Bishop T. Larry Kirkland - Chair, Commission on Publications

The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher

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



Women’s History Month


Mark and Save Date in your Calendars:


Easter Sunday – March 31, 2013

AME Church Connectional Day of Prayer – April 13, 2013

Pentecost Sunday May 19, 2013

General Board Meeting - June 22-26, 2013

Bishop Sarah F. Davis Investiture – June 24, 2013






Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III,

The 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder


FaceBook (FB) can be addictive. People use FaceBook for different reasons.  Some FaceBook postings are inspirational with biblical messages, other people use FaceBook as an advertisement venue, sharing upcoming programs at their churches, and still others use FB to vent about perceived injustices. Some FB postings are inspirational and educational while other postings are venomous ranting. Some postings are utterly amazing and I wonder what’s being taught in some of our churches; or more importantly, what not being taught in some of our churches.


The good news is that it seems to me that many of the postings express legitimate concerns and some postings precipitate legitimate opportunities for teaching and sharing.


A “teaching moment” presented itself a couple of weeks ago when a posting stream began with a statement allegedly made by a bishop to the presiding elder(s). 


The post said, “Bishop tells presiding elders. ‘Tell your pastors don't play with the budget.’” 


Two scenarios are possible. The bishop may have made the statement to presiding elder(s) in a public venue or the bishop made the statement in a private meeting with presiding elder(s).


If the FB statement was made privately to presiding elder(s), one or more of the presiding elders apparently shared the conversation. 


Let’s assume that the statement was made in a private venue


The first teaching moment is the most obvious. Conversations between the bishop and presiding elder(s) are proprietary and shouldn’t be shared in the context of “The bishop said…”  Subordinate supervisors are expected to “take ownership” of actions that need to be corrected by their subordinates. If the bishop made the statement to presiding elder(s), presiding elder(s) should craft the bishop’s message to subordinates as, “Pastors, you must not play with the budget because… (explain in detail the budgetary requirements).” This presupposes that every presiding elder has familiarized him or herself with the Connectional Budget as printed in The Discipline and the budget of the annual conference; and can coherently articulate the budgetary allocations.


Back to the FaceBook posts


The initial post, “Bishop tells presiding elders. ‘Tell your pastors don't play with the budget’” and the follow-on posts seemed to take the position that the bishop was insensitive to struggling churches.  Some of the posts seemed to imply that the bishop was using the statement as a threat to pastors. And still other posts seemed to take the position that the AME Church leadership focused more on the budget than on Jesus and from there the discussion went on and on.


Some of those who posted seemed to understand the budgetary requirements of the AME Church and others seemed to be oblivious to the budgetary requirements of the Church, which I won’t reiterate here, because it’s in The Discipline.


I grew up hearing the statement, “Information is power” and discovered as I got older that the statement was true.  As an AME pastor and an Army chaplain, I discovered, when I sat down with The Discipline, in the case of the AME Church and with the Army regulations, as it related to Army budgetary requirements and rules - and explained the budget requirements, AME parishioners and U.S. Army parishioners understood. Those who failed to understand didn’t want to understand.


Large and small religious organizations, as well as secular organizations require funding.  Funding requires planning and strategy, and funding is never fun and is never achieved by “religious babble,” magic or absence of strategic planning.


Not just the church or organizations


Families and homes are destroyed because some families refuse to set up a budget and live within their means.


Local churches fail because pastors and church officers refuse to take the time to set up a budget and to function within the parameters of the budget.


Whenever churches find themselves in financial difficulties, e.g., unable to pay their pastor, the presiding elder, the connectional budget; most of the time it’s because of the church’s failure to plan and strategize on how they can increase streams of income and live within budget.


I suspect many churches do not have a working budget and have no plan for deferred maintenance. The most evident example of a church’s failure to implement an operational deferred maintenance strategy is water spots on the ceiling and walls and disrepair of the facility. If a church has water spots and other structural problems, the trustees and pastor need to address the problem immediately because there are serious structural problems underneath those water spots.


Let me get back to the FB posts


The bishop who told his presiding elder(s), “Tell your pastors don't play with the budget” was providing appropriate pastoral leadership because pastors should not take lightly their pastoral responsibility to meet the budgetary requirements of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


The pastorate is more than preaching and visiting the sick – those are the positive functions of ministry; they are the fun functions of ministry.


If pastoring just involved the “shepherding” functions of the ministry, the profession would be wonderful and exhilarating. Everybody would want to be a preacher!  Come to think of it, we probably have a lot of clergy who thought the ministry was a “shepherding” profession. They didn’t think about the negative aspects of the ministry, which probably takes up most of a working pastor’s time and energy.


When we think about the “call to preach,” we think about proclaiming the Word of God, visiting the sick, administering the Sacraments, burying the dead, performing marriage ceremonies and baptizing infants and adults. 


We don’t think about stewardship, i.e., raising money for the religious programs and about raising money for the connectional budget, while taking care of the needs of the local church. We don’t think about loving and dealing with people who don’t like pastors and are not appreciative of the profession of ministry.


The budget is a pastoral stewardship responsibility


The connectional budget supports the AME Church and all of its religious programs. Pastors cannot and should not take lightly their responsibility to meet all budgetary responsibilities. 


When persons are ordained for ministry the assumption is that they are “fully qualified” to do the work of ministry, and raising money (stewardship) is a necessary function of ministry.


I had often thought, “The ministry would be great if we didn’t have to raise or worry about money.” If we could do away with stewardship, the ministry would be comfortable and awesome! If all a pastor had to do was preach and do the ceremonial functions, what a profession!


The position of the episcopacy and being a presiding elder would be superb if they didn’t have to worry about budgets and raising money. When bishops have to write a check to the Connectional Church and send it to Dr. Richard A. Lewis, Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer; they feel just as conflicted as when a local church has to write a check to the annual conference.  The annual conference would be a wonderful experience if there were no budgetary requirements or responsibilities.  Unfortunately, the reality is that we have stewardship responsibilities and local churches have to be responsible for their budgetary assessments.  Sorry, but there is no other way to say it!


