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 – Since 1852


Mother's Day - May 8, 2011

- Pentecost Sunday: June 12, 2011


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

This week has been a busy week. I lost two days from The Christian Recorder because I gave the keynote address for the Fisk University’s Faculty Institute that was held at Belmont University. The Faculty Institute featured presentations from members of the Sloan Consortium, an international organization devoted to online education and for assisting academic institutions, K-12; and colleges and universities, to include graduate institutions of all disciplines, implement online programs.

Another time-taker was guitar practice. Some of my friends and colleagues know that I am taking guitar lessons. I have written editorials about members of the clergy taking care of themselves and setting aside “me-time.” I started taking guitar lessons as a “me-time” activity in January; and I have already played the guitar twice during our worship service. I am enjoying learning to play the guitar; it’s something I have wanted to do for a long time. Guitar practice has taken some of my time this week.

A third activity that has taken time this week was precipitated by Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, and Supervisor Stan McKenzie who got on me because I hadn’t gotten an iPad; and correctly pointed out that they were surprised that I wasn’t keeping up with technology. They were absolutely correct in chastising me. I thanked them for “lighting a fire under me” because I was being lackadaisical. So this week I went and purchased iPads for me and my wife, Dr. Charlotte; and oh, by the way, I went with Dr. Johnny Barbour, who also purchased and iPad. .

So this past week has been busy.

And, as busy as the week has been, I had to change my editorial, “The Mistakes Made by Presiding Elders” because of several significant events.

One event can be recognized as “significant.” The other event is significant because it is a recurring problem that we have addressed numerous times in TCR but I am afraid that people are not recognizing how important it is.

Let me begin with the recognizable “significant” event.

Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday evening and a couple of days later, President Barack Obama issued a White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden, which was sent out as the TCR News Break.

We received a number of positive and negative comments about that news break. Editors and publishers are always happy with reader responses, positive or negative, because it is an indication that people are reading the publication. The positive comments need no comment.

The negative comments were critical of my response to a person who took umbrage with the TCR News Break (And, if you are not subscribed to TCR Online, you were not privy to the conversation. Several of the letters are published as Letters to the Editor in this issue). It also seems that some persons were critical of the celebrations around the United States that was reported in the secular press.

Americans and others celebrated the demise of Osama bin Laden because he was responsible for deaths of so many Americans and other persons around the world. He declared war on America and other free nations. I don’t know how people celebrated, or in what context. I do understand that there is a difference between celebrating the death of an enemy in combat and celebrating murder. When I was in a combat environment, I certainly understood that somebody had to die and I was hoping that it would not be me or any of our fellow soldiers. So by default, I was hoping that the enemy would be killed; I don’t apologize for that. I don’t like war and I wish that we could all live in peace. Unfortunately, that is not reality. I can emphatically say that I am proud to be an American and I am elated when we are victorious over our enemies. I was, and am elated when good is victorious over evil as I was when Apartheid was crushed in South Africa. I was saddened with our brothers and sisters were murdered in the townships and I celebrated their independence and the election of Nelson Mandela as President.

Here is my response to those who were critical of the TCR News Break: White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden

“I receive your comments and appreciate your perspective about the TCR News Break - White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden. I am sorry you were offended, but I must tell you that I am perplexed because I wonder how you can read the Bible without feeling that many of its passages are in bad taste. I imagine that you might just skip right over Exodus, Deuteronomy, Judges, I and II Kings I and II Chronicles, Esther, et. al., where God told the Israelites to totally destroy the Canaanites and there other enemies. The General Epistles of Peter and John forbade Christians in the family of Christ to even “eat with the anti-Christ.” My friend, you must stay in a state of bad taste.

I was a soldier in the United States Army for 28-years and I am sure that my take on enemies of the state are different from your take; you are certainly entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine.

The bottom-line, Osama bin laden was an enemy of the state and a legitimate military target. And those who supported him and who advocate killing Americans are legitimate military targets.

Always great to hear from you and TCR welcomes divergent views. I suspect that our readers and subscribers have different opinions about many things and that’s a good thing. You and other readers are not expected to agree with everything that is printed in The Christian Recorder.

I welcome you to write an op-ed; there are probably others who might agree with you and would appreciate your point of view.”

The other “significant” event that doesn’t appear to be “significant” in the minds of many of our readers is the issue of protecting email identities.

We AMEs have a lot email traffic; more people are utilizing email and technology. I see a significant increase in the use of technology in the AME Church since 2004 when I was elected as the 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder, but, I am afraid that some of us are getting careless.

Yesterday, May 7, I received a message that looked like it came from Bishop E. Earl McCloud’s email address. The message allegedly from Bishop McCloud said: “I don't mean to inconvenience you right now, I made a trip to England and I misplaced my luggage that contains my passport and credit cards. I know this may sound odd but it all happened very fast. I need to get a new passport and a ticket, but I'm short of funds. Please, can you lend me some funds to get a ticket? I will pay you back. Please respond as soon as you get this message, so I can forward you my details to send funds to me, OR you can drop a message via the hotel's desk phone if you can. The number is, 011447045787131 or +447045787131. I await your response.”

The email was delivered with Bishop McCloud’s email address and it looked authentic. But let me say here, “Any message, as this one, you receive should not be responded to; DELETE it!

I am concerned because I receive messages every week or so from someone’s email address that I know and I know that many of you have received those types of messages.

Email messages get compromised because people send, reply and forward email messages with all of the email addresses exposed! We should not forward email messages with all of the email addresses in the “To” line or within the body of the message; and I want emphasize “within the body of the email message.

Appended below is the statement that I include with all of the personal email messages I send; and you are encouraged to copy it and send it out with all of your messages and maybe we will be victorious over the “bad guys and gals” who are trying to take advantage of us.

Here is the statement that is a part of my signature block in every message I send:

Note: I put all multiple addressees in "Bcc" format and delete all previous addresses. Please do the same to prevent Spamming. If you forward this email, please delete the forwarding history which includes my email address. It is a courtesy to me and others who may not wish to have their email address sent all over the world. Erasing the history prevents spammers from mining addresses and prevents viruses.
Another rule: If you send a message with multiple addressees, just send the message Bcc; and in that way, everyone is protected.

Back to Bishop McCloud. I received this message from him this morning from Bishop McCloud: “A number of people have received an email saying I am stranded in Wales or England. It's a scam. I am fine. Thanks. I am in Cape Town.

Editor’s Note: Bishop McCloud didn’t say this, but I am sure that he would not disagree. If you want to help the 15th Episcopal District; don’t send the money to the people who sent the bogus email; send your donation to Bishop E. Earl McCloud’s Office, P. O. Box 310043, Atlanta, GA 31131-0043.

Folks, this is a real problem, and it is all of our responsibility to protect each other. Believe it or not, some people will send money and the bad people will win.

If you have money to give away there are AME projects all over the world that can use your donation.


*Dr. Joseph Darby

Too many people stop learning and stop growing. It’s important for African Methodists, young and old, clergy and laity to continue to learn and grow.

