Larry Kirkland - Chair, Commission on Publications
Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
Black History Month
Jarena Lee Birthday
– February 11
birthday – February 14
Easter Sunday –
March 31, 2013
Connectional Day of Prayer – April 13, 2013
May 19, 2013
TCR EDITORIAL OP-ED – ONE SIZE DOES
NOT FIT ALL – MINISTRY IS MORE COMPLICATED:
Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III,
The 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
I was so hoping that someone, after reading last week’s
editorial would be inspired or motivated to write an op-ed (opposing editorial
or opposing opinion). I received some emails commenting on the editorial, but
each email had the caveat, “This is just between us and you are not to publish
Well, I waited and waited and no one took the unspoken
challenge to write an op-ed, so I guess that I will have to write the op-ed,
which is unusual, but I think it’s important for readers to hear all sides of
Itineracy is not being intentionally compromised
The itineracy is important and a lot of itinerant elders
are without pastoral appointments and find themselves serving as assistants to
pastors. They are without pastoral appointments and many of them have not been
offered pastoral appointments. They have not been given an opportunity to serve
as itinerants in the traveling ministry.
Some of the larger denominations have managed their
ordination process more efficiently so when persons graduate from seminary and
are ordained, they are immediately given pastoral appointments with a livable
Unfortunately, the African Methodist Episcopal Church has
an abundance of itinerant elders, but not enough pastoral appointments. Most
often when pastoral appointments are available the salaries are not
commensurate with the training; and financial compensation is not up to the
standard of a fulltime salary. Often, the distance of pastoral appointments,
added to the low salaries make accepting pastoral appointments unfeasible. The
distance and/or remoteness of pastoral appointments, added to the low
salaries make accepting pastoral appointments unfeasible or undesirable.
Some pastors are not willing to go to a church with poor growth
potential. Some of our existing churches are in very remote locations
where the general population growth is declining. Others are not willing
to go to a church in which the membership has already been devastated by poor
actions of the previous pastor and the church has a bad reputation as a result.
Back “in the day,” seminarians graduated with zero-debt;
they didn’t owe anyone anything. They graduated debt-free. Today, most seminary
graduates are saddled with thousands of dollars of debt; and accepting
low-paying church salaries is not a viable option. And, it becomes less of an
option in the AME Church because the AME Church does not have a promotion or
incremental salary increase system.
The issue in today’s economic climate is not a disrespect
of the itineracy, but one of the necessities of a minister taking care of his
or her family. People who accept the call to ministry do not expect to make
exorbitant salaries, but they should and do expect a fair livable salary.
Efficiency Committee may not be the answer
Some churches are troublesome and have had troubled
histories of mean-spiritedness and selfishness. It could be a pattern of poor
pastoral leadership or some form of pastoral abuse in the past that “soured”
members on the clergy.
Sometimes, troublesome churches have had all kinds of
pastors who tried to do the work of ministry, but ran into road-blocks. If a
church has had a history of dysfunction, referring a pastor to the Ministerial
Efficiency Committee might not be the fairest option; it might be a fairer
option for the bishop and Ministerial Efficiency Committee to look at the
church to determine if it has reached its “shelf-life” and to determine if the
local church is a negative influence in the local community and the community
of faith. It is irresponsible to let mean-spirited churches destroy the careers
and lives of those who are sincere in providing ministry to God’s people. Some
churches need to be closed.
An additional problem is that some
churches remain open although they are located in areas with little to no
potential for growth due to waning general populations. Others are
located in such close proximity to other half-empty AME churches, that merger
should be considered
The real issue is not the 90-day rule for notifying pastors
of potential moves. Let me give some examples.
First, letters to every pastor is the same as not sending
any letters – all it takes to reach that conclusion is simple logic.
The truth and experience is that sending 90-day letters and
making some pastoral appointments have been troublesome because the 90-day
letter rule didn’t work as it was intended to work. On the other hand, not sending a 90-day
letter and making a pastoral appointment have not presented a problem.
me give a few scenarios
Suppose Pastor Johnson, a recent seminary graduate, and an
excellent pastor who pastors a small Class-C church is deemed by the bishop to
be a superb candidate for a large Class-A church and the bishop decides to move
her to one of the leading churches in the conference, but oops, the bishop
forgot to send her a 90-day letter. Do
you think that Pastor Johnson is going to say, “Bishop, I will not accept the
appointment because you did not send me a 90-day letter?” I don’t think so! In this scenario, not receiving the 90-day
letter is a non-issue.
Another scenario: Pastor Scott is serving a large church in
a city that has several AME churches. There is a problem in one of the other
churches, no fault of the pastor, but a pastoral change is necessary. The
church is about the same size as Pastor Scott’s church. The bishop believes
with his godly judgment that a pastoral switch would be the best option for
both churches. Pastor Scott and the pastor
he would replace agree, and have no problem with the switch. In that case, a
90-day letter or the absence of the 90-day letter would not present a
Pastor Taylor is serving as a pastor of a large church that
pays a decent salary, but he and the parishioners have never been a good fit.
He wants to leave and the people want him to leave. The bishop has a church
about the same size and feels that he can move the pastor and provide a
replacement that would be acceptable with the church. Pastor Taylor is good
with the transfer. The incoming pastor
is good with the switch. A 90-day letter sent or not sent probably wouldn’t
make a difference.
Pastor Miles, a pastor of a Class-A church is being
considered for elevation to be a presiding elder. She is ready for a move and
is excited about the promotion. She probably wouldn’t be concerned about a
Pastor Bullard has been the pastor of a church for 10 years
and he receives a decent salary. He lives in his own home, wife has a good job,
kids are settled in school and things at the church are moving along nicely. He
is happy and the people are happy. He received a 90-day letter. He arrived at
the annual conference and was told the night before the Commissioning service
that he was going to be reassigned. Most likely, he and his family would have a
problem with the reassignment, even though he had received a 90-day letter. The
90-day letter was not the problem.
