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

May is National Stroke Awareness Month!
Ascension Day – May 17, 2012
Pentecost – May 27, 2012


“One who condones evils is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)


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

As strongly as I feel about the lack of a large segment of the AME Church’s failure to use technology, there is one more thing that surprises, shocks and disappoints me.

I am disappointed because…, but let me digress and, hopefully, put my disappointment in perspective.

Having a mentor is important

When I arrived at my first assignment as a military chaplain representing the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Fort Benning Georgia in 1972, my astute commander, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Hunt assigned a mentor to me; Captain Dan Johnson who was an infantry captain and a helicopter pilot. He had served a tour in Viet Nam.

My commander knew that I had never served in the military and had not taken ROTC in college and he knew that I needed to “learn the ropes” of the military. I am sure that he knew that I probably was not taught about the “real Army” in the basic chaplain course; and he was correct.

Captain Dan Johnson would have been a great mentor for a young man or woman in any profession and the insights that he gave me apply across the board and apply even in the AME Church.

Things my Infantry captain mentor taught me

He explained that I had to learn how to navigate the Army culture. He told me that I needed to join the officers club, even if I didn't use it because the Army leadership encouraged all officers to belong to the officers club. He also told me that I needed to join the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) because they advocated for soldiers in Congress. He also told me to make sure that I banked with a military-friendly bank because soldiers moved so often and that was great advice. He also told me to make friends with the Army doctors, dentists and lawyers and to treat privates with the same respect that I would treat first sergeants, command sergeants major, colonels and generals. 

Perhaps the greatest lesson

Young Captain Dan Johnson was the same age as I, but having served in combat, knew how to navigate the military. He went on to do great things and retired as a colonel.

Thinking back on his mentorship to me, the first thing Dan Johnson explained that it was important for me to learn about the Army how the Army worked and to anticipate what was expected.

I can hear his voice, even today, “The Army is not like the civilian sector; the Army is different.”  He told me that the best way to stay abreast about knowing what was going in the Army was to subscribe to The Army Times. It was only later that I learned how important that advice was; and forty-years later, I am still subscribed to The Army Times, both the print and online editions. He also advised me to read the local post newspapers and when overseas read The Stars and Stripes. What great advice!

Now, getting back to…

I am amazed that thirty-years ago, a young Army Infantry captain understood the importance of staying abreast of what was happening in the profession of the military and reading the professional periodicals. 

My shock

I am surprised, shocked and disappointed that there are so many persons at all levels of our Zion who refuse and fail to understand the importance of staying abreast in the profession of ministry. I am amazed that young men and women are admitted into the profession of ministry and apparently are not required or encouraged to subscribe to the periodicals of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Every profession, even barbers have professional journals that those in the profession are supposed to read. Mechanics have professional journals. Doctors and lawyers have professional journals and those who want to stay abreast read their professional journals.

When I was a young pastor in the Kentucky Annual Conference, every pastor was verbally asked by the bishop, “Which periodicals are you subscribed to?”  There was only one correct answer in the “old days.”  The only correct answer was, “Bishop, I am subscribed to all of the periodicals!” 

I am amazed and perplexed that men and women come forth to enter the profession of ministry and no one asks them to which periodicals they are subscribed; not the bishop, the presiding elder, the pastor or the Board of Examiners. 

We tell them they need to possess a Bible, The Discipline and the AME Hymnal – Duh! Should we have to tell an applicant for ministry that he or she needs to possess a Bible, The Discipline and a Hymnal? Probably not, because if an applicant for ministry had an ounce of sense, they should know that they needed the Bible, The Discipline and the AME Hymnal.

Responsibility needs to be taken early-on in the process

On the other hand, it’s not far-fetched to think that applicants for ministry might not have thought about the importance of the AME periodicals and would not understand the importance of subscribing to them unless someone pointed out the significance of the periodicals to their ministry.

Pastors should explain to those who express an interest in going into the ministry the importance of subscribing to the AME periodicals before presenting them to the Church Conference; presiding elders should reaffirm to the applicants of ministry the importance of subscribing to the AME periodicals at the Quarterly Conference and at the District Conference.   

As with any other profession, Boards of Examiners should ask each applicant for ministry this question: “Which AME periodicals are you subscribed to? And, if you are not already subscribed to the AME periodicals, which ones are you planning to subscribe to today?”

But that’s not enough; pastors, presiding elders and members of the Boards of Examiners should be knowledgeable enough to give a brief rundown on the significance of each of the AME periodicals.

The process continues 

When ministerial applicants are presented to the bishop, the bishop should ask each person who comes to be admitted to the annual conference, “Which periodicals are you subscribed to?”  By the time an applicant stands before the bishop at the annual conference, he or she should have already been subscribed to all of the AME periodicals.  The only correct answer: “Bishop, I am subscribed to all of the AME periodicals.”

It is not too much to expect those who want to be a part of our ministerial profession to pay $171.00 a year for all of the AME periodicals. It’s not too much to expect all persons in the clergy to pay $171.00 a year.  Ask a doctor, lawyer or barber the costs of his or her professional journals.

If they are not told…

The Christian Recorder (TCR) is important because it keeps clergy and laity abreast of what’s going on in the AME Church, the religious community and in the world. The Christian Recorder is responsible for presenting opinions and comments dealing with contemporary issues (The Discipline, 2008, page 154 ff)

The A.M.E. Church Review is the scholarly journal for the denomination. It has historical data, intellectual articles and addresses and is, or should be, a “must-reading” periodical for clergy; and for lay members who enjoy scholarly articles.

The Journal of Religious Education is the periodical is a “must-read” periodical for those who are involved with Christian Education.  In addition to the pastor, every Church School teacher should be subscribed to The Journal of Religious Education.  It is full of pedagogical materials related to religious education.

The Voice of Missions is devoted to the global ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  I suspect that our ministerial training programs in the United States are oblivious to what’s going on in Episcopal Districts 14 – 20. I wish that every ministerial applicant in the United States would be required to do some form of overseas ministry in Episcopal Districts 14 – 20; even if only for a week or two. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is a global church. Every applicant for ministry should be required to subscribe to The Voice of Missions, which would help them to see the big picture of the African Methodist Episcopal Church ministry.  

The Women’s Missionary Magazine is another “must-read” periodical because it focuses on missionary ministry in Episcopal Districts 1 – 20; in the United States and overseas. It’s a wonderful periodical.

The Secret Chamber provides invaluable resources for personal spiritual growth. Those persons who want to be members of the clergy need to understand the importance of spiritual direction and daily spiritual reflection; and The Secret Chamber provides that resource.

