Bishop T. Larry Kirkland - Chair,
Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr.,
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor
III, the 20th Editor, The Christian
Black History Month
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday –
The 2013 Bishops’ Council
/ General Board Meeting and Investiture of Bishop Sarah Frances Davis as the
President, Council of Bishops is scheduled to be held in Kingston, Jamaica on
June 23 – 26, 2013.
1. EDITORIAL – THERE ARE SOME THING
I WOULD LIKE TO SEE RESTORED IN AME CHURCHES, BUT I STILL HAVE SOME CONCERNS:
Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III,
The 20th Editor, The
In 2012 I wrote an editorial entitled “Four Things I Would Like
to See Remain or Restored in AME Churches.”
The four things I said I would like to see restored were: Class dues,
the love offering, the processional and the recessional. Since publishing that
editorial, several other concerns came to mind.
One of the first things that came to mind was the idea that I
would like to be able to identify worship in an AME Church as authentic AME
worship in any AME Church I visit and I would like any AME Who visits any AME
Church to recognize the worship as authentically AME.
I make no apologies. If I wanted a free worship style, I would
have joined that type of church. I made
a conscious decision to join an AME Church because I could relate to the
worship liturgy; and I still love the AME worship liturgy. I don’t like to see
AME worship mangled or done haphazardly.
Here’s the rule: Pastors may add worship liturgy initiatives,
but they cannot summarily remove parts of the worship as found in The Discipline. Pastors are forbidden to
remove or leave out liturgical rubrics with the words, “shall” or “will.”
Again, it might be appropriate to add acts of worship as many
pastors over the year have down in adding the Altar Call, which is not listed
in The Discipline or The AMEC Book of Worship, as a part of
the worship service.
Tongue in cheek: If pastors want people to hang from the
chandeliers and if the people feel good doing so, add it to the service.
I would like connectional worship services to model AME worship
as we would like worship to be conducted in local churches.
Simply stated, the minimum of what I would like to see in every
AME Worship Service, and I have said it before: The Call to Worship, the Prayer
before the Scripture, the Preface to the Decalogue, the Decalogue (preferably
the full Decalogue or Abridged), the Gloria Patri, the Sermon, the Apostles’
Creed, the Offertory (All Things Come of
Thee… AME Hymnal No. 644) and the Benediction. And, of course I would like
to see choirs and clergy use the processional and recessional as acts of
worship because they are in The
Discipline and The AMEC Book of
Worship, as a part of the worship liturgy.
Give me those and you can add anything you want and whatever you
Processionals add drama to worship and excite people about
worship. A highlight of the General Conference and Episcopal District meetings
is the processional. Parishioners can be seen with their cameras taking photos
and excitement can be seen in their eyes as episcopal leaders and clergy
process to their positions.
When I attend worship services, I am going with the expectation
of attending a spiritual refreshing and challenging AME worship service.
Secondly, let’s add some drama to our worship. Pastors and
stewards ought to have serious conversations, meetings and strategy sessions
about how to make worship services more meaningful. Worship is a collective
activity. Meaningful worship doesn’t
just happen. Meaningful worship takes planning and tweaking and more
Third, I am tired of pastors and ministerial staff members
meandering to the pulpit shuffling papers, talking to one another as they go to
the pulpit. Some pastors don’t even bother to kneel in prayer before beginning
the worship service. I am wondering if the AME Leadership needs to write a
prayer for preachers to pray when they are kneeling because some seem to
quickly genuflect, and I can’t imagine how they can say something to God that
quickly, rather than kneeling and praying for the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Clergy and laity need to be spiritually focused when gathered to
for worship. Some pastors, instead of
joyfully saying, “I was glad when they said unto me…,” by their body language
and words seem to be saying, “I was mad when they said unto me, let us go into
the house of the Lord.”
I am still tired of choirs carrying on frivolous conversations
as they meander to the choir loft. I am tired of worship services ending
abruptly and without decorum. I have even seen connectional meetings abruptly
I love to see pastors and worship leaders greet parishioners at
the end of worship services. There is something intimate about clergy and laity
greeting each other in love and fulfillment as closure to a vibrant worship
service. Some parishioners need the affirmation of their pastoral leaders.
I don’t believe that I am so far out of touch with the laity of
the African Methodist Episcopal Church, but I am skeptical and concerned about
a segment of the clergy who have not grown up as African Methodists or in any
Methodist-related denomination. I am concerned about clergy who have short-cut
the ordination process because they might not have an appreciation of “the
I am concerned with clergy who see worship as a “good-praise
feeling” and view pastoral success in the numbers of parishioners present for
worship, or the numbers of parishioners who “shouted or didn’t shout.”
I am concerned with the response of a sermon, “She (he) brought
the house down!”
I am concerned about AME clergy who are enthralled with
televangelists and gospel artists and model their ministry after them.
I am concerned with clergy who do not have an appreciation of
Wesleyan theology. And, I am very
concerned with AME clergy who disregard the liturgical heritage and foundation
of African Methodism. I am concerned
with clergy who are comfortable transitioning their local AME Church
congregation into a nondenominational nonsacramental worship model. In
practice, they are preparing parishioners to leave the AME Church and preparing
them to transition to non-denominational worship-style churches.
I am concerned about AME Clergy who modify the AME worship
liturgy as an excuse to increase attendance instead of getting to the root of
why people are not attending church. Worship is not about numbers, but about
relationships – relationship with God and with fellow humankind.
I am tired of hearing people, particularly pastors; complain
about the lack of participation of the laity in the local church. I suspect, in
most cases, the problem lies not with the laity, but the lack of pastoral
leadership in the local church (read pastors), lack of supervision by middle
managers (read presiding elders), and a lack of oversight by the executive
leadership (read bishops).