Things seem to have changed


Times have always been tough in the black community; in the U.S. and abroad – it’s pretty much all the same.  


In the U.S. when unemployment statistics are released, you can double the unemployment statistics for the black community. Times are tough, but times have always been tough.


“Back in the day” an AME pastor knew the importance of arriving at the annual conference with a “round” budget report – all the blanks filled in! A “round” budget report was a non-negotiable.  The prevailing thought was if a pastor arrived at the annual conference with less than a “round report” he or she would be without a pastoral appointment. 


Pastors worked with each other to insure that everyone had a round report. Pastors at larger churches took their congregations to smaller churches on Sunday afternoons to help smaller churches raise money for the budget and operational expenses. For many churches, the afternoon worship services have gone the way of the evening worship services; they have disappeared.


“In the day,” churches served dinners, and not only was it a stewardship initiative, it was a teambuilding activity – people learned to work together.


Generally, AME Churches seem to have gotten away from selling dinners. Selling dinners apparently helped churches meet their budgetary requirements… 


Hopefully, just my observation


It just might be my observation, but “back in the day” pastors were friends on a social level, sometimes you didn’t see one pastor without the other. Pastored traveled together and clergy families socialized together. 


Today, I don’t see the close pastoral relationships and camaraderie among the pastors and their families. 


“In the day,” pastors kept each other informed and were protective of each other. Today, it seems that the individualism of the secular world has invaded the religious community; and it is not just an AME phenomenon.


Many of those who posted on Facebook had various opinions about the bishop’s comment to the presiding elder(s) and many AME parishioners have various opinions about the budget.


It takes money to run a denomination and it takes money to support religious programs. 


If parishioners and pastors think the budget assessments are too high, ask any of our college or seminary presidents if they believe they are being sufficiently funded and one might see another “side of the story.”


AME pastors and parishioners should be reminded that they should “not play with the budget.” The budget is the lifeline of the Church and it is evidence of our stewardship. 


Pastors and parishioners should not have to be reminded of the importance of the budget.


2. TCR OP-ED - THE ITINERANCY: THEN AND NOW:                                         


The Rev. Geoffrey S. Whitcomb


Many thanks are given for Dr. Sydnor’s editorial, "Sacred Cows," which, among others, covers some pertinent points regarding the Itinerant Ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  If I might, I should like to point out in response some relevant Biblical and historical details, and then attempt some replies.


If we are to examine ‘The Itinerancy,’ we must start at the beginning of the Church proper, with Jesus and His apostles, leaving off (for this article) from talking about Abraham, Moses, Jonah, and the other named and unnamed itinerant ministers found in the Old Testament. 


Jesus, as we know, was the true Itinerant:  raised in Nazareth, He subsequently moved to Galilee, which remained His home base while He embarked on a series of itinerating preaching and ministering tours.  He planted no local churches, as we know them today, but as He nevertheless travelled on a number of circuits He established the true and living Church, the Body of Christ, and commissioned it to engage in the ongoing disciple-making of the various people groups (ethnos/nations) of the world. 


Jesus also gave to His Church the basic direction for the itinerant ministry it would subsequently engage in:  “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8b).  Starting locally, they were to take the Good News regionally, and then widen their travels towards the edges of the world.  We subsequently know, from extra-Biblical writings, such as The Didache, that the mantle of ‘apostle’ in the early church was apparently taken up by roving, travelling ministers, who stayed in any particular place no longer than two or three days.  Yet the original eleven, plus one, apostles, to whom the mandate was originally given, did not leave Jerusalem right away, if, Christian tradition and legend notwithstanding, they in fact left at all. 


When persecution broke out (Acts 8:1) against the early church, and all other believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, the apostles remained in Jerusalem.  When Peter went to Caesarea on his God-ordained mission to the Gentile Romans (Acts 10), the other apostles remained in Jerusalem.  Although they sent out (Acts 11:22) and received (Acts 15) various personnel, including Peter and John, who reported on evangelism that was being done in the places where Jesus had said the apostles themselves should go, the majority of the apostles remained in Jerusalem.  Throughout the entire history covered in the Book of Acts, in fact, the gospel continued to be spread by others while the majority of the apostles, and the church they led, remained in Jerusalem.  Increasingly, according to history, this led to the development of an insular and inward-focused church, which removed itself to Pella, a city on the east side of the Jordan River, in the mid-‘60’s A.D., where it would remain through the 130s A.D. and beyond.  Although there is speculation that certain persons returned in both the mid-‘70’s and the mid-130s to Jerusalem, the church in Pella eventually became even more isolated, and faded from existence in the fifth century A.D.


In contrast, the later apostle, Paul, might be the best-known example of an itinerant minister that we have from the post-resurrection New Testament accounts.  Much like Jesus, Paul did not stay for long in any one area, aside from his home base of Syrian Antioch and his mission in Ephesus.  Instead, when he reached a new area, he usually proclaimed the gospel through preaching, teaching, debating, or presenting; gathered a small group of new believers around him; appointed and ordained local ministers for the work of pastoring; and then left.  To be sure, he continued to superintend the work he had begun, usually by coming back on later ministering tours or circuits to checkup on the congregations; but Paul apparently considered the primary focus of his work to be one of the facilitation of local ministry development, the transition to local ministry leadership, and then his own subsequent departure, travel, and work.


This model of a true travelling itinerancy was, it should be noted, imitated more in the early years of our Zion than it is today.  Instead of being assigned, for one year, to pastor a particular church congregation by effectively remaining in a local stationary position, the first years of the African Methodist Episcopal Church usually saw its itinerating ministers engage in evangelization and society (church) planting as they worked on circuits.  Even when there were exceptions, such as Bishop Richard Allen, and Rev. Henry Harden of New York City, whose pastorates only encompassed one particular church congregation, the push – the driving idea – seems to have been to actively engage in the propagation of the gospel by itinerating or actually travelling, while leaving the vast majority of local stationary work at ‘stations’ to be done by local ministers who utilized the class and band meeting system. 