The YPD Newsletter is the hidden secret in the AME Church. It is a wonderfully written and presented periodical and youth-focused.  It is packed full of information and directed to the youth of our Zion. Young people from Episcopal Districts 1- 20 should subscribe to this wonderful periodical and those who want to minister to our youth should start with reading The YPD Newsletter!  How can clergy minister to our youth if they are not connected to our youth?  Every member of the clergy should be subscribed to The YPD Newsletter. The YPD Newsletter should be made available to all of the youth in our Zion.

I am Disappointed

I am disappointed because we, as members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, can do better; we are not living up to our potential.

As it relates to our AME periodicals, we have drifted into a culture of doing just enough to get by, which results in mediocrity.

Some of our churches do not support our AME religious education materials and we use other folks’ Church School materials. We have a “Their ice is colder than our ice” mentality.
Just one, not two or three; just one…

We have drifted to one periodical per church or one periodical per pastor at our annual conferences. I am appreciative, but amazed when I see one subscription per pastor, which means that those churches with multiple ministerial staff members have minister who are most likely not subscribed to the AME periodicals. 

There is one annual conference that submitted less than 10 subscriptions for each periodical.  I honestly didn’t know that we had an annual conference that small.

Thankfully, there are several exceptions; and the most notable exception is Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Maryland where the Rev. Dr. Grainger Browning and the Rev. Dr. Joanne Browning serve as co-pastors. They apparently subscribe for all of their ministerial staff members and their church officers and for anyone else who wants to read the AME periodicals. They and several other churches are the exceptions.

I wish every bishop would ask every preacher and every person who serves on the annual conference level: “Which AME periodicals are you subscribed to?  I would love to see a cultural shift where annual conferences, district conferences and local church would set up tables so persons could subscribe to all of the AME periodicals.

I am excited

As a connectional church, it is important for churches and pastors to work together and to know what others are doing around the connection. Our best learning is what we can learn from each other.” Helen Keller was so correct, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

I would love to see AMEs get excited about what we, the AME Church is doing in our communities and around the world.

This week, I had a Baptist minister to call me and excitedly said, “I went to (and he named the AME Church) and what a worship service!” And, he went on and one commenting about the music, the hymns, the liturgy and the sermon. In his excitement, he said, “I am thinking about joining the AME Church…” 

I was encouraged by his enthusiasm, and that’s the kind of enthusiasm I want all of us to have; to be excited about the ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


- To the Editor:

RE: Editorial, Military, Veteran Affairs and Federal Prison Chaplains are Active Members of the Clergy of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Your editorial about the chaplaincy is very interesting and informative, particularly as it relates to AME Chaplains.  I never realized that the Bishop assigned to the Office of Ecumenical and Urban Affairs was the "endorsing agent" for the AME Chaplains.  I've always known that chaplains are members of the clergy, but I do have a few questions in follow-up to your article:

Question: I am assuming that in order to be a military chaplain, one must be a member of the military.  Which comes first, chaplain endorsement or joining and receiving commission as an officer in one of the military branches?  By virtue of one's chaplaincy, is one automatically entered into service at a particular officer's rank?

Editor’s Response: A chaplain is a military officer. Candidates for the chaplaincy must be college and seminary graduates from fully accredited academic institutions. They can apply to become accessioned in the military, but an endorsement from the applicant’s denomination must be a part of the packet that goes to the Department of Defense. Chaplains are commissioned as captains (0-3).

Question 2: If the endorsement agent withdraws one's chaplaincy, what happens to one’s military service obligation and rank?  Can one return to civilian life and is one then eligible for an appointment as a pastor at Annual Conference, excepting anti A.M.E. or heretical conduct on the part of the chaplain?

Editor’s Response:  When a chaplain’s endorsement is withdrawn, the person can no longer serve as a chaplain and can no longer serve as an officer unless, he or she gets an endorsement from another denomination, which is difficult on short notice. Ideally the person should report to his or her bishop for a pastoral appointment. Of course receiving a pastoral appointment on short notice might be difficult and receiving or not receiving an appointment might depend on why the chaplain’s endorsement was withdrawn.

Question 3:  Does the AME endorsement process apply to chaplains in non-federal civilian positions the same as with those in military service? For example, I have encountered chaplains serving in hospitals, hospice services, police departments and fire departments.   

Editor’s Response: Only federal chaplains, i.e. Military, Veterans Administration and federal prison chaplains go through the endorsing process in the AME Church. Some denominations however use the endorsement process for all chaplain positions, federal, state, private, academic institutions, etc.

Very interesting area of service all around and it seems to me as if Chaplains within the A.M.E. Church get little attention generally until General Conference time.   I enjoy seeing Chaplains in their uniforms marching in the procession at the General Conferences.  

I was fortunate enough to gain more awareness about chaplains since my former pastor, the Rev. John A. DeVeaux, was a retired military chaplain.  He would use local chaplains to preach when he had to be away attending one of the AME Conferences.

- Letter to the Editor:

RE: Editorial I Can’t Believe it (April 27, 2012)

Love this editorial and believe it!

I'm smiling because I was just in deep conversation with my pastor(age 33) about why folk have not complied with his wish to email items to his desk, i.e. Quarterly Conference reports so that they can be compiled (I almost can't spell these two "c" words) for the Elder, who is very savvy by the way.  Pastor just told me an hour ago that his next announcement is that no ministry or auxiliary will elect a secretary who is not technically astute.  I reminded him that his congregation is quite senior and does not feel the need to be in the 21st Century.  Some of the members think texting is sinful because you're "telling" the pastor stuff.  Some won’t give their cell phone numbers to the office because it's their number, but you ought to hear the number of phones that go off during a meeting.  Then there are the rude and disrespectful ones who think it's nothing wrong with not putting them on silent or vibrate and answering the blasted thing during a meeting.  They get all kinds of looks from me and I believe they do it just to push my buttons.

The funniest situation just happened this week when pastor needed to know the choir selections and has asked many times that they be emailed to him.  The director (over 62), doesn't have time to read and send emails. She uses the computer for her grandson's homework, but doesn't have time for any church work.  When pastor was ready to complete the bulletin, he asked me for her email address (yes, I had to give it to him) so that he could get the requested info unless I knew what he needed.  I politely responded to his email by saying that she would not read an email unless he called her and told her he was sending it, so just ask for what he needed, which is what he had to do. I knew the selection titles, but it wasn't my place to tell him or my job. 

Most of our members do not own computers or will not update the computers they have; and so their computers are just sitting idle. 

Another funny is the WMS secretary (over 70) who was gonna buy a new computer last year and didn't.  So I offered to sit down with her and establish an email address and then she could go to the public library and do what ever she needed to do.  Her reply was, "I go to the library all of the time."  The branch is near her house.  She is the only one who still brings a hand written report for the quarter.  They hate me, but when they need something sent, compiled, created, etc., then I'm their best friend.  Trust me hate is not a strong word.  Since I serve as the Public Relations for our church, it's a joke sometimes what I deal with. Mind you I am not an officer, just the public relations person.