The Mount Pleasant District Church School Convention will be held on Saturday, May 14 at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw, South Carolina. The Church School Convention is an event required by the positive law of the AME Church that lifts up the importance of Christian education, and is open to those in and beyond the churches of the Mount Pleasant District.

Morris Brown will have a decent number of attendees, but some who could be there will pass on doing so. Many people ask why there's a need for such events in a time when most churches have local Christian education activities, what's the benefit of taking the time on a busy Saturday to bother, and why the AME Church seems to have so many meetings. Good questions deserve good answers, and this is a good place to provide them.

What used to be called the "Sunday School Convention" was instituted in a time when many local churches didn't have the personnel or resources to adequately provide faith related learning opportunities. Churches came together at the Presiding Elder District level so that those in stronger churches with the skill or resources could share them and enable smaller churches to replicate them.

Although the resource landscape has changed, the Church School Convention is still a worthy pursuit. The name change from "Sunday School" to "Church School" was made to emphasize that learning more about who we are and whose we are is a lifelong experience. Christian Education equips us to be more effective in what we do to work in the church, to carry the Good News and to make disciples. It also gives us a greater appreciation for what it means to be a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As the old saying goes, you can't teach what you don't know and you can't lead where you won't go.

It does take time and effort to attend, but the time and effort are well spent, especially for those in our church family. One of my longstanding pastoral requirements for Stewards and Trustees of the church is that they attend at least one meeting beyond the local church level in each church year, and I encourage other members to do so as well - local clergy are obligated to do so.

I make that requirement because church leadership requires knowledge of the church beyond the local church level. It's easy to talk about what needs to be "fixed" in the AME church, but trying to fix it without knowing the church is like trying to fix a malfunctioning car with no knowledge of auto repair. Knowing how then church functions beyond the local church level allows members to make meaningful change at higher levels of the church, and that knowledge best comes by attendance and involvement.

I make that requirement because it's easy for those in a large church like Morris Brown to come down with a case of "big church syndrome" from never reaching out and from thinking that no church offers what their church offers. Going to meetings that bring a fresh perspective and learning what's working in other churches helps each church to grow and broadens horizons with new possibilities.

The many meetings of the AME Church are informative, and are also rich sources of fellowship. That fellowship builds and appreciation for the strength and diversity of our Zion and makes it easier for well intentioned AME's of like mind to take concerted action. The church will change for the better when knowledgeable clergy and laity work together to make that happen.

I hope to see a solid turnout of Morris Brown members at the Church School Convention and at other AME events beyond the local church level. I especially hope to see those who either claim or aspire to be "leaders" of the church, for leadership is more than where you sit on Sunday or what you say in meetings - leadership is what you do.

**Dr. Joseph Darby is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina


- To the Editor:

RE: TCR News Break, White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden

I just want to let you know that I find this TCR News Break to be in bad taste. We must never celebrate death, even that of opponents.

I understand that many American AME clergy are, or may have been U.S. soldiers, but this is a Connectional Church with an international audience and membership.

I find the article to be in bad taste because your repeated coverage of American Foreign Policy is a matter of "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder." The Christian Recorder must resist the temptation of becoming the mouthpiece and reflector of American Government, even if the President is of colour. Our constituency is diverse in the AME Church and we do not share same secular political sentiments all over the Connection.

Be blessed

The Rev Willem Simon Hanse, Presiding Elder
15th Episcopal District: Angola, Namibia, Kalahari, Eastern Cape, Queenstown and Cape Conferences

- To the Editor:

RE: TCR News Break, White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden

We must protect our borders, our people and our freedom at all cost!

Jo Lee Brooks

- To the Editor:

RE: TCR News Break, White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden

I am a lay AME church member abroad and am dismayed by the position you have taken on targeted assassination. The view you have taken is contrary to the long held peace position of the Black Church as expressed by our ancestors.

I'm going to lay down my sword and shield
Down by the Riverside
I'm not gonna study war no more!

In August of this year we will honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy of peace and social justice in Washington D.C. Martin took the radical position of Jesus Christ that we should love our enemies. I believe that even Osama ben Laden is/was a child of God and can be saved like Saul who was a murderer of many.

Lastly the church should not conform itself to this world but instead seek to reflect the values of Jesus. The AME church should be a prophetic voice calling for a new heaven and a new earth based upon our heavenly vision.

If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now!

I refer you to the NCC statement relative to Osama bin Laden signed by A.M.E. Bishop John F. White, Sr.

“Osama Bin Laden is dead. Just as Christians must condemn the violence of terrorism, let us be clear that we do not celebrate loss of life under any circumstances. The NCC's 37 member communions believe the ultimate justice for this man's soul -- or any soul -- is in the hands of God. In this historic moment, let us turn to a future that embraces God's call to be peacemakers, pursuers of justice and loving neighbors to all people.”


Larry Mobley, J.D.

- To the Editor:

RE: TCR News Break, White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden

To a proud Soldier - From a proud Airman

Having served three tours in Iraq providing ministry to our fellow service members in harm's way. I must admit that I was surprised and ambivalent in regards to the President's announcement concerning the death of Osama Bin Laden.

I was surprised because I didn't expect to hear he was killed. Secondly, ambivalent because I am asking what does this mean for the future of the War on Terrorism.

I have difficulty celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death, but see it as a major turning point in my family life and others who are routinely separated from their families. Finally, I always remember that I am serving America, its National interests and the AME church founded in the USA.

Whether a person supports America's objectives or not, please remember that it was America, specifically religious freedom in America that enabled Bishop Allen and his delegation to provide us with this great Zion and the ability to expand in Africa and parts of India.

The Rev. Shawn Menchion, Chaplain, Major Select, United States Air Force

- To the Editor:

RE: TCR News Break, White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden

I regret some have taken offense to the TCR News Break: White House Statement: The Capture and Killing of Osama bin Laden. I feel that the statement had to be released do to the fact that what was done had to be done in the best interest of the people in the United States and abroad. I rejoice in the fact that our President, Barack Obama did not just go at this task blindly and harm others unnecessarily, but caught Osama bin Laden, the rightful one to be punished. It is apparent that Osama bin Laden cared about no one but himself as evidenced that he may have used his wife as a shield. The Bible is replete with accounts of God's destroying and allowing destruction of Israel, Assyria, Babylon, and Jerusalem for their sins. The destruction of 911 which was orchestrated by Osama bin Laden was an act of sin and that type leadership cannot, and will not be tolerated.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Hallelujah and Amen!

Billie D. Irving
Lifetime AME Church Member

- To the Editor:

RE: "A Time to Evaluate Third Episcopal District Midyear Educational Symposium

Through thought-provoking and poignant prose, Dr. Coleman Williams lays bare the triumphs and tribulations of the AME Church foray into higher education. Her comment on AMEs being a "sentimental people" is especially true and cutting. Will our leadership make the difficult decisions necessary to safeguard the future of our institutions? Or will we continue to blindly lurch about until all that remains are empty campus buildings and nostalgic alumni associations?