The journal of Richard Allen illustrates something of the spirit of the early itinerancy:  "After peace was proclaimed [following the American Revolutionary War] I then traveled extensively, striving to preach the Gospel. … September 3d, 1783, I left my native place. After leaving Wilmington I went into Jersey, and there traveled and strove to preach the Gospel until the spring of 1784.”  When he eventually came to Philadelphia, Allen’s resulting ministry had all the marks of an active itinerancy that expected to soon move on:  “February, 1786, I came to Philadelphia. … I thought I would stop in Philadelphia a week or two. I preached at different places in the city. My labor was much blessed. I soon saw a large field open in seeking and instructing my African brethren, who had been a long forgotten people, and few of them attended public worship. I preached on the commons in Southwark, Northern Liberties, and wherever I could find an opening. I frequently preached twice a day, at five o'clock in the morning and in the evening, and it was not uncommon for me to preach from four to five times a day. I established prayer-meetings; I raised a Society in 1786 of forty-two members.”


The point, therefore, is made that when the apostles and our own early ministers itinerated, the Church grew; and when they did not itinerate – i.e., when they did not respond to their Call from Jesus to itinerate – the Church stagnated and died.  If ‘The Itinerant Ministry’ is a calling from God, then we who are called to it must appropriately respond.  The problem, therefore, is respectfully not about Bishops ordaining women and men to the Itinerant ministry when there are no pulpits for them to take; instead, the problem is really that those who are called to the Itinerant ministry are not responding to God in itinerant ways.  The onus or burden of responsibility for stepping out of a pulpit crowded with several other ministers ultimately and squarely rests on each Itinerant him- or her-self. 


The process for moving ministers into the true itinerancy could be helped, however, by Boards of Examiners requiring candidates for the Itinerant Elders' Orders to engage in semester-long practicums or internships which would take them out of their home or current churches and place them on existing or newly created Circuits, where, under the direction of a supervising Elder, they would engage in itinerating evangelism, disciple-making, and even church planting.  (This process assumes, of course, that superfluous Itinerant Elders in one church would similarly be reassigned to such itinerating work.)  If a Licentiate of the Philadelphia Conference could begin, in 1819, the first A.M.E. local church in New York City, and two Licentiates could, in 1865, help to create, with Bishop Daniel Payne and three other Elders, the South Carolina Annual Conference, could we not similarly do great things with our ministers-in-training to help the church grow?  Redirecting the efforts of The Itinerancy towards true itinerant ministry will help to recover the evangelistic thrust of the church of Jesus’ day and to grow our branch of it as a result.


The Rev. Geoffrey S. Whitcomb, M.A., M.S., is an ordained Itinerant Elder, Pastor of St. Paul and Pleasant Springs AME Church in the Tyler District of the North Texas Conference. 




-- To the Editor:


RE: TCR News Break – March 19, 2013 – Idea of the possibility of prison-based AME mission churches


Thanks so much for sharing this article.  Prisons are one of the Nation of Islam's most fruitful recruiting venues.  The NAACP has prison chapters, so AME churches in prisons are indeed a possibility.  During my membership at St. Paul AME Church in Cambridge, I was involved in the prison ministry.  We visited weekly, held services, and after their release, we worked with prisoners to facilitate the transition to life after prison on the outside.


Two areas of ministry I would like to pursue are college and university based ministry and church school on wheels, where church school classes are taken to homeless shelters, public housing, etc.  The former because I experienced the power of ministry to college and university students, again, while at St. Paul Cambridge.  I have also observed the vulnerability of many students, even those  brought up in strong Christian and AME homes, who are seduced by numerous false prophets and doctrines and who eventually leave the AME Church, but also the Christian Church in some instances.


The Sunday School on wheels was implemented at St. James AME Church Newark, New Jersey.  A lay woman, who is now a minister, used a little red wagon for her resources and took Church School classes to the housing projects every Saturday.  Further Church of Christ sends yellow school buses into inner city areas to pick up the young people for Bible Study and tutoring; either daily or several times a week.  There is a lot of work to be done!


Dr. Paulette Coleman


-- To the Editor:


RE: priestly duty of pastoral hospital visits


I've decided that some preachers "have it" and some preachers “don't have it.” Some pastors just don’t like to make pastoral visits, especially to hospitals and, if possible, they “hand that duty off” to another pulpit associate or steward. Some “can't stand” to make hospital visits and don't know how to handle them. I don't know who would teach them the dos and don'ts of that kind of visit, but if they can't appropriately handle hospital visitations, then patients and hospitals are better off without their presence.


A member once told me that when her pastor came into a hospital room the whole atmosphere changed immediately and she went on to explain that her pastor just “lighted up the place” and she and other patients in the room immediately felt better because of his presence. She explained that her pastor never stayed more than a few minutes, but she always felt better and appreciated his visits.


I thought that was a real tribute to her pastor being in touch with God; a pastoral leader who was serious about his ministry.


Name Withheld


-- To the Editor:


Thank you for your excellent journalism with The Christian Recorder! Your efforts have brought the church so much closer together and they do not go unnoticed.


I am an ordained clergy person in the AME Church and I serve as the Pastor of Fairview AME Church in Anderson, SC. Our church has just entered the Daniel Fast for the 21 days preceding Easter and I am chronicling my experience through my existing blog- www.thefullfountain.blogspot.com.


Thank you again for all you do for the church and the Kingdom


The Rev. Sterling J. Dowling




Whereas, for the good of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Church elects Bishops to superintend the work of the church, and


Whereas, for the good of the Church, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland is the Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and


Whereas, for the good of the Church, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland has taken into account the welfare of both the church and the pastor who serves the church, and


Whereas, for the good of the Church, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, by virtue of his office, must make difficult decisions concerning pastoral assignments.


Therefore, be it resolved that we, the Presiding Elders of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, unequivocally stand with and support the godly judgment of Bishop T. Larry Kirkland.


