Bishop T. Larry Kirkland - Chair, Commission on
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th
Editor, The Christian Recorder
National HIV/AIDS Awareness Month
Mark your Calendar Now!
Quadrennial Session of the General Conference will be held in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania on July 6 - 13, 2016.
To be early is to be on time; to
be on time is to be late; and to be late is unacceptable!
1. EDITORIAL – CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR MERRIMENT
AND REFLECTION AND REMEMBERING THE “REASON FOR THE SEASON”:
Calvin H. Sydnor III
Editor of The Christian Recorder
We are quickly approaching Christmas, one of the most
commemorated holidays celebrated by Christians all over the world. Christmas is
the time that we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ and Christmas is the most
joyous season of the Christian year. Children and adults look forward to
Christmas. Christmas is a time when
families reunite, elaborate meals are planned and gifts are exchanged. Some
churches put on elaborate Christmas stage productions and other churches plan
Christmas programs that feature recitation by the young people of their
The Christmas season does not, or should not, begin
with Christmas. The celebration of Christmas begins with Advent, which is
observed the fours Sundays before Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation
for Christmas day and the Christmas season. Advent gets us in the Christmas
frame of mind or mood for Christmas.
Liturgically the Christmas season is the 12 days of
Christmas that begins on Christmas day and ends on January 5; the Epiphany
season begins on January 6. Epiphany
celebrates the Wise Men or Magi’s arrival to present gifts to the young Jesus
Advent and Christmas are joyous seasons that should
also be a time of reflection, learning and festivities. Liturgical and
sacramental churches take every opportunity to learn. For example, the song,
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a
Christian Catechism song.
The partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus; the two
turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments; the three French hens
represents the three wise men bearing gifts; the Four calling- birds represent
the four Gospels; the Five gold-rings represent the Torah or Pentateuch (first 5
books of the Bible); the Six geese a-laying represents the six days of
creation; the seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy
Spirit; the eight maids a-milking represent the eight Beatitudes; the nine
ladies dancing represent the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit; the ten lords
a-leaping represent the Ten Commandments; the eleven pipers piping represent
the eleven faithful Apostles; and the twelve drummers drumming represent the
twelve points of the Apostles' Creed.
It is not an “X”
A few years ago, there was a movement to take the “X”
out of Christmas and people were encouraged to not use the term, “Xmas,” but
apparently those who supported that notion did not realize that the “X” was not an “X,” it’s the Greek letter “Chi” represented
which to us looks like an “X” to those who do not understand that it’s the
Greek letter “Chi.” “Chi” is an abbreviation for “Christ,” thus “Xmas” is a
shorthand way of writing “Christmas” and “Xtian” is a
short-hand way for writing “Christian.” So, the “X” was never in Christmas; and
the letter “Chi” represented by what looks like and “X,”
keeps Christ in Christmas.
With so many things happening during the
Advent/Christmas season, it’s so easy to lose sight of the real meaning of
Christmas, the birth of our Savior. The Advent/Christmas season can quickly
turn into a season of hustle and bustle focused upon buying Christmas gifts,
decorating our homes and planning for family and friends. Advent/ Christmas can also turn into a
pity-party focused upon what we don’t have and what we cannot afford; and can
quickly divert our attention away from the real meaning of the season.
The challenge for Christians is to enjoy the merriment
of the season, but also remain faithful to the real significance of the season;
celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and celebrating anew the presence of
Christ in our lives today.
If we are faithful, it is never too late for God’s
blessings to come into our lives. If we
remain faithful in the midst of trials and tribulations, God can bring joy and
fullness into our lives.
The season of Advent/Christmas, the busiest time of
year, should draw us closer to others and to God in which we anticipate the
blessings of the coming anew of Christ the King into our lives, into homes,
into our communities, and into our local churches.
Editor’s Comment: Our prayers go
out for our nation and particularly to the families in Newtown, Connecticut;
and especially for the children who have endured such tragic trauma.
2. TCR OP-ED -
PASTORAL TRANSFERS ARE A PART OF THE AME CHURCH:
Willem S. Hanse
I have this thing against unnecessary pastoral
transfers in our part of the world of the AME Church. It is mostly a problem
caused by middle managers (presiding elders) in their pursuit to get best
possible local churches for the friends and families. As a result, we are not
helping the struggling pastor and local church to work through their
transitional growth pains.
The pastors here on the African Continent are fast on
the move, and the high-turnover of personnel (pastors) has a negative effect on
our local churches.
I thank God for more and more spiritual and biblical
bishops who share this view with many of us. People always have differences
about one thing or the other but, we, as presiding elders, have the
responsibility all of the time to interpret the differences into faith
language, and give parishioners reasons enough to be tolerant and when we
successful in helping “bridge their differences, a lasting love-relationship
between a pastor and a people is often the result.
A pastor should stay at the church, and the presiding
elder in his or her district as long as profitable for the preaching of the
Gospel and extension of God's Kingdom on earth.
I like one bishop who cautioned us not to go after
each others' big churches, but to go and develop “that small church into the
big church everybody would like to have”; that is a challenge that I believe we
can, and should do.
We have almost come to the end of 2012, and there is
really not much we can do with the past except to use the past as point of
reference to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
But, 2013 is wide open, awaiting us, the Christian
Church, to move into hostile places and make this earth a better place in
Jesus' name for our inheritance.
I pray the Lord to help our bishops, presiding elders
and pastors and even our members to do a better and more excellent job for the
Triune God in 2013.
3. AME COUNCIL OF BISHOPS CALLS FOR PRAYER
FOLLOWING THE TRAGEDY IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT:
December 15, 2012
The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church calls prayer following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr, is the President of the Council of Bishops.
Members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church:
The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church asks that all Churches pause for prayer during Sunday service,
December 16, 2012. Let us pray for the families and people who lost loved ones
during the mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut where there were 28 dead,
including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, December 14,
Following the mass killings President Obama expressed
the anguish all of us felt in the face of this tragedy. He said, "We've
endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I
learn the news I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a
parent. And that was especially true today." If the tragedies are to stop,
the Church must be involved and understand that we are a part of the solution.
This tragedy did not happen in war-torn Syria,
Afghanistan, or the Congo, but rather in urban Newtown, Connecticut at an
elementary school. Let us pray for more love in our country; and genuine
relationships of love between people. As believers of God, we know that this
kind of love can only be born out of hearts that love God first through a
relationship with Jesus Christ. The Church must become a part of the crowd of
witnesses who daily share the Good News of love, peace and happiness with those
we meet. We must be our brother and sister keeper. We must take time to look at
and not over others.
We can and should make a difference in this world for
we are the light, which eradicates darkness. We cannot become discouraged, we have
work to do and the power and the Word needed to be successful.
I urge you to contact the government leaders in your
area to encourage legislation for stricter gun control laws and as a community
of faith let’s be proactive in raising the consciousness of our communities
about the disease of mental illness.
We pray God’s peace for you and ask His blessings on
you and your witnessing.
Yours in peace and power,
The Council of Bishops
Bishop Samuel Green, Sr., President
4. THE GENERAL BOARD MEETING AND INVESTITURE
CELEBRATION IN LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS:
Just a quick mention of the General Board Meeting and
Investiture Celebration in Little Rock, Arkansas held December 10 – 12, 2013.