While there is "good" news from Paul Quinn College and Morris Brown, the Connectional Church should not mistake end point gasps for new signs of growth and life. The combined enrollment for all five AME undergraduate institutions of education is less than 2500 with Wilberforce University and Allen University accounting for the lion's share. Those who sat in the 2010 meeting of the General Board Commission on Seminaries, Universities, Colleges and Schools and listened to the report of the US Department of Education on the status of AME schools heard the dire predictions for the future of all of the schools should immediate reform not take place. The AME Church cannot maintain the current number of schools at levels of academic excellence and we must seriously ponder closures and mergers. The Review Committee empanelled by Bishop John White is a good place to start.

Dr. Coleman Williams in her sage wisdom reminds us that while we have much to be proud of, we cannot rest on our laurels and must be proactive regarding the difficult choices ahead. Time will tell if we heed her advice or if all that remains of our educational enterprise will be the bitter memories of lost opportunities to make a difference.

John Thomas III
13th Episcopal District
Member of the General Board


The Rev. Andrew Dawkins

“Joy is Flowing like A River” in the Montgomery-Selma District of the Alabama River Region Conference.

It was a wonderful and glorious day as I drove to The Alabama River Region, Montgomery-Selma District Conference, being held at Ward Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Prattville, Alabama, on March 25 – 26, 2011. The Pastor, the Rev. Thomas Franklin, acknowledged my presence with a broad smile as he energetically bounced out of his car. I was a bit early and was able to comfortably watch from my car the conferees as they drove in; it appeared each had a smile of great expectation. I know I expected great things as a result of the grand occasion shared at last year’s Presiding Elder’s District Conference.

The conference opened on time, as Presiding Elder Albert Hyche met with the pastors to share pastoral concerns. Presiding Elder Hyche opened with compliments and “thank you(s)” for the presence of the pastors. The Presiding Elder, with a professorial approach, urged pastors to be ambitious in our presence throughout the connection of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His opening questions to the pastors: “Where do you want to go?”; “Who do you know?”; “Who knows you?” - Appropriate questions to a group of young and old African Methodist Episcopal Church pastors, don’t you think? The point being, we are a connectional church; we must become connected to fulfill our expectations in this Zion. Presiding Elder Hyche told us that pastors of the African Methodist Episcopal Church are expected to have aspirations and a desire to become spiritually dedicated and connected leaders. Presiding Elder Hyche, in his masterful, compassionate manner, stated he would like to see some connectional leadership arise out of the Alabama River Region Conference, Montgomery - Selma District. He made several experiential observations leading toward character building and spiritual growth for aspiring leaders. “We must travel throughout the conference and the Episcopal District”, says Presiding Elder Hyche, “gleaning information and wisdom for spiritual growth.”

This was a most amazing gathering of conferees. All age groups were present with eagerness to work and learn about the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Our leaders and planners had done an excellent job in preparation.

Remember all of those registration problems some conferences have? Thanks to the wonderful coordinating of the Montgomery-Selma District Registrars, Sisters Melinda Page and Ruby Martin, all went well and I must say Attorney Yvonne Saxon, Director of Christian Education, was at the top again. Now you must ask why I am so excited about this great event in the Montgomery-Selma District at this point in 2011? This was not just a district conference; this was a learning and fellowship extravaganza designed that we all may learn and experience God’s plan for the laborers in the field!

Speaking of laborers in the field - there is no better, dedicated, conscientious, spirit- filled compassionate, skilled, organized and focused candidate for Women’s Missionary Society Editor for the connectional African Methodist Episcopal Church than Ms. Ida Tyree Hyche. Pass it on, we will.

After the organization of the conference, conferees were instructed and directed to the venues for the various clinics and workshops: Teens led by Sister Valtoria Jackson with training in “Know Your Church”; Mrs. Ann Clemons, coordinator of the youth oratorical contest, worked with several young people participating in orations; Mrs. Cathy Scott led the minister’s spouses in sharing “The Responsibilities of Minister’ spouses.” The workshops and clinics were successful and well attended by conferees.

The members of the Alabama River Region Conference, Montgomery - Selma District Conference did not just attend; the membership was interactive with all aspects of training and worship, filled with questions and giving feedback. You ask why the excitement? The power of the Spirit was available throughout the gathering because the expectations and energy of the leadership (Presiding Elder and Mrs. Hyche), and the District leadership staff filled the air causing great expectations and joy to flow to the followers.

Friday evening, March 25, 2011 “something got ahold” of the church as Rev. Burney Mitchell, pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Sylacauga, stepped forward to the pulpit with a glare of the Holy Spirit and God gave her a testimonial message for the people. From the book of Joshua 6: 2 – 6, there came the Word of God even as she announced her subject ”Let’s Confuse the Devil.” I tell you the Sister confused the Devil and infused the congregation to burning hearts, blood warm clapping hands. The message hit the hearts of the people of spiritual pain. The message gave hope and increased faith creating a deeper hope for courage and confidence. It was “I just cannot be still.” Glory be to the God of mankind in time of distress! I believe the Devil left with tears. After the invitation to discipleship, there was the call of remembrance...meekly kneeling, the celebration of Holy Communion, a song of fellowship, benediction, a blessing for the blessed.

Saturday, the day of closing, the conference was still in high gear. Saturday is the day for training leaders of tomorrow, our Allen Christian Fellowship. The pre-teen, teens and senior high young people were in good numbers and ready for a day of growth, with mentoring as they received instruction from Sister Valtoria Jackson discussing “What the AME Church means to you.” In another portion of the edifice young people were being encouraged for the oratorical competition. Mrs. Hardenia Childrey gave a presentation on health emphasizing foods and diet and obesity. I must note the conference was very attentive to the presentation as they utilized the question and answer session.

As our celebration of learning, training and competition came to an end, it was time for praise, thanksgiving and glorification of God our Father, fostered through morning worship. To close out the Alabama River Region, Montgomery - Selma District Conference, Presiding Elder Hyche chose the Rev. Harlan Bailey, Grant Chapel AME Church, Calera. The Rev. Harlan Bailey, tall in stature, stepped forth with a smile of commitment focused on the word from Genesis 37:1 – 11; 50:20; announced the subject “Doing Good in Difficult Times”. As the pastor calmly spoke from his heart, focusing on the congregation with deliberate expressions of reverence for the Word, with thoughts of our present-day individual situations, the doors of our hearts were opened to personal revelations of what God can and will do for those who have faith and trust in His word. The Rev. Bailey mesmerized the spirits of many and delivered a resurgence of hope in others. We were blessed. The people were on their feet in agreement with the Word, spoken.

Before leaving and in appreciation of their presence and participation, Presiding Elder Hyche, Mrs. Ida Tyree Hyche, Attorney Yvonne Saxon, Mrs. Ann Clemons, and others presented first, second and third place trophies to the churches with the largest registration, medallions to the oratorical contest winners and special presentations to the oratorical contest judges. Such happy faces among our Allen Christian Fellowship!

