomorrow?”, “I will do it tomorrow?”, “I will return it tomorrow?”, or “I will call you tomorrow?”
Tomorrow, to some, is a hope for great expectations. Tomorrow, to others, is just a way of procrastinating. Tomorrow, to some, is a diversion or escape from the realities of today, and for others, tomorrow is just a dream.
There is an old adage “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you could do today.”
For some of us, tomorrow never comes. A singer named Ernest Tubb recorded the song, “But tomorrow never comes.” Many of us lose sight on opportunities of today by focusing too much on a tomorrow. We are always looking for something better tomorrow rather than making the best of today.
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. NRSV Pr. 27:1
Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4: 14 NRSV
Every day is a tomorrow. There are many who are waiting in anticipation for their “ship” to come in tomorrow. What they don’t realize is that there are times that the ship will not come in but moors out from the shore and we have to paddle our canoe out to the ship. Our canoe could well be our today. Our today is our yesterday’s tomorrow. Every day is a step toward something whether it is good or bad.
One of the criminals on a cross next to Jesus on Golgotha Hill made a request, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” NRSV Luke 23:42-43. Jesus didn’t say tomorrow; he said, today.
When the people brought the sick, lame and the insane to Jesus to be healed, he healed them on the same day; not once did he tell them to come back tomorrow.
Tomorrow can be, and is elusive. There is a song I used to hear sung in the church: “I’m going work until the day is done. Then cease from sorrow there be no tomorrow, I’m going to work until the day is done.”
I haven’t heard that song in years but it speaks of doing whatever there is to be done; do it today.
Procrastination is the seed of deterioration.
*The Rev. N.T. Pitts Ptaegar@AOL.Com, author, teacher, counselor, humorist, is a retired AME pastor who lives in Eatonville, Florida.
A safety tip for safety: “When there is a funeral or wedding in your family and you are at church, it is wise to get a “House sitter,” because there are those who will take advantage of your absence and your grief.
22. CLERGY FAMILY CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS:
- Ronald Nored, AME PK - Standout Basketball Player and Honor Student:
Congratulations to Ronald Nored, basketball star for Butler University, for his stellar performance and his leadership abilities. Ronald Nored is the son of the late Rev. Ronald Nored, who served as the pastor of Bethel AME Church in Ensley, Alabama and Attorney Linda Williams-Nored, and the grandson of Presiding Elder Leonard Williams (ret.) and Mrs. Delores L. Kennedy-Williams, 5th Connectional WMS President.
Related News Articles:
(Grandparents of Butler's Nored get their wish)
The "Schlabach: Father's memory inspires Butler's Nored" story is located at http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/tournament/2010/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=5056395
(Like his father, Nored is Butler's inspirational leader)
"Duke Blue Devils end Butler Bulldogs' run" by Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Congratulatory responses can be emailed to:
Ronald Nored (Butler's Basketball star) firstname.lastname@example.org
Atty. Linda Nored (Proud mother): Lwnored@aol.com
Proud grandmother - Mrs. Delores L. Kennedy-Williams): DeeKW@aol.com
Proud grandfather - Presiding Elder Leonard Williams (ret): email@example.com
- Christina Marie Dickerson, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of General Officer and Mrs. Dennis C. Dickerson, received a Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities Center Graduate Student Fellowship for the 2010-2011 academic year. She will be located at the Robert Penn Warren Center at Vanderbilt University completing her dissertation on "Diplomats, Soldiers, and Slaveholders: The Coulon de Villiers Family in New France, 1700-1763." She received the B.A. from Spelman College (magna cum laude & Phi Beta Kappa) and the M.A. from Vanderbilt University. She is an active member of Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Also, she is the daughter of Mrs. Mary A. E. Dickerson, Subscriptions Manager of The A.M.E. Church Review and Reverend Dennis C. Dickerson, Ph.D., Historiographer/Executive Director of the Department of Research & Scholarship of the AME Church.
Congratulatory responses can be emailed to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Reverend Dennis C. Dickerson, Ph.D.)
MaryDickerson@comcast.net (Mrs. Mary A. E. Dickerson)
-Graduation of Courtenay Ruth Paris:
Courtenay Ruth Paris is graduating MAGNA CUM LAUDE with a BBA (Accounting) from Southern Methodist University's (SMU) Cox School of Business. Courtenay plans to continue at SMU and earn the MBA and Certification in Accounting (CPA). She has been on the Honor Roll for four years. Courtenay subsidized much of the cost of her Education as a Church Musician, starting at the Bethel AME Church of Grandview, Texas during High School, and continuing with the Ascension Lutheran Church of Cleburne, Texas. She is the daughter of Retired Pastor, the Reverend Alton E. and Sara Fields Paris of Grandview, Texas. Courtenay will graduate on May 15, 2010.