Be it finally resolved that this resolution be sent to The Christian Recorder, published on the Fifth District Website and placed in the archives of the Fifth Episcopal District.


Humbly submitted,


Presiding Elders Council

Presiding Elder Booker T. Guyton, President




The Right Reverend Gregory G. M. Ingram, Presiding Prelate of the First Episcopal District, began his first series of Annual Conferences since his appointment to the First Episcopal District with the convening of the 127th Session of the Bermuda Annual Conference on March 7th, 2013 at the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel and Resort in the beautiful island of Bermuda. 


Bishop Ingram and the Episcopal Supervisor, Rev. Dr. Jessica K. Ingram laid out their vision for the First Episcopal District to the Bermuda conference centred around the theme of “First Things First” based on Matthew 6:33 as clergy and laity gathered to give an account of their stewardship for the previous year and embrace the vision of the new Episcopal Team.

From the opening prelude to the final crescendo, The Bermuda Annual Conference was masterfully orchestrated under the leadership of the Presiding Elder, the Rev. Betty Furbert-Woolridge and the Bermuda Ministerial Alliance whose President is the Rev. Charles A. Smith.


The pre-conference activities began on Tuesday, March 5th with the Annual Meeting of the Bermuda Conference Evangelists under the direction of the District Chairperson, the Rev. D. Albert Turk, Conference Chairman, the Rev. Dr. Milton Burgess and Conference President, Evangelist Diann Matthews at Vernon Temple AME Church where the Rev. Pedro Castro is pastor.  Guest Preacher and Workshop Presenter was Rev. Frederick McCullough, pastor of Wayman AME Church in St. Louis Missouri.


On Tuesday evening a Welcome Service was held at the newly renovated Cathedral of African Methodism in Bermuda-St. Paul AME Church in Hamilton, where the Rev. Nicholas Genevieve Tweed is pastor. The Deputy Governor of Bermuda, Members of Parliament, Bishops and Pastors of local religious communions, community leaders, overseas guests and others joined with the AME Church in welcoming the new Episcopal team to the island of Bermuda. The Deputy Governor, Mr. David Arkley spoke on behalf of Governor George Fergusson and the Crown; Minister of Education, Senator Nalton Brangman, extended greetings on behalf of Premier Craig Cannonier and the Government of Bermuda; and the Deputy Opposition Leader, Min. Derrick Burgess, gave a warm welcome on behalf of Opposition Leader, Mr. Marc Bean and the Progressive Labour Party.


Members of the Bermuda chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. were very visible at the welcome celebration resplendent in their red and white attire as they joined the AME Church in welcoming their brother and sister to the island. The Bethel AME Family Choir of Shelly Bay provided special music for the evening and the Latreuo liturgical dance ministry of St. John AME Church ministered in dance. A reception where Bermuda cuisine was served was held in the St. Paul AME Centennial Hall immediately following.


On Wednesday, March 6th, the Bermuda Conference Missionary Society assembled for their Annual Meeting at the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel under the leadership of the Episcopal Supervisor-the Rev. Dr. Jessica Kendall Ingram, assisted by the First Episcopal District President, Sister Jewel McAshan and the Bermuda Conference WMS 1st Vice-President, Sister Eunice Jones, in the absence of Conference WMS President, Sister Valerie Smith who was overseas. The missionaries were led in dynamic workshops and worship as they too embraced the district theme of “First Things First”.  The Annual Missionary sermon was delivered at noonday by the Rev. Conway Simmons, pastor of Richard Allen who preached on the topic “Use What’s in Your Hand” from Exodus 4:2.  The WMS Annual Day concluded with a Service of Commitment where the Episcopal Supervisor, the Rev. Dr. Jessica K. Ingram preached with fervent conviction from the topic “The Divine Timing of God” from Luke 9:51.  The altar was filled during the invitation as individuals recommitted themselves for service and prepared for the ushering in of a new season under the leadership of the new Episcopal team.


The official opening of the Bermuda Annual Conference took place on Thursday, March 7th amidst much pageantry and fanfare. Following the Roll Call and organization of the Conference, elected officials and former members of parliament assembled along with members of the AME Church and visitors to celebrate another conference year in worship and thanksgiving.


Guests came from far and near including visiting Presiding Elders- the Rev. Herbert L. Eddy and his wife- the Rev. Amelia Eddy, the Rev. Charles H. Lett, the Rev. Dr. Alvan N. Johnson, the Rev. Dr. Henrietta Fullard, the Rev. Howard Grant, the Rev. Jocelyn Hart and the Rev. Richard Worthy. District Officers in attendance included Mrs. Jewel McAshan, Mrs. Mary Mootoo, the Rev. D. Albert Turk, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Saunders, the Rev. Dr. Earl Jefferson, and Mrs. Nicole Smith; and also Conference officers, Brother Lamone Gibson-YPD President (Western New York); and Mr. Keith Coston(NJ). Visiting pastors included the Rev. Reginald Mcrae and Mrs. Leslie Franks Mcrae, the Rev. Henry Belin, the Rev. Troy Carr, the Rev. Dr. Lanel Guyton and the Rev. Keith Hayward.


Prior to the start of the Opening Worship Service, there was a grand processional displaying beautifully ornamented banners from each of the local churches. The banners were carried by members of the Bermuda Conference Creative Arts Ministry who joined with the Bermuda Conference Liturgical Dancers in a spirited display that caused the congregants to stand in acclamation in preparation for worship.


At promptly 10:01 am, Bishop Ingram, Clergy and the Bermuda Conference Choir members purposefully processed into the auditorium to the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation”. The opening service set the tone for the remainder of the week’s proceedings as the worship participants, choir and liturgical dancers fervently ministered throughout the service. A timely Annual Sermon was delivered by The Rev. Dr. Milton Burgess, pastor of St. Luke AME Church in St. David’s. His topic was “Humpty Dumpty and the Church” and he used Acts 2:40-47 and 1 Kings 17:1-6 as his texts.