Bill of Rights
Pastor Jones serves a Class-A church and serves as the
pastor of the first church in the annual conference and has the highest
reported salary in the episcopal district. He has been at the church for 15
years. It’s been a “rough ride” and he has lost the “fire-in-the-gut” and the
church is losing members. The people want him to move because they feel that
the ministry at the church has reached a stand-still. The church has lost
creditability in the community and Pastor Jones no longer participates in the
interdenominational ministerial alliance or other community activities. The
bishop feels that a pastoral move would be best for all concerned. Pastor Jones
has only served in this episcopal district and is not a “super star” sought by
other episcopal districts. Unfortunately, Pastor Jones does not want to move
citing the Minister’s Bill of Rights. The bishop has a dilemma. Should she move
Pastor Jones or leave him in the pastoral assignment at the risk of losing what
had been a strong congregation?
Theoretically, is it the intent of the Ministers’ Bill of
Rights that once a pastor gets to the top church, he or she cannot be moved?
Or is the intent of the Ministers’ Bill of Rights to
protect pastors from vindictive pastoral transfers.
What does a bishop do with less than competent clergy who
are good people and nice, who never learned the art of pastoral leadership and
lack certain pastoral skills? What does the bishop do with nice people in the
wrong profession? What are bishops to do with pastors who have not done enough
wrong to be referred to the Ministerial Efficiency Committee, but are not
functioning at an acceptable level for effective and meaningful ministry?
play a role
What would happen if a church knew well-ahead of time that
their pastor was going to be reassigned? Would churches try to block their
pastor’s transfer if they wanted to keep him or her as their pastor? Would
unhappy congregations “build walls” to block the transition?
What about churches that knew ahead of time that their
pastor was not scheduled to be moved; would they do things to try to precipitate
his or her pastoral transfer?
play a role
What if a pastor knew ahead of time that he or she was
going to be reassigned, but didn’t want to be transferred, would he or she do
something unscrupulous to prevent the reassignment?
Integrity and the perception of integrity play an important
role in fixing the problems facing the church.
There have been a few rare occasions when I have been able
to use a “one size fits all” clothing item – very few times! I have discovered with my body shape that
“one size fits all” clothes do not work for me and I doubt it works for a lot
“One size fits all” rules do not always work in
organizations. The keystone that holds organizations together is integrity.
Integrity is important in “tailored rules” or with “one size fits all” rules.
Integrity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church must be
an attribute of the worship community to include the parishioners, young and
old; local church leaders, pastors, presiding elders, connectional officers,
general officers and bishops.
As imperfect as "godly judgment" may be, bishops
with integrity can do better than any "one size fits all" policy, but bishops
must always act in a manner that gains the trust of clergy and laity that
exemplifies integrity. They should be careful to model and articulate “godly
judgment” as the motivation for their actions as it relates to accessioning
candidates for ministry, pastoral appointments and other priestly actions.
Note: Op-eds are invited.
THREE PRINCETON SEMINARY ALUMS SERVE AS CHAPLAINS AT TOP UNIVERSITIES:
Itinerant Elder, the Rev. Deborah Blanks, Dean among the three Princeton
Seminary alums are making their mark on three of America’s most prominent
Three Princeton Seminary alums are making their mark on
three of America’s most prominent universities.
Luke Powery (M.Div., 1999, pictured below right) is the new dean of Duke
University’s chapel and associate professor of the practice of homiletics at Duke
Divinity School, Jonathan Walton (M.Div., 2002, Ph.D., 2006, pictured below
left) serves as Harvard Divinity School’s Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, and Deborah Blanks (Th.M., 1990) is
the associate dean of religious life and the chapel at Princeton University.
Founded in 1926 as the first of the university’s graduate
professional schools, Duke Divinity School attracts students from across the
nation and from around the world.
Powery, ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention, is the
first African American to serve in the position of dean of the chapel, one of
the most distinguished posts for a preacher. Duke’s chapel has one of the
largest campus congregations and is home to one of the most active religious
life programs on a U.S. campus.
“University churches are very vibrant and robust
communities. They are, in fact, real
anomalies—in that they integrate a community of faith with academic studies,”
explains Walton, an ordained Baptist minister, who says he was “raised as a
southern, evangelical kid” and is now “delighted to be leading one of the most
prominent pulpits in the country that was intended for New England Puritan
ministers.” For Walton, religion is an intellectual as well as spiritual
exercise. He believes the interdenominational Memorial Church, which has been
regarded as the symbolic center of Harvard's spiritual life, is a place to
educate minds and expand hearts.
Through her role at Princeton University, the fourth-oldest
college in the U.S., Blanks seeks to be a spiritual resource to people of
faith, those seeking, as well as those desiring to engage about the “big
questions of life.” She enjoys
interfacing with people who have varying viewpoints from hers. “At the university-level
I work to create a sacred space for students to flourish on campus—to be
supported, nurtured, and spiritually fed,” she says.
When Blanks graduated from seminary, the typical call was
to pastor a church, but she wanted to pursue a “nontraditional” route. An ordained minister in the African Methodist
Episcopal Church, she says, “I always had a feeling my ministry would be
‘nontraditional.’ I just wasn’t sure
what that would look like.” She was drawn toward military chaplaincy and
pursued an opportunity with the U.S. Navy.
After serving as a military chaplain for ten years, she transitioned to
a university setting. “The skills of a navy chaplain are very transferable to a
university setting. Military and college
populations are very similar in age, transient communities, and both settings
are pluralistic,” says Blanks.
She has had the unique distinction of working at two Ivy
League universities—first, as an assistant university chaplain at Brown
University, and now at Princeton University. “Being the first African American
woman to hold this post is humbling. I stand upon the shoulders of courageous
named and nameless forebears whose legacy of courage illumines the path that
stretches before me. The liberating
bequest of courage passed on to me and the mantle that rests upon me is what
inspires and empowers me to continue the journey,” she says. Blanks describes
her ministry as “outside the walls of the church.” “I’m exercising my ordained
rites of ministry that I was ordained to do, but in a setting that is outside
of the church,” she says.