The jewel of the weekend was to see the exemplary pastor and spouse working together; expressing their devotion to the ministry of the Montgomery - Selma District, being a good example for those of us who are followers. Presiding Elder Albert H. Hyche and his spouse, Ms. Ida Tyree Hyche, without spoken word, spiritually saying godliness is forever.

*Ida Tyree Hyche, Esq., District Coordinator of Programs described the Reverend Andrew Dawkins, as an extraordinary pastor and says, while he is 80 years old, this “young man” is still so vibrant and is an active writer with a brilliant mind.”


Reporter – Josie Pitts Shropshire

WOW! Rev. David James Campbell and Mrs. Genevia Campbell, our trailblazers will lead our district to higher height. WOW! The Pastors, officers, members and especially the young people filled the Mt. Everett A.M.E. Church on November 13, 2010 for our Planning Meeting

WOW! Rev. Troy Grimes and the Mt. Everett A.M.E. Church family hosted the meeting in an excellence way.

WOW! Presiding Elder David James Campbell thank God for the blessing and the privilege to preside over the Western New Orleans-Baton Rouge District. The best and greatest district of them all.

WOW! For Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry for giving Presiding Elder and Mrs. Genevia Campbell the opportunity to serve one more year as our servant leaders whom we love dearly.

WOW! Presiding Elder David James Campbell shared his sense of purpose for our district. He stated that his is praying that we be unified as we set forth our goal to be more Jesus committed.

WOW! He is praying for the new work to become a reality led on by Rev. Orin Blouin.

WOW! He expect that excellent will put down disagreement, disrespect and that spiritual joy will take its place.

WOW! Rev. Thomas B. Brown, Jr. requested that we surround Rev. and Mrs. David James Campbell and lay hands on them and pray.

WOW! Brother Leonard Gauthier prayed a powerful prayer for our leaders.

WOW! Our theme is “Always Moving toward Excellence in Jesus”

WOW! Let’s pull together and proceed on to more Excellence


Congratulations to Jordan Ruguaru!

Fourth-grader, Jordan is a member of Bethel AME Church in Memphis, Tennessee where the Rev. Barbara Green is the pastor. Jordan attends White Station Elementary in Memphis and participated in the All-City Chorus 2011 Concert at the Cannon Center on Thursday May 5th. He performed with the Choir singing songs representing different cultures around the world and was a featured soloist on snare percussion (drum).

See Jordan on YouTube on the following Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqTne5WIRWY , singing & performing with Li'l Bro.

Thanks to Mom, the Rev Kim Ruguaru and the Rev. Barbara Green for sharing the "birth of a new star" for the Lord - Jordan Rocks!


One of the oldest active members of Bethel AME Church in Portland, Oregon is Mrs. Minnie Belle Johnson, who is 93 years old and Bethel AME was founded just 29 years before she was born and she has attended Bethel for 71 years. She has seen pastors come and go. The Rev. Donna M. Davis is the present pastor.

Mrs. Minnie Belle Johnson is a beloved, faithful life-long member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a blessing to the congregation and the Portland community.

Mrs. Johnson was born to parents who were members of St. James AME Church, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was born on October 12, 1917, in St. Louis, Missouri and was educated in the segregated school system of St. Louis. She married Mr. Aldridge Johnson and they had two daughters, Harriet and Joan; and they moved to Portland, Oregon in 1940. In 1953 she and Mr. Johnson were blessed to have a son; they named him Howard.

When Mrs. Johnson came to Portland in 1940, the community in which she lived was near the only church she would ever be a member, Bethel AME Church. She started working in the church immediately.

The historic church was located on North Larvae and McMillan was demolished in 1958 for the urban renewal project of building the Memorial Coliseum. In 1959, under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. Harley Akers, Mrs. Johnson, then a member of the trustee board signed her name, along with several other faithful members, on the loan to purchase the new Bethel AME Church that was to be located on the corner of 8th and N.E. Jarrett St. She “stepped up to the plate” with a few others to insure that the new church was going to be built and it is the facility that the congregation occupies today.

Mrs. Johnson has been under the leadership of 14 pastors since 1940 and she is still supporting the church with her tithes, talent, and time in kingdom building for our Lord.

Mrs. Johnson is a well-known Christian role model, not only in our local church, but she is also well-known in the community and has “worn many hats,” on other levels as well; including our Pacific Northwest Annual Conference and the Fifth Episcopal District. She has also been elected a delegate many times to the AMEC General Conference.

Mrs. Johnson has been active in the local church and in the community and she is recognized as a leader.

Mrs. Johnson has held most elected and appointed positions of the Fannies Cook Women’s Missionary Society, the Lay Organization, and all other local church organizations and auxiliaries. For many years Mrs. Johnson has been an elected member of the Board of Trustees; an Evangelist of the AME Church; and is a Hughes-Smith Life Member. She has taught Sunday school, sang in the senior choir, served as main cook for banquets & teas, has organized church functions, was a member of the Willing Workers Auxiliary, held positions as a matron, prepared receptions for weddings and programs, and spearheaded fundraisers.

On the annual conference level she was a delegate to the annual conference numerous times, YPD Supervisor, served faithfully as president and in other offices of the WMS.

Mrs. Johnson has been a lay delegate to the General Conference many times; she has been diligent in her walk for God and her local and connectional church.

Mrs. Johnson has also given unselfishly of herself in her community by holding elected positions to various boards and organizations: school board and PTA, Girl Scout leader; the NAACP; Les Femmes-fellowship; President of Church Women United; Portland Federation of Women Clubs; Oregon Association of Colored Women, an avid bowler, and a member of the Portland Sorosis Club. She has been noted in many newspaper articles for receiving awards and honors for her achievements and travels involving church and community affair.

She is still a faithful servant who gives of herself, her knowledge, and her wisdom to anyone who will listen. She believes in God and she will tell you to do the best you can for God, your family and your church and she explains that how she has made it “This far by faith.”

Mrs. Minnie Bell Johnson, 93-years old will tell anyone, "I was born into the AME Church, and I walked a Christian walk, and I will die an AME Church member doing God's work through the AME Church doctrine."

The Bethel AME Church history can be found on-line at: www.bethelameofportland.com

Submitted by Gloria Campbell-Cash


*The Rev. Reggie Farris

Zion Chapel Station AME Church in Natchez Mississippi under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Birdon Mitchell, recently participated in the Historical Inauguration of the 18th President of Alcorn State University, Dr. M. Christopher Brown II.

Appointed at age 38, M. Christopher Brown II became the youngest president to lead the oldest historically black land-grant institution in the nation, Alcorn State University and is also the youngest HBCU president in the nation. In a ceremony full of Alcorn tradition dating back to the year of the University’s founding, 1871, Dr. M. Christopher Brown II was inaugurated as the 18th president of Alcorn State University on Saturday, April 16, 2011.