My father and I are in the same Annual Conference, but we are on different districts and live in different cities.  He is very well-respected by his District Lay Organization as well as the conference.  He is the conference treasurer by the way. He serves as church secretary, member of the Steward Board, Sons of Allen, and the whole nine yards.  When he retired 12 years ago, he became more active with the organization.  Our joke is that he followed in my footsteps since I was the Episcopal District director of Lay Activities and used him for workshops during my tenure.  In the 12 years he has been sought after to conduct workshops on stewardship, stewards and trustee training, parliamentary procedure, you name it, he's doing it, from the presiding elder district to the episcopal district. 

This funny occurred when he came home to conduct a steward and trustee training for our sister church and I attended.  He pulled out his overhead projector and transparencies (I kid you not).  Two of my first cousins were there and they can verify.  The three of us looked at each other and had tears in our eyes, because we knew we couldn't laugh out loud or in his face.  We let him finish this excellent presentation with handouts too.  At the end, my cousin who is a trustee and a member of the church where the workshop was held, said, "Uncle, you need to put that on a laptop.  My other cousin said, "Uncle, you do too much to be riding around with an overhead and transparencies.  She's a retired media specialist, so she really laughed.  While I smiled a lot, I wouldn't harass him like that.  I took the handout with me and made him a PowerPoint presentation of it and put it on a jump drive.  He did tell his nieces that his laptop was in the shop.  At the next conference meeting, I made a sample for him to "approve" of and he did like it and accepted it.  Now he tells his audience that his nieces and daughter brought him into the 21st Century.  Did I mention he's 77? 

I said all of that to say he was willing to change because he's a quick study, multi-tasker and brilliant.  One could not be the church secretary for over 50 years and not be capable.  He does the bulletins, financial statements / reports on computer, but was still using that overhead projector.  We are proud of our accomplishment with him and know he won't regress.

A friend conducted a workshop at our church on leadership.  He suggested that persons over 50-years of age probably should not be involved in the technical ministries because things change too quickly.  I wouldn't go that far, but I understood his point of keeping young adults involved.

- To the Editor:

RE: Editorial I Can’t Believe it (April 27, 2012)

Technology is the way we have raised our children and grand children, yet we have not made the transition in our churches. We AME’s truly have fallen behind in technology and we wonder why our churches are empty. Some of us ole timers hate not having the conveniences at our churches but stay anyway because we love the AME church. I pray every leader who reads this article will look at where we are and create plans for change.  I love reading my bible from my cell phone or iPad or from the T. V. Monitors at churches (not in the AME). Almost no young person carries the big heavy bible, stuffed with paper.  We really need to come into the 21st Century before our doors are closed. There will be no reason to ask why. Praise God.
Mrs. Nelda Hills,
St. Paul Berkeley Lay President
CCLO Financial Secretary
Administrative Assistant/PI


Wilberforce University’s Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 5, 2012 brings two prominent speakers to campus – one from Ohio’s Supreme Court and one from the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown will speak at Wilberforce University’s commencement (2:00 p.m. May 5, 2012) at the University’s Alumni

Brown is the first African-American female justice on the Ohio Supreme Court. Prior to her appointment in January, 2011, Brown was the founding president of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, a non-profit organization at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus dedicated to the treatment and prevention of child abuse and domestic violence.

Judge Brown served in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court from 1993 to 2002, when she founded the Center for Child and Family Advocacy. She was the first American of African Ancestry and the second woman to be elected to this court.

In 2008, Brown was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, which honored her for her community service and dedication to child and family protection.

Speaking at the Baccalaureate Service (10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012) will be the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Leath, 128th elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the denomination, which established Wilberforce University in 1856.

Bishop Leath is the Presiding Prelate of the 19th Episcopal District (South Africa). He also serves as the chair of the Commission on Women in Ministry.

Dr. Leath is a graduate of Yale College, Yale Divinity School and United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio), where he earned his doctorate in ministry. Bishop Leath has served churches in New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

For more information: Linda Renner at 937-708-5704 or lrenner@wilberforce.edu.


*The Rev. Wilfred D. Lewis

The 190th Session of the NEW YORK Annual Conference convened at the Historic Bridge St. African Methodist Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, New York on April 24th through April 29th 2012.

The conference was ably hosted by the Rev. David Byron Cousin and First Lady, the Rev. Valerie Cousin.

The New York Conference Women’s Missionary Society celebrated their annual day on Tuesday April 24th, 2012. They were led in their business sessions by President, Sister Anne Brunson, First Vice-President Sister Shermanita Dixon, Second Vice-President Sister Berthena Wiggins, and 3rd Vice-President Sister Coleen Williams-Lewis. The sanctuary was resplendent in a sea of white outfits as the Missionary sisters filled the house with praise. Mother Mary Anne Norris, the Supervisor of Missions, and Sister Jewel McAshan, the President of the First District Missionary Society were present to give leadership and directions to the proceedings of the day. The noon-day sermon was delivered by the Rev. Ella Brandon, the pastor of Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, New York City. Her scriptural text was taken from St. Luke 5. Her subject was, “It is Your Mission.” The Rev. Brandon’s message was deep and thought-provoking as she raised the question, “Have you won souls recently?”  As the preacher pranced about the pulpit, there were many shouts of Hallelujahs! Amens! And Praise the Lord! The message was a tremendous blessing to all in attendance.

Following the lunch period, the Turner-Tanner Memorial service was led by 3rd Vice President, Sister Coleen Williams–Lewis. Bishop Richard Allen Hildebrand, Bishop Richard Allen Chappelle, Retired Editor of The Christian Recorder, Dr. Robert Reid and several other local members were memorialized. A single white rose was placed in the vase for each person memorialized.

Following the Tanner Turner Memorial Service, Sister Coleen Williams Lewis led in the Presentation of Membership Awards.

The Election of Officers for the year 2012-2013 was the order of the day. The outgoing President was Sister Anne Brunson. After the Credential and Nominating Committees made their Reports, the election process began. The new officers elected were as follows: Sister Shermanita Dixon, President, Sister Melisa Garvin, 1st Vice President, Sister Clyde Correa, 2nd Vice- President, and Sister Coleen Williams-Lewis, 3rd Vice-President. This day closed out with the Missionary Benediction.