In her role at Princeton, Blanks facilitates the religious
life for faculty, staff, and students, which is fueled through the Christian
services in the chapel. However, she works to meet the needs of diverse groups
by offering a variety of intra-faith and interfaith programs, lectures, and
music offerings. She also facilitates
the student-led worship service, "Hallelujah!” which is an expression of
the African American church tradition.
“It is a lively service of worship where students can come to celebrate
the rhythm of God alive and bless their origins,” she says.
At Duke, Powery’s role as dean includes an ongoing
ministerial piece centering on Sunday worship—the public face of Duke’s
chapel. He plays an integral role in
connecting the academic and spiritual lives of the university’s students,
faculty, and staff and describes his ministry as a “hybrid.” His position encompasses several roles,
including community engagement, research, teaching, and pastoral care. “My post is about people—preaching, teaching,
and building relationships,” he says.
“To be a faculty member of Harvard Divinity School, one of
the premier centers of theological education, is an honor and a privilege,”
says Walton. His work and insights have been featured in several national and
international news outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, and the BBC. He
focuses his research and teaching on the intersections of religion, politics,
and media, and views both Memorial Church and Harvard Divinity School as
classrooms and places of spiritual inspiration.
“This position does not force me to bifurcate my sense of vocation
between Sunday and Monday,” he says.
Powery and Blanks agree that being invited into the lives
of students, colleagues, and parishioners—as a mentor, to join together with
them in prayer, or to walk along the journey of life—during times of joy or
sorrow is extremely rewarding. “The ongoing relationships with students—being
invited to baptize a baby, officiate at a wedding, or attend a graduation
ceremony—being present for these life events reaffirms that this is what I am
supposed to be doing,” says Blanks.
Meanwhile, in the academic setting, Walton says the most rewarding part
of his work is seeing the “light” come on for students and witnessing their
passion ignite. “That says it all for
me,” he says.
Reflecting on his seminary education Powery says, “I
consider Princeton Seminary to be my ‘theological home.’ I received an
excellent education from wonderful professors. My time at PTS confirmed my
sense of ministry. I felt truly privileged to later return as a professor.”
Prior to Duke, Powery served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor
of Homiletics at Princeton Seminary.
Walton also feels that PTS was pivotal in preparing him to
serve the academy. “I received the training and tools that allow me to drill
deep into theological, moral, and ethical questions.” Walton and Blanks
describe their seminary education as providing them with an “intellectual toolkit.”
“I continue to pull books from my bookshelf for sermon preparation or to lend
to a student,” Walton says. “In a setting like a university, I am using the
tools I gained in seminary to help me wrestle more deeply with the questions of
life, so that I can translate that to others through study groups and through
preaching,” says Blanks.
Blanks recalls the days after September 11 when she relied
heavily on her seminary “toolkit” and reservoir of faith to provide a sense of
comfort to the Princeton University community. “That was a time when I
experienced firsthand the transferable nature of my skills as a military
chaplain. During the 9-11 tragedy, I was
able to draw from the wellspring of my professional life and deliver through
public prayers, preaching, and counseling a sense of comfort about God’s
Even today Walton continues to value his years at PTS and
to be thankful for the time he had for vocational discernment, which in part
led him to his current post. What is his
advice to current seminarians? “Enjoy your years at seminary and appreciate the
gift of ‘time.’ Be in the moment—enjoy fellowship in Mackay, visit with
professors, and don’t become overwhelmed by your future goals,” he says. Blanks also believes that the time spent at seminary
and the value of a theological education cannot be underestimated. “A seminary
education is critical to appreciating your faith—it gives you a prism to look
through in terms of understanding the world and it will inform all that you
3. A GREAT PRESENTATION ON THE
SEASON OF LENT:
by the Rev. Frederick Hale
The Season of Lent
Retreating Into the Wilderness with Jesus
Lent is a
forty-day period before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the day
before Easter Day. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days, because Sundays
commemorate the Resurrection. In the Roman Catholic Church, Lent officially
ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, with the beginning of the mass of the Lord’s
churches, the decorations are purple or blue, royal colors to prepare for the
churches, this season is called the Great Lent. It begins on Clean Monday.
Annunciation, 25 March
Lent is a
season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and
taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a
preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when
converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing
the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal
into the wilderness for forty days. All churches that have a continuous history
extending before AD 1500 observe Lent. The ancient church that wrote,
collected, canonized, and propagated the New Testament also observed Lent,
believing it to be a commandment from the apostles. (See The Apostolic
Constitutions, Book V, Section III.)
a spiritual discipline that does not involve starvation or dehydration. Quite
often, our bodily appetites control our actions. The purpose of fasting is to
make your bodily appetites your servant rather than your master.
The Western Church
Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, we skip over Sundays when we calculate
the length of Lent. Therefore, in the Western Church, Lent always begins on Ash
Wednesday, the seventh Wednesday before Easter.
countries, the last day before Lent (called Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday,
Carnival, or Fasching) has become a last fling before the solemnity of Lent.
For centuries, it was customary to fast by abstaining from meat during Lent,
which is why some people call the festival Carnival, which is Latin for
farewell to meat.
The Eastern Church
Church does not skip over Sundays when calculating the length of the Great
Lent. Therefore, the Great Lent always begins on Clean Monday, the seventh
Monday before Easter, and ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday—using of course
the eastern date for Easter. The Lenten fast is relaxed on the weekends in
honor of the Sabbath (Saturday) and the Resurrection (Sunday). The Great Lent
is followed by Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, which are feast days, then the
Lenten fast resumes on Monday of Holy Week. Technically, in the Eastern Church,
Holy Week is a separate season from the Great Lent.
of the liturgical calendar is to relive the major events in Jesus’ life in real
time, which is why Lent is forty days long. If Jesus were born on 25 December,
then His conception would have been nine months earlier, on about 25 March.