The inaugural weekend concluded on Sunday, April 17th, in Natchez MS with the presidential inauguration worship service at Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church. Alcorn’s first president — Hiram Rhodes Revels — served as pastor of Zion Chapel Station.

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the presiding prelate for the 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church preached the inauguration sermon and musical selections were offered by the Greater Faith Worship Center Choir of Fayette, Mississippi and our very own Minister of Music Ernest “Tony” Fields. Presiding Elder Rev. George Tyler of Natchez Port Gibson District and Rev. Reggie Farris of Alcorn State University also participated in this historical service.

Bishop McKenzie encouraged Dr. Brown to remember the past presidents of Alcorn State University and their leadership and “do as Isaac did; be not afraid to dig ditches (Genesis 26:18).”


The first day of May was a special day in Chesilhurst, New Jersey for Grant AME Church and community where the Reverend DeLishia Mitchem serves as pastor.

Grant AME Church sponsored “Random Acts of Kindness Sunday” in which members and friends donated goods for persons in need and the church leadership distributed them on Sunday afternoon in a public forum.

The acts of kindness included food items, toiletries, gift baskets, diapers, articles of clothing, accessories, small appliances and gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores. A reserved section of the church was used to showcase these gifts, as members of Grant prayed over each gift and household that would receive such. The prayer team specifically prayed that as physical needs were met, hearts and spirits would receive the Lord Jesus Christ. God answered their prayers; four persons received the gift of salvation on Sunday afternoon. During the service, Bro. Charles Amos, a trustee of the church prayed, “God, we are thankful for the vision of our pastor and how you are using us to bless others. Help us to be more like Jesus.”

Several families received acts of kindnesses. Recipients ranged from two months to eighty two years old, with diverse backgrounds and cultures. Mrs. Roberta Rose, a ninety-year-old mother of the church commented, “It was a special time for the love of God to be demonstrated in our church. It was a wonderful day for us all. ”

The highlight included a sacrificial gift from the church for ten-year-old Chloe Stokes-Austin who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. The church contributed five hundred dollars to the Stokes-Austin family, to assist them in medical expenses and transportation needs. Also, the church honored a volunteer of the Harvest Food Pantry, Sis. Celia Williams, a single mother, full-time student and dedicated church worker. She and her children received gifts of love to include gift baskets, toys and one hundred dollars.
Sister Diane Foster of Atco, NJ commented, “I am proud to be a part of this church. God is really blessing us. We are proud of our Pastor and the awesome work she is doing.”

The Biblical foundation for this ministry is Luke 6:38 “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving -- large or small -- it will be used to measure what is given back to you." (New Living Translation)

The church has community services and programs weekly to include the Harvest Food Pantry, Dorcas Clothing Closet, Youth Mentoring Program, Share Food Program, Soul Food Soup Kitchen, Morning Manna, and Kids Night Out. These programs have been instituted under the leadership of the present pastor, DeLishia Boykin Mitchem. The church also has a program entitled Mother Earth, which has weekly activities for senior citizens for education, enrichment and enhancement. The church and nonprofit theme is “Transforming lives every day and in every way.”

Christian love was demonstrated to random persons in a tangible form to lead contributors and beneficiaries to a closer walk with the Lord.
For more information on Random Acts of Kindness and how you can participate, go to www.grantcdc.org, email grantamenj@aol.com or call the Administrative Office (856) 767-4959.

*Jackie James is the Director of the Harvest Food Pantry of Grant AME Church in Chesilhurst, New Jersey


Help Those Devastated by Tornadoes

As you know, seven states were devastated this week by tornadoes. Houses and businesses leveled; cars and trucks lifted and turned over; as well as electricity and other utilities anticipated down for weeks. People are left homeless and living in temporary shelters with few personal items. These tornadoes killed over 340 individuals in 7 Southern states with the majority in Alabama.

It is time for the 13th Episcopal District to pull together and assist our neighbors. Please take a special offering for the next 2 Sundays to benefit these tornado victims.

Send your offerings by Friday, May 13, 2011 to

13th Episcopal District Office, AME Church, 500 8th Ave South, Nashville, TN 37203


Church leaders are actively embracing PHEN's Father's Day Rally in the fight against prostate cancer. Their support is a major step forward in our efforts to bring awareness to the prostate cancer crisis in Black America so that it can be properly addressed and eliminated. As a prostate cancer survivor I have experienced the power of prayer in my life and I know the prayers that will be offered during the Father's Day Rally will have miraculous healing powers.

My sincere appreciation to the church leaders who are joining our fight.

Thomas A. Farrington, PHEN President and Founder

Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, Presiding Bishop AME 1st District

In 2010 Bishop Norris introduced the churches within the first AME district to PHEN’s first national Father’s Day Rally. A number of AME churches in Massachusetts had participated in the inaugural 2009 Rally, held only that state, and actively supported the Rally’s nationwide expansion. Bishop Norris invited PHEN to participate in a leadership conference at the district’s headquarters this year to support the 2011 Rally within his district.

Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, Presiding Bishop AME 2nd District

Bishop Richardson has five conferences within his district. Between April 12th and June 4th, on "Men's Night" of each conference, he has invited PHEN to present a brief overview of The Father's Day Rally. Bishop Richardson then follows with a walkthrough of the Rally by recognizing the prostate cancer survivors, their loved ones, and family members of victims of the disease that are present at the conference. This walkthrough is to demonstrate the Rally for the churches within his district for their services on Father's Day. Bishop Richardson has approximately 350 churches within his district and conferences are being held in Baltimore, Washington, Norfolk, Wilmington, and Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Walter Parrish III, General Secretary-Progressive Baptist Convention

Dr. Parish spoke at PHEN’s 2010 African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit and committed to involve the churches that are members of the Progressive Baptist Convention in the 2011 Rally. He invited PHEN to present before the Convention’s leadership in January 2011. The Progressive Baptist Convention is actively promoting the Father’s Day Rally within its church membership throughout the United States.

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Presiding Bishop AME 13th District

Bishop McKenzie with her husband and district supervisor Stan McKenzie, were strong supporters of PHEN’s first national Father’s Day Rally in 2010. The churches in the AME 13th district (Kentucky and Tennessee) were among the most active churches nationwide. Bishop McKenzie received an award at PHEN’s 2010 summit in recognition of her commitment and all-out efforts. PHEN participated in the 2011 AME Christian Education Conference hosted in Bishop McKenzie’s district and received a commitment that the district will do even more in 2011 with 250 churches participating in the Rally.

The Rev. Dr. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman, Conference of National Black Churches and Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church in New York and Florida

Grace Baptist Church participated in the 2010 Father’s Day Rally and the video of their service was shown at PHEN’s 2010 summit and is being used as a model of the Father’s Rally. Dr. Richardson has taken on an active role in support of the 2011 Rally as the Chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC). CNBC is comprised of the national leadership of the nine largest historically Black denominations that have a combined membership of over 30 million people and 50,000 congregations in the United States and the African Diaspora.