It was not business as usual. The President of the
General Board, Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson kept the meeting focused on the
business at hand and kept strictly to the schedule. Business was handled and
information was disseminated. Bishop Richardson not only handled the business
portion efficiently, he also instituted a preaching component to General Board
schedule. The morning sermons prior to
the business sessions delivered by the Rev. Dr. Julius McAllister, Jr., pastor
or Bethel AME Church in Tallahassee, Florida and the Reverend Dr. Marvin C.
Zanders, II, pastor of St. Paul AME Church in Jacksonville, Florida were
homiletical masterpieces that set the spiritual tone for the General Board
And of course, the worship service sermon by Bishop
John Richard Bryant was a homiletical tour de force.
The 12th Episcopal District choir rendered music that inspired and
motivated the parishioners, both clergy and laity.
The investiture celebration of Bishop Samuel Lawrence
Green was creatively different. The evening incorporated a pre-worship
reception for the leaders of our Zion, a worship service in which John Bryant
was the preacher, and a formal reception and acknowledgements of the ministry
and life of Bishop Green. The whole affair was refreshingly different. The
formal reception was followed by a late night worship service for those who
wanted to attend. The Rev. Dr. Jasper W. Williams, pastor of Salem Bible Church
in Atlanta, Georgia was the guest preacher.
The General Secretary, Dr. Jeffrey Cooper has
transitioned to the ministry of the General Secretary in an innovative and
creative way. All documents were posted
in Drop Box and those who signed up received the minutes and other documents
electronically. The AME Church is moving towards paperless or as little paper
as possible. Cutting out paper saves money.
The Commissions were organized and Dr. Richard Allen
Lewis reminded the General Board Members that we have begun marching to General
Conference 2016 when we will celebrate the founding of the African Methodist
Dr. Richard Lewis shared important information about
The 2013 General Board / Bishops’ Council /
Investiture Celebration for Bishop Sarah Frances Davis to become the President
of the Council of Bishops will be held in Kingston, Jamaica on June 23 – 26,
Those persons traveling to Jamaica will need to have
up-to-date passports. It takes time to
get a U.S. passport and if you don’t already have a passport, recommend that
you start the process immediately. U.S. citizens can get a passport a last
minute, but last-minute passports are expensive.
Click on the link below or put the address below in
your browser for information about how to apply for or renew a passport.
General Conference Planning has begun as far out
Planning has already begun for the General Conferences
that will be held 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032 and 2036. The 2020 General Conference is scheduled to
be held in the 11th Episcopal District.
Many things happened and we will share reports of the
Commission meetings and other business when received.
5. COMMUNITY LIBRARY RENAMED IN HONOR OF A.M.E.
By The Reverend Faith Waters
On the evening of October 22, 2012, many family,
friends, church members and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the renaming of
the Township of Darby Public Library to the Lee M. Taliaferro Township of Darby
Darby Township is located in Delaware County,
Pennsylvania. It has been the home of Brother Lee Taliaferro for the last 70
years. He has been an active member of First AME Church of Darby Township since
1962; and a Trustee for over 48 years.
First AME is part of the West Mainline District of the
Philadelphia Annual Conference (First Episcopal District). The Reverend Carolyn Cavaness is the pastor.
The Presiding Elder of the West Mainline District is the Reverend Charles Lett.
The Rt. Reverend Gregory G.M. Ingram is the Bishop of the First District.
The Darby Township Board of Commissioners wanted to do
something to honor Brother Lee Taliaferro for his over twenty years of service
as a Commissioner. At one of their monthly meeting, they voted unanimously to
rename the library to Lee M. Taliaferro Public Library. Brother Taliaferro said
“It was compliment that the entire board approved the name change. And even
though we do not always agree, we do respect one another.”
At the library dedication on October 22, 2012, the
Reverend Carolyn Cavaness offered the invocation and benediction. Those present
included members of the Board of Commissioners, Pennsylvania Congressman Robert
Brady, Pennsylvania State Representative Maria P. Donatucci, Presiding Elder
Charles Lett, membership of First AME Church and the Taliaferro family.
When asked what the honor meant to him, Brother
Taliaferro said, “It’s overwhelming. You think of a person having a library
named after them, it’s quite an honor. How many people have a library named
after them? Maybe Presidents, but not
ordinary people like me. It is something you never dream about. You ask
yourself, ‘What have I done to have such an honor?’ I don’t think of things
I’ve done for people. Most of the time, I help people and forget about it. The
blessing is that people trust and believe in you to share their personal
struggles. It surprises me when people come to me for help. I have no idea how
to help them. But I ask God to guide me and then just do it.”
In the future, when others see his name on the library
Brother Taliaferro said he wants “people to remember not necessarily the number
of things he has done, but know I have been a good person, role model, that
they can be proud of from Darby Township. I made a promise when I got involved
in politics. I promised my parents not to do anything to embarrass them, my
family, or anyone else. And I have kept my promise.”
He is a past member of the Pennsylvania State
Democratic Committee, and the Vice Chairman for the Delaware County Democratic
Committee 2006 re-election effort for Governor Rendell.
Brother Taliaferro currently manages the Delaware
County office of State Representative Maria P. Donatucci.
The Reverend Faith Waters, West Mainline District
Ministerial Staff at First A.M.E. Church of Darby
6. SAINT PETER A.M.E. CHURCH CELEBRATES 129TH
Desiree V. O'Bryant
Since its inception in 1883 until 2012, Saint Peter
African Methodist Church, Fort Valley, Georgia has endured the trial and
tribulations of years gone by and continues to stand the test of time by
leaning on the Word of God.
Saint Peter AME Church celebrated its 129th
Church Anniversary on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at the 10:00 worship service. The theme for this historic event was
“Cherishing Our Legacy, Embracing Our Future.”
The Reverend Bertram C. Smith and First Lady Wendolyn Smith are the
illustrious leaders of this great church.
General Chairperson, Brother Ashley Ballard, along
with the anniversary steering team exceeded expectations to make this 129th
church anniversary a momentous occasion.
The Saint Peter Mass Choir, under the direction of
Gerald Lee, began the worship service with a hymn befitting of the anniversary
theme, “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.”
They also rendered songs of praises such as, “Bless the Lord, Oh My
Soul,” and “I am the Light.” Also adding delight to the program was worship
through dance performed by Saint Peter Praise Dance Ministry, and the sermon
hymn, “I Love the Lord,” which was harmoniously sung by the Reverend Smith and
daughter, 2nd Lieutenant (US Army) Danielle Smith. This was a spiritually uplifting moment. Sister Raynelle Lightfoot read the Old
The Anniversary speaker, the Right Reverend Preston
Warren Williams, II, Presiding Prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District was
introduced by the Reverend Bertram Smith.
Bishop Williams is the 119th Elected and Consecrated Bishop of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church. He
was assigned to his home state of Georgia at the 49th Quadrennial Session of
the General Conference that was held in Nashville, Tennessee in July 2012. Bishop Williams is married to Dr. Wilma
Delores Webb Williams, Episcopal Supervisor.