The Official opening of the conference took place on Wednesday 24th April at 10 a.m. The Worship Leader was the Rev. Dr. Alvan N. Johnson, the indomitable Presiding Elder of the Brooklyn/Westchester District of the New York Annual conference. The Call to worship was given by the Host Pastor, the Rev. David Cousin. We sang the great opening hymn of all Annual Conferences, Hymn Number 304, “And, are We Yet Alive.” The Invocation was given by the Rev. Albert Turk. The music provided by the Annual Conference choir was majestic and inspirational. There was an eclectic mix of spirituals, anthems, gospel as well as contemporary selections. What a

In the absence of Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, Bishop Jeffrey Leath, Presiding Prelate of the 19th Episcopal District presented the preacher for the Annual Sermon. The preacher for this momentous occasion was the venerable Rev. Dr. Floyd Harold Flake, the pastor of Greater Allen Cathedral AME Church in Jamaica, New York. The Rev. Flake took his text from Acts 1:8. His sermon subject was, “Can I Get a Witness?” The Rev. Flake preached with power and with Holy Ghost fervor. His message was a classic evangelistic appeal to all of us present to really become witnesses like Peter and the 120 did on the day of Pentecost, and 3000 souls were won to Christ on that day.  Following the message, Rev. Flake gave an Altar Call for preachers who really wanted to become true witnesses. Every preacher in the house came and flooded the altar. Dr. Flake also laid hands on Bishop Norris who had come in during his sermon and prayed for the complete healing of our Bishop.

The Afternoon session convened at 3.30 p.m. Bishop Norris presided over this session with finesse and great skill. The roll-call of preachers and members of the Annual Conference was taken; the various committees were put in place and the boundaries of the conference were established. Bishop Norris then listened to the reading of Pastoral reports, and commended the pastors for their leadership and direction of their charges.

The evening service began at 7.30 p.m. This was our Communion service. The Presiding Elder of the Manhattan District, the Rev. Dr. Nicholas G. Tweed was the Worship Leader. This writer must pause to indicate that this was a great spiritual service. Bishop Norris had invited the Rev. Generelle Keith, Presiding Elder of The Mt. Pleasant District of Palmetto, South Carolina to be the evening preacher. The Rev. Keith took his text from St. Luke 22:23. His message was entitled, “When Saints Act like Sinners.” We were all blessed with this very thought-provoking Message. To God be the glory!

Following the Business session on Thursday additional pastoral reports were given.

We entered into the noon day Hour of Power. The preacher for this hour was the Chief Information Officer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dr. Clement W. Fugh, a candidate for Episcopal Service 2012. The Rev. Fugh took his text from Philippians 2:5 and Job 38:1-12. His subject was, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The preacher said that in spite of the fact that Paul was caged in a Roman Prison cell, he could write these words to music, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus...” So that Epaphroditus could sing the lyrics to the Philippians converts. We were all blessed by this great message.

Following the message, we were then led in the Communion service by Bishop Jeffrey Leath and retired Bishop Henry Allen Belin, Jr.

On Thursday Evening, the Lay Organization had their special annual worship service. The laity travelled from the other six annual conferences to be a part of the New York Annual Conference Lay night activities. The church sanctuary was filled to capacity, and the Lay Annual conference choir was at their best In terms of their rendered selections. The atmosphere was spiritually charged with Holy Ghost-power. The Guest Speaker was Mrs. Cheryl Hammond Hopewell, President of the Philadelphia Lay Organization. Prior to her message, Mrs. Hopewell’s pastor, the Rev. Jay B. Broadnax, pastor of Mt. Pisgah AME Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania rendered a selection entitled “Sovereign.”  The Rev. Broadnax lifted the sanctuary with his powerful and inspirational singing. Mrs. Hopewell’s Message was entitled “A Legacy Worth Living.” Her message was well received.

On Friday Bishop Norris presided as other special reports were given such as Presiding Elder’s Support, Classification of churches and pastors.

Following lunch the Board of Examiners led by The Rev. Henry Belin presented the students in the various levels of their preparation for ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal church. It is to be noted that a greater number of the candidates for the preaching ministry are women, and most of them already possess seminary degrees. A few candidates were placed on hold as they did not complete the educational requirements for ordination. However several persons were passed on to be elected and ordained for both the local and itinerant tracks. Bishop Norris carefully questioned each candidate as to their call as well as to their knowledge of the twenty-five Articles of Religion, and other pertinent scriptural knowledge.

During the Friday afternoon Hour of Power the preacher was none other than the Chairman of the Episcopal Committee of the African Methodist Episcopal church, and pastor of First AME Church in Oakland, California, the Rev. Dr. Harold Mayberry. The Rev. Mayberry took his text from 2 Samuel 9. His sermon topic was “God Has Saved us a Place at the Table.” The Preacher talked about how David provided a place of respect and honor for Mephibosheth at his table. Although Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet, his father Jonathan’s property was returned to him and he was now able to dine at the King’s table. This message was a great blessing.

Friday evening was youth night at the Annual Conference. The sanctuary was packed with youth from the length and breadth of the New York Annual Conference Sister Aisha Bugg was the Youth worship leader. The youth Choir filled the sanctuary with powerful and inspirational singing.

We are blessed with some talented young people in our churches. Two gifted young men were presented and they blessed the audience with classical musical piano selections. The keynoter speaker was 18-year-old Uche Nwokelo from Bethany AME Church in Yonkers, New York where the Rev. Wilfred D. Lewis serves as pastor. His message was entitled “Am I the New Negro?”  His sermon was a powerful word from a young man who describes himself as a young African, Caribbean, American. At the conclusion Brother Nwokelo received a standing-ovation.

Many awards and medals were given to deserving young people at the conclusion of the service.

On Saturday morning, Bishop Norris completed the remaining business of the Annual Conference and passed the character of the preachers. Then it was time to get ready for the Ordination service.

The Rev. Dr. Henry Belin, the Chairman of the Board of Examiners was the worship leader. There were four bishops in attendance: Bishop Richard Norris, Bishop Henry Belin, Jr., Bishop Philip R. Cousin, and Bishop Samuel L. Greene.

Bishop Philip R. Cousin was the Ordination preacher. His text was taken from Exodus 14:15. His subject was “Positive Orders for Negative Times.” Bishop Cousin emphasized three points: “Be daring and go forward, know where you are going, and know the Holy Ghost.  The sermon was a classic Philip R. Cousin message. It was a message of encouragement for the new Ordinands and for all who are engaged in ministry. What a blessing!

The closing service of the Annual Conference was held on Sunday, April 29th at the Greater Allen Cathedral AME Church where the Rev. Dr. Floyd. H. Flake and the Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake serve as pastors of that great congregation. The huge edifice was filled to capacity for the Sunday School hour at 2 p.m.  The Worship service began at 3 p.m. and Rev. Dr. Henrietta Fullard served as the capable worship leader. The Rev. David Cousin led in the Call to Worship. The Rev. Marcellus Norris lined the opening hymn number 8, “Rejoice ye Pure in Heart.”  The Invocation was given by the Rev. Robert Lowe. The conference choir was led by choir director, the Rev. Robert Lowe. This conference choir was magnificent as they sang with so much energy. There was dancing in the pulpit and in the aisles. Some of the selections were: “I Can Go To God in Prayer,” “Gratefulness,” and “Lord You Are Mighty.”