The afternoon business session included the Board of Examiners Report, Pastoral reports and an engaging workshop by the Rev. Dr. Jessica Ingram on “Putting First Things First: The Priority of Worship.”


The Annual Lay Night was held on Thursday evening under the leadership of Sis. Donna Lee Chandler-Smith, Bermuda Conference Lay President and the First Episcopal District President Sis. Mary Mootoo. The evening consisted of a moving dramatic and musical presentation “A Night of Hymns” featuring the stories of the great hymns of the church. The presentation was written and directed by the Rev. Georgette Prime-Godwin and the cast consisted of members from each of the eleven local churches.


Other Annual Conference highlights included:


The Bible Expository Hour on Friday, March 8th facilitated by the Rev. Jahkimmo Smith, pastor of Mount Zion who instructed on the topic “Mission 4:19 – Making Disciples and Maturing Believers.”


The Friday, Noonday Worship Sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Saunders, Pastor of North Stelton AME Church, New Jersey who preached on the topic “There’s A Bright Side To Trouble” from Job 1:11-12;

Friday Afternoon Workshop presented by the Rev. Nicholas Genevieve Tweed, pastor of St. Paul on “Membership to Discipleship.”


The Annual Christian Education Night on Friday evening led by the Rev. Maureen Clemendor, Conference Director and the Conference Chairman, Sis June Ann Furbert which featured youth from all of the eleven churches in a variety of artistic presentations. The climax of the evening was a creative presentation of Bishop Ingram’s creed followed by the crowning of the 2013 AME Youth of the Year, Mr. Marcus Smith of St. Paul. The Episcopal District Chairperson and Director of Christian Education, The Rev. Marcellus Norris and the Rev. Jay Broadnax gave greetings, while a special presentation was made to the outgoing District Director, the Rev. Dr. Earl Jefferson.


On Saturday morning there was an outstanding Health Presentation by the Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett, Connectional Health Director which highlighted statistics for Bermuda and challenged the AME Church to embrace a holistic approach to the many issues in Bermudian society which were impacting the health status of the community. This was followed by an engaging workshop on Stewardship and Philanthropy “What Are You Giving Back?” by Bishop Ingram and Bermuda Conference Lay President, Sister Donna-Lee Chandler Smith. Saturday’s session concluded with an uplifting worship service where the Rev. Jay Broadnax of Philadelphia preached a sermon entitled “What If?” from Hebrews 10:14 and Romans 5:19.


The week’s activities culminated with the Closing and Commissioning Service on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. AME members and friends including the Former Premier, Dame Jennifer Smith and other dignitaries packed the worship auditorium expectantly preparing for the week’s finale.


Bishop Ingram challenged those present to “Make it Happen!” in a powerful sermon preached from Luke 9:1-6 and Luke 10:1 where he charged the clergy and laity to embrace the vision for ministry in the First Episcopal District and to fully utilize their gifts to make a difference in their communities and in the world guided by the Holy Spirit. He admonished them to get rid of excess baggage or travel light, to have a sense of confidence and to remember to follow instructions. As the Bishop offered the invitation, one soul came forward to give her heart to the Lord and join the church amidst rejoicing from the congregants.


Bishop Ingram issued the certificates of Conference Officers and prayerfully read the pastoral appointments for the Bermuda Annual Conference. The service concluded with the Bishop inviting all of the clergy and their families to gather at the front of the auditorium as the Episcopal Supervisor led all those assembled in a powerful prayer covering the Bermuda Conference as the pastors returned to their charges to lead the congregants with a greater determination to “Make it Happen!”


The conference was heralded as an excellent start to the series and a prelude to an exciting and invigorating quadrennial under the new Episcopal Team.


The next Annual Conference in the First Episcopal District Series will be the 90th Session of the Delaware Annual Conference which will convene on Thursday, March 21st at Mount Zion, Dover. The Host Pastor is the Rev. Ellis


B. Louden.

To God be the glory!


Article written and submitted by the Rev. Dr. Emilygail A. Dill

Bermuda Conference Reporter to the Church Press




By Cora Jackson-Fossett


With the number of homeless increasing in America, Bethel A.M.E. and Second A.M.E. Churches have opened their buildings to help. 


The two ministries provide food, bed, showers and case management services to 250 people in South Los Angeles.


The opportunity to participate grew from the vision of Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, who directed churches in Southern California to address the needs of their local neighborhoods.


“Bishop Kirkland has challenged pastors and congregations to serve the community by doing ministry that reaches beyond the church walls,” said Bethel Pastor Kelvin T. Calloway.


“Jesus was homeless so how can the church turn its back on the homeless when the Savior of the world was homeless?”


The Rev. Quanetha Hunt, project manager with Volunteers of America, works with several churches and social services agencies. She said, “Multiple denominations are participating in this program which is good because if you look at the faces of clients, they’re from diverse populations and faiths.


“In fact, the face of homelessness has changed.  You have more mothers, children, and single fathers sleeping on the streets and in their cars.”


Offering a similar perspective, Bishop Kirkland said, “You would be surprised at the number of homeless people this recession has caused. The homeless are not just those pushing the carts.


“There are people who have really been affected. Some still have jobs, but their homes have been repossessed and they’re really outdoors.


“So I just applaud this program and commend Dr. Calloway, Pastor John Cager of Second A.M.E., and all participants.  They’re not getting a lot out of it materially, but they’re getting the joy of helping somebody and doing it for Christ.


“This is what Jesus was calling for.  If Jesus were here today, He would be excited about this program. It speaks to the last, the lost, the left out and the looked over,” said Bishop Kirkland.



(Cora Jackson-Fossett is the Religion Editor for the L.A. Sentinel newspaper and a member of Brookins Community A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles. She can be reached at (213) 761-3117 or cora.fossett@yahoo.com.  This story and photo was originally published in the L.A. Sentinel on March 7, 2013)




The AMEC Fourth Episcopal District WMS/Women's Global Initiative will sponsor an Ecumenical, Intergenerational and International Gathering of 5000 Women coming together on one accord to build a global vision through the power of Prayer.  Women representing every denomination from around the world are expected to assemble together and see all that God has done. Prayer is powerful, impactful and a tool the world needs. It is the desire that the Fourth Episcopal District WMS/Women's Global Initiative will be a vehicle for praying women to commune together to bring the Kingdom of God to bare on everyday issues affecting women and families throughout the world.