Bishop Williams' sermon subject theme was, “The Next
Level: Falling from Failure to Success” and his scripture text was 2
Corinthians 11:23-29. He spoke on the
afflictions and trials that Paul endured, and the "thorn" in Paul’s’
side. He related Paul’s experience to
Christians of today, and stated that, as Christians, we all have
"thorns," and gave a remedy as to what we need to do when thorns
invade our lives. He suggested that we
should keep praying as Paul did and be assured that God is going to strengthen
us and encourage us through it; develop us in it; and prosper us with it.
Bishop Williams’ message was insightful and filled with Godly wisdom that will
strengthen and sustain us through times of trouble.
Sister Gwendolyn Young, Anniversary Planning Team; the
Reverend Alan Hale Wicker, Presiding Elder, Macon District; and Pastor Smith
gave remarks emphasizing the anniversary’s success.
Following the worship service the parishioners’
fellowshipped and enjoyed a deliciously prepared anniversary Dinner.
7. MOUNT ZION A.M.E. CHURCH - NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW
JERSEY 185 YEARS: “BUILT UPON A SOLID FOUNDATION”:
By Sister Wilma S. Robinson, Anniversary Chairperson
Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, New
Brunswick, New Jersey - "Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow" for
another milestone in the long and colorful saga of this old and historic
African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. Daylan K. Greer is the pastor of
Mount Zion AME Church.
Mount Zion is the oldest African American church in
Middlesex and Somerset Counties. While this country was marred by many
injustices wrought by Negroes especially slavery, the congregation of Mount
Zion was founded in 1827 some thirty six years prior to the signing of the
Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.
Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church still
stands as a beacon of hope where the cornerstone reads: “To God Be the Glory,”
and a place where we now celebrate 185 years of praising and trusting in the
This unique, dignified, and beautiful occasion
presents an ocular demonstration of the noble taste and spiritual fervor of the
pastoral leadership of the Rev. Daylan K. Greer, Sr. and the membership of this
Our anniversary celebration began with a Revival
Service on Wednesday, October 24, with Licentiate Sister Adrienne Harvard as
our worship leader. Our revivalist, the Rev. D. Albert Turk, pastor, Emanuel
AME Church in New York City is one of the most prolific orators of our time,
delivered a soul-stirring sermon entitled “This I Know” based on John 9:1-11-
13 where Jesus healed the eyes of the blind man with spit and clay. We were
reminded that regardless of our circumstances, God wants to reveal His glory in
us and “believing is seeing”. Rev. Turk simply brought the “house down” with an
On, Friday, October 26, our youth joined in the
celebration with a “Youth Explosion” with Brother Jai Greer as the worship
leader. Praise God for our youth who shared various expressions about our
Our closing worship service on Sunday, October 28, was
a “high holy” service and celebration. The Rev. Angela Battle was our worship
leader and the Rev. Richard Worthy, Presiding Elder, Wilmington District,
Delaware Conference, was our guest preacher.
His powerful sermon was taken from Acts 2 and entitled
“A Spirit Filled Church.” In keeping
with our anniversary theme, he reminded us that we need the Holy Spirit in the
church and that we must make room for the Holy Spirit to move freely.
Everything we do must be spirit-filled.
To the mighty host of believers, Rev. Worthy exhorted, “there is
something special about the Holy Ghost that will make you praise without the
praise team and you will be on fire for the Lord.”
We celebrated a legacy of “faith” and “blessings” for
which God has brought us this far by faith, and He continues to be the
cornerstone of Mount Zion. In keeping with our theme: “Built upon a Solid
Foundation”, we honored the “Diamond Pioneers”, members who have served faithfully
for 60 plus years to build a solid foundation. Thirty (30) Diamond Pioneers
received a standing ovation as they were recognized by the Rev. Daylan K.
Greer, Sr., pastor and First Lady, Sister Jennifer Little-Greer as each one was
presented with a certificate and a long stem yellow rose.
Honoring Our Diamond Pioneers
Each year, we honor a member of our community for
their commitment and unwavering support to Mount Zion. This year’s Community
Service Award was presented to Mr. Adrian Hughes, General Manager of the Hyatt
Regency Hotel in New Brunswick.
The culmination of our anniversary celebration was a
sumptuous dinner in our beautifully, decorated fellowship hall.
The anniversary celebration was truly a time to
reflect and remember our “Solid Foundation,” 185 years of baptisms,
confirmations, marriages, annual days, choir anniversaries, usher
anniversaries, women’s day, men’s day, special dinners, bus rides, sweetheart
dinners given by the men, home-going celebrations, pastor’s anniversaries and
yes, church anniversaries.
The true story of Mount Zion African Methodist
Episcopal Church is not merely the story of location of its meetings, its
different ministries or its famous people. The true story of Mount Zion is the
story of the grace, the mercy, the mission, and the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus our Lord and the attempt of people over many generations
to be the church that would honor Jesus as Lord. May we leave this legacy to
our children and to future generations.
Mount Zion continues to be a rock in the New Brunswick
Community, with an extended reach to other surrounding communities, in the time
of need to those lost in darkness, bringing them to the family of God for 185
8. A VERY “SANDY” CHRISTMAS:
*The Rev Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd
As I prepare to go to a church in south jersey to
preach, I am reflective.
I live in Princeton New Jersey in a house with a
lovely little brook behind it, and surrounded by trees.
As the predictions concerning the coming of hurricane
sandy intensified I began to feel anxious –recalling how our little brook had
become a lake during hurricane Floyd – and how I had lost all of my first
edition books to a basement flooding. The
carpets and wall molded and all had to be removed.
I learned from this experience. Do not hold to tightly to anything but God.
Some things cannot be replaced – but their memory can live on. God is present
when the lights go out.
We emerged greatly inconvenienced by prolonged power
outages that left us cold, without the ability to cook and in the dark. Yet we
fared so much better than so many people!!
I have been visiting some of the areas of New York and
New Jersey hardest hit by the storm on behalf of the AME Church Mental Health
Yesterday I took a team to Far Rockaway and under the
direction of Pastor Jerome Stembridge, we settled into the Arverne
District. We had been told that it was
worse than Far Rockaway and it was true. Our teams were heartbroken by what we
Grant Chapel AME Trenton gathered two vans and a truck
filled with cleaning supplies and went door to door.
When we reached Arverne and began organizing the
supplies on the street corners, people came from everywhere, even out of houses
and cars. .
It was as if we were giving out money! “Do you have bleach? Pine Sol?
Rubber gloves?” They were all so very, very thankful.
We are going to open a Christmas store in Atlantic
Parents will be able to pick out something for their
children and even wrap their gifts. But before they shop, they will have to
attend a mental health session geared toward helping them to stay
psychologically strong through all this devastation.
I have spoken to people who themselves were coping
with great loss yet were there working at distribution centers -- giving to
Pastors whose churches and congregations were
devastated --try to find a word of hope to preach each Sunday. Seniors struggle displaced from the only
secure places they knew. One widowed
First Lady said to me-- "This may sound strange --but I feel like there's
been a death and I am grieving..." And so she like so many others - are
grieving such great losses. I offer prayers to the one who hears and does and
do is my little part to be in solidarity.
Plastic tents are set up on street corners offering
hot plates of food. Trucks stop in neighborhoods giving out whatever they have.
Churches set up as distribution center offering warm clothing, baby products,
dry goods, cleaning supplies and a kind word of hope.... the button we
distribute say this...