The Rev. Henrietta Fullard then presented Bishop Norris in a creative way. She contrasted him to the Italian captain who abandoned his ship with 4000 passengers and tried to escape with his own life. When he was ordered to return to his ship he refused. She then said that Bishop Norris has had to sail his ship through difficult and treacherous waters, but he did not abandon his ship. He stayed the course and saw the ship of his responsibilities safely to the harbor.

When Bishop Norris stood up to acknowledge this generous and kind presentation; he received a standing ovation from the massive congregation. This was a very emotional time for Bishop Norris as he acknowledged every good wish that had come his way. He reflected on his eight years of episcopal leadership in the First Episcopal District and expressed his gratefulness to God and to the people of the New York Annual conference.

Bishop Norris invited the Rt. Rev. Samuel L. Greene, the Presiding Bishop of the 12th Episcopal District to the closing service to be the keynote preacher. Bishop Norris presented Bishop Greene as one of the great bishops of the AME Church who had given us a great church, the St. Mark AME Church in Orlando, Florida and said that Bishop Green has lifted the 12th Episcopal District to new heights.

Bishop Greene took his text from St. John 12:9, 20, 22. His subject was, “Don’t Get it Twisted.” What a powerful message. In this message Bishop Green discussed those who came to the place where Jesus was simply to see Lazarus who was resurrected from the dead. They had it twisted. The Greeks had it right. They came to see Jesus. It is more important to see the Miracle Worker than to see the Miracle. Bishop Green masterfully handled the text and in his inimitable style added some “gravy” to the mix. The congregation was on its feet shouting and praising God.

At this juncture, Bishop Norris called his wife, Mother Mary Ann Norris to his side. He held her close and thanked her publicly for the support and all that she does to undergird his ministry, even during his illness of the past year. He then planted a tender kiss on her lips to the rapturous applause of the congregation. To God be the glory!

Following the announcements Bishop Norris led in the Commissioning service and the singing of Hymn Number 242, “A Charge to Keep I Have.”  Then the good Bishop gave out the certificates to the Annual Conference Officers.

The Hymn of Commission Number 220 “Go Preach My Gospel,” was sung. Bishop Norris then read the pastoral appointments for the last time in the New York Annual Conference.

After the closing Hymn Number 258 “Go Forth Ye Heralds,” the benediction was pronounced by Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, Presiding Prelate of the 1st Episcopal District.

*The Rev. Wilfred D. Lewis is the New York Annual Conference Reporter


*Ms. Sandra J. Webb

The 100th Session of the South Georgia Annual Conference, Sixth Episcopal District, convened February 28-March 1, 2012 at Bethel AMEC – Albany, Georgia. The South Georgia Conference consists of 60 churches in two districts:  Albany/Valdosta District, the Rev. Jacqueline D. Smith Presiding Elder; and Thomasville/Bainbridge District, the Rev. Harvey R. Williamson Presiding Elder. It was fitting that this historic celebration would be held at Bethel – Albany because it is the lead church in the conference and its pastor, the Rev. Ernest Davis, Jr., was selected the 2011-12 Pastor of the Year for the Albany/Valdosta District. 
Bishop William P. DeVeaux, Presiding Prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District, was unable to attend the conference due to sudden illness. The very able Retired Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings stood in his stead and, as scheduled, the 100th Session of the South Georgia Annual Conference opened in grand fanfare on Tuesday, February 28, at 10:00 a.m. with a communion worship service in the Albany Civic Center. The worship processional was led by the graceful “DOLLS” Praise Dancers of Saint Paul AMEC – Valdosta in colorful attire and bright flags that were brandished by several members of the congregation in full praise to Almighty God. The high-stepping, poised dance movements and flag salutes set the tone for celebrating a century of blessings on the South Georgia Conference. More than 500 members of South Georgia as well as visiting pastors and lay persons from the five other conferences in the Sixth Episcopal District journeyed to Albany for the opening. The Rev. Patrick Brinson, Jr., Pastor, Bethel AMEC – Quitman, delivered the annual sermon. He stirred attendees with “You’re In Good Hands,” scripture text Jeremiah 18:1-6. He cautioned that Allstate’s good hands are no substitute for God’s unchanging and powerful hands. The melodious voices of both the conference choir, directed by the Rev. Deborah Sirmans, and Bethel AMEC – Quitman male chorus added another dimension to the already heightened spirit of the service. 

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard proclaimed Tuesday, February 28, 2012, “African Methodist Episcopal Day” in the City of Albany and urged citizens to welcome conference attendees and reflect on the impact the conference has made in South Georgia.

On Tuesday afternoon ministers and delegates answered roll call as Bishop Cummings opened the 100th business session of the conference. All delegates received conference bags with special mementos to commemorate the 100th Session of the conference. Twenty-three students under the Board of Examiners were presented to the conference with recommendations for the next phase of their ministry journey. The Board announced that beginning August 2012 Thomas University (Thomasville) and Interdenominational Theological Center/Turner Seminary (Atlanta) are setting up satellite courses in partnership with the South Georgia Board of Examiners to provide opportunities for students to further their education. 

Worship services during the conference include:
The Lay Organization’s Witness Service on Tuesday evening. The Rev. Jermaine Harris, pastor, Allen Temple AMEC – Tifton, delivered a spiritually uplifting message entitled, “God Made Me Who I am,” taken from I Samuel 17:38-40. 

Wednesday’s Noonday Hour of Power – The Rev. Thomas Stegall, pastor, St. Paul AMEC, Covington (Southwest Conference), brought the soul-stirring message entitled “Method to the Madness,” scripture Romans 8:28.

The Sons of Allen’s Wednesday evening service – The Rev. George Vereen, Pastor, St. Timothy AMEC – Valdosta, preached a powerful and self-examining message entitled, “Lame Men at the Gate,” scripture Acts 3:1-6. 

Women In Ministry conducted Thursday’s Noonday Hour of Power service by presenting a skit written by the Rev. Sandra Yates entitled, “I Will Not Be Turned Around.” The skit was about Bishop Richard Allen’s ordination of the Rev. Jarena Lee, the first woman minister in the AME Church. This powerful performance concluded with a sermon delivered in rapid, breath-taking, non-stop succession by the Rev. Beverly Griffin, pastor, Emmanuel AMEC – Dixie, that made the congregation realize that the preacher was not role-playing, but bringing a divine word. 

The Rev. Joseph Hankin retired after 27 years in ministry. Bishop Cummings praised him for his service and helpful servant-spirit, regardless the task. Special recognition was paid by Presiding Elder Harvey R. Williamson.

Several pre-conference events occurred prior to the opening session. Saturday, February 25, was the Young People’s Division (YPD) Annual Day, consisting of a worship service with Brother Dexter Bonner, former YPDer, bringing a motivating message, “Knowing Your Destiny,” with Ephesians 5:1-2 being the scripture text; a business session; and physical fitness routines.