The World of Women Praying Convocation is the vision of the Rev Dr. Cecelia Williams Bryant, Senior Supervisor of the Fourth District Women's Missionary Society and Spiritual guide for the Women's Global Initiative. The Rev "C" is a missionary, author, teacher and preacher with a global vision to bring women together for the building up of the Kingdom and to raise up a generation of women sold out for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The World of Women Praying Convocation is coming to the Chicago Area June 27 -30th 2013. The Fourth Episcopal District of the AME Church includes Canada, India, and the Mid-Western Region of the United States is calling women to Come and experience an exhilarating spiritual event.


The Vision:  “And So Shall They Be Healed”


Christianity along with many other religions believes in prayer for healing and deliverance. The words and the posture are often different but the meaning and the goal of prayer is in our communion with the creator the source of all life.  We call Jesus Christ for that right relationship with the God of all creation through prayer.


5000 Women will be taking an uncommon journey in prayer June 27 -30th 2013, at the Donald E. Stephen Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.


The World of Women Praying Convocation is sponsored by the Women’s Global Initiative and the Women’s Missionary Society of the Fourth Episcopal District. The Fourth District led by our extraordinary leadership of Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop and Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District and the Rev. Dr. Cecelia Williams Bryant, Senior Supervisor of the Women’s Missionary Society and Spiritual Director of the Women’s Global Initiative.


The World of Women Praying Convocation is an Ecumenical, International, and Intergenerational gathering of 5000 women for whom prayer is sacred, fundamental, empowering, transformational and healing.


The Prayer Strategies are organized over five Colleges of Prayer.  Each college is named for phenomenal women in the faith. 


- The Dr. Marsha Foster Boyd College will explore prayer as a vocation.


- The Mother Beverly Thomas College of the Sacred Arts, will view using one’s talents and gift for spiritual expression and communion with God. 


- The Dr. Sylvia Ross Talbot College of Radical Prayer is designed for women 18 -30, to awaken and enrich their prayer life. 


- The Dr. Leah Gaskin Fitchue College of Biblical Prayer is available for women who seek a stronger biblical foundation. 


- The Bishop Sarah Frances Davis College of Oblation is designed for women who are called for unbroken communion with God, those who will pray in the spirit and with understanding.


The World of Women Praying Convocation includes a Protégé Path for girls 12-17 and a Men’s Sons of Boaz Event, as well as a living Labyrinth, 24 hour chapels in all five hotels and a women’s total wellness center.


We are calling women for a three day experience enriched with diverse teaching and a God given mandate to release your spiritual impact at home and abroad.


Come, See and Experience The World of Women Praying Convocation June 27 -30, 2013.  


Registration for your hotel and Convocation is open and available online.


Visit us at http://prayingchicago.org/ and like us on Facebook.


Submitted by Sister Mary L. Madison, a member of the Women's Missionary Society and Chair of the Fourth District's WMS/WGI World of Women Praying Convocation


Fourth Episcopal District Women’s Global Initiative and the Women’s Missionary Society leadership:


Bishop John R. Bryant is the AMEC Senior Bishop and Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District; the Rev Dr. Cecilia Williams Bryant Senior Supervisor and Episcopal Supervisor of the Fourth Episcopal District; and Sister Joyce Keys, Fourth District President of the Women's Missionary Society.




The Rev. Salatheia Bryant-Honors


And Are We Yet Alive? These familiar words written by Charles Wesley in 1749 that traditionally serve as the opening hymn at each annual conference was the guiding theme of the 2013 Founder’s Day meeting for the Tenth Episcopal District.


The district gathered together on North Swiss Street at Bethel San Antonio located a few miles from the famed Texas Alamo to ponder this question at the call of Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the presiding prelate of the district.


Bishop McKenzie introduced the theme during the opening night worship service to an overflow crowd of worshippers. Bishop McKenzie said that this shared question (And Are We Yet Alive) was one still worthy of examination for this venerable institution that started in an old blacksmith’s shop and now has churches around the world.


“As a connectional church there are many things that connect us. There is a question that connects us. Methodists all over the world have picked up this song and sang it,” she said. “If we are alive we ought to celebrate and if we are not alive what are we gonna do about it. Let’s take a look at this question.”


“This shared question is a good place to begin our Founder’s Day gathering as we reflect upon our genesis and at the same time consider our future,” said McKenzie. “For more than two centuries we have sought to serve the God who calls us to serve, love and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Yet, buried in that question are more questions: if there are parts of us that are not alive, what are we going to do about it? What does it mean to be alive? How can we alive people worship, witness and work together in Christ?”


Founder’s Day was held in the district February 21-23 in San Antonio. The meeting included a welcome reception, ecumenical service, Praycation – Bishop McKenzie’s early morning call to prayer, and the opening plenary with the Reverend Dr. Mark Kelly Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia.


One of the many highlights of the celebration was the singing ministry of the choir. The choir sang anthems, hymns, spirituals and contemporary gospel music that stirred at times high praise and reverential worship. On the closing day the choir came dressed in colorful African attire. They sang just one selection and it caused an avalanche of worship that interrupted the printed worship guide.


The meeting was filled with symbolism. The district met at Bethel, calling to mind Mother Bethel. The congregation sang hymn #304, "And Are We Yet Alive" during the Founder’s Day worship service. During prayers the names of Bishop Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, Daniel Payne and Jarena Lee were remembered.


Pastor Mark Kelly Tyler preached the Founder’s Day message entitled "It Only Takes One" from the narrative of David facing Goliath and additionally, he led a plenary discussion on what are the new echoes reverberating within the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He talked about the significant historic changes that have occurred in our Zion and how it was possible for us to look for ways to create new paradigms.