Fourth, I would like to see pastors empower the laity and let
the designated leaders hold meetings. I know about “ex officio,” but if a chair
“pro tem” (team captain) is selected according to his or her skills, abilities,
gifts and graces; he or she should be able conduct a meeting without the
presence of the pastor (coach). Why does a pastor have to attend every meeting?
There is no corporate or military model that uses the approach of over-reaching
leadership. Give subordinate leaders space to grow.
The “coach” does not have to attend all of the team meetings.
The “captain” briefs the “coach” about what happened at the meeting. If the
“coach” wants something to happen at the meeting, the “coach” merely tells the
“team captain” what he or she would like to surface at the meeting and the
Fifth, when are churches going to “bite the bullet” and stop
requiring everyone to drive to the church to have meetings that could be
conducted by teleconferencing. Teleconferencing would be easier and more cost
effective for everyone. I cannot understand why churches won’t embrace the
idea. If churches who have not tried it, tried it, they would be surprised at
the efficiency and convenience of teleconferencing.
Pastor, let me lay it out for you. Put someone in charge; that
person simply goes to:
and with one-click the system is set up. That
person then sets the time for the teleconference provides all of the attendees
with the call-in number and the “join-the-meeting” code. It’s free and it’s
Sixth, there are telephone notification websites and with one
telephone call, all parishioners can be notified.
Here is one website and there are others: http://www.callingpost.com/
There is no need to burden people to call everyone, when a
single telephone call can contact all parishioners.
Seventh, every church with 10 or more members should have an
active, up-to-date website. Churches with 10 or less members who don’t have a
website will not grow unless they get a website. The moral of this paragraph is
that every church needs a website, if it expects to grow. Churches without
websites are marching toward closure; it’s just a matter of time.
And eighth; now let’s get serious… (To be continued in the next
2. TCR OP-ED: WOULD JESUS USE A HANDGUN OR AN ASSAULT
*The Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr.
A 43-year-old African American man—a member of my church—was shot in
the back nine times and over 50 bullets riddled the yellow SUV in which he sat.
At his funeral service, no one asked if the guns that killed him were handguns
or assault weapons. In that moment, my most difficult task was to prevent his
18-year-old son from picking up a gun to murder those who had murdered his
father. While I have experienced similar tragedies in my ministry experience in
Los Angeles, this tragedy took place in Orange County, California, supposedly
one of the safest places in America.
Shootings or murders take place almost every day in the inner city of
Los Angeles, and understandably, following the logic laid out by National Rifle
Association (NRA) vice president Wayne LaPierre, there are family members
contemplating revenge by guns. When is America going to say enough is enough?
When are Christians going to demonstrate their commitment to human life by
fighting for limits on the type and availability of weapons in this country?
As Vice President Joe Biden talks about potential gun control
legislation with a broad range of interest groups—including victims rights
groups, the NRA and even Walmart—we need to be clear on the debate we are
having. Gun control does not equate
infringement on our constitutional right to “bear arms.” Whether we have the
right to bear military style weapons must be debated, as well as the values
that underlie the insistence among large segments of the American population
that gun ownership should have minimal or no regulation. The Second Amendment states that “a well
regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right
of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The NRA focuses exclusively on the final
clause as their argument against gun control, but their opposition to
regulations came about as late as 1977.
An Atlantic Monthly article, “The Secret History of Guns,” explored
the NRA’s role in constructing the Uniform Firearms Act, which required that no
one could carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit from the local
police and a “proper reason” for carrying the firearm. The act also required gun dealers to report
handgun sales and imposed a two-day waiting period. The NRA of old believed
that constitutional rights and regulations could indeed coexist.
Somehow we as a nation—as a community of fellow Americans—have strayed
away from logical, spirited but cordial debate, and have gravitated to a
counterproductive all-or-nothing approach to disagreements. We will never find common ground if we
continue to believe that those who think like “us” are the good guys and those
who don’t are enemies of American values.
As evidenced by media glorifications of violence in movies, television
and the news cycle, and the popularity of hyper-violent video games, I can only
conclude that violence is as much a core American value as individualism or
freedom. Certainly the Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to bear
arms, but make no mistake; the purpose of a gun is to kill. Guns may wound or maim, but their purpose is
to kill. Nonetheless, there are more regulations on vehicle ownership and
operation—and on the purchase of allergy medication—than there are for buying a
While legislating the demons in people’s minds and hearts will never
be successful, it is possible to regulate consequences and opportunities.
Making it more difficult to obtain guns—particularly military grade arms—and
creating consequences for the sellers and purchasers of these types of weapons is
certainly possible for people of good will who desire to see a more peaceful
and vibrant nation and communities.
Let us remember that we lose dozens of people every day to gun
violence. Let us not forget those people
killed weekly in our inner cities. Let us not forget that families are
continuing to grieve while we try to remember what we are arguing about.
The horrors of the Newtown tragedy, and even more recent shootings,
have launched a national conversation about controlling access to certain types
of guns. The American faith community now has the opportunity to step up and
become a voice for reducing violence, and thus demonstrate that they truly
value each life. For many years we have
heard the demands for the protection of the unborn—often at the expense of the
living—from some segments within the Christian church. But if we are really for
life, I must ask where is the cacophony of voices for stricter gun control laws
to protect the lives of the living? I say enough is enough! Would Jesus use a
handgun or an assault weapon? Neither! “For God so loved the world” that God
gave us a Son who used no weapons.