The Rev. Dr. Clyde W. Oden Jr., Prostate Cancer Survivor and Pastor, Bryant Temple AME Church, Los Angeles

The Rev. Dr. Clyde W. Oden, Jr., is Senior Pastor of Bryant Temple AME Church and a prostate cancer survivor. Dr. Oden is committed to participating in the 2011 Father’s Day Rally and he is leading an effort to recruit other churches in Southern California to join in.

The Rev. Dr. Frank D. Tucker – Prostate Cancer Survivor and Pastor, First Baptist Church, Washington, DC

Dr. Tucker spoke at PHEN’s 2010 Summit and shared his story as a prostate cancer survivor and a religious leader. He is passionate about expanding knowledge and awareness about the disease within the church community. First Baptist is hosting a "Men's Day" program on Saturday, June 18th as a prelude to the Rally on the 19th. PHEN is supporting this program by providing materials that will be distributed to the attendees.

The Rev. Arthur Gerald-Prostate Cancer Survivor and Pastor, Twelfth Baptist Church, Boston, MA

A 12 year prostate cancer survivor, Rev. Gerald has been involved with PHEN outreach activities in Boston for a number of years. Historic Twelfth Baptist Church, the church that Dr. Martin Luther King attended while in Boston, was one of the 33 churches in Massachusetts that stepped forward for the first Father's Day Rally in 2009. Rev. Gerald will help kick-off the 2011 Rally on May 11th when he will be the featured speaker for PHEN's monthly live webcast series. The topic will be "Faith in Healing."

The Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., Pastor Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Dr. Hicks invited PHEN to join Metropolitan's Homecoming services in 2005 to help launch PHEN's first "African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit" on Capitol Hill. During this service, he invited PHEN's leadership team to the altar to pray for the success of our efforts. (PHEN will host its 7th annual summit in 2011. The two day summit will be held in the Capitol Building on the first day and the second day at the Washington Convention Center as a part of the Congressional Black Caucus' Annual Conference. Dr. Hick's powerful prayer is being answered. Metropolitan will be an active participant in the 2011 Father's Day Rally.

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Walker, Prostate Cancer Survivor and Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Missionary, Rocky Mt., N.C.

Dr. Walker presented at PHEN’s 2009 Summit and his church, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist, will participate in the 2011 Father's Day Rally. As a gospel recording artist, Dr. Walker has had his share of successes. His anointed messages have left many crying "What must I do to be saved?" His "gold" recording, "One Day at a Time," continues to inspire the hearts of many across the nation. In 1996, Dr. Walker was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He began to gather information from any available source, both written and spoken. His shocking discoveries led him to write, "Brother to Brother -- You Don't Have to Die of Prostate Cancer." This book seeks to empower men and their families through education.


Souvenir Journal Committee
Mary Banks-Wright, Chairperson

The Connectional Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church will hold its 32nd Biennial Convention at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Detroit, Michigan on August 13 - 18, 2011.

Delegates from AME churches in Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, France, Holland, India, and London; and throughout the United States are expected to attend the 32nd Biennial Session of the Connectional Lay Organization. The Fourth Episcopal District Lay Organization, the host district invites organizations and individuals to celebrate the occasion by purchasing an advertisement in the souvenir journal.

Download and print the Purchase Agreement http://www.connectionallay-amec.org/home.htm and return it with check or money order by May 31, 2011.

32nd Biennial Convention – Connectional Lay Organization Souvenir Journal Agreement
Ad Requirements:
Ads should be typed in Word
Ads must be saved as a 300 dpi (dots per inch) jpeg file.

Deadline for Receipt of Ads: May 31, 2011

Cost of Advertisements:

Back Cover (Sold)
Inside Back Cover (Sold)
Inside Front Cover (Sold)
Gold Page - $300.00
½ Gold Page - $175.00
Silver Page - $250.00
½ Silver Page - $150.00
Black & White Page - $200.00
½ Black & White Page - $125.00
¼ Black & White Page - $75.00
Patron - $25.00
Color Photos - $15.00

Payment: Make check or money order (U.S. Dollars) payable to 4th District Lay Organization – AMEC and mail to:

Mary Banks-Wright
Souvenir Journal Committee
23368 Park Place Drive
Southfield, MI 48033
(313) 268-4661

About the AMEC Connectional Lay Organization:
The purpose of the Lay Organization is to organize and train the lay members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, so that each member may utilize to the maximum the abilities and skills granted by God, in assisting with the improvement and extension of God's kingdom, and creating happiness, peace and harmony among its members.

Visit the CLO: http://www.connectionallay-amec.org/home.htm


A Flyer and Registration form can be accessed at www.mcam-amec.com

The Music and Christian Arts Ministry of the AME Church will convene the 2011 Music and Christian Arts Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana June 14 – 17, 2011. The 2011 Music and Christian Arts Institute promises to be an exciting, spirit-filled, and educational experience and those who attend the 2011 Music and Christian Arts Institute are sure to be blessed, encouraged and motivated.

An outstanding program has been planned. Dr. David Morrow of Morehouse College, and President of the National Association of Negro Musicians; internationally renowned recording artist, Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award nominated, Director and CEO of the Colorado Mass Choir, Dr. Joe Pace; and the other clinicians will serve as the Institute’s instructors.

Registration will be available on-line via the MCAM website at www.mcam-amec.com beginning Wednesday, May 12, 2011.

Songwriters and composers are invited to present their music at the Institute. Submissions can be sent directly to www.mcam-amec.com and should include a performance of the song/composition and a musical score, if possible. All materials must be received by May 30th.

Additional information may be obtained from the Rev. Anthony B. Vinson by email mcam.amec@gmail.com or by phone: (773) 829-7665.

Please feel free to share this information and encourage others to attend this exciting workshop. We are expecting participants to attend from Episcopal Districts 1 – 20.

Let's invest in our Music and Arts ministries and watch GOD DO A NEW THING!

Again, please help spread the word and forward this information.

**Submitted by the Rev. Anthony B. Vinson, Sr. Director, Music and Christian Arts Ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church


By Heather Hahn*

United Methodist bishops approved a proposal May 4 that would significantly redefine the role of president for the Council of Bishops.

The amendment to the church’s constitution would allow the council to elect one of its own to a full-time, four-year position without the usual responsibilities of overseeing a geographic area.

The individual in that role would serve as the denomination’s chief ecumenical officer, help align the strategic direction of the church and focus on growing vital congregations, among other duties.

At present, the council president serves a two-year term and retains a residential assignment to a geographic area. The council’s ecumenical officer usually has been chosen from the ranks of retired bishops.

The bishops’ vote on the proposal – which, by a show of hands, was not unanimous – came after hours of discussion over a three-day period. Some bishops, particularly from the central conferences outside the United States, expressed misgivings that such a position would fairly represent the global nature of the church.

To be ratified, a constitutional amendment first requires a two-thirds majority vote at General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body. It next must win a two-thirds majority of the total annual (regional) conference voters. If ratified, the change would not take effect until 2016.