Another highlight of the gathering was the "Open Your Heart Breakfast" to benefit Paul Quinn College (PQC). The breakfast raised almost $43,000 for PQC. College President Dr. Michael Sorrell was the speaker for the breakfast. The Tenth District Lay Organization President Larry Hollie also announced a donation of $2,000 to Paul Quinn. Hollie said the Lay Organization has historically supported the school.


“It is our way of giving something back. It is our outreach. We believe in our school and we just want to be a part,” said Hollie.


Bishop McKenzie also met with members of the lay organization during the break out sessions. Hollie said the state’s lay were well pleased with the bishop’s willingness to answer questions.


“She listened. We were so pleased that she would speak directly to us. It was a milestone. We felt a part of the Tenth District to have our bishop speak directly to us,” said Hollie.


The theme for Founder’s Day was based on Ephesians 2:4 - "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love which he loves us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ."


“The Bible reminds us that God made us alive together with Christ. Let’s wrestle with the tough questions of ministry in these tough times together,” said Bishop McKenzie. “Let’s learn how to do a live ministry keep a live the hope that is within us and pass on a live legacy to the next generation waiting in the wings.”


The Rev. John McCormick, pastor of CrossWork AME Church in Round Rock, preached "Shake It Off" using the text Luke 9:1-6 for the noon message on Friday. He told the congregation that the shaking was a sign of separation, a sign of anticipation and a sign of celebration. After the message, Bishop McKenzie called those to the altar for prayer who were dealing with the hurt of rejection. Many answered the call to pray.


Founder’s Day ended with a high-spirited worship experience.


General Officer the Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown preached the closing message that gave the district its marching orders. Dr. Fry Brown preached "It’s Time to Move" using the text from Deuteronomy 1:6-8.  “God doesn’t suggest we act, but he commands us to act. You’ve got to get up. God says enough is enough and move,” said Fry Brown. “Stop sitting in the valley of impossibility when God called you he told you what he wanted you to do. It’s time to move, mobilize, strike.” “Jesus shows us how to move,” she said. “That what Richard Allen would want you to do get up and move!”




The Reverend Andrew Rollins, pastor of St. James AME Church in San Jose, California, was a presenter at an important conference held on the weekend of March 15-16, 2013 at the University of California - Berkeley.


The conference, sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender and the Multicultural Community Center, was entitled "Speculative Visions of Race, Technology, Science and Survival" and included academicians and scholars from all parts of the world. 


Presenters discussed a variety of topics relating to biopolitics, including: the impact of technology and science on cognitive liberty; the inequality in distribution of health care based on a new wave of "racial science" policies and the vision of the future from the perspective of Afrofuturism.


The Rev. Rollins, the only active member of the clergy invited to be a presenter, spoke on the topic, "Transhumanism and the Prophetic Message of the Black Church."  Rollins defined the transhumanist movement as one in which scientists intend to use genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology as tools for radically redesigning the mind, memory, physiology and, many believe, the soul of human beings. 


Rollins presented the social, ethical, biblical and theological ramifications of transhumanism.  He postulated how the transhumanist movement in the hands of a small, elite power group could lead to abusive practices for controlling the masses of people, citing this country's history of slavery, race discrimination, eugenics, the Tuskegee experiment and other forms of social injustices.  He stated the pressing need for the Black Church to rekindle its prophetic tradition to serve as a visible and vocal advocate for social justice...just as it did in the 19th Century through the abolitionists' fight against slavery; and in the 20th Century fight for civil rights. Rollins urged, "The 21st Century black church must now be in the forefront facing the challenges of this potentially new form of social, psychological and spiritual enslavement before it is too late."




I wanted to take the time to thank you personally for all you did to make the National Medical Association’s 50-member delegation of doctors and nurses a resounding success! Without your input, the trip would not have been nearly as productive and successful. Your contacting members of the Liberian Medical and Dental Council accomplished something that never occurred previously in Liberia.  The doctors were able to submit their documentation in advance and have their temporary medical licenses in hand before even arriving in Liberia!  This saved us at least two days of interviews which would have caused us to lose 20% of our time seeing patients. Thanks for smoothing the way in this regard. Our doctors were able to perform hundreds of surgeries and see thousands of patients at JFK Hospital, Redemption Hospital, ELWA Hospital and JFD Hospital in Tappita. Also, the 10 nurses were able to provide nurse training in patient care, critical care, surgical care and hospital accreditation. The doctors also did training in CPR, and PALS and ACLS.


Also, you know that despite four previous attempts to have doctors operate at JFK Hospital, we were never successful in achieving this.  Here again, you were able to make this happen on this trip and hundreds of patients were served in the clinics and operating rooms by 12 doctors, including an anesthesiologist, that were actually stationed there. Even I performed many surgeries there for the first time!  Thank you for working with the CEO and CMO of this hospital to make this happen!


You also arranged for the delegation to be guests at the president’s house.  As a result, the CEO of the NMA and the President of the Liberian Post Graduate Council have come up with a memorandum of understanding that will allow for long term, future trips.  The Alpha meeting that you organized for the eight Alpha brothers to begin a collaborative effort in strengthening the healthcare infrastructure was major. The Rotary meeting that you arranged for the national president of the NMA as well as the CEO to attend was also fruitful.  Other meetings you set up such as the one with the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health, and the Vice President of Liberia were amazing!


Most of the doctors had never travelled to Africa before. Your presence on the plane with the group of forty that got stranded overnight in Accra was extremely fortuitous. You arranged for excellent accommodations as well as assisted them in clearing immigration and customs in both Ghana and Liberia. Thanks for arranging transportation for the group to experience the cultural side of Liberia by being dinner guests in Liberian homes.


Finally, I want to thank you for your willingness to serve as a board member with SHIELD (Strategic Healthcare Initiative Emphasizing Local Development) and recruiting the honorable Phil Banks.  As you know, our three stated goals are to:


(1) Build a medical school in Liberia and strengthen the existing one.  Dr. Louis Sullivan and I will be in Liberia to begin the process in May. Next week he and I will be meeting in Washington, DC with the World Bank, PEPFAR, and other officials to begin establishing the template and raising funds for this endeavor.  Through his Sullivan Institute, the four HBCU medical schools including Howard, Meharry, Drew, and Morehouse have formed a consortium to provide Liberia with a solid partnership.