"It will take more than Sandy to keep me
Streets still impassable with houses that are now
condemned are blocked off by police cars, while unformed, mask-wearing men
crowd streets trying to salve houses filled with mold and decay.
Virtually every Christian denomination has a
presence—and there are 7th Day Adventists, Mennonites and Church of the Latter
Day Saints----on the ground and offering aid.
AME vans filled with goods under the direction of AME
Connectional Health leaders, the Rev Natalie Mitchum and Dr. Miriam Burnett
traveled to New York and New Jersey. There are even overcalled-
lad-cross-wearing teams of Christian contractors offering free service to those
whose houses need to be rebuilt.... all for free. Goods are coming in from all
over the state!
This is the season of Christmas, the time to celebrate
the coming of one who can save.
According to the scripture --our God has promised the
ability to extract from even bad situations ---something good. I have banked my life on this being true!!
May the God of love and unity grant a balance to the devastation.
May people emerge with better places to live than they
had before the storm.
May they emerge with stronger senses of community and
tangible evidence that although castigated and divided -- the Church of the
Living God is alive and well and offering up our gifts for the sake of the
*The Rev Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd is the First
Episcopal District Mental Health Director
9. CUPS RUN OVER AS MINISTRY FLOWS “OUT OF THE
BOX” AT THE NORTH NASHVILLE DISTRICT PLANNING MEETING:
A Reflection in Three Voices: The Rev. Deshnell
Cobbin, Sister Barbara Ivery, and the Rev. Benessa Perkins-Sweat.
Reflection from the observational voice of a
pastor, the Rev. Deshnell Cobbin, pastor of St. Matthews AME Church in
The North Nashville District came together on Saturday
December 1, 2012 at St. Peter AME Church in Nashville, Tennessee for what
would go down in history as one of the
greatest Planning Meetings of all times.
Under the direction of the newly appointed Presiding Elder of the North
Nashville District, the Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield, God showed up in a mighty way
to lead the team of the North Nashville District in vision and victory in
fulfilling the Great Commission.
Before the meeting began, the members were led in
devotion and from that point on; there was a shift in the atmosphere. For a
moment, you almost forgot that you were at a meeting and not a revival! God
moved through the place pouring out a fresh new anointing of the Holy Spirit on
all that gathered! The Spirit of God
spilled “over the rim” of our hearts as we were energized for “Ministry out of
As many meetings that I have attended or even had the
privilege to facilitate, the North Nashville District Planning meeting was one
of the best. It was not only Spirit-filled; it was productive, beneficial, and
encouraging. Unlike other meetings that leave you more confused, perplexed, or
overwhelmed than when you came, this meeting gave new energy, insight,
creativity, and vision for moving our ministries and our churches forward.
To briefly recap the highlights of this meeting, the
District was organized administratively and organizationally; and both the
Presiding Elder’s District and Episcopal District calendars were shared. One of
the most productive and beneficial parts of the meeting was the vision-casting
of the District presented by Presiding Elder Sinkfield. The Vision for the
District was brought into focus as Presiding Elder Sinkfield unpacked his
visionary box containing quadrennial and annual themes for the 13th
District. The North Nashville District theme is “You shall be witnesses unto Me
in Jerusalem…” (Acts 1:8). Presiding Elder Sinkfield introduced the North
Nashville District’s new motto: “One in the Spirit to Change the World for
The overall vision of the North Nashville District can
be summed up as a plan to make, baptize, and teach disciples in the things of
God. The North Nashville District will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry
out this work first in our “Jerusalem,” and then throughout the world. We will
work together, as a team, for the common good of kingdom building; and support
one another in this task (through good times and hard times) as the Lord “adds
to our number daily those who are being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)
We are a “Ministry Out of the Box” in the North
Nashville District! Our ministries will be “Evangelistic, Embracing and
Empowering!” We will be “Engaging, Enraptured and Enabled” as we are endowed by
the Holy Spirit!
The North Nashville District will be the team that has
great victories, is the “head not the tail,” and that seeks to win the prize:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant!” To God be the Glory!
Reflection from the voice of the lay leadership,
Sister Barbara Ivery, Tennessee Conference Lay President
God spoke to Presiding Elder W. Antoni Sinkfield
through the Prophet Isaiah, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do
you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the
wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) Truly, God has spoken and his servant, Presiding
Elder Sinkfield, has responded.
God’s presence, power, spirit, anointing, and yes His
healing were felt at the North Nashville District Planning meeting held on
Saturday, December 1, 2012. The excitement and enthusiasm among clergy and
laity soared as the Elder presented his vision for the District. The District’s
theme, “Ministry Out of the Box” was reflected throughout the vision casting
and in the goals and objectives. Presiding Elder Sinkfield presented ambitious
goals and objectives, and ways of putting the theme to work to accomplish these
goals. The atmosphere was electric! The stage was set to continue worship
because from the opening of this Planning Meeting, we were in a mode of
worship! Glory to God!
Presiding Elder Sinkfield closed the meeting with a
meditation from Ephesians 4:11 – 13 lifting the subject, “Where Do We Go from
Here?” As he tied the vision, goals, and objectives with the theme, he
challenged and charged the District with three actions to take: We can become
tools for ministry in our towns; we can teach against biblical ignorance in our
communities; and we can triumph over communal lostness in our towns.
Presiding Elder Sinkfield’s task is to lead the
District in fulfilling the Great Commission, whose goal is discipleship. At the
end of the Planning Meeting, “we had a mind to work.” The task of Nehemiah was
to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Their project occurred under the blessing of
God because the “people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6). When the people
have a mind to work, all obstacles are overcome in the name of God.
The people of the North Nashville District, clergy and
laity together, have a mind to work! To God be the glory for this anointed
Presiding Elder, God’s servant for such a time as this in the life of African
Reflection from the testimonial voice of a new
pastor, the Rev. Benessa Perkins-Sweat, pastor of McGavock Chapel AME Church in
In Habakkuk 2:2, the Lord commanded: “Write the vision
and make it plain.”
That is exactly what the newly appointed Presiding
Elder of the North Nashville District, the Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield did. The
meeting was a Spirit-led and Spirit-filled experience.
Presiding Elder Sinkfield challenged the District to
think about “Ministry outside the Box.”
Presiding Elder Sinkfield enthusiastically gave the vision of how we, as
a District, can successfully come together and move beyond our comfort
zones--and challenged the pastors and leaders of the District not to approach
this year as “business as usual.”
When I entered in the sanctuary, I immediately knew
that I would not to leave the same way I came. The reason was that the
atmosphere was not set for “business.” The Spirit that filled the sanctuary
felt more like praise and worship in the midst of a Holy Ghost-filled
fellowship. This observation was
confirmed as the Presiding Elder shared the vision, and “Amen.” “Glory and
“Thank you Jesus” filled the air!
As the Elder spoke, I felt myself moving to the edge
of my seat clinging to every word. As a newly appointed pastor, I know that this
is a new and different path for me. And yes, I will make some missteps along
the way. However, upon hearing the vision and sensing the enthusiastic
confidence the Presiding Elder has in God and the District, I sat there with
steadfast, unmovable and unspeakable joy. And just when I thought it couldn’t
get any better, this spirit carried over into the Meditation Service.