More than 300 young people from the South Georgia Conference participated in the activities. Conference YPD Director Cassandra Davis anticipates even greater things next conference year. The culminating event was the Christian Debutante Master Commission Dedication Program.  Sixteen former debutantes and masters participated in this reunion program, “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Preparing for the Future.” 

The Conference DMC Director, Jacqueline P. Smith, presented three scholarships to former participants.
On Sunday, February 26, the Welcome Program/100th Session Observance was held to welcome the Bishop and Episcopal Supervisor to Albany. Representatives of the city were in attendance, and Mayor Dorothy Hubbard read a proclamation highlighting the AME Church’s century of service in South Georgia. Three centurions of the conference were honored:  Mrs. Essie M. Thomas, Bethel AMEC (Albany), 102 years old; Mrs. Rosetta Register, Mt. Vienna AMEC (Valdosta), 100 years old; and Mrs. Ora Walder, St. James AMEC (Adel), 104 years old. 

The conference closed with the Ordination Commissioning Service and Closing Worship on Thursday, March 1. The Reverend Dr. George F. Flowers, Executive Director of Global Witnessing and Ministries, delivered a commanding message on the subject, “We Preach Christ,” scripture text II Corinthians 4:1-3; 7-12. Outstanding musical accompaniment was again provided by the Annual Conference Choir. The Rev. Renee Gee-Theophille and the Rev. Sharon Jackson were ordained Itinerate Deacons; the Rev. Ellis Smith, Sr. was ordained Local Deacon; the Rev. Marshall Ingram and the Rev. Timothy White were ordained Local Elders.

As the curtain closed on the milestone 100th Session, Bishop Cummings and conference attendees praised the Rev. Ernest Davis, Jr., and Bethel – Albany for the outstanding manner in which they hosted the conference, the second in as many years.

The 2013 South Georgia Annual Conference will be held at Saint Paul AMEC in Valdosta, Georgia.

*Ms. Sandra J. Webb is the Assistant Church Secretary at Bethel AME Church in Albany, Georgia


In honor of his lifetime service in advancing social programs around the world and his service to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Wilberforce University is forming the Bishop C. Garnett Henning Institute for Social Justice. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Admission is free.

The new Bishop C. Garnett Henning Institute for Social Justice at Wilberforce University honors an influential clergyman who has spent nearly four decades as a strong advocate for the poor and marginalized on two continents. This institute will bring distinguished individuals to the campus each year to discuss social agendas that advance human rights.

Topic of discussion will be “Basic Human Rights: Where Are We Today?” Featured speaker will be Dr. Dennis C. Dickerson, Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. Response panelists will include the Honorable Marsha Bayless, Mayor, Xenia, Ohio; the Honorable Rhine McLin, former Mayor, Dayton, Ohio; Mr. Brian Jarvis, Councilman, Beavercreek, Ohio; and Ms. Angelica Rucker, Wilberforce University Senior. Dr. Leah Gaskin Fitchue, President of Payne Theological Seminary will be the moderator.

As a young minister, the Rt. Rev. C. Garnett Henning’s passionate Christian advocacy in Los Angeles and St. Louis helped win battles against discrimination in both cities. His advocacy for economic, social and political justice for blacks and other minorities has been the hallmark of his ministry wherever he has served. He has been a forceful fighter in areas of police brutality, housing, quality education and employment. Bishop Henning served as Senior Shepherd of Ward AME in Los Angeles. He was also Executive Vice President, President and Chairman of the Board of Southern Christian

Leadership Conference-West, and served as a member of the city's Housing Authority for seven years and as president for two years.

In St. Louis, where he was Senior Minister of St. Paul AME, the Mother Church west of the Mississippi River, Bishop Henning founded the Committee for Equal Justice, an organization that exposed corruption in the bail bond system. His efforts helped establish an "Own Recognizance" program – and later, a Pre-Trial Release Program allowing qualified applicants to be released prior to trial without posting a financial bond. Bishop Henning also founded the Black Clergy Coalition, which provided valuable leadership in economic development and political empowerment for African Americans St. Louis. He also founded the Superintendent Advisory Committee, which interacted with the Superintendent of education on matters related to quality education for the people of St. Louis city school district.

Bishop Henning served as Executive Director of Block Partnership, a program what fostered cooperation between inner city and suburban churches in empowerment programs, and led his congregation in participating in other city-suburban leadership exchange programs.

His abilities and contributions gained even wider recognition with his 1992 election as the 112th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and his assignment as Presiding Prelate of the 14th Episcopal District. The 14th Episcopal District is in West Africa, and comprises Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire.

Despite a civil war then being fought in Liberia, Bishop Henning established AME University, an institution which now has a student enrollment in excess of fifteen hundred students. He also established C. G. Henning, Jr. Memorial Institute, in Danane' Côte d'Ivoire, a refugee area, a school that continues its mission today.

In 1996 Bishop Henning took the helm of the denomination's 19th Episcopal District, South Africa. Since then, he has been a forceful leader among bishops and lay leaders in support of indigenous leadership in Africa. While there, he completely modernized the office operations at the AME. Church’s Johannesburg center and built and paid for the C. G. Henning, Sr. Wing of the headquarters building, which was dedicated in 1998.

For more information: Linda Renner at 937-708-5704 or lrenner@wilberforce.edu.


SANTA BARBARA, CA (May 1, 2012) The Beatitudes Society has announced that Michael Waters, Perkins School of Theology, ‘06, has been awarded a $10,000 Beatitudes Fellowship.

He is one of eight emerging faith leaders from across the United States selected for the annual award. “We are delighted that Michael is one of our gamechanging new leaders,” said The Rev. Anne Howard, Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society. “We are working toward the day when we will see a thriving nationwide web of courageous, authentic, innovative faith leaders and their communities who are engaged in the public square on behalf of inclusion, compassion, and the common good, and Michael will be a vital part of that network.”

The Beatitudes Fellowship equips a select group of new entrepreneurial faith leaders with the resources and relationships that empower them to create new models for church and the pursuit of social justice. This Fellowship is focused on building Progressive Christian congregations.

During the yearlong Fellowship, each Fellow develops their own project, working in their faith community, and gathers four times each year in a retreat setting in Berkeley, CA for customized leadership training workshops that include evaluation and strategic planning: how to figure out what each Fellow needs in their ministry project, from the tangible (people, money, time) to the intangible (faith, hope, courage.)

Fellows were nominated by professional colleagues and completed an application process that included a description of their project idea. Candidates for this Fellowship have demonstrated:

- A commitment to the intersection of faith and social justice
- A commitment to interfaith and multifaith collaborations
- A proven track record of leadership
- A willingness to take risks
- Intellectual capacity and curiosity
- A willingness to collaborate with others
- Potential to be gamechangers
- A call to match up their deep gladness with the world’s great need.