More effective leadership

After the vote, Charlotte (N.C.) Area Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster -- the council’s current president -- voiced his support for the proposal to United Methodist News Service. A set-aside bishop whose sole focus is the global church would be able to more effectively connect people and get everyone moving in the same direction, he said.

Doing that in his current role is a challenge.

“I’m trying not to take anything away from Western North Carolina,” Goodpaster said. “However, it just means I have to lose days off to do council business. I think the time and energy is huge for somebody to do everything that needs to get done.”

Another hope is that the president would help give The United Methodist Church a more prominent voice on the public stage.

“Right now within the denomination, we don’t have somebody if the (U.S.) president wants to invite somebody from The United Methodist Church to the White House,” Washington Area Bishop John R. Schol said.

“Because our bishops have residential responsibilities, we also can’t just leave to work with other denominational leaders. Having a president (with no residential responsibilities) helps to focus on those areas.”

Nebraska Area Bishop Ann Brookshire Sherer-Simpson, the chair of the Council of Bishops ecumenical task force, agreed.

“I think it will give more continuity and more authority to the church’s ecumenical work,” she said of the proposal.

Source of contention

Still, a handful of bishops have their doubts.

“My reservations are not about the principle of a set-aside bishop; my reservations were more about what is packed into it,” Central and Southern Europe Bishop Patrick Streiff said after the vote.

For example, he said, he does not think the president should be an ecumenical officer. Instead, he would like someone in that role to serve far longer than four years to develop continuity.

Streiff had other doubts as well.

“I think the task of alignment is crucial and it needs for at least a certain time a set-aside bishop,” he said. “What I am not so sure about is whether we need a set-aside bishop in perpetuity. The language (of the amendment) is permissive, but I heard no indication that it’s for a set period of time.”

Currently, the role of the president rotates among the U.S. jurisdictions and the central conferences. The president-elect for 2012-14 is Bishop Rosemarie Wenner from Germany.

He echoed a concern expressed by a number of other central conference bishops that the new position of a four-year, nonresidential president would shut out candidates from outside the United States because of differences in episcopal election dates and terms of service.

The central conferences also may not have a bishop to spare for a nonresidential post because they are limited in the number of bishops they can elect. “When you take someone out from residential responsibilities in a central conference, the legislation as it is now gives no possibility to fill that place with another person,” Streiff said.

A chairperson as well

Details of the proposal are yet to be worked out, but supporters remain confident that the concerns about central conference representation can be addressed.

One possibility put forward is for the Council of Bishops to elect a chairperson who serves a two-year term in addition to a nonresidential president. The chairperson, who would also serve a geographical area, would oversee the council’s executive board and its committees. The position would also rotate among bishops from around the globe – much like the presidential role does now.

“It would give us someone who would focus on organizing the council meetings and council life,” Illinois Area Bishop Gregory Palmer said. “It also gives more opportunities for more people to bring leadership to different aspects of the council.”

Retired Bishop Emerito P. Nacpil of the Philippines remains skeptical about having the two positions.

“I think it will be a two-headed hydra,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to work.”

Past efforts and Call to Action

Proposals to have a full-time president go back at least to 1968, with the merger that created The United Methodist Church. But each time the move failed to gain traction.

What’s different now, many bishops say, is the Call to Action effort aimed at reversing the denomination’s declining and aging U.S. membership.

The change follows a recommendation from the Call to Action report to reform the Council of Bishops and increase accountability.

“I really think it’s another signal that the bishops are committed to living into the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Goodpaster said. “And we want to put our house in order so that we can more effectively help the church to do that.”

Zimbabwe Area Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa voted for the proposal, but he said church leaders need to watch whether the change works to make more disciples of Jesus Christ. If it fails in that mission, he would like to see it quickly abandoned.

“I support it with the understanding that it’s not just an additional structure,” he said, “but someone who can focus us, even shepherd us, in the mission.”

*Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service.

**Used with permission of the United Methodist News Service


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Council of Bishops meeting, which concluded May 6, was the first such gathering to be paperless. Bishops viewed reports and proposals either on their own electronic tablets or laptops or on one of 74 Nooks purchased for this and future bishop meetings.
The estimated cost savings is $4,000 per meeting. "In the corporate exercise of our leadership, we have attempted to take advantage of the technology of this time," Charlotte (N.C.) Area Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster said in the presidential address. "We are taking steps at this meeting to reduce our own carbon footprint by attempting to move toward a paperless environment."

Editor’s Note: The AME Church can save money too. The 13th Episcopal District has already had “green” meetings.


The Reverend Dr. Ronald Edward Peters is the newly inaugurated eighth president of The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). He will now lead this prestigious institution as it continues to train men and women for Christian leadership and service in the church and the global community. His inauguration took place in the King International Chapel at Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) among a group of his peers and many education leaders from the greater Atlanta community and the Atlanta University Center.

For more than a half-century, the ITC, a consortium of six different denominational seminaries, has provided ecumenical theological education and continues to mold preachers, pastors, academic scholars, and lay leaders in the church.

The vision of President Peters begins to take shape within his comments, “The incomparable significance of the Interdenominational Theological Center and how our collaborative seminaries work together to prepare future leaders for the Church is a gratifying ecumenical lesson to be emulated by all of us in the clergy. In a world where religious conflict is often the cause of violence and war, the ITC teaches people of different religious traditions how to work together to improve society. I look forward to helping the wider society understand how the heritage of the African American church can help strengthen the quality of life in the plural, global, and increasingly urbanized society of the twenty-first century.”

Before assuming this position, Dr. Peters was the Henry L. Hillman Associate Professor of Urban Ministry and the first Director of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary's Metro-Urban Institute, an interdisciplinary program of religious leadership development for urban society. He brings to Atlanta and to the educational community significant experience and commitment to service which propelled him into leadership positions in the Greater Pittsburgh region where he served on the boards of the United Way of Allegheny County and the Urban League of Pittsburgh, and the Mayor’s Commission of Public Education, to name a few.

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Peters received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), the Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Hamilton, Massachusetts), and his Doctor of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Rev. Dr. Peters was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and joined the Pittsburgh Seminary faculty following 18 years of pastoral leadership. He is an internationally respected preacher, author, and advisor on social witness policy and urban theological education.

About the ITC
Founded in 1958, ITC is a pioneer in ecumenical graduate theological study; the consortium comprises six different denominational constituent seminaries; Morehouse School of Religion (Baptist), Gammon Theological (United Methodist), Turner Theological Seminary (African Methodist Episcopal), Phillips School of Theology (Christian Methodist Episcopal), Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.) and Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary (Church of God in Christ). Students of varying denominations beyond the six affiliates are welcomed to the Harry V. and Selma T. Richardson Ecumenical Fellowship. There is also a Lutheran Center at ITC.