That is when the angel Gabriel would have announced Jesus’ birth to Mary. Thus
25 March is known in the historic church as The Annunciation.
speaking, the Western Church consists of Protestants, Catholics, and Anglicans.
The Eastern Church consists of the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Oriental
Orthodox churches, and the eastern-rite churches affiliated with the Roman
©1995-2004 by the Rev. Kenneth W. Collins All rights reserved
Note: Retired AME
pastor, the Rev. Frederick Hale, Kentucky Annual Conference shared this
resource. The Rev. Hale sends weekly
biblical resource materials. If you are interested in receiving superb weekly
biblical resources, send the Rev. Hale firstname.lastname@example.org
your email address and he will include you in his weekly biblical resource
4. EXCELLENT LENTEN GUIDE PUBLISHED
BY ST. JOHN AME CHURCH IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA:
AME Church in Birmingham, Alabama has published an excellent Lenten guide,
entitled “Jesus Paid it All.” The Rev. Mashod A. Evans, Sr. is the pastor of
St. John AME Church.
the link below or type the address in your browser:
2013 JEHOSHAPHAT IN THE BAHAMAS:
*The Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson
In 2 Chronicles 20 there is a captivating account of how
God miraculously, and in grand style, defeated the armies which had gathered in
En Gedi to attack King Jehoshaphat and God’s people.
For years we have drawn inspiration from this awesome display
of God’s power on behalf of people who, when under severe attack, cried out to
God for help, and God came through for them.
Although as Christians we hold to a cardinal belief that God can do
anything at anytime, many were stunned to see a vivid re-enactment of the
Jehoshaphat story, in the Bahamas.
To appreciate the awesomeness of what happened in the
Bahamas on January 29th 2013, we must take a quick look at the background. In May 2012, under the provisions of its
constitutional democracy, The Bahamas voted to select a new Government. In its campaign for those national elections,
the party which now forms the government promised a referendum on the
legalization of the “numbers” gambling industry.
The “numbers” industry, although clearly illegal by
Bahamian law, had entrenched itself in Bahamian society for many decades. Everyday patrons went to the “web cafes” or
“web shops” (the euphemistic terms for betting houses), and played their bets
on combination of numbers. In recent
years these “web shops” utilizing internet technologies had introduced online
gambling, where patrons from the comfort of their homes, offices, or
Smartphones could play casino-type games.
In 2013 the owners of these “web shops” are rich and wield significant
influence in the society. It is
estimated that the annual turnover of these illegal gambling houses is
somewhere in the $400 - $600 million range.
This large sum of money is concentrated in the hands of a few “web shop
Late last year when the government announced that it was
moving ahead with its promise to hold the referendum on “web shops” the
gauntlet was thrown down and the battle lines were drawn. Officially the government declared it had
“no horse in the race”, (meaning it was supporting no particular outcome). Unofficially many saw the government as
tacitly supporting a “yes vote”, a vote to legitimize the “web shops”. The main argument from those in favor of the
legalization of this form of gambling was that the government would be able to
regulate and tax the “web shops”. Such
taxation promised government upwards of $40 million annually to support
education, sports, and social programs.
For many this was enough reason to legalize “web shop” gambling.
The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) under its president,
AME Church Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson was not impressed. The BCC saw things very differently. It saw
the many ills associated with wholesale gambling. It saw how such an endorsement of gambling
could open the door to more undesirable attitudes and behaviors. More importantly, Elder Patterson and his
colleagues were convinced that such gambling was against the will of God for
the Bahamas. They felt that the same God
which had upheld the Bahamas in the past would uphold the Bahamas today, if the
nation would put its trust in God. The
country did not need widespread gambling to survive. The battle lines were draw and full-scale war
That it was a Jehoshaphat war situation was obvious. The “numbers bosses” would release their
millions in hired consultants and PR professionals. Hundreds of workers were hired to distribute
pamphlets and knock on the doors of voters. The “web shops” had the money and
they were prepared to spend it to get their business legalized. The “web shop” owners went the full length of
the rope to convince the Bahamian public to “Vote Yes” to “regulate” “web shop
gaming”. Their campaign was a high gear
full court press with political – style advertisements, rallies, giveaways, and
parties where free food and drink flowed.
It was obvious from the start that Rev. Patterson and the BCC could not
match these “number dons” in campaign funds or publicity stunts.
But Jehoshaphat –Patterson had a secret weapon,
prayer. While the “Vote Yes” held their
parties and rallies, the “Vote No” camp of the BCC prayed and asked God’s
intervention. The “Vote Yes” people
drew big crowds to their functions; Patterson and his “vote No” campaign
attached a faithful few.
Then there was the media factor. The “Vote Yes” events received lavish
coverage in the media. Many of the “Vote
No” events were ignored by the media.
Furthermore the coverage the BCC got in the media was often very
negative. Some persons, notably callers
to the radio talk shows, felt that Rev Patterson and his pitiable band of
pastors were out of touch with the modern world. The pastors were accused of over-
spiritualizing everything. A favorite
line of the critics was that there was no verse in the Bible which squarely
condemns gambling. The pastors were
advised to leave the gambling referendum alone and to focus on the (other)
social ills of the society. The
government, the critics argued, had a duty to do what was right for the
nation. Apparently wholesale gambling
was right for the nation since it would give the government about $40 million
to help the poor, the athletes, and students.
President Patterson and his team took issue with many of
the pronouncement of the government on this issue. Hence in the eyes of many, Elder Patterson
was directly challenging the Prime Minister and the duly elected government of
the country. Patterson and his team
remained stubborn in their position that righteousness exalts a nation, while
wholesale gambling would bring reproach from God. In their minds this was a
battle for the hearts and souls of the Bahamians, and they were going all the
way to do what God had called them to do.