The Presiding Elder preached from Ephesians 4:11 – 13
and asked the question, “Where Do We Go from Here?” The Elder closed by asking
us to join him at the altar and pray for the success of the vision and our work
for this conference year. I left the altar truly “owning” the text, “I can do
all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
I drove home reflecting on the day’s events and my
mind began to race with blessed and assured excitement. And then it happened. I
found myself “thinking outside the box” on how I can lead the sheep of my flock
in doing our part in fulfilling the “Goal of Discipleship.” For I am now ready
to run during this appointed time!
I am overjoyed and excited about the direction and new
leadership of the North Nashville District and the Tennessee Annual Conference.
There is a fresh, new anointing in the 13th Episcopal District and
Bishop Jeffrey Leath is leading the way. I am just thankful that I have this
opportunity to glean from this experience thinking outside the box, and running
on to see what the end is going to be!
10. FRESH FIRE!
MINISTRY WITH POWER:
Carlene L. Douglas
The calendar for the South Nashville District of the
Tennessee Conference, 13th Episcopal District showed Saturday,
December 1, 2012 to be the date for the 2012-2013 Planning Meeting hosted by
Pastor Sidney Bryant and the wonderful people of Payne Chapel AME Church in
Nashville, Tennessee. This would also be the inaugural meeting for the newly
appointed Presiding Elder for the South Nashville District, the Reverend
Roderick D. Belin. From the moment of
arrival at the meeting, there was evidence of aesthetic preparation by Payne
Chapel’s members and their illustrious pastor, the Reverend Sidney F. Bryant as
they executed their hospitality plans. Presiding Elder Belin promptly started
the meeting at the scheduled 8:59 a.m. The members of the South Nashville District
poured into the Payne Chapel Sanctuary prepared for just another business
The South Nashville District comprises churches
located in Nashville and the surrounding areas of Centerville, Columbia,
Cornersville, Franklin, Lewisburg, Murfreesboro, Mount Pleasant, Shelbyville,
Waverly and Williamsport, Tennessee. What the enthusiastic members representing
these churches were unaware of when they arrived was that this Planning Meeting
would subvert any expectations of ordinariness. Elder Belin was fired up and
ready to launch Fresh Fire! Ministry with Power. The moment he opened the
meeting, it was unmistakable that Fresh Fire was preparing to descend, and the
incendiary workings of the Holy Spirit would soon manifest.
Elder Belin posed the question, “Are You Willing to be
Prophetic” and explained that “it is through our willingness to be prophetic,
to own our anointing and to go where we
are sent that will ignite five “flames of renewal”: Restoring the Poor,
reclaiming the lost, realizing the vision, releasing the captive and revealing
In order for these “flames of renewal” to be fully
realized, Elder Belin reminded us that “God has anointed us and sent us to
rediscover our voices, cultivate a prophetic vocabulary and preach with
power.” He called upon us to “situate
ourselves in the history of our people with the voice of abolitionist Frederick
Douglass echoing in our hearts, and then, without equivocation or excuse, use
the severest language we can command to preach with power, envision high
ideals, render them into poetry and to dream in league with God; lose ourselves
in the ecstasy of heavenly visions and have the courage and the audacity to
translate what we see into what we say; risk the ire and disdain of the dim,
dull and benighted majority and speak light into dark places; shun and eschew
distractions that are as delightful as they are deadly, and maintain the
determination to speak with power; and slay lazy-thinking, banish unrefined
thoughts, open a worthy and challenging book, go down into it by yourself and
wrestle with the content until you are blessed with new and fresh ideas of your
Among other challenges to members were questions of
our willingness “to be prophetic”, that is, to have the wherewithal to regenerate
our lifestyles of spiritual complacency and sacrifice ourselves in such a way
that we engender powerful ministries within and without the South Nashville
District. The call was for urgency,
readiness, to be spiritually appraised to have relevant responses to ministry
opportunities. We are complicit in our redundant ministries and in the lives of
those to whom we minister, if we do not completely surrender to the Fresh Fire!
Out of these challenging statements came interactions
between clergy and lay people interchangeably declaring words that testified to
the fulfillment of scripture: “Today! This day! Right here! Catch it ...” and declarations of living in the favor of God: “You
are anointed! I am anointed! Broken hearts are healed! The oppressed are free!”
These statements made up a creative liturgy which continued to foster the
atmosphere of worship.
Fresh Fire social justice advocates pursue justice for
all people through cooperative ministry with human rights organizations, civic
engagement and political action. Readers for Change are committed to mining
scholarship and other literary resources which will help to inform and empower
Fresh Fire Ministries spiritually, socially, and politically.
Rural Ministry Resource and Development is a group of
people who seek out and develop resources specifically designed to enhance and
strengthen the life of rural, “family,” and “small” churches.
Elder Belin then presented what became a compelling
opportunity to fund God’s ministry as he explained ministry accountability and
resources. Then the meeting suddenly exploded into a Holy Ghost fest! Fresh Fire came and suddenly it was the Day
of Pentecost! Fresh Fire overrode the organized meeting plans. Payne Chapel’s Sanctuary
was ablaze with South Nashville members, clergy and lay, in a chorus of
spontaneous, protracted praise and worship. Fresh Fire created an inferno of
holy disruption. Fresh Fire tore down and built up. Fresh Fire did the work
which Elder Belin had not quite completed; in His supernatural way, the Holy
Spirit conveyed the remainder of the vision for the South Nashville District.
The message was clear, as this holy intrusion (very timely) succeeded the
singing of “A Charge to Keep I Have.”
Fresh Fire was released and those who were ignited would undoubtedly
carry the torch of change and renewal for the South Nashville District.
Elder Belin would begin to preach his sermon based on
Luke 4:16-21. He would proclaim that the voice of God was summoning us “to
attend to the matters of the right now, to be acutely aware of our
“situated-ness” and yet to transcend our present circumstance in an effort to
know how we got here, what our being here might portend and how we may live
into the reality God intends for us.”
What Elder Belin would begin to convey in his sermon was that social
issues and the depravities in our communities and the world hearken our
attention, and the South Nashville District should be a prepared, proactive
people ― that injustices should never face passivity. Christian people merely
ruminating on social issues without a remedial response are unacceptable and
incongruous with “ministry with power.”
And then there was the highlight of the ministry of
fellowship, which followed with the ingenuity of Payne Chapel to serve cupcakes
with fire-like flames of frosting for dessert. It reminded us that Fresh Fire
was already in action!
Is the South Nashville District ready to minister with
power? If the Planning Meeting on December 1, 2012 responded, it would
congruously say, “Yes it is!”
Written by Carlene L. Douglas
11. AME GLOBAL WITNESS, CHURCH WORLD SERVICE AND
OTHERS JOIN TOGETHER TO ELIMINATE CHOLERA FROM HAITI:
U.S.-based Haiti advocacy organizations hopeful after
UN launches initiative to eliminate cholera from Haiti
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- December 13, 2012 -- Humanitarian
agency Church World Service on Wednesday joined with American Jewish World
Service (AJWS), Environmental Justice Initiative for Haiti, The Episcopal
Church, Gender Action, Global Justice Clinic, Grassroots International,
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Other Worlds, Oxfam America,
TransAfrica and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, in releasing the
following statement in response to the launch of the Secretary-General’s
“Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti ”:
“As U.S. based development, religious and human rights
organizations, we applaud the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s announcement
as a critical step on the road to clean water and sanitation for the island of
Hispaniola. In particular, we would like to thank the U.S. Mission for its
leadership as well as Representative Conyers and the 103 other representatives
who called for UN action.