Congratulatory responses can be emailed to:
The Reverend Alton (Al) Paris, retired African Methodist Episcopal Church Itinerant Elder
- Wedding - The Reverends Boykin and Mitchem:
Congratulatory wishes are in order for the Rev. DeLishia Andrea Boykin, pastor, Grant AME Church of Chesilhurst, New Jersey and the Rev. Kenneth Mitchem, pastor, Bethel AME Church of Asbury Park, New Jersey who will unite in marriage and ministry on May 1, 2010. This blessed event will take place at the historic landmark of our Zion, Mother Bethel AME Church of Philadelphia, PA. Congratulatory wishes may be made on www.mitchem2010.com or by emailing the couple at email@example.com
- Birth of Terrence Jermaine Cato II:
We congratulate the Reverends Terrence J. & Alice Cato on the birth of a son born on April 6, 2010 at 5:12 a.m., Terrence Jermaine Cato II! The younger brother to Miss Layla weighed in at 7 lbs 4 oz. Mother and son are doing well. Father and daughter have permanent smiles! The Reverend Terrence Cato most recently served Shorter Chapel AME Church in Paris, Kentucky, and the family, having recently moved to the Huntsville, Alabama area is in the process of transfer to the Ninth Episcopal District. Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie is Presiding Bishop of the Thirteenth Episcopal District; Bishop James Levert Davis is Presiding Bishop of the Ninth Episcopal District.
The Reverend Terrence J Cato
The Reverend Alice Cato
- Congratulations to President Madge White, 4th Episcopal District Lay President who was recently added to a very elite group of metro Detroiters who directly impact the economic success of the region's hospitality community. She is now a member of Presidents to Presidents in metro Detroit. The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB) is focusing its attention on hosting local presidents in the metro Detroit area to showcase the many jewels of their destination. They know if their local leadership is excited about the destination, the world will also be excited.
The featured president for the month of April is Madge White of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her tenacity, commitment and passion is why the 2011 Connectional Lay Meeting will be gracing Detroit and bringing over 4,000 attendees with direct spending of over $2,147,930. As newly appointed president, she moved mountains that could only be moved by an internal promoter who knew their organization inside and out. She called, emailed and approached key board members on many occasions regarding the need to have a meeting in Detroit. Her passion for the destination and her love for the AME church moved her to be relentless in recommending Detroit as the destination for the 2011 meeting. Our successful hosting of this convention will increase opportunities to host many more AME conventions in the future.
Madge is also an AME Minister's Spouse. Her husband, the Rev. LeRoy D. White, is an Itinerant Elder in the Michigan Annual Conference of the 4th Episcopal District, serving as an Institutional chaplain with the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Congratulations President Madge White!
Congratulatory responses can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Congratulations to the Reverend Karen Y. Carter, pastor of Shekinah Glory African Methodist Episcopal Church of the Louisville/Paducah District-West Kentucky Conference, Thirteenth Episcopal District, for being recognized by the Peter Biltmore Who's Who of Outstanding Business and Professional Leaders for the 2009/2010 year.
Congratulatory responses can be emailed to: email@example.com
23. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mrs. Mary J. Patterson, the mother of the Rev. Isaac N. Patterson IV, former Presiding Elder and pastor in the First Episcopal District, the Rev. Marie A. Patterson, an ordained itinerant and Chief Marshall of the First Episcopal District and the Rev. Edith Patterson-Payne, pastor of St. John AMEC in Conshohocken, Penna. (Philadelphia Conference, West District). Mrs. Patterson was the wife of the late Rev. Isaac N. Patterson III who served as a pastor in the Philadelphia Conference for many years. The late Bishop John D. Bright appointed Mrs. Mary J. Patterson as the first Conference Branch President of the Women's Missionary Society in the First Episcopal District. Mrs. Patterson was the mother of nineteen children.
The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.
Viewing and Funeral, Thursday, April 22, 2010
Viewing - 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Service - 11:00 a.m.