*The Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. is the pastor of Christ Our Redeemer
AME Church (COR Church) in Orange County, California
Carolyn Tyler Guidry
Bishop Richard Allen Chappelle, Sr. started a column in The Christian Recorder entitled: "You Ask," and, with
great authority he answered questions concerning the laws and traditions of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church! His experience as pastor, General Secretary
of the AME Church, and Bishop was evident in the answers he gave.
honored that Editor Sydnor has asked me to continue the “You Ask” column. I do not have Bishop Chappelle's expertise,
but I will do my best to research and give factual answers to your
questions. When I can’t find the answer
I will say: "Sorry, I don't know the answer."
question comes from a member concerning the changing of the 2012 date and observance
of Sundays of Advent.
privileged to hold the position of Steward at a very small AME Church. I am the youngest Steward at the age of 40,
and sometimes I find it hard to express my ideas and opinions without offending
the “old guard” at this 140+ year-old church. On the one hand, I don’t want to
come across as being a know-it-all, but on the other hand, I don’t want to
ignore the fact that my church has become lax in certain customs and practices. For instance, a leader in our congregation
decided that she would spearhead the Advent celebration this year, which was
fine. However, she “moved” the first
Sunday of Advent, which began on December 2, 2012 from that date to Sunday,
November 25. When I calmly pointed out
that Advent officially began on December 2nd, I was essentially
ignored by this person and received no support from the pastor. There it was as bold as day in our Sunday
bulletin calendar of upcoming events, “Advent begins on November 25, 2012,”
which simply was not factual.
opinion, churches should not be able to just change a date on the liturgical
calendar. I erroneously believed that
there was significance to celebrating events like Advent on specific Sundays in
concert with the liturgical calendar. I
feel that there is something powerful and unifying in the whole AME Connection
praying for Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love on specific Sundays of the holiday
season. We should not just be able to do
what we want to with regards certain customs and practices of the AME
Church. Am I being too rigid and
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry’s
Response to the Question:
Advent is a
season observed in many Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches of expectant
waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
The purpose of Advent is to prepare worshippers for Christmas. Some
congregations use advent as a time to involve members of the congregation in
focusing upon the true meaning of Christmas instead of the commercial hype of
Christmas, e.g., churches schedule families to light the four candles of Advent
and the Christ candle and read an Advent ritual on the Sundays leading up to
While it is
a wonderful tool to use to plan a sermon series and enhance the worship as we
approach the Christmas celebration, it may not have always been a custom in
every AME Church. Advent is celebrated
in more AME Church today and it is wonderful if a pastor chooses to use this
time as a "teaching moment" about the significance of the liturgical
year; the liturgical calendar is an important part of that lesson. All of the Christian traditions that follow
the liturgical calendar observe Advent on the four Sundays preceding Christmas
and it is important for pastors and local church leaders to be familiar with
the liturgical calendar.
about Advent and when it’s celebrated can be found in the AMEC Book of Worship. The definition of Advent can be found on page
224 and the breakdown for the Church Year and liturgical colors is found on
pages 227 – 229.
correct when you stated that Advent 2012 began on December 2, 2012 and I don’t
believe you were being too rigid and dogmatic; you were being factual. Hang in
there, we need you young adults!
4. KNOWLEDGE FOR THE SAKE OF MORE
Jeffrey N. Leath
Thirteenth Episcopal District celebrates the recent graduation of clergy along
with many from throughout the AME connection. Some of these current graduates
are indeed special because they are already established pastors with active
congregations. These graduates and
others have made tremendous sacrifices to achieve this milestone, and I am
pleased to congratulate them.
realize some candidates for ordination perceive educational attainment as an
unnecessary burden. These graduates
stand proudly and say, 'I did it!' to become a more excellent vessel for
kingdom building. In the spirit of life-long learning, the goal is not ordination
or promotion, but being well- equipped for the challenges of ministry in
Janie B. Dowdy-Dandridge and Pastor Michael D. Broadnax, Sr. are wonderful
fruits of such commitment in the 13th Episcopal District. The Rev.
Dr. Janie Dowdy-Dandridge earned her Doctor of Ministry degree from United
Theological Seminary in December, and she is the pastor of Webb Grove AME
Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This
was another of several academic achievements. This one, though, focused on enhanced
Michael D. Broadnax, pastor of Greater Bethel AME Church in Nashville,
graduated with a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt on May 11, 2012. Consider
the sacrifices attached to pastoring the 4th largest church in the
district and the challenge of being away from the hallowed halls of learning
for almost 20 years! Pastor Broadnax graduated from Kentucky State University
with a B.A. degree in history on May 14, 1989.
celebrate with these pastors on receiving their degrees and also lift their
example for others to seek academic attainment in order to be more effective in
their ministerial opportunities. The true goal should be educational growth,
rather than the accumulation of degrees. God bless those who continue to grow
to be excellent in ministry!
Jeffrey N. Leath, Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District
and 128th Elected and Consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist
5. THE TOM JOYNER FOUNDATION
DESIGNATES WILBERFORCE UNIVERSITY AS SCHOOL OF THE MONTH:
Joyner Foundation designated Wilberforce University as the February school of
the Month. The Tom Joyner Foundation will partner with Wilberforce University
to raise funds for student scholarship support. Support Wilberforce University
by giving your contribution to the Tom Joyner Foundation during the month of
6. THE 113TH CONGRESS HAS
BEEN SWORN-IN AND GOOD INFORMATION FOR EVERY AME:
important that we know who our congressional representatives are.
below is the roster of the Congressional Black Caucus prepared by the AMEC
Social Action Commission courtesy of the Congressional Black Caucus. This
information is shared for your information, use, sharing, and civic engagement.