This, however, is only the beginning. Without
long-term funding and leadership, the vision of this plan will not be realized.
We call on all donors from across the world to commit to this project now.
Support for the development of basic infrastructure and a strong health system
will help the Haitian government protect and promote the universal right to the
highest attainable standard of health and prevent the spread of other
Successful implementation will require working closely
with civil society organizations and local communities. These projects must be
done in concert with those who will benefit, particularly women who are
overwhelmingly responsible for providing water for their families. These
projects must also be designed to ensure that they will remain sustainable long
after international attention and funding ends.
We welcome UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s
leadership and commitment to successfully eradicating cholera from Hispaniola.
This signals progress towards the UN living up to its unique responsibility to
ensure that Hispaniola is once again free of cholera.
We will be monitoring progress to ensure the plan is
fully-funded and benefits the most marginalized populations.”
The Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) advocates for
effective and just disaster relief, reconstruction and long-term development
policies for Haiti. For more information about HAWG, please email Ian Schwab at
Church World Service (CWS), a member of the Haiti
Advocacy Working Group, has worked in Haiti since 1954. Its Haiti staff
continues to support sustainable solutions for Haitians still struggling to
recover from the 2010 earthquake. The agency’s advocates in Washington continue
to call for effective solutions to the nation’s protracted tragedy.
*Submitted by Dr. George F. Flowers, Executive
Director, Global Witness and Ministry
12. A FAMILY THAT STAYS TOGETHER; PRAYS TOGETHER:
Delanda S. Johnson
On Sunday, December 9, 2012, Allen Chapel AME Church
in Athens, Texas celebrated its Annual Family and Friends Day.
Under the electrifying leadership the Rev. Fredrick V.
Moss, the church was filled with an "anointing" that could not be
On this day also brought home Brother Sylvester
Ferguson, Jr. and Sister Terri Ferguson Scrambler; the children of the late
Rev. S. V. Ferguson, Sr. The Rev. Ferguson, Sr. was the pastor of Allen Chapel
AME Church for many years until his health failed. Another hometown member, Sister Keitha
Glaspie Ray stirred the congregation with a warm welcome.
The service moved forward with two powerful praise
dances from Sister Candace Brown and Sister Whitney Warren.
There was a period in the program for guest churches
in the area to appear with solos coming from Eldress Mary Henderson, who is the
pastor of the Church of the Living God in Athens and Sister Delanda S. Johnson,
a member of Johnson Chapel AME Church in Malakoff, Texas where the Rev. I. B.
Wells, Jr. serves as pastor.
The Spirit of the Lord was high and the time had come
for the WORD to be preached.
The Rev. Leonard Jackson, pastor of Mt. Calvary
Baptist Church in Athens, Texas was ready to let the Lord use him in a mighty
way. His sermon theme was “This Little Maid” taken from 2 Kings 5:1-3; 9-14.
The Rev. Jackson stated, “The church needs to be healed; church folks are
together, but not together. He pointed
out that envy and jealousy have invaded our churches. The church is sick and
needs to be healed.” “We wear a smile on our faces, but frown in our hearts. We are infested with leprosy; which is a
disease of the flesh. We set ourselves apart from others. If you note, leprosy is in conjunction with
Sin; and God is the only one who can handle Sin,” said Rev. Jackson. He
explained that in a sick church, we don’t know how to tell God thank you for
all that God has done for us. We act
like we are doing GOD a favor, but in reality God is doing you a Favor. God is
looking for someone God has made whole.
You will find a sick church, when preachers and choirs can’t get the
people up on their feet to Praise the Lord.
You have been in a cold church so long, that you feel nothing. “No matter where you go, you should always
take the Lord with you. Churches today
are sick because everyone is trying to serve too many Gods. However, there is only one way to see the
Father and that is through Jesus Christ, who can wash away our sins; nothing
but the blood of Jesus,” said Rev. Jackson. The Rev. Jackson stated, “If you
are in need of a healing, call in Jesus.
You can’t buy a healing; no matter what or how much you have. You must come naked before the Lord. If you, your city, your church, etc., are to
be made whole, you must bow down to the LORD.
Jesus will open doors and make you whole. Know that if Jesus can’t fix it, it can’t be
fixed. Bow down and watch GOD work.”
Prayer can fix the broken-hearted and God works with
those who stay in prayer.
13. GETTING TO ZERO AND HEALTH POLICIES:
Dr. Oveta Fuller
World AIDS Day 2012 has come and gone. The
opportunities to change trends of HIV/AIDS and other preventable illnesses
At the time of this writing the General Board of the
AME Church is meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In the national news relevant to Getting to Zero (G20)
with HIV/AIDS is the draft report of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
found at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/draftrec.htm.
The report recommends “routine testing of all persons in the USA that are age
15 or above” as a national health policy to implement. Ironically, this report
coincides with the last G20 column that addressed questions asked by the Payne
Theological Seminary (PTS) class “What Effective Clergy Should Know About
The US Prevention Task Force wants feedback on the
draft recommendation about routine HIV screening. You can read the evidence and
logic for such a recommendation and provide feedback on the draft report
through December 17, 2012. Submit thoughts on routine HIV screening to: www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/rec_answer.htm.
Ironically, World AIDS Day 2012 and the General Board
meeting in Little Rock are close in time. The Bishops of our church, various
commissions, officers, members and friends meet again. (You know how we are
always meeting…). It is awesome to be in
such a gathering of Christians, let alone with those who are part of a global
The General Board meeting, the General Conference and
other such gatherings are a reminder of the untapped resource provided by the
vast global network that has resulted from actions of people who founded the
Church of Allen, in part as social protest. It reminds us that we have a
responsibility to preach the Gospel and to teach the Good News of how to live
in victory, and also to act on the issues that affect people of our time.
Such an example was set during the 1793 Yellow Fever
outbreak in Philadelphia, PA.
It is always timely to remember our heritage. Bishops Allen
and Jones, before they were bishops, set an example of servant leadership at
risk of their possible peril. They worked and encouraged others to remain in
the city to serve during the deadly epidemic. Most who could' were leaving for
areas with fewer virus carrying mosquitoes.
World AIDS Week 2012 also calls us to explore the
second question from the PTS class, “What is the one single thing that the AME
Church could do to help reverse current infection trends and move towards
The question brings to mind with profound appreciation
the AMEC and other visionary and courageous pioneers who labored (and still do)
in the trenches to address HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990’s. This was a time
when much less was known about the virus and disease. AIDS was a horrible
mystical disease. Now, so much more is known.
Some of the people who engaged during those early
years were lifted up recently in communications by Dr. M. Joan Cousin. The now
retired Episcopal Supervisor was recognized with a Pioneer Award at the 2012
General Conference for her compassionate and visionary actions in addressing
HIV/AIDS starting in the 1980s.