Mt. Pisgah AME Church
428 North 41st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Reverend Jay B. Broadnax, pastor
Interment will be at:
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
The Rev. Marie A. Patterson and Family
108 Lincoln Avenue
Yeadon, PA 19050
24. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mrs. Romona Johnson Wilborn, wife of the Reverend Isaac W. Wilborn, Jr. (Retired), former pastor of Campbell Chapel AMEC (Bluffton), South Carolina Conference, Seventh Episcopal District and mother of four (4) children: Lewis, Sharon W. Brown, Isaac III, and Lizzie W. Gandy. Mrs. Wilborn died Tuesday, April 13, 2010.
The funeral has been held.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to:
Shiloh AME Church “In Remembrance of Mrs. Romona Johnson Wilborn”
2902 Cleveland Street
Elloree, SC 29047
Phone: (803) 897-3491
Expressions of Sympathy and Condolences may be sent to:
The Reverend Isaac W. Wilborn, Jr. and Family
345 E. Hampton Street
Elloree, SC 29047
Phone: (803) 897-2569
25. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We are deeply saddened to announce the recent passing of the Reverend Bernard Benson, formally the pastor of Greater Saint James/Blackshear, Georgia of the Waycross District of the Georgia Annual Conference of the Sixth Episcopal District. Reverend Benson is survived by his wife, Mrs. Shirley Benson, and three children.
The funeral has been held.
Condolences may be sent to:
Mrs. Shirley Benson
1009 Reed Street
Waycross, GA 31516
26. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Mr. Bernard Brown, the uncle of the Reverend Dr. Eric L. Brown (Margo Brown), Presiding Elder of the Allegheny/Scranton District-Pittsburgh Conference passed away Wednesday, April 20, 2010, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Service arrangements for Mr. Bernard Brown are as follows:
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Viewing: 11:00 - 12:00 Noon
Homegoing Celebration: 12:00 Noon
Mt. Carmel Baptist Church
800 Cabell Street
Lynchburg, VA 24505
Messages of sympathy can be sent to:
The Rev. Dr. Eric L. Brown
P.O. Box 17063
Pittsburgh, PA 15235
The Brown Family
951 Cabell Street
Lynchburg, VA 24501
27. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mr. Charles Bell, brother of the Rev. Dennis Bell, pastor of St. Stephen AME Church, Leesburg, Florida. He is survived by his wife, Lillieth "Pat" Bell, 6 children, 9 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, 7 brothers and sisters and a host of other relatives.
The funeral has been held.
Condolences and cards may be sent to:
The Rev. Dennis Bell and Family
P.O. Box 5481
Titusville, FL 32783
28. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to share news of the passing of the Rev. Huie T. Cunningham, a retired Itinerant Elder who served faithfully in the former Kansas-Nebraska Annual Conference of the Fifth Episcopal District. The following information is shared concerning the eulogistic services for the Rev. Huie T. Cunningham, the spouse of Sister Thelma J. Cunningham, president of the Midwest Conference WMS.
The funeral has been held.
Condolences can be sent to:
Mrs. Thelma J. Cunningham
636 N 62nd Place
Kansas City, KS 66102-3185
Phone: (913) 334-3821
29. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to share news of the passing of Priscilla Soares, the sister of Mrs. Yvonne Walker, first lady of Turner Memorial AME Church, Hyattsville, Maryland, where the Rev. Darryl Walker serves as pastor. Funeral services for Priscilla Soares were held at the Holy Trinity AME Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Mrs. Yvonne Walker
813 Johnson Grove Lane
Bowie, Maryland 20721
Fax number (301) 249-6280
30. CONNECTIONAL OFFICER FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Ernest Frank Dupont, Sr., the oldest brother of Mrs. Jackie DuPont Walker, Consultant/Director of the Social Action Commission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Wife - Elouise Lawson Dupont (childhood sweetheart)
Children - Patricia Dupont-Norton (Larry), Ernest F. Dupont, Jr. (Rochelle) and Sonya Dupont Giles (Anthony)
Surviving siblings - Huette Aurestine Dupont-Higgs (Cecil), Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker (Buford); preceded in death, two brothers - Nathaniel & Thedford Dupont
Parents - The late Rev. King Solomon Dupont (former Presiding Elder in 11th Episcopal District) & the late Mrs. Lillie Ford Dupont
The funeral has been held.