113th Congress - CBC
42 Members of the CBC for the 113th Congress. Their names / Congressional Districts are as follows
(in order of seniority):
Conyers Jr., 14th District of Michigan
Rangel, 15th District of New York
5th District of Georgia
Holmes Norton, Delegate, District of Columbia
Waters, 35th District of California
Bishop Jr., 2nd District of Georgia
Brown, 3rd District of Florida
Clyburn, 6th District of South Carolina - member of the AME Church
Hastings, 23rd District of Florida - Member of the AME Church
Bernice Johnson, 30th District of Texas
1st District of Illinois
Scott, 3rd District of Virginia
Watt, 12th District of North Carolina
Thompson, 2nd District of Mississippi
Fattah, 2nd District of Pennsylvania
Jackson Lee, 18th District of Texas
Cummings, 7th District of Maryland
Christensen, Delegate, Virgin Islands
Davis, 7th District of Illinois
Meeks, 6th District of New York - Member of the AME Church
9th District of California
Clay, 1st District of Missouri
Scott, 13th District of Georgia
Butterfield, 1st District of North Carolina (1st Vice
Cleaver, 5th District of Missouri
9th District of Texas
4th District of Wisconsin
Clarke, 11th District of New York (2nd Vice Chair)
Ellison, 5th District of Minnesota
Johnson, 4th District of Georgia
Carson, 7th District of Indiana (Secretary)
Edwards, 4th District of Maryland
Fudge, 11th District of Ohio (CBC Chair)
33rd District of California (Whip)
Richmond, 2nd District of Louisiana
Sewell, 7th District of Alabama
S. Wilson, 17th District of Florida
Payne. Jr., 10th District of New Jersey
Beatty, 3rd District of Ohio
Horsford, 2nd District of Nevada
Jeffries, 8th District of New York
Veasey, 33rd District of Texas
of the Congressional Black Caucus Contact Information
Reginald T. Jackson, Chair, AMEC Social Action Commission
"Jackie" Dupont-Walker, Director
7. INFORMATION ALERT FROM THE SOCIAL
session of the US Senate will now have an African-American member. Former US
Congressman Timothy "Tim" Eugene Scott has been appointed by South
Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to "fill out" the term of former US
Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned to serve as the Executive Director of the
Heritage Foundation. Senator Scott becomes the first African-American to
represent a Southern State since Reconstruction and the seating of Hiram Rhodes
Revels in 1870.
for the US Senate and US House of Representatives (Congress) is reportedly the
most diverse in history, meaning its membership includes a number of key
stakeholder groups and cultural bases. It is as follows:
including 20 in the Senate alone
gay or bisexual members
Note: Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827 - 1901),
from Mississippi was the first person of color to serve in the US Senate. He
served in the 41st session from February 1870 to March 1871. He was ordained as
an AME minister, and although some reports indicate that he later joined the ME
Church, Senator Revels is most frequently identified with the AME Church.
According to the records of the United States Senate, Revels' credentials
arrived in the Senate on February 23, 1870, and were immediately blocked by a
few members who had no desire to see a black man serve in Congress. Masking
their racist views, they argued that Revels had not been a U.S. citizen for the
nine years required of all senators. In their distorted interpretation, black
Americans had only become citizens with the passage of the 1866 Civil Rights
Act, just four years earlier. Revels' supporters dismissed that statement,
pointing out that he had been a voter many years earlier in Ohio and was
therefore certainly a citizen.
Senator Charles Sumner brought the debate to an end with a stirring speech.
"The time has passed for argument. Nothing more need be said. For a long
time it has been clear that colored persons must be senators." Then, by an
overwhelming margin, the Senate voted 48 to 8 to seat Revels. .
Reginald T. Jackson, Chair, AMEC Social Action Commission
"Jackie" Dupont-Walker, Director
8. KAREN CAFFEE REMINDS US IN A
FACEBOOK POST IN A.M.E. CHURCH MEMBERS CONNECTING AROUND THE WORLD:
checks for federal benefits and Social Security will not be around as of March
Treasury Department is phasing out paper check payments and requiring federal
benefit recipients. If you know anyone still receiving a paper Social Security
check and they have not prepared for this transition, please encourage them to
open a bank account or establish direct deposit or the decision will be made
for them with the new debit card. This phase-out has not received media
attention, but it is now less than 50 days and counting. Please help to spread
Go Direct: Direct Deposit for Social Security
& Federal Benefits - www.godirect.org
9. BISHOP GREGORY G. M. INGRAM
VISITS BETHEL AME CHURCH OF COXSACKIE, NEW YORK:
thinks about God’s faithfulness, you begin to realize the dependability,
loyalty, and stability of our Father in heaven.
The faithfulness of God and God’s word is a constant theme in the
Bible. It is also clear that God is a
faithful God who keeps God’s covenant with God’s children.
is what first comes to mind when you think about Bethel AME Church located in
Coxsackie, New York. Bethel AME Church
holds its membership on the Western New York Annual Conference of the 1st
Episcopal District. This great Church of
African Methodism founded in 1853 with a humble structure build in 1856 on land
donated by Mrs. Lane from Four Mile Point knows what it means to truly trust
God’s faithfulness. Bethel Church
Coxsackie is the oldest African American church in Greene County, New York and
serves the people of that community well.
When you enter the church, you will find some of the most dedicated
servants of God who have chosen to place their total dependency on God.
brisk afternoon of November 27, 2012, the pastor, Reverend Shirley Whitlock and
the members of Bethel AME Church in Coxsackie were pleased and grateful to host
the visit of Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram and to receive blessings and gifts of
love from the leader of the First Episcopal District. Bishop Ingram was accompanied by Presiding
Elder Carlton Gibson, the Revs. Richard Allen Stenhouse, Edward B. Smart, and
James Simmons. One member states, “We
were not only blessed by their presence but also by the generous gift that
enabled us to complete the purchase of a new furnace for the church.”
photo above, Bishop Ingram presents Pastor Shirley Whitlock and the members of
Bethel AME Church a gift of love to help with church repairs.
submitted by the Reverend Brandon Karl Allen
Agape AME Church
York Annual Conference
10. THE REV. KENNETH GOLPHIN ELECTED
CHAIR OF THE LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION:
Reverend Kenneth Golphin, pastor of AME Church in Louisville, Kentucky has been
elected as chair of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission,
which consists of fourteen (14) members.