Some who join her in continuing the legacy of the
early AMEC are David Mark van Neel (an HIV/AIDS activist in South Africa who
helped many in their struggle to live with HIV/AIDS), Commissioner Gloria
Cartwright of Newark, N.J., Dr. Catherine Walker of Philadelphia and Pernessa
Seale who many know as the Founder of the Balm in Gilead. Among its other
efforts, the Balm in Gilead has been a champion for how churches can address
HIV/AIDS during the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV/AIDS in
March. Register your church at http://www.balmingilead.org/
We think of biomedical scientists such as Dr. James
Hildreth, a Rhodes Scholar, HIV researcher and now Dean of Biological Sciences
at the University of California-Davis and Dr. Beatrice Hahn whose research
group discovered that HIV is closely related to simian immunodeficiency virus
SIV is a retrovirus that infects chimpanzees, but does
not cause illness. Dr. Hahn’s research team determined that for HIV and SIV
strains found in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (in central Africa,
17th Episcopal District), the genetic sequences are almost identical.
The research results indicate that SIV likely made the
jump into humans in this geographical area in the late 1800’s or earlier. This
could happen through cuts or abrasions in the hands of hunters who dressed
chimpanzees hunted in this region. Viruses can move from one species to another
and eventually adapt in humans to cause disease. This is a biological process
similar to how influenza virus goes from pigs or birds to become a human
influenza virus. An example is pandemic swine influenza that began in 2009 in
areas of central Mexico.
Included among visionary pioneers would be Dr. David
Ho (Magic Johnson’s personal physician). He was one of the first to explore the
impact of multiple anti-retroviral drug therapy (known as HAART , highly active
anti-retroviral therapy). We now know that under medical care, HAART can
successfully delay progression from HIV infection to the immune deficient
disease state of AIDS.
There are many others, some whose names are known, who
labored then and labor still. There are millions of others whose names are not
known, who were infected with or affected by HIV. Many people all over the
world have worked to address HIV/AIDS and change its impact by intent, or
simply as part of their everyday life.
As part of World AIDS Day 2012, we remember them all.
We salute each and everyone!
In such a backdrop, we are thankful especially for
progress. We move forward with the hope brought about by science progress and
societal developments. We stand on the shoulders and reach farther through such
efforts. They did much with far less insight into the biology of the virus and
Together in 2012, we embrace the World Health
Organization’s campaign to Get to Zero.
Zero new infections. Zero mother to child
transmission. Zero stigma and discrimination. Tell someone. Get tested to know
your HIV status. Take someone with you. Use what we already have to reverse the
HIV/AIDS pandemic and its impact.
From the 2012 General Board meeting, and in the 2012
season of anticipation, thanksgiving and celebration, think on the second PTS
class generated question. “What is the one single thing that the AME Church
could do to help reverse current infection trends and move towards eliminating
14. MEDITATION BASED ON ISAIAH 9:2-6:
*The Rev. Joseph A. Darby
I spent my early years as a State government employee
in an office where the staff participated in a pre-Christmas “Secret Santa”
gift swap. We all put our names into a
Christmas stocking, and each of us then pulled out a name and bought a simple
gift for whoever’s name we pulled.
“Secret Santa” was generally fun, but two of my co-workers always took
things in the wrong direction.
One guy was, to put it very kindly, frugal. Each of us hoped that he didn’t get our name,
because we knew that our gift would probably come from a “dollar store” that
was having a 50% off sale - he gave me a pair of yellow and black striped
children’s socks one year! He
participated in “Secret Santa,” but was determined to spend as little as
One lady always bought an inordinately expensive gift,
and when the unlucky recipient opened it, she’d talk about how she labored to
find it and how much she spent for it to impress us with her excruciating
generosity, and she’d always keep on talking until the recipient ended our
ordeal and expressed appropriate thanks!
Both of my former co-workers missed something
essential to true giving - they thought of themselves rather than of the
recipients of their gifts. The best
gifts are those that we give not just to make ourselves feel good, but that
make others feel good - gifts that are hopefully meaningful to them.
God did that for us.
The essence of Christmas is that God gave us God’s only Son so that
frail and imperfect people like all of us could have salvation, new light in
our lives, eternal life and a right relationship with the God who made us and
knows us better than we know ourselves.
Take the time during this season of giving to choose
gifts not out of compulsion, obligation or self-interest, but with an eye
toward what might be meaningful for and appreciated by the recipients. That’s not hard to do when we get to know
each other and appreciate our distinctive and diverse tastes and
Take the time as well, in the midst of gift shopping,
to pause and reflect on the greatest gift of all - God’s gift of Jesus the
Christ. Doing so will give you a greater
appreciation for God’s blessings, grace and mercy, give your life greater
meaning and bring you peace of mind, enduring joy and a new appreciation for
the words of one beloved hymn, “I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world
Join us on the Third Sunday in December for Church
School at 9:45 am and for Worship at 8 and 11 a.m. if you are in the
Charleston, South Carolina area this weekend.
The Combined Choir, Praise Dance Ministry, Voices of Promise and
Generation of Praise will offer praise.
Sunday’s Scripture Lessons are:
Sunday’s Sermons are:
8 a.m. - “Can You Proclaim God’s Goodness?”
11 a.m. – “Can You Sing God’s Praise?”
*The Rev. Joseph A. Darby is the pastor of Morris
Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
15. CLERGY FAMILY CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS:
- Capt, USN (Ret) Carroll Randolph
Chambliss/Christene Helen Knew Chambliss Celebrate their 70th
Wedding Anniversary January 2, 2013
From Jackson, Mississippi, a city boy and a country
girl became great friends in high school:
Carroll, Quarterback and Captain of the football team, and President of
his Senior Class. Christene was Cheer
Leader, and the first female to be elected Student Body President in her senior
year. We sang in the best High School Choir in the State, where we stood next
to each other as Baritone and Alto, and often held hands. This friendship
evolved into an agreement to live our lives together "till death do us
This was the beginning of the most magnificent journey
of our lives. It has taken us through educational institutions and five of the
most important years that became the foundation of our relationships with God's
people. After Carroll graduated from Payne Seminary and Wilberforce University
he was sent to pastor his first congregation in St. Louis, MO by Bishop D.
Ormond Walker. He pastored a unique
church, two congregations at the same time.
He called it "The City Circuit." One congregation located in West St. Louis
an upscale community, and one in downtown St. Louis, a blighted community. He
loved and was beloved by both communities. From this our greatest work, came
the military, where he served as Navy
Chaplain, and we spent 30 years on the military base "reservation," a
great place to raise our four 'beautiful' sons.
This was not an easy journey due to the frequent changes of address and
the separations during sea-duty. The
travel was great for us and our sons, who now have families of their own. We have many grand children, scads of great
grand children and this year we became great, great grandparents to little
Amber in Hawaii.
We have traveled to four continents, several Islands
of the sea in connection with Carroll's sea duty, and our long time work with
The World Federation of Methodist Women.
Spending three years in Paradise, Hawaii the 50th State on the Island of
OAHU, where one of our sons still lives with his family, was one of many
stellar points of our journey.
At present, we reside in the State of Virginia. We are members of Metropolitan AME Church in
Washington, DC, the National Cathedral of African Methodism, "The Church
of Carroll's Choice", the Place of love and care from our Pastor and the
congregation. We thank God for allowing
us to go "through" it all, not over it, nor around it, so we could
savor all of the bitter with the sweet. We are now enjoying each other and
awaiting the next leg of the journey with great anticipation because we know He
is with us.