To them the government revenue argument was but a crafty lure into
further moral and spiritual decadence.
Even before the voting took place some wonderful things
happened. According to many observers,
this was the first time in living memory that the Church in the Bahamas had
been so tightly glued together. Pastors
from all denomination came together in an unprecedented show of unity. If Rev Patterson achieves nothing else in his
term of leadership of the Bahamas Christian Council, the galvanizing of the
opposition to widespread gambling in the Bahamas will go down as a defining
Secondly President Patterson acted with Christian maturity
in the way the campaign was handled.
There was no doubt that Elder Patterson was leading the charge as
president of the BCC. However he was not
always the poster-boy in the media.
Other pastors with the required skills were allowed to play their
roles. Notable in this context was
Pastor Lyle Bethel who in many instances led the public debate. It was such a wonderful sight to see pastors
from diverse backgrounds working in harmony.
Then the Election Day came.
The “vote yes” people set up big tents beside the polling stations to
urge voters to affirm the “web shops”.
The “vote no” effort on Election Day look paltry. Many of the tents set up beside the polling
stations to accommodate the “vote no” personnel were empty. While the polling stations were filled with
“vote yes” supporters, the “vote no” defenders were hardly seen. The “vote yes” people were jubilant and
certain of victory. The “vote no” people
were still praying.
Next came the results.
They had God’s signature written all over them. Firstly in a country famed for having a high
voter turnout in national elections, only about 40% of the electorate
voted. The confusion and inconsistencies
surrounding the issues had worked again the “vote yes” campaign. The voters did not vote in the large numbers
expected, despite the millions of dollars “vote yes” had spent. But God’s faithful few voted. Amazingly, even some persons who regularly
played the “web shop” games, voted no.
What was the final vote?
It was a resounding “NO”. By a
margin of about two- to-one the Bahamians rejected the legalization of the “web
shops’. Very few could have predicted
such a whopping defeat for “vote yes” and the powerful web bosses.
Pastor Patterson and his team were vindicated. God had showed up and showed off in grand
style. The Bahamas was saved from the
ills of wholesale gambling. It was an
unbelievable victory, explained only by the miraculous power of God, invoked by
pastors who knew what their God could do.
*The Rev. Dr. Ranford A. Patterson is the pastor of Cousin
McPhee Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas
ALBUQUERQUE HOUSING AUTHORITY BUILDING IN ALBUQUERQUE, NM, IS BEING DEDICATED
IN MEMORY OF AME ACTIVIST:
Text by Debra Hughes,
The Albuquerque Housing Authority building located at 1840
University, SE, in Albuquerque, NM, is being dedicated to Carnis H. Salisbury
on Tuesday, February 19th at 2:00 p.m. at that location.
Mrs. Carnis Salisbury passed away on Dec. 23, 2011; at age
of 97 is Olivia and Patricia Salisbury's mother. Her husband Oliver and she
were activists for fair housing ordinances in Albuquerque especially for
African Americans. A brief biography that appeared in the Grant Chapel AME
Church Newsletter in 2008 is appended below.
Carnis Salisbury was born in Caldwell, Texas, on January 1,
1914. She received her undergraduate degree from Wiley College and her master’s
from Gammon Theological Seminary. She was dean of women at Sam Houston College
and worked for the federal government from 1947 to 1981. She was state
president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and
a member of the New Mexico Civil Rights Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil
Rights Commission and is active in the National council of Negro Women. Her honors
include the Albuquerque Living Treasure Award, New Mexico Distinguished Public
Service Award, Distinguished Woman of New Mexico Award, and Albuquerque Human
Rights Award, which she won in recognition of getting the 1963 Fair Housing
My husband, Oliver Salisbury, and I came to Albuquerque in
1960. We came from Washington, D.C. My husband was in his middle age and had a
hard time breathing … he had asthma. We got in the car and started driving, and
his breathing got better as we got away from moisture. He stayed in the
veteran’s hospital for a year. I knew I needed to be here with him, so the
State Department said, “You go and we’ll help you find a job with the
government.” I was a research clerk working on Taiwan and Southeast Asia, and
my husband worked on Russia, translating Russian documents. We loved Washington
and our lobs, but we had to go.
Well, finding a job in the government was no small task.
Back in the sixties, there were not a lot of jobs just waiting for someone to
take. I went down a level, but it was worth it. Finally, when my husband was
about to leave the hospital, a man came looking for him. He hired him to work
in staff development for the state welfare department. Our two girls were still
in Washington … one was sixteen or seventeen, and the youngest was in the third
grade. I had to send for them and find a house. Looking for a home in the 1960s
was quite an assignment. This is the friendliest place that I’ve ever lived in.
But when it came to finding a job or a house, I got, “Oh, we can’t sell our
house to you. Our neighbors wouldn't like that.” But when you have a sick
husband and two daughters, there’s no choice. We met a man who worked for the
university who wanted to sell us his house, but he had to get permission from
the Board of Regents. He finally sold us his home.
I took to living in my community [they were the only black
family in the Southeast Heights] as a project. We were very cautious about
things we did. I wanted our house to look good, with fresh paint. I was
determined I would take it all [any prejudice] in stride. I told myself, “If
this is a project, I won’t let it get under my skin.” My father told us you
don’t make decisions when you are in a fever. So I tried to pick up whatever
leads I could find to help me be an ideal person in our neighborhood. At first
our neighbors put newspaper and curtains in their garage windows so we couldn’t
see each other. But little by little, neighbors would talk to us across the
fence ... I had the feeling I was among friends. We've lived there for
thirty-five years. I still go hack to visit.
My first job was at Sandia Base. I’d never been on a job I
hated before – counting nuts and bolts. I loved the people, but the job I
couldn’t stand! A man from the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People came to see us and said there were a lot of government agencies
without blacks. That’s how I got my next job, with the IRS -- when this man
pointed out to them that they hadn’t hired any black people. People are
strange, and I don’t think they realized how prejudiced that was. That was
Albuquerque then. The town was small.