To find out more, please visit: www.BeatitudesSociety.org

Submitted by Anne Howard, Executive Director


By Kathy L. Gilbert*

TAMPA, Fla. Many delegates were surprised and even shocked by how quickly a far-reaching proposal that takes away the security of guaranteed appointments for ordained elders breezed by The United Methodist 2012 General Conference.

The item was approved as part of a large number of proposals in the assembly’s April 30 consent calendar. The consent calendar is a tool used by General Conference to expedite legislation wherein recommendations from legislative committees with no more than 10 votes in opposition are grouped and approved together.

There was a motion to reconsider the item but that motion also failed by a vote of 564 to 373.

Under this new legislation, bishops and cabinets will be allowed to give elders less than full-time appointment. The legislation also would permit bishops and their cabinets, with the approval of their boards of ordained ministry and annual (regional) conference’s executive session, to put elders on unpaid transitional leave for up to 24 months. Clergy on transitional leave would be able to participate in their conference health program through their own contributions.

Under the legislation, each annual conference is asked to name a task force to develop a list of criteria to guide the cabinets and bishops as they make missional appointments.

The cabinets shall report to the executive committees of Board of Ordained Ministry the number of clergy without fulltime appointments and their age, gender and ethnicity. Cabinets also will be asked to report their learnings as appointment-making is conducted in a new way.

Earlier the assembly voted down a proposal that would have allowed elders and deacons to be eligible for ordination as soon as they complete their educational requirements and after serving a minimum of two years as a provisional elder or deacon.
The commission stated security of appointments for elders has been a major stumbling block for missional appointments.

Focus on mission

“Although I knew it was coming, I’m shocked at how fast it just passed right by in front of us,” said the Rev. Gloria Kymn, pastor of Marysville (Wash.) United Methodist Church and delegate of the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference. She said she is “grieving” the loss of United Methodist heritage this petition brings.

“I am a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I am United Methodist and I am an effective clergy,” she said. However, as a woman from an ethnic minority, she has experienced discrimination.

The Rev. Vance Ross, pastor of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tenn., said guaranteed appointments have been critical to discouraging cultural bigotry.

“We have put something in place that allows an awful amount of opportunity to move in ways that are not part of the diverse and including values that we get from Jesus of Nazareth.”

Security of appointment was established in 1956 to protect women clergy and later clergy of color, said the Rev. Tom Choi, Hawaii district superintendent and a member of the ministry study commission.

“These days, the group most protected by security of appointment is ineffective clergy,” Choi said. “To that point, I have sometimes felt that there has been a distortion to a line in the Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition: ‘Let me be employed for Thee, or laid aside for Thee.’ The cynical side of me thinks that a handful of elders and associate members have the attitude of ‘Let me be employed for Thee, or let me be employed for ME.’

“My opinion is that the actual numbers of clergy affected by this legislation is very small.”

The Rev. We Hyun Chang, pastor of Belmont (Mass.) United Methodist Church and a delegate of the New England Annual (regional) Conference said guaranteed appointments were represented as something outside of missional appointments.

“Without (security of appointments) we would still be a male-dominated denomination … with even smaller numbers of ethnic clergy compared to any other denominations. It has served the church missionally and I regret that is promoted as one of the reasons we are losing our members.”

In the United States, one in three churches have less than 40 in worship on Sunday, said the Rev. Ken Carter, chair of the Western North Carolina delegation and co-author of the ministry study report.

“What we have done is to displace local pastors often in poor and marginalized areas or created charges that are sometimes artificial and not helpful to the local churches to try to provide employment for elders,” he said. They have continued despite ineffectiveness and this has done harm to local churches.”

Carter said an amendment to the legislation allows for the monitoring of cabinets and bishops by an independent group of people not placed there by the bishop or cabinet.

“Most of our local United Methodist churches cannot provide continued appointment,” he said. “The future may well look more like a bi-vocational ministry for a substantial number of our clergy.”

*Gilbert is a multimedia reporter for the young adult content team at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Tampa, Fla., (813) 574-4837, through May 4; after May 4, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470, or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Used with Permission of United Methodist News Service


*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby

 I had a rare Saturday morning with nothing on my schedule this past weekend and decided to spend some time cleaning up my study and watching TV.  Doing so left me both amazed and amused.  I was amazed - as I always am - at the broad range of viewing choices.  There were only four local TV stations to choose from in the days of my youth, but I now have cable TV with well over one hundred channels.  I was amused because when I flipped through all of those channels, I couldn’t find one single thing that I really wanted to watch!

My amazing and amusing Saturday morning experience mirrors what’s sometimes less amazing and amusing but still significant, for we all face choices in life.  Some of them - like what to watch on TV or at the movies, where to eat, what to wear, what to do for recreation and relaxation - are trivial.  Others - like our choice of colleges or careers, of casual and lifelong companions, of how to handle our business and care for ourselves and for those what we love - are more critical.

Life presents us with many choices, and we sometimes make the wrong ones.  That can simply be annoying when the choices are minor, but can have a considerable impact on our lives when the choices are major.  Many people go through life with heavy burdens, cares, fears and heartaches because we make the wrong choices and have to live with the consequences.

That’s why it pays to choose to follow Jesus.  When we stay in step with the Savior who sacrificed his earthly life to deliver us from our sins and missteps, we can find forgiveness for our bad choices and assurance that we can recover and receive healing, renewal and new direction.

Bad choices are a part of our human condition, but we don’t have to let them limit or haunt our lives or our futures.  The God we serve sent His Son into this world so that even when we face confusing choices in life, we can confidently say with one writer, “I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.”

If you are in the Charleston, South Carolina area this weekend please feel free to join us on this First Sunday in May for Church School at 8:45 am and for Worship and Holy Communion at 10 am, when the Combined Choir, Gospel Choir and Morris Brown Mass Choir will offer praise.
Sunday’s Scripture Lessons are:

Amos 5:18-24
I Thessalonians 5:1-11
John 21:1-12

Sunday’s Sermon is entitled:  “Stay Ready for Jesus”

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


Supervisor Retired, Reverend Rosalyn K. Brookins is asking the African Methodist Episcopal Church Family to pray fervently for her husband, The Rt. Reverend Hamel Hartford Brookins, who is in the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles.

"The Effectual Fervent Prayer Of the Righteous Availeth Much."

Contact Information for the Rev. Rosalyn Brookins:

Telephone: (323) 719-6197

**Received by Mrs. Ora L. Easley, Administrator, The Clergy Family Information Center


Retired Episcopal Supervisor, the Rev. Rosalyn Kyle Brookins will graduate from San Francisco Theological Seminary on May 12, 2012

The Reverend Brookins said, "I am so excited to announce that it is official. I am graduating MAY 12, 2012 with my M. DIV degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary! What a journey this has been and I couldn't have made it without the prayers of the righteous! Through heartache, pain, sunshine, and rain, the lord has gotten me to the finish line! Amen! Please come and celebrate with me this glorious event! This degree is for all of our ancestors who didn't have an opportunity to receive what we would a formal education, and yet had more education than any institution could offer."