- Congratulations to Victoria Nicole Leath, daughter of Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath and Episcopal Supervisor, Dr. Susan J. Leath

Victoria Nicole Leath, the daughter of Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate of the Nineteenth Episcopal District AMEC and Dr. Susan J. Leath, Episcopal Supervisor will graduate from the University of Vermont on May 22, 2011 with a Bachelor's Degree in Middle School Science Education.
Congratulatory messages can be emailed to:

Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate 19th District AMEC: jeffreynleath@aol.com

Dr. Susan J. Leath, Episcopal Supervisor 19th District AMEC: jentorjay@aol.com

Or congratulatory messages can be sent to:

Bishop Jeffrey N. and Supervisor Susan J. Leath
3037 West Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
(215) 848-9548 - Home

- Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr., Presiding Prelate of the 12th Episcopal District shares news about the Accomplishments and Achievements of Sons, Stephen Green, Adam Scott Green and the Rev. Samuel L. Green, Jr.

Stephen Green was part of a documentary that recognized seven youth in seven days across America. Stephen was one of the seven youth recognized in this national documentary. Below is part of the documentary.

View the video on YouTube:


My son Adam Scott Green will graduate on May 7, 2011 from the University of Central Florida, Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, an integrated degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Humanities and Nonprofit Management.

Also my son, the Reverend Samuel L. Green, Jr., was elected to the Board of Trustees as the Student Representative Trustee for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL as well as the Chair of the Garrett-Evangelical Black Seminarians.

I am proud of each one of them and their accomplishments and achievements.

Regards, Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr.: slgreensr@gmail.com

- Congratulations to Rev. William Melvin Campbell, Jr.

Congratulations to William Melvin Campbell, Jr., the son of the late Rev. W. Melvin Campbell, Sr., who as a pastor and member of the Bi-centennial Hymnal Commission and Mrs. Edith J. Campbell, WMS Life Member, former Conference Branch President and member of Mt. Zion AME Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The Rev. William Melvin Campbell, Jr., a pastor in the 10th Episcopal District will graduate with the Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey on May 14, 2011.

Congratulatory messages can be emailed to:

William M. Campbell Jr. - pastorc@centexbiz.rr.com

Congratulatory messages can be sent to:

The Rev. William M. Campbell, Jr.
4709 Chantz Drive
Killeen, Texas 76542

- Congratulations to Colonel Antonio Brown, son of the Reverend Silas and Mrs. Betty Spann

The Reverend Silas and Mrs. Betty Spann proudly participated in a U.S. Army promotion ceremony in honor of their son, Antonio Brown who was promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel on April 11, 2011 in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He has been selected and successfully served in numerous command and staff positions during his 22 years in the Army. Additionally, he has completed two tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq.

Colonel Brown is currently a student at the prestigious U.S. Army War College where he is pursuing a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies. Prior to the War College, he was the G-3 (Director of Operations) at the Army Contracting Command. He is a 1988 graduate of South Carolina State University and also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

He is a Certified Acquisition Professional with professional certifications in Contracting (Level III) and Program Management (Level II). Colonel Brown is also recognized as a Certified Professional Logistician (CPL) by Georgia Tech. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and several others.

Upon graduation from the War College, Colonel Brown will serve as a Defense Contract Management Agency Liaison Officer in the Pentagon.

The Rev. Silas Spann serves as the pastor of Laurel Hill African Methodist Church in the Manning District; Central South Carolina Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District. Bishop Preston Warren Williams II is the Presiding Prelate.

Congratulatory messages can be emailed to: b_spann@bellsouth.net


We are saddened to announce the passing of William Monroe Fry, Jr., the oldest brother of the Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown, Professor of Homiletics and Director of Black Church Studies, Candler School of Theology, Emory University; and Mrs. Richelle Fry Skinner, Fifth Episcopal District YPD Director. William M. Fry, Jr., of Kansas City, Missouri, died April 26, 2011 after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

The funeral has been held.

Condolences may be forwarded to:

The Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown
1080 Palmer Road
Lithonia, GA 30058

Mrs. Richelle Fry Skinner
2040 Ogden
Denver, CO 64050


It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Brother Collins Myrick. Brother Myrick is the husband of the Reverend Mary D. Myrick, pastor of McChapel AME Church in Marianna, Florida. Brother Collins Myrick is also the brother of the Reverend Delanor Myrick, pastor of Mt. Olive AME Church in Red Bay, Florida.

Funeral Services:

Saturday, May 7, 2011, 11:00 A.M.
Springfield A.M.E. Church
4194 Union Road
Marianna, FL 32446

The Rev. D. Sinclair Forbes, Pastor

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Mary D. Myrick
4218 Union Road
Marianna Fl 32446

Home# 850-352-3383
Cell: 850-274-5858

The Rev. Delanor Myrick (Brother)
4246 Union Road
Marianna FL 32446

Telephone: (850) 1352-1256


It is with heartfelt sympathy that we announce the passing of the Rev. Johnnie Jean Weaver Leonard. She is the widow of the late Rev. Romeo Leonard of the Seventh Episcopal District and mother of three children: Mr. Guy E. (Laurie) Williams, Mr. Jerome C. Williams and Mr. Leon W. Leonard. The Rev. Leonard died on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at Wildewood Downs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Columbia, SC.

Service arrangements for the Rev. Johnnie Jean Weaver Leonard:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Leevy's Funeral Home
1831 Taylor Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: (803) 771-7799
Fax: (803) 799-6684
The Rev. Clinton J. Hall, II, Officiant

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Lay-In-State/Viewing - 11:00 am - 12:00 noon
Homegoing Service - 12:00 noon

Emmanuel AME Church
2130 Barhamville Road
Columbia, SC 29204

Phone: (803) 254-5067
The Rev. Reginald C. Morton, Pastor


Lincoln Cemetery
4900 Farrow Road
Columbia, SC

Service of Comfort Entrusted to:
Leevy's Funeral Home
1831 Taylor Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 771-7799
Fax: (803) 799-6684

Memorial Messages (email): levrette@leevy.com

Expressions of Sympathy and Condolences may be sent to:

The Family of the Late Rev. Johnnie Jean Weaver Leonard
C/o Mr. Guy E. Williams
600 North Donar Drive
Columbia, SC 29229

Phone: (803) 708-6618


We regret to announce the passing on April 28th of Mrs. Ernestine Woods Blouin, the Grandmother of the Rev. Orin J. Blouin, founding pastor of Trinity AME Church in Gonzalez, Louisiana.

Services for Mrs. Ernestine Woods Blouin will be held on Friday, May 6, 2011.

Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic Church
2022 St. Bernard Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70116

Viewing 9 am-11 am
Mass 11 am

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family of Mrs. Ernestine Woods Blouin, in care of Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic Church (address above).

The Rev. Orin Blouin may be contacted at:

Email: REVOJBLOUIN@eatel.net

Mobile Number: 225-892-8555


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

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

BLOG: http://ameccfic.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AMEC_CFIC

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-AME-Church-Clergy-Family-Information-Center/167202414220


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.

Did someone you know pass this copy of The Christian Recorder to you? Get your own copy HERE