1 found that I was not the only person interested in better
race relations. All I had to do was reach out. My husband’s and my big project was
getting the Fair Housing Ordinance passed. In the sixties, there was a
commission of three people that governed the city’s housing department. We bad
a big meeting, and all the real estate agents, contractors, and developers
showed up and said, “We don’t need this ordinance.” Well, my husband stood up
and told those people that Albuquerque had a problem, and a serious problem,
and then told them about our experience. When he was finished, the
commissioners said, “We’re passing the Fair Housing Ordinance now.” And they
did. That was our greatest achievement. We wanted our children not to have to
go through what we went through to get a house. It doesn’t mean all problems
have been solved, but we feel we have found many people equally interested in
fair housing and fair employment.
Since then, my work has been with organizations that are
interested in civil rights. At first, I had a hard time getting announcements
and news of what we did in the paper. Then I met Concha Ortiz y Pino de Klevin
[well known for her work in civil and women’s rights]. She said, “I’ll tell you
how to get in the paper if you teach me how to make cornbread!” We’ve been
friends ever since.
*Reprinted by permission of and copyright 2006 Museum of
New Mexico Press
7. BLACK MALES NOT APPLYING TO MED
Pittman, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
February 10, 2013
men are applying to, accepted to, and attending U.S. medical schools despite an
increase in the number of overall applicants and uptick in matriculation among
other minorities, a report found.
applicants were the second most populous demographic behind whites in the late
1970s. There were more black applicants than Asians and Hispanics combined.
2011, first-time African-American applicants were surpassed by Asians and
Hispanics, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) said. Compared
with 1977, the number of Hispanic applicants more than tripled in 2011 (3,459
versus 955) while first-time Asian applicants went from 966 to 8,941 when
comparing 1977 to 2011.
of first-time applications from blacks grew a mere 36% (2,361 in 1977 to 3,215
black women outnumbered black men applicants in 2011 nearly two to one, the
or African American males are applying to, being accepted to, and matriculating
into medical school in diminishing numbers, which speaks to the increasing need
for medical schools to institute plans and initiatives aimed at strengthening
the pipeline," stated the report, called "Diversity in Medical
response, initiatives have been launched throughout the country in hopes of
reversing this trend and producing more graduates. Medical schools are already
investing in pipeline programs, but it is clear that additional targeted
efforts are necessary," according to the report.
first-year enrollment was up 18.4% overall from 2002 to 2012 as the AAMC said
last fall, that hasn't translated into a great number of more black men.
accounted for nearly half of U.S. medical school applications in 2011, the AAMC
said. The number of applications from whites has dropped roughly 26% since the
negative trend for black men could make it harder to meet the growing demand of
the primary care physician shortage.
or African American and Asian matriculates, in particular, have expressed an
even greater interest than other racial and ethnic subgroups in general
internal medicine," the AAMC report said.
all races and ethnicities -- including whites -- show a greater willingness to
enter family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics since 2005, the AAMC
also noted in its diversity report that there's a need to attract a more
racially diverse medical school faculty.
60% of medical school faculty is white. Hispanics make up 4% and blacks 2.9%,
the AAMC found.
this underrepresentation becomes starker among high-ranking faculty," the
report stated. "Therefore, these data not only demonstrate the continued
need to attract more diverse faculty candidates to the field of academic
medicine, but also the need to create more inclusive environments in which
diverse faculty thrive and ascend the ranks of academia."
schools must focus their attention on effective pipeline programs if they hope
to attract, retain, and graduate more men from racial and ethnic minority
medical schools that strive to create inclusive environments might better
support both students and faculty representing a variety of races, ethnicities,
ages, ability levels, and perspectives," the report stated.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH NOT UNIVERSALLY SUPPORTED:
By Lekan Oguntoyinbo
Shukree Tilghman is among those
calling for an end to Black History Month.
One scene in a CBS “60 Minutes”
profile of Morgan Freeman that was broadcast several years ago garnered a lot
“Black History Month you find …?” the
interviewer Mike Wallace began.
“Ridiculous,” said Freeman. “You going
to relegate my history to a month?”
Then the veteran actor turned the
tables on his interviewer:
“Which month is White History Month?”
“I’m Jewish,” Wallace said quickly.
“Which month is Jewish History Month?”
rebutted Freeman. “You want one?”
“I don’t either.”
That exchange made an impression on
millions of people, including an aspiring African-American filmmaker by the
name of Shukree Tilghman, who would later earn an MFA in screenwriting from
Columbia University. A year ago, in collaboration with PBS, Tilghman produced
“More than a Month,” a provocative film about the need (or lack thereof) for
Black History Month.
Scenes in the film show Tilghman
standing in Times Square with sandwich boards that call for the abolition of
Black History Month. He waves a petition trying to entice passers-by to sign
it. Some oblige him. Others react scornfully.
Despite the theatrics, the film is not
an attack on Black History Month. It is a personal journey by Tilghman who grew
up looking forward to Black History Month activities but whose thinking about
the celebrations has evolved. He doesn’t see the thesis of his film as an
either-or proposition. His goal, he says, is how Black history can be told in a
more meaningful, more sustained way.
“You can be for the continued yearlong
exposure of African-American history and also be for having Black History
Month,” he says. “However, the important thing is to remain vigilant to make
sure that our story that the story of African-Americans, continues to be seen
as vital, to make sure that it continues to exist even if it means criticizing
Black History Month. In other words, don’t (just) settle for Black History
Month. Black History Month itself is not a problem.”
Tilghman’s approach to Black History
Month mirrors the thinking of many scholars around the country. It’s next to
impossible to find scholars of Black studies who call for an end to Black
History Month, but many would like to see some type of metamorphosis.