Condolences should be sent to:
The Family of Ernest F. Dupont, Sr.
c/o Mrs. Elouise Dupont
1224 Dover Road
Havana, Florida 32333-5968
Expressions of sympathy may also be emailed to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jackie Dupont-Walker)
Additional contact information for Mrs. Jackie DuPont Walker:
1621 Wellington Road
Los Angeles, California 90019
(323) 734-7856 - Home
(323) 734-5003 - FAX
31. CLERGY FAMILY AND GENERAL OFFICER FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mrs. Connie Sydnor, the mother of Mrs. Wanda Sydnor Smith, wife of the Rev. Stanley Gordon Smith, pastor of Bethel AMEC in Copiague, New York (New York Conference, Jamaica/Long Island District) and the cousin-in-law of Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor, III, Editor of The Christian Recorder, and Rev. Dr. Charlotte B. Sydnor. Mrs. Connie Sydnor was the wife of Mr. George Sydnor, (World Record holder for the indoor Collegiate 60 yard dash) and the following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.
The funeral has been held.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Mr. George Sydnor
224 Williams Road
Rosemont, PA 19010
Mrs. Wanda Smith (The Rev. Stan Smith)
307 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
Mrs. Wanda Smith (The Rev. Stan Smith)
1 Arthur Street
Copiague, NY 11726
32. GENERAL OFFICER BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We are saddened to announce the passing of Mr. Timothy Sydnor, age 45, the youngest brother of Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder and brother-in-law of the Rev. Dr. Charlotte B. Sydnor, Pastor of Shorter Chapel AME Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Timothy Sydnor was the son of the Mrs. Harriet Sydnor and the late Mr. Calvin H. Sydnor, Jr. of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Timothy died as a result of a household accident in his home in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. He died Sunday, April 4, 2010 and because his accident happened when no one was at home, an autopsy was necessary. Timothy and his wife Glenda have one daughter, Ashley. Timothy Sydnor was a member of Bethel AME Church, 50 South Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010, where the Rev. Carlos Bounds is the pastor. The Right Rev. Richard Norris is the presiding prelate of the 1st Episcopal District. Timothy is survived by four sisters, two brothers and a host of relatives.
The funeral has been held.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Mrs. Glenda Sydnor
69 Holland Ave.
Ardmore, PA 19003
Telephone: 610 642-7690
Mrs. Harriet Sydnor
701 Preston Ave
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Telephone: 610 527-7094
Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III
33. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Please keep Evangelist Jackie Ross-Roy, member of Bethel A.M.E. Church – Dallas and the Executive Assistant to the Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram in your prayers during her hour of bereavement.
The home going service for her father, Orbie Ross was held on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. at Unity AME Church, 466 Columbia Road 38, Magnolia, AR 71753, Telephone (870) 234-3766.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting all donations to be made in memory of their father and mailed to:
Unity AME Church
466 Columbia Road 38
Magnolia, Arkansas 71753
Condolences and cards may be sent to:
Evangelist Jackie Ross-Roy
221 Rainsong Drive
Cedar Hill, TX 75104
Or email: email@example.com
34. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mrs. Frances W. Scott, mother-in-law of the Rev. Lawrence Gantt, pastor of Greater Bethel AME Church in Panama City, Florida and the mother of Mrs. Irma J. Gantt, first lady of Greater Bethel AMEC.
Mrs. Frances W. Scott is also the mother of Mrs. Gay Speights, member of Allen Chapel AME Church, Lynn Haven, Florida; Mr. Bryan L. Scott, member of Prince Chapel AME Church, Tucson, AZ, and Mrs. Jeanette S. Hite and Mrs. Felecia Scott, members of Campbell AME Church, Washington, DC.
The funeral has been held.
Condolences and expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
The Rev. and Mrs. Lawrence Gantt and Family
1020 Colorado Avenue
Lynn Haven, Florida 32444
Phone: (850) 271-9574
Or family members may be reached at: (850) 265-2480
Condolences may be emailed to:
35. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to share news of the passing of Deaconess Mattie Powell, the mother of the Rev. Virginia Moore-Grandberry, (supernumerary minister) South District-Chicago Conference, 4th Episcopal District.
Services for Deaconess Mattie Powell:
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wake 10:00 am
Funeral 11:00 am
Arnett Chapel AME Church
11218 South Bishop Street
Chicago, IL 60643
The Rev. Gerry S. Moore, Pastor
Professional services provided by:
Noble Funeral Home
8158 S Exchange Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60617
Expressions of sympathy may be mailed to:
The Rev. Virginia Moore-Grandberry
18711 Cedar Avenue
Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5625
36. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
The Clergy Family Information Center
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, Chair
Commission on Social Action
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Web page: http://www.amecfic.org/
Phone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Phone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
Cell: (615) 403-7751
37. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend Richard Franklin Norris; 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.