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission is the local agency
responsible for enforcing the local anti-discrimination laws in employment,
housing and public accommodation.
information on the Commission is available on its website at www.lfuchrc.org.
11. THE REV. RONALD SLAUGHTER
INVITED TO BE A KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR STATE OF NEW JERSEY MLK EVENT:
Ronald Slaughter, pastor of St. James AME Church in Newark, New Jersey has been
invited by new Jersey Governor Chris Christie to be one of the Keynote speakers
at the 2013 Annual MLK Holiday Celebration sponsored by the Martin Luther King,
Jr. Commemorative Commission on Sunday, January 20, 2013 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at
the Patriots Theatre – The War Memorial at One Memorial Drive in Trenton, New
BIG CELEBRATION FOR CENTENARIAN ESTHER MARY RICHARDSON:
By Sister Delanda S. Johnson
On Saturday, January 5, 2013; at the Wynham Hotel in
Dallas, Texas, Sister Esther Mary Richardson, also known as Mother Richardson
celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends.
Sister Richardson was born in Malakoff, Texas,
however, now lives in Dallas, Texas and is a member of Gaines Chapel AME Church
where the Rev. W. K. McDonald is the pastor.
Approximately 90 people waited for Sister Richardson
to enter the ballroom. As she entered
with a big smile on her face, she greeted everyone.
The birthday celebration program began with Delanda S.
Johnson, a cousin, who was the mistress of ceremony calling everyone to order
and expressed the love for Sister Richardson from the Smith side of the family.
Pastor McDonald gave a heartfelt prayer and the Rev.
James W. Ford, Presiding Elder of the Greater Dallas District read the
Family members traveled from Michigan to help Sister
Richardson celebrate her birthday.
Sister Richardson’s nieces Marilyn Marks and Renell
Stafford gave stirring expression to why we were there and a beautiful song
“Blessed Assurance” was sung. Sister Stafford stated that we all have stories
Sister Richardson’s daughter-in-law Sister Patsy
Richardson read a moving poem, while cousin Delanda S. Johnson sang “Wind
Beneath My Wings.”
Kirk Franklin’s song, “Smile” got the crowd moving and
later Sister Richardson’s son, Brother J. D. Richardson and wife Patsy
presented 50 red roses and 50 yellow roses to their mother. Family member,
friends, and ministers came forth to speak good-will, kind words, and loving
messages to Sister Richardson.
Sister Richardson stated that she was happy to see
each person in attendance and thanked them for coming to help her celebrate her
centennial celebration. “I thank God for
allowing me to live this long and I will continue to bless God’s Holy Name” and
“if I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain.”
This is the song that she sang without missing a note
and what a wonderful spirit.
The birthday celebration was topped off with a
wonderful meal and great music.
13. CONNECTIONAL HEALTH COMMISSION,
A NEW YOU, A HEALTHIER YOU IN 2013! JOIN THE 3M-MOVEMENT:
Connectional Health Commission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
announced at the 2012 General Board Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas the launch
of the Palm-Wellness 3M (Music, Motion and Moderation) 40-Day Journey. The
theme is “A New You, A Healthier You!”
is based on evidence based research that proves that eating more plant-based
meals high in vegetables, whole grains, beans and fruits, fights and prevent
diseases. We can fight and prevent
diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers with annual
doctor visits, nutrition, fitness, water and proper rest.
Connectional Health Commission 40-Day journey begins with a 20-Day plant based
meal guide to promote the consumption of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and
antioxidants created by God to fight disease.
guide has been replaced by “Choose My Plate” http://www.choosemyplate.gov/, which
encourages everyone to eat more vegetables, beans, fruits, whole grains and to
drink water as beverage.
Connectional Health Commission 40-Day journey also includes a 7-week Bible
Study and a fitness guide. You can blog,
journal and track your progress online. In addition, you can ask the Rev.
Natalie Mitchem, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and the Rev. Dr. Miriam
Burnett, Medical Doctor and questions along the 40-Day journey, watch video
post and recipe preparation on www.AMEChealth.org.
Connectional Health Commission of the AME Church declared July, “Faith-Based
Wellness, Health, Nutrition & Fitness Month!” This is an annual health
awareness event birthed in the AME Church. The theme for July 2013 is: “A Fit
Plate-Portion Control, A Fit Body – Daily Exercise, A Fit Spirit – Prayer, Praise
& Worship & A Fit Mind – Bible Study & Praise.” The focus scripture
is 3 John, Verse 3.
Connectional Health Commission announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
with between the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of
Minority Health (OMH) and the HHS Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood
Partnerships and the African Methodist Episcopal Church Connectional Health Commission.
The Memorandum of Understanding between these organizations and the
Connectional Health Commission is history-making and we would like to thank the
Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett for establishing the MOU and partnerships with each
complete your 40-Day journey make everyday a 3M day with Music, Motion and
Moderation: 3M stands for Music – move to your favorite music 3 times per day;
Motion – be in motion at least 30 minutes per day for adults and 60 minutes for
youth, 3-minute power moves on busy days; and Moderation – practice Palm
Portion Control everyday! Limit all portion sizes to the size of your
Wilfred J. Messiah, Chair, AMEC Connectional Health Commission
Natalie Mitchem, M.Div., Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist & Fitness
Instructor, Connectional Health Commission Executive Director
Miriam Burnett, M.Div., MD, MPH, Connectional Health Commission Medical
14. SHAKE ME GOD:
Jarrett Britton Washington
Have you ever
been in a position or a situation where you needed God to shake you?