San Francisco Theological Seminary Class of 2012 Commencement Exercises at the Southern California Campus on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 10 a.m. at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, California 91101.

Reception following at the South Hall of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church

Congratulatory messages can be emailed to: rrosethequeen@aol.com

- Attorney Derek E. Bruce, Principal, Edge Public Affairs, Orlando, Florida was named by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to examine the "Stand Your Ground" Law.

Attorney Derek E. Bruce, Principal, Edge Public Affairs, Orlando, FL was named by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to examine the "Stand Your Ground" Law. The purpose of the Task Force is to examine this law and any other laws, rules, regulations or programs that relate to public safety and protection in wake of the Trayvon Martin incident. They will make any necessary recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to improve public safety in Florida. Input for the Task Force can be emailed to CitizenSafety@eog.myflorida.com. For more information, visit www.FLGov.com/citizensafety. The website for Edge Public Affairs is www.edgepublicaffairs.com.

- Ms. Yolanda A. Bruce, Esq. has been named Senior Attorney with the Florida Division of Children and Families

Ms. Yolanda A. Bruce, Esq. who currently serves as Assistant State Attorney, Office of the State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida has been named Senior Attorney with the Florida Division of Children and Families starting in May.

Attorney Derek E. Bruce and  Ms. Yolanda A. Bruce, Esq. are the son and daughter of the Late Dr. Y. Benjamin Bruce, Sr., former Director, Worship and Evangelism and Presiding Elder, North Orlando District, Central Conference and Ms. Gloria S. Bruce, Central Conference Commissioner, Debutante-Master Commission.

Well wishers are appreciated and send emails to the following addresses:

Ms. Gloria S. Bruce: brucegs@bellsouth.net 
Atty. Derek E. Bruce: Derek@edgepublicaffairs.com
Ms. Yolanda A. Bruce, Esq.:bruceyolanda@aol.com


We ask for your prayers at the death April 28, 2012 of Mrs. Tessie Bernice Ray Parks (102 years old). Mrs. Parks was the grandmother of the Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, Connectional Consultant AME/WIM, Sixth Episcopal District and Sister Richelle Fry Skinner, DMC Commissioner, Fifth Episcopal District.

Homegoing services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday May 5, 2012

Ward Memorial Baptist Church
412 North Osage Avenue
Sedalia, Missouri 65301
Telephone: 660-826-5366

The Rev. John Williams, Officiant
The Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, Eulogist

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown
1080 Palmer Road
Lithonia, Georgia 30058
Mobile: 404-277-9444

Sister Richelle Fry Skinner
2040 Ogden
Denver, CO 80205


"Earth's loss is heaven's gain" - It is with sadness that we announced the homegoing of the Rev. Willem Moses Hanse, a pastor in the Namibia Annual Conference, of the Fifteenth Episcopal District under the leadership of Bishop E. Earl McCloud Jr. The late Rev. W M Hanse transited to glory on Thursday, 26 April and is to be laid to perpetual rest from the St. James AME Church, Mariental on Sunday, 6 May 2012. The late Rev WM Hanse was the brother of two AME ministers: Presiding Elder Willem Simon Hanse from Cape Town and Presiding Elder Penias E. Topnaar!

Enquiries and expressions of condolence may be emailed to:

The Rev. W S Hanse, Presiding Elder: revwshansepe@yahoo.com

The Rev P E Topnaar, Presiding Elder


We regret to inform you of the passing of Aaron Stanley Kayser, the brother of Sean Pillay and the cousin of the Rev. Clive Pillay, pastor of Young Chapel, Tafelsig, South Africa.  Aaron Stanley Kayser passed after being hit in a car accident in Merrydale Street in Mitchells Plain on Sunday 29 April.

Expressions of sympathy can be emailed to:

Sean Pillay: seanpillay@yahoo.co.uk 
The Rev. Clive Pillay: cjvpza@yahoo.co.uk


On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, retired Presiding Elder Raymond G. Heastie went home to be with the Lord.

The Rev. Heastie pastored for 30-years throughout the 11th Episcopal District. He served as a Presiding Elder for 10 years. He retired in 2007 from the Wonderful North District of the South Conference under the leadership of Presiding Bishop McKinley Young and Supervisor Dr. Dorothy Jackson Young of the 11th Episcopal District. The North District is currently under the leadership of Presiding Elder and Mrs. (Magdalene) Vincent Mitchell and is now named the Noble North District. Elder Heastie was married to Sister Doris Heastie for 57 years. She was his college classmate at Bethune Cookman University.

They are the parents of five children: Deon Eleanor, Ricardo Anthony, Donna Maria, Roddrick Joseph, and Daphne L'nette, ten grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Sister Doris is a past 8-year elected Connectional Officer of the Women's Missionary Society. Presiding Elder Heastie was a member of Payne Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach, Florida; the Rev. Milton Broomfield (Rhonda) is the pastor.

The Celebration of Life service for Elder Heastie is as follows:

Thursday, May 3rd 2012
Viewing: 9:30-10:45
Celebration of Life Service: 11:00 a.m.
Eulogist: Bishop McKinley Young

Payne Chapel AME Church
801- 9th Street
West Palm Beach, 33401
Professional Services are entrusted to:

Shuler's Memorial Chapel
5301 N. Australian Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL  33407
Phone: (561) 882-4255

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

Mrs. Doris L. Heastie
1148 West 32nd Street
Riviera Beach, Fl 33404

Phone: (561) 881-1224

Expressions of sympathy may be emailed to: dorisheastie2@aol.com


We regret to announce the passing of the Rev. Wendell H. West, Superannuate of the Michigan Annual Conference, 4th Episcopal District.

During his active years, the Rev. West pastored in both the Michigan and Canadian Conferences. After his retirement, the Rev. West relocated to Sacramento, California to reside with his son and family. He attended St. Andrews AME Church in Sacramento, California.

Funeral Services for the Rev. West is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012

Family Hour: 10:30 am - 11:00 am
Home going Celebration: 11:00 am
New St. James AME Church
9321 Rosa Parks Blvd.
Detroit, MI. 48206

Telephone: (313) 867-2851
The Rev. Tammy Harris, Pastor

Friday, April 27, 2012
Public Viewing -
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Haley Funeral Directors
24525 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, MI. 48075

Telephone: (248) 356-4800

Words of sympathy and comfort may be sent to:

Mr. Mark West (Son)
6116 Sampson Blvd.
Sacramento, California 95824


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.

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