In the Africana Studies Department at
the University of South Florida in Tampa, Dr. Abraham Kahn, an assistant
professor of African Studies and communications, has been given the task of
re-thinking Black History Month. Much of Black History Month, he notes, is
focused on the past and on the accomplishments of individuals.
While this can be inspiring, he says,
it can also present problems.
“One of the criticisms is … all of the
backward looking of Black History Month,” says Kahn. “Does it stifle
conversation? One goal for us is to move from looking at the past to looking at
the future. One of the things that has received a lot of criticism among
scholars is the notion of the focus on first—the first Black astronaut, the
first Black millionaire or the first Black baseball player. Attention to first
not only deflects attention from the second, but it leads us to believe that,
once there has been a first, the problem has been solved. Take the example of
Jackie Robinson. Did the problem of racism in sports end? No.”
Kahn says that, while most of the
Black History Month activities have been handled by the multi-cultural affairs
department at the University of South Florida, the department of Africana
Studies is taking some steps to change the orientation of the month’s events
“We have decided to call it Black
Emphasis Month,” says Kahn, who moderated a panel discussion about the film
last year. “Instead of focusing on the past we have decided to use Black
History Month to examine the present. What does it mean to be Black in America
today? What are the issues of importance to Blacks in America today?”
Dr. Vicki Crawford, a scholar of
African-American studies and director of the office of the Morehouse College
Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, shares Kahn’s assertion.
“We need to be forward looking,” she says.
“To a great extent, Black History Month has been contributionist focused. What
is greatly needed and where we really need depth and breadth is in the area of
grassroots history. We could name names of people who have made remarkable
contributions who are not well known like Bayard Rustin and Fannie Lou Hamer.”
Crawford says that, because Morehouse
has a mission that includes helping students know whom they are, the college
has been aggressive about letting students experience history up close. Throughout
the year, they have had many prominent veterans of the Civil Rights Movement,
such as Andrew Young, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Dorothy Cotton come speak to
students. Not only is this an opportunity for students to learn history from
eyewitnesses, she says, it is also a chance to learn lessons they can apply to
their young lives.
“They hear the story, hear the
narrative and also to engage the young people in a conversation so they can ask
questions like what were the organizing strategies of SNCC,” says Crawford.
“It’s amazing to hear them talk bout strategy, planning, tactics and give them
a chance to talk back.”
Tilghman says that, while most people
agree with his assertion that Black history should be thought of as vital to
American history, there’s no unanimity on how it should be done.
For instance, at the middle and high
school levels, he says, while many teachers are enthusiastic about teaching
Black history outside of February, there are some constraints.
“A high school teacher will have
something different to say because with standardized testing they have to teach
to the test,” he says, adding that Black History Month gives them an
opportunity to some special programming. “Intellectually we all agree that
we’ve got to find a way to teach African history to make sure it feels and is
perceived as interwoven into American history so there is no difference.
Intellectually we all agree [it’s] just a question of how do we get there.”
But at the university level, faculty
members can afford to be more nimble in weaving Black history into the
Dr. Venise Berry, an associate
professor at the University of Iowa with dual appointments in both African
Studies and journalism and mass communications, says the journalism program
tries to weave issues relating to people of color into many of its classes.
“I teach a course called ‘African
Americans in the Media’ where we look at images of Blacks in all media,” she
says. “We have writing across cultures where faculty members help students
understand all cultures. We have tried to pay attention. We also make sure
faculty have certain exercises like in our broadcast classes about how to go
about covering various diverse groups.”
Berry says the key to ensuring that
Black History is not just confined to one month is to “push it out of the
“Sometimes, if you don’t show people
the importance of having more rather than less, they don’t think about it,” she
says, adding that the African-American studies at Iowa routinely has events
throughout the year as a way of helping people understand the importance of
Black history throughout the year.
Similar programs, she says, could do
the same throughout the year having events in January about Martin Luther King
Jr., in March about the accomplishments of Black women, and in June around
She adds: “Sometimes I get tired of
people saying I wish this would get done but they don’t step out to do it.”
GETTING TO ZERO: “GETTING TO UNDETECTABLE”:
By Dr. Oveta Fuller
Did you know that February 7 was National Black HIV/AIDS
The Black AIDS Institute that initiated this was founded in
May 1999 (www.blackaids.org/). It is a
national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people. The
Institute's Mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by
engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to
confront HIV. Their “Getting to Undetectable” campaign especially engages
people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and their loved ones.
You know that the first week in March is the annual Balm in
Gilead Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV/AIDS (www.balmingilead.org) especially created
to mobilize religious organizations.
Black Heritage Month, AMEC Founder’s Day and Lent (Ash
Wednesday through the eve of Good Friday) make an opportune season for churches
and people of faith to actively engage in getting to zero. Events should
include easy access to voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). Getting screened for HIV infection is a
highly responsible action that effective leaders can take.
“Now is the time for all good clergy and lay leaders to
carry out a relevant program/event that focuses on controlling HIV!”
Contact your local county or state health department for
services and resources. These are usually free to community organizations. If
services of such agencies are booked, get a date on the calendar for 2014. Join
with others in your community to plan for the National HIV Testing Day that is
the last week of June and Worlds AIDS Day on December 1. Hosting HIV/AIDS
awareness events can occur at any time.
Most county or state health agencies would love to work
with local church leaders and organizations. Some find that religious leaders
often turn a deaf ear to use of available resources and services. Why? Perhaps
this comes from perceived conflict by some between HIV/AIDS and religious
doctrine. This is a myth, a misconception! By now, you are informed. You know
the truth. You understand that HIV is a relatively fragile virus that can lead
to AIDS, an infectious disease.
The “Getting to Undetectable” campaign recognizes that
biomedical advances can help control HIV/AIDS.