Even as you
still relish the idea of the new you in this New Year, you ought to be able to
testify at some point in this new day your need to have God to shake you. Acts Chapter 16 tells the story of how Paul
and Silas were locked up in a Macedonian Jail and how they were in desperate
need for God to shake them. Earlier in
the text we learn about a slave girl who is seemingly demon possessed consistently
brings attention to Paul and Silas as if to taunt them or to simply get on
their nerves. One day, it would seem as
if Paul had finally had enough of the taunting of this demon possessed girl and
he turns to her and says, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to
come out of her" (v 18).
after calling the demons out of the girl Paul and Silas were dragged to the
marketplace where the people began to beat them and place stripes all over
their frail bodies. Can't you imagine
how hard it was for them to stand up as the people tried to beat them
down? Or maybe you can; maybe you can
testify the more you tried to stand up the more people tried to tear down; the
more you tried to give God your very best, the more people told you, you
couldn't do it; or maybe even, the more you went to church, the more people
said you ought to stay home. Adversity
comes in so many forms, yet and still Paul and Silas were a testimony of how
one could stand tall in the midst of it all.
As if the beating were not enough, Paul and Silas are then dragged to
thing we to understand is that God can't shake you, if you are not in the right
place. Some of us want God to do so much
for us, but we don't want to do anything for God. Those of us who serve a relevant and a real
God know for a fact it is because of God we are in the positions and the places
where we are today. Undoubtedly when we
look at the story of Paul and Silas, we realize even our haters play a role in
our shake ups. Think about it, if this
girl who was possessed with demons had not pointed out Paul and Silas on a
daily basis we would have never gotten to the part of the story where the two
men are shaken by God. Some of us get it
all wrong in life. We think the people
who get on our nerves are supposed to get us to lose our religion or we are
supposed to cuss them out, tell them off, or even go to blows, but what this
young girl teaches us is the people who mess with us the most, are the very
folk who are supposed to get us to pray a little harder and reach for God more.
if you really want God to shake you, you have to be willing to go through some
things. What we learn from the scripture
is immediately after calling on the name of Jesus, the two men went through all
kinds of hell and high-water.
folk know every day of their life has not been Sunday. They know they had to go through some things
just to be where they are today. You may
not have been beaten in the square like Paul and Silas; you may not have been
thrown in jail, but you should be able to testify you had to go through
something to experience the essence of God's presence for your life.
the ultimate power of God lies on your total dependence on God to do the impossible
in unthinkable life situations. I would
imagine Paul and Silas must have felt pretty discouraged. I would imagine they questioned calling out
the demons from the girl. The very idea
of being behind the bars of the cold jail was enough discouragement, but they
held on waiting on God's intervention.
midst of holding on, Paul and Silas began to sing songs and pray to God. It was while they were singing and praying
that God's Spirit overtakes the jail and the real shaking begins. It began to shake so much that doors opened
up and they were able to walk out of the jail.
You may not be in a physical jail, but I have to ask in year 2013, what
is it that you want God to shake in your life?
Is your job
or relationship in trouble?
kids running out of control?
politics of this world beginning to discourage you?
and illness knocking at your door?
you are going through, are you ready for the shaking?
God can and
will shake you, but only if you prepare yourself “to be shook.” A good friend and I were having a very
engaging conversation on the idea of God's shaking. She said to me, “If you really want to be
shaken you have to be ready ‘to be shook.’”
right? Paul and Silas were not only
ready for the shaking; they embraced the idea of “being shook.”
are “shook,” you are in the right place, you have come to terms with the
“cards” life has dealt you, and you are still praising God in the midst of it
if you do nothing else, make sure you are preparing yourself to be “shook by
God's shaking there is a blessing!
Jarrett Britton Washington is a graduate of Turner Theological Seminary at the
Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and is the pastor of
the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the suburb of Red Top of
greater Johns Island, SC.
15. GETTING TO ZERO: EMANCIPATION
AND JANUARY 2013
Liberation. Celebration. Preparation. Even a focus on getting to zero for
HIV/AIDS must recognize the great significance of events in January 2013. These
are especially relevant to people of African heritage.
2013 is the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Many of us
learned to recite this in elementary school. “Four score and seven years ago,
our forefathers …”
2013 is the birth anniversary of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, drum
major in the fight for civil rights in the USA. Through Dr. King and others,
freedoms were claimed as provided by passage of the 13th Amendment to the
constitution that legally abolished slavery. This had been declared by the
2013 is the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama for a second elected
term in the highest office of these United States of America. Note that it is
the second term. It is a second term inauguration in spite of considerable
continued efforts of many whose reason to get up in the morning was to make
sure that the first term election was a one time phenomena of chance, an
2013 is a highly significant month.
2013 is significant for those of African heritage regardless of the continent
on which we live. For at least a moment, claim and celebrate this heritage as
over comers! Although there is much to continue to change for the better,
January 2013 is a time of appreciating major milestones!
HIV/AIDS pandemic affects millions of lives due to infection with a relatively
fragile virus. The virus takes advantage of human sexually as the major way to
spread from one person to another to make more of itself. To eventually
eliminate the virus, the Achilles heel of HIV is stopping its ability to spread
from person to person.
HIV/AIDS is an equal opportunity virus, in January 2013, the highest levels of
infection around the world are among people of African heritage- people who are
“kissed by the sun.”
prevalence estimates (level of infection) for a few representative countries
are: 23% in Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire 4%, Ghana 2%, Kenya 7%, South Africa 18%,
Swaziland 26%, Uganda 5% and Zambia 15%.
These are countries where the majority of people have been “kissed by
the sun.” For some, this prevalence is lower than previous because of focused
government and other coordinated efforts to address HIV/AIDS.
Americans comprise about 13% of the population in the United States, but near
50% of the HIV/AIDS infections. In some cities (Washington, Philadelphia)
prevalence of known HIV/AIDS infection is near 4% (that is 1 HIV infected per
20 people). The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 25% of people
infected do not know the virus is in their body. They have not taken an HIV
What is the
take home point?