*Carroll Randolph Chambliss and Christene Helen Knew
Congratulatory messages can be emailed to:
Greeting cards can be mailed to:
CAPT, USN (Ret) Carroll Randolph Chambliss/Christene
Helen Knew Chambliss
200 North Pickett Street # 708
Alexandria, Virginia 22304
Phone: (703) 823-2616
- The Reverend Janie Dowdy-Dandridge, Candidate
for the Degree of Doctor of Ministry
United Theological Seminary announces that The
Reverend Janie Dowdy-Dandridge is a Candidate for the Degree of Doctor of
Ministry at the Commencements Exercises on Friday, the Fourteenth of December,
Two-Thousand Twelve at One O'clock in the afternoon. The Graduation Ceremony
will be held at Ginghamsbury United Methodist Church, 6759 South County Road
25A, Tipp City, Ohio 45371.
The Reverend Janie Dowdy-Dandridge is the proud pastor
of Webb Grove AMEC Murfreesboro, 3996 Barfield Crescent RD, Murfreesboro, TN
37129 in the 13th Episcopal District.
Congratulatory messages can be emailed to:
Home address for the Reverend Dr. Janie
1512 Raby Avenue
Shelbyville, TN 37160
- Graduating Class of 2012, Danielle Lauren McGill
graduated from Bethune-Cookman University Magna Cum Laude
Mr. and Mrs. Reginald B. McGill are pleased to
announce that their daughter Danielle Lauren McGill graduated from
Bethune-Cookman University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass
Communications, Magna cum laude, Saturday, December 8, 2012, 10:00 a.m., The
Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center, 698 West International Speedway
Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida.
*Reginald B. McGill, Social Action Commission Vice
Chair, AME Church
- The Rev. Sheiler and Mr. James W Stokes, Jr.
Celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary
The Rev. Sheiler and Mr. James W Stokes, Jr. celebrated
their 30th Wedding Anniversary on Monday, December 10, 2012. The Rev. Stokes is the pastor of Bethel AME
Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana and the Coordinator for the Women in
Ministry, Indiana Conference, 4th Episcopal District.
16. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to inform you of the death of Mrs. Mae Bell
Browner, the mother of Sister Alline B. Crew, the First Lady of Ebenezer AME
Church in Greensboro, Georgia and the mother-in-law of the Rev. Willie Crew.
Rev. Crew is the pastor of Ebenezer AME Church.
The McClendon Memorial Funeral Home has been entrusted
with the funeral arrangements for Mrs. Mae Bell Browner.
The contact information for McClendon Funeral Home:
The McClendon Memorial Funeral Home
215 Mercer Street
Washington, Georgia 30673
The funeral will be held Saturday, December 15, 2012
at 1:00 p.m. at The Flint Hill Baptist Church located at 2080 Jane Hill Road -
Washington, Georgia where the Rev. Larry Norman is the Pastor. The phone number
Condolences may be sent to:
The Rev. and Mrs. Willie Crew
414 Chafin Echols Road
Rayle, Georgia 30660
17. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to announce the passing of Mrs. Harriet
Elizabeth Hines Stukes, the sister of Mrs. Berdenette Pierson and aunt of the
Rev. Camelia Pierson Eaves, pastor at Union Bethel AME Church in Cary, North
Mrs. Harriet Elizabeth Hines Stukes was born one of
nine children to Ray E. and Ruth Woodruff Hines on October 25, 1922 in
Champaign, Illinois. Her parents, three brothers, James, Harold and Gerald; and
daughter the Rev. Beatrice A. Hines preceded her in death. Harriet was a
faithful member of Bethel AME Church, Chicago, Illinois, where she was a
dedicated member of the Lay Organization, the Senior Choir and the Chicago
She leaves to cherish her precious memories, one
brother: Ray (Willie Mae) Hines of Champaign, IL; and four sisters: Helen
Maxwell of Dayton, OH, Geraldine Hay of Lanham, Marylan, Berdenette Pierson of
Durham, NC and Barbara Barnes of White Plains, NY; and a host of relatives and
Services for Mrs. Harriet Elizabeth Hines Stukes:
Monday, December 17, 2012, at 11:00 a.m.
Bethel AME Church
401 East Park Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Family Visitation and Viewing will be at 10:00 a.m.
Services are provided by:
Owens Funeral Home
101 N. Elm Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Cards of sympathy and condolence can be mail to:
The Hines Family
203 W Charles Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
The Rev. Camelia Pierson Eaves
3 Miosha Street
Durham, NC 27701
18. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to share news of the Home-going of Mrs.
Rosie H. Thompson, the mother of the Rev. Dr. Taylor T. Thompson, pastor of St.
Paul AME Church, Columbus, Ohio.
Mrs. Rosie H. Thompson, Age 97, earned her promotion
to heaven on Sunday, December 9, 2012. She was a resident of Bethel Park,
Pennsylvania and a retired teacher of the Pittsburgh Public School System. She
was an active member of Bethel AME Church and various Prince Hall Fraternal
organizations in Pittsburgh, PA. She was the beloved wife of the late Taylor
Thompson, founder of Thompson's Electric Co, Inc.; mother of the Rev. Dr.
Taylor T. Thompson, pastor of St. Paul AME Church in Columbus, Ohio and his
wife, the Rev. Dr. Barbara H. Thompson, former Connectional First Vice
President of Conn-M-SWAWO; Bobby A. Hassain (Late Roslyn Olivia) and Betty J.
Thompson both of Pittsburgh, PA.
Services will be held:
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Bethel A. M. E. Church
2720 Webster Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Viewing and Fraternal Services at 10 a.m.
Homegoing services at 11:00 a.m.
The Rev. Dr. Steven A. Jackson, Pastor
Condolences may be sent to:
The Thompson Family
993 Surrey Woods Drive
Bethel Park, PA. 15102
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rev. Dr. Taylor and Barbara Thompson
Samuel J. Jones Funeral Home, Inc.
2644 Wylie Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Residence Inn Pittsburgh University/ Medical Center
3896 Bigelow Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213 -
Bereavement rate - $99 per night (normal $149) -
Rooms are currently available.
Rate for "Rosie Thompson" funeral party.
If Jackie not available, Mark 412-586-2652.
*Rev. Dr. Taylor T. Thompson, Phone: 216-214-6886
19. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with heartfelt sympathy that we inform you of
the passing and the funeral arrangements for Mrs. Ruby Fuller, the sister of
Sister Shirley Sheares; minister's widow, and a leader in the Women's
Missionary Society from the Western North Carolina Conference, Second Episcopal
District. Please keep the family lifted in prayer in the days ahead as they
prepare for the homegoing service.
The funeral arrangements are as follows:
Friday, December 14, 2012 - 11:00 a.m.
The Church of God
222 Lee Street
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the
Mitchell-Josey Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Darlington, SC. Telephone:
Notes, cards, and other expressions of sympathy may be
Mrs. Shirley Sheares
5313 Brandy Bay Road
Raleigh, NC 27613-1434
20. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
L. Easley, Administrator
Clergy Family Information Center
(615) 837-9736 (H)
(615) 833-6936 (O)
21. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED
FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
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
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