Taking control begins with knowing one’s HIV infection
status. If negative, stay negative by preventing possible exposure to the
virus. If positive, the goal is to reduce virus production and retain adequate
immune system function so to not progress to AIDS. If one has AIDS symptoms,
the immediate task is to stop virus production to keep a competent level of CD4
immune cells. For any of these, compliance with anti-retroviral (ARV) drug
regimens and consistent self-care are absolutely needed.
This article begins a discussion on some advances that make
“Getting to Undetectable” possible.
Getting to Undetectable means using combinations of
available interventions to stop HIV replication. No or low virus production
decreases virus passage from lymph organs into circulating blood.
At undetectable for an HIV+ person, antibodies to HIV are
present, but virus cannot be found in the blood. Detection of virus differs from
detection of antibody that is made when the immune system first encounters
HIV. An HIV test looks for antibody in
blood or saliva. Antibodies can be thought of as a type of footprint. Their
presence indicates that an immune response was mounted when HIV or infected
cells first entered the body.
An undetectable virus load (the amount of virus
circulating), means no circulating virus can be found. At undetectable, the
levels of CD4 helper immune cells rise; there is less likelihood of serious
illness from opportunistic infections. For PLWHAs and their loved ones,
undetectable is a great place to be.
How does one get to undetectable?
This requires several types of efforts working together.
First, medical care must monitor virus amounts (virus load)
and CD4 immune cell levels (T cell count). Every six months or so, a laboratory
test (at local clinics) is conducted to determine the amount of virus
reproduction. Second, there must be access to anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). The
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends starting ARV therapy
whenever medical personnel and a PLWHA agree that the balance between positive
effects of ARVs on reducing virus replication can be balanced with their
side-effects, ARV access and other factors.
Third, to move towards undetectable, PLWHAs need a healthy
balanced food intake (lots of vegetables, fruit, and water). Fourth, exposure
to disease causing microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, including HIV
from someone else) should be avoided.
Exposure to carcinogens and stressors (smoking, alcohol, worry, and
other microbes) should be minimal. Fifth, routine exercise to keep body
tissues, muscles and organs systems strong is important. Finally, the mental
and emotion disposition and social supports needed to coordinate all this are
Over time after infection, when replicating virus destroys
healthy immune cells, HIV can advance to AIDS. With no form of treatment, AIDS
usually leads to immune deficiency and opportunistic infections. Without
treatment, eventually the body succumbs to one, or combinations of fungal or
bacterial caused pneumonia, reactivated herpes viruses, digestion or heart
failure, or neural disorders and dementia.
Undetectable is a great place to be.
Getting there requires informed, proactive and diligent
effort. It requires access to engaged medical care and economic and other
supports for adequate food, transport and emotional stability. It is not easy,
but it is worth the considerable effort required.
With compliance to available treatments, HIV/AIDS can be
managed as a chronic disease.
MEDITATION BASED ON REVELATION 2:1-7
*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby
Valentine’s Day - when couples often share intimate dinners
and give and receive cards, flowers, candy and gifts as special tokens of their
love for each other - is rapidly approaching.
Those special affirmations of love are commendable, but one simple
gesture that I read about a few months ago spoke of how love is best shared.
A member of our clergy staff and a new mother, the Reverend
Anya Leveille, noted on her Facebook page when she was expecting that she came
home from a long day at work to find that her husband, Ryan had one of her
favorite treats - a pimento cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich -
waiting for her. She noted that he’d
done so even though he doesn’t like bacon himself, and she said, “Does he love
me or what?”
A simple sandwich may at first glance seem to pale in
comparison to dinner at a five star restaurant or a dozen long stemmed roses,
but it was special to her because her husband went out of the way to prepare it
for her, simply because he knew that she’d like it. Her experience is a reminder that when people
really love each other, even the small and routine things that we do for each
other do matter.
Keeping loving relationships in this world fresh and new
requires doing both grand and simple things, and that also applies to our
loving relationship with God. We rightly
proclaim our love for God in formal worship, but it’s easy to make Sunday
worship a routine obligation and our single weekly expression of love for
God. It’s easy in a hectic and demanding
world to forget or overlook the big and small things that God does for us daily
and to take God’s love for granted.
Our love for God shows in our acts of worship and praise,
but also shows when we sacrificially give our time, talent and treasure to
serve the Lord daily in great and small ways - even when we could be doing
other things - and when we reach out to others who feel lost and unloved to
share God’s love with them.
The God who loved us enough to sacrifice His Son for us
never takes us for granted and never stops loving us - even when we mess up and
do unlovable things. When we return that
love in great and small ways by making God the center of all that we do, we’ll
find new joy, new hope and new affirmation in the words of a familiar hymn,
“Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.”
Join us on the Third Sunday in February if you are in the
Charleston, South Carolina area for Church School at 9:45 a.m. and for Worship
at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. We’ll also
recognize some of our community’s African-American achievers during the 11 a.m.
worship service as a part of our Black History Month activities. 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. - “Do You Love Jesus?”
11 a.m. - “How Deep Is Your Love?”
*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby is the pastor of Morris Brown
AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to inform you of the passing of THE Rev. Harold
L. Rutherford, the retired Presiding Elder of the Manhattan District in the New
York Conference of the First Episcopal District. The following information has
been provided regarding funeral arrangements.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Viewing: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Viewing: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Service of Life Celebration: 10:00 a.m.
Emanuel AME Church
37-41 W. 119th Street
New York, New York 10026
Parking lot is at 119 5th Ave.
The Reverend D. Turk, Pastor and Eulogist
Pinelawn Memorial Park
Farmington, New York
Services Entrusted to:
Owens Funeral Home
216 Lenox Avenue
New York, New York 10027
Expressions of Sympathy can be faxed to:
Ms. Loretha Williams (niece) and family
In care of Emanuel AMEC or Owens Funeral Home
12. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND
CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Phone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Phone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
Cell: (615) 403-7751
13. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend
T. Larry Kirkland; 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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