2013, we have much to be grateful and thankful for- surviving the middle
passage, emancipation, liberation and celebrating inauguration of a second
term. We know as a people, by the power and grace of God, we can overcome.
HIV/AIDS is on the list of things that we can/should/will overcome.
“National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day” is Thursday, February 7, 2013. Now is
the time to plan. The Balm in Gilead National Week of Prayer for the Healing of
HIV/AIDS is March 3-9, 2013. It is always the first week in March. See that
your church is *registered, its activities are planned and it is receiving
information and resources to share with families in the community.
The Balm in
Gilead website states “The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is
the coming together of all people of faith to unite with purpose, compassion
and hope. Through the power of God’s love we will educate every American about
HIV prevention facts; encourage and support HIV testing; advocate for the
availability of compassionate care and treatment for all those living with the
disease in every community in America; and love unconditionally all persons living
with and affected by HIV/AIDS.”
worldwide these goals and the “coming together of people of faith to unite with
purpose, compassion and hope.” On this, or that shore, in January 2013
celebrate great events and plan to do something for getting to zero.
we can. Yes we can. Now is the time to turn the tide to eliminate HIV/AIDS.
With God all things are possible.
16. MEDITATION BASED ON PSALM
Dr. Joseph A. Darby
blessed to look back on another Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s
Day. I celebrated all three holidays by
doing something that I thoroughly enjoy doing - cooking. I seldom did more than boil water growing up
as a very spoiled “only child,” but I’ve learned through the years that cooking
can be relaxing, can allow for creativity and can offer the satisfaction of
seeing people joyfully gobble up what’s been cooked!
through the years - after considerable initial hesitance and after creating a
few early and scary dishes that I wisely and mercifully put in the trash can -
that cooking really isn’t that hard to do.
All that one has to do is to follow basic recipes, modify them in
creative ways to fit your taste, and patiently “tend the pots,” so that you’re
cooking doesn’t end up burned or undercooked.
applies to success in the kitchen also applies to successful living. The Holy Scriptures are “God’s recipe” for
our lives - they contain all of the essential ingredients that we need to find
hope, joy, strength and peace of mind.
Blessings come our way when we go beyond the dubious advice that this
world and those in it offer us to “spice up our lives,” follow God’s recipe and
prayerfully adapt it to our needs.
We can be
blessed when we follow “God’s recipe,” but we also have to be patient and
attentive in doing so. All of us
sometimes become frustrated and impatient in our relentless desire to get what
we want. We all try at times to hurry
things along, stray from “God’s recipe,” season our lives in ways that really
aren’t good for us and turn up the heat by doing what we think is best - only
to end up either burnt out by pain and disappointment or forced to swallow
whatever half-baked trouble and aggravation come our way - whether we want to
take the time, however, to step back from life’s demands, realize that God is
in control of our lives and attentively and patiently follow God’s recipe for
success, we’ll have all that we need, we’ll achieve peace of mind and
well-being, and we’ll face each day trusting in the Lord and understanding why
one Psalmist said, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is Good.”
If you are
in the Charleston, South Carolina area this weekend, join us on this second
Sunday in January (Epiphany I) for Church School at 9:45 a.m. and for Worship
at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. The Combined Choir,
Gospel Choir, Children’s Choir and Young Adult Choir will offer praise.
Scripture Lessons are:
8 a.m. –
“Listen To God’s Voice”
11 a.m. –
“Take God’s Advice”
Dr. Joseph A. Darby is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston,
17. CLERGY FAMILY CONGRATULATORY
- Attorney Yulise Reaves Waters,
first lady of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas 2013 recipient of
the Black Alumni of Southern Methodist University's (SMU)
Yulise Reaves Waters, first lady of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Dallas,
Texas, has been named a 2013 recipient of the Black Alumni of Southern
Methodist University's (SMU) History Maker Award. A two-time graduate of SMU,
Atty. Waters earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and in Spanish, magna
cum laude, a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, magna cum laude, and a
Juris Doctorate from the SMU Dedman School of Law. She has previously been
recognized by the institution, among many honors, as the 2003 Outstanding
Senior Woman of SMU, "2008 Featured Graduate" of the law school, and
as "One-to-Watch" by SMU Magazine. Attorney Waters is an Assistant
City Attorney for the City of Dallas and former president of the North Texas
Annual Conference Clergy Spouses Organization. She is married to the Reverend
Dr. Michael W. Waters, founder and Senior Pastor of Joy Tabernacle. They are
the proud parents of three children: Michael Jeremiah, 6, Hope Yulise, 3, and
Liberty Grace, 11 months.
- Christian C. Spears, MSW/MPH received
dual Master Degrees – Congratulated by dad, the Rev. Herbert L. and the late
Gloria D. Spears
Herbert L. and the Late Gloria D. Spears would like to congratulate their
daughter, Christian C. Spears, MSW/MPH on receiving Dual Master Degrees in
August and December 2012. She attended The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
where she received a Master of Social Work, as well as, University of Alabama
in Birmingham where she received a Master of Public Health with a concentration
in Health Care Organization and Policy/Maternal and Child Health. She is still
seeking a special position where she can be used by God to reach His people in
the Social Service/Public Health Field.
Reverend Herbert L. Spears is pastor of Greater Greene Chapel AME Church in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
information listed below:
- Birth of baby girl Avery Noel
A. Jones, the daughter of the Reverend Alfred D. Jones & First Lady E. Mae
Jones, First Family of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Naples,
Florida, the 11th Episcopal District gave birth to a baby girl (Avery Noel
Alicia Marcus) on Monday, December 31, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.
responses can be mailed to the proud grandparents:
and Mrs. Alfred D. Jones
18. EPISCOPAL FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Cornelius Norman Taylor of Port Arthur, Texas; father of Bishop Sarah F. Davis,
Presiding Prelate, 16th Episcopal District, and father-in-love of
Supervisor Claytie Davis, Jr., passed from labor to reward after a lengthy
illness on Monday, December 31, 2012. Bishop Sarah and Supervisor Claytie and
family are appreciative of your prayers during their time of loss.
Services for Mr. Cornelius Norman Taylor:
service for Mr. Cornelius Norman Taylor was held on Friday, January 4, 2013 at
the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church
in Port Arthur, Texas where the Rev. Dr. Randy G. Vaughn is the Senior
may be sent to:
Sarah and Supervisor Claytie Davis
19. EPISCOPAL FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
for the mother of Former Episcopal Supervisor Theora Lindsey Byrd
Lindsey passed Tuesday, January 8, 2012 at the age of 102. Following is information regarding the funeral
arrangements for Mrs. Lola Lindsey, mother of retired Episcopal Supervisor
Theora Lindsey Byrd, widow of the late Bishop Vernon Randolph Byrd, 105th
elected and consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church:
January 12, 2013
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Service: 10:00 a.m.
Kanice Johns, Pastor
Vernon Byrd, Jr., Eulogist
Johnson, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc.
may be sent to:
condolences may be sent to:
Byrd, granddaughter of Mrs. Lola Lindsey:
20. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
to inform you of the passing of Mr. Benjamin Lloyd. He was the father of the
Rev. Larry Dixon, pastor of Mt. Teman AME Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.
service was held on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at Mount Olivet Baptist Church,
201 Lenox Avenue at 120th Street (Malcolm X Blvd.) in New York City
where the Reverend Charles A. Curtis is the pastor.
of sympathy may be sent to:
21. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
to inform you of the passing of the Rev.
Anthony P. Booker. He was the
pastor of Disney AME Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Rev. Booker was
the husband of Sheila D. Booker, Director of Music for the Philadelphia
Conference and an associate Director of Music for the First Episcopal District.
following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.
service was held on Monday, January 7, 2013 at St. Matthews AME Church in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the Reverend Roland C. McCall is the pastor.
Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram, Presiding Prelate of the First Episcopal District
was the eulogist.
expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
22. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
of the 2nd Episcopal District Family, we are saddened to announce
the passing of the Rev. David J. Sparrow who served numerous congregations
during his fifty-years of Ministry.
of Life and Homegoing Services for Rev. Sparrow was held on Wednesday, January
9, 2013 at the Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland.
his wife, Mrs. Gladys Sparrow and daughter, the Rev. Dr. Cassandra Sparrow in
prayer during this season of bereavement.
23. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
to inform you of the passing of Sister Bernice Yount, WMS Life Member of the
Western North Carolina Conference. Please keep the family lifted in prayer.
was held for Sister Bernice Yount on Monday, January 7, 2013 at St. Paul AME
Church in Lenoir, North Carolina.
cards, and other expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
24. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
to share news of the passing of Reuben W. Ford, Sr., the father of the Rev.
Reuben Ford, Jr., pastor of First AME by the Sea in Santa Monica, California.
Reuben W. Ford, Sr. passed away Sunday night, December 30, 2012, after a
Memorial Service for Reuben Ford Sr. will be Saturday, January 19, 2013, 11:00
Memorial AME Church
Telephone: (661) 325-9224
Timothy O. Coston, Pastor.
may be sent to:
Reuben W. Ford, Jr.
Monica, CA 90404
25. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
we inform you of the passing of Mrs. Lily Mai Thomas Boyd of Nashville,
Tennessee. Mrs. Boyd is the widow of the
late Rev. Jesse Boyd, a former pastor of Lee Chapel African Methodist Episcopal
Church, Nashville, Tennessee. She is
survived by step-daughter, Alice Boyd Massey; Godson, the Rev. Robert E.
Keesee; nephews, Jackie (Donna) Thomas, Richard (Ruby) Stevenson, William
(Beverly) Spratlen, Dr. Frank E. (Andrea) Thomas Jr., George B. Thomas, &
William Webb; nieces, Alice T. Mayhew, Barbara Boyd, Vendolyn Williams, Odessa
Miller, Alfreda (Clarence) Barnes, Penelope Johnson, J. Karen (Colette Divine)
Thomas, Barbara Baylor, & Dawn Hughes; devoted caregivers; Jesse L. Carter,
Jr. & family; 4 generations of family & friends.
service was held on Saturday January 5, 2013 at Lee Chapel AME Church in
of sympathy may be sent in care of the family of Mrs. Lily Mai Thomas Boyd:
Wright Funeral Directors
26. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
to inform you of the passing of the Rev. George Jones, Sr., of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Rev. Jones was a retired Pastor of three Churches in the First
Episcopal District: Bethel AME in Port Norris, New Jersey; Arnett AME in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Bethel AME in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania. He
was an Associate Pastor of Mother Bethel AME and Mt. Tabor AME, both in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Rev. Jones passed on Wednesday, December 26,
following information is being shared concerning the home going services for
Reverend George Jones, Sr:
service was held on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at Mount Tabor AME Church, 961-71
N. 7th Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where the Rev. Martha A. Lang serves
can be sent to the Jones Family at:
27. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
to announce the passing of Mr. James E. Taylor, Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia, the
son of Presiding Elder J. E. Taylor of the West Savannah District, the Georgia
may be sent to Presiding Elder J. E. Taylor, 7609 Ashford Court, Savannah,
Georgia 31406, or email@example.com
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information
Phone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Phone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
Cell: (615) 403-7751
29. CONDOLENCES TO
THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
The Chair of the Commission on
Publications, the Right Reverend Richard Franklin Norris; the Publisher, the
Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour and the Editor of The Christian Recorder, the Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III offer
our condolences and prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the
peace of Christ will be with you during this time of your bereavement.
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