(2) Provide faculty support for the four post graduate programs for doctors including medicine, surgery, OBGYN, and pediatrics.  I met with Dr. Pannenborg of the World Bank while in Liberia and he has assured me that a minimum of $20 Million dollars towards this effort will be initiated by July 1st of this year! Thank you for setting up meetings for potential funding sources as well.


(3) Recruit Liberian doctors to return home after recently completing training in the US in order to teach and train Liberian doctors in exchange for loan forgiveness of educational loans.  We have two such doctors, an internist and a medicine/pediatrics senior resident that are very interested that were on this trip!


Thank you so much for your wonderful friendship and leadership!  May God continue to richly bless you and your family.


Most Sincerely,


Frank E. Glover, Jr., MD, DrPH, MPH, FACS


*Bishop David R. Daniels is the Presiding Prelate of the 15th Episcopal District   




*The Rev. Calvin J. Bush


Being that The Church is a “living” organism as the Body of Christ serving the purpose for the “Communion of The Saints”, the continual development to serve is a forever task.  There are a variety of associate ministries – Education, Visitation, Social Outreach, etc. that are serving their purpose in assisting the work of an appointed pastor.  We must remember that the year now is 2013!  Our lives are bombarded with technological wonders.  The Church is neither different nor harnessed from such bombarding.


Some parishioners believe that the pastor is to do all for and be all to the congregation.  Years ago, the development of a ministerial staff was a significant pastoral move in assisting the pastor in the work of the church.  The pastor can only do so much.  Many forget that the pastor is not just “The Shepherd” of the flock, but the Chief Administrator of the assigned entity.  The pastoral obligations are the same regardless of the size of the flock.  However, a distinct difference may be not only the size, but also the associated “historicity” and its continual development for its maintenance.


As a former pastor, I know of overwhelming pastoral experiences – especially if there is no ministerial staff to share in the load.  Like many who lead, they have dreams of “What Can Be.”  The consideration ends with “How Can It Be Done?”


Today, a church that does not entertain the use of the technological wonders available, shortens, if not stifles, its ministry.  We moved into using the sound system years ago, in order for the congregation to hear well.  The use of large screens, and in some larger churches, multiple screens, allows the congregation to see well.  Today, a church without a website, or even a Facebook Page, inhibits the potential ministerial development, social outreach, financial support, and church growth.


All that is nice!  But the pastor, among his various obligations, cannot contend to solely reflect on such.  There needs to be help.  There needs to be the desire to help make “What Can Be Done” move beyond “How Can It Be Done?”  The pastor needs a tech!


In the “golden” days of yesteryears, The Church, AME Church, emphasized “The Three T’s:  Time, Treasury and Talent.”  The misunderstanding of the T’s has prompted a misguidance of the “Treasury from the Pulpit to the Congregation and back again – with the fighting of conference claims.  “Time” is given, somewhat, out of obligation – especially if one is an officer, but not if the enjoyment in serving is there more so than because one HAS TOO!  “Talent”, which I consider the “gold” of the three T’s, has been over looked among the flock and within the ministerial ranks.


I have served under great Bishops and Presiding Elders who understood the significance in using current technology in the church.  This is more evident under the pastor whom I serve as an associate, Rev. Dr. Steven A. Jackson, PhD.  I appreciate the lead-way he allows me in serving as the associate minister of technology and education.   He needs not concern himself with the minute matters of technology when he has amongst his ministerial staff an individual who can manage such and keep him informed. 


As a former instructor of vocational education in Office Technology and Network Administration, I find it my calling to provide my TALENT in these areas in uplifting the ministry within Bethel.  Programming is not just for the church, but for its community.  Programs dealing with wellness, vocational/educational enhancement, and most all, the assistance in overcoming The Digital Divide –open computer access time allotment, computer literacy -- starting with Early Childhood Computer Literacy to, Adult/Senior Computer Literacy Classes.  When a church meets the needs of a community, especially for the children and the seniors, individuals want to assist in making things happen more because they are being done by that church.  Hence, church growth!  Hence, financial growth! And hence, a more evolved spiritual development of the “Communion of The Saints.


There is so much more that can be stated and reflected upon.  So, I will save it for Part II of The Pastor Needs a Tech.


*The Rev. Calvin J. Bush is Associate Minister of Technology & Education at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania




I received a copy of a CD entitled “Hymns in the Key of Glory” by saxophonist, the Rev. Andre P. Jefferson Sr., pastor of Bethel AME Church in Hampton, Virginia.  If you have ever heard the Rev. Jefferson play the saxophone, you know that he is a gifted musician. His CD, “Hymns in the Key of Glory” is professionally produced and it is a keeper.  He plays some of the great hymns of the church and his music is spiritually uplifting.


I don’t want him to do so, but the man can give up his day job! He is that gifted!


Send him an email revandre1@aol.com or give him a call (757) 329-6710 and you will be blessed.




--The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby, Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District, South Carolina Conference


--The Rev. Dr. Charles E. Watkins, Morris Brown, Charleston, SC, Mount  Pleasant District, Palmetto Conference


--The Rev. Jonathan C. Roberts - Bethel, Conway, SC, Marion--Dillon District, Northeast Conference


--The  Rev. Richard Crummy, Greater Goodwill, Mount Pleasant, SC, Mount  Pleasant District, Palmetto Conference


Bishop Richard Franklin Norris is the Presiding Prelate of the 7th Episcopal District.




Mrs. Barbara Hampton became ill at the 49th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference that was held in Nashville in June/July 2012. She stayed in the Meharry hospital for a number of weeks and was transferred to a hospital in Oklahoma where she remained hospitalized for months.


Received a message from her husband, the Rev. Hampton who wrote, "YES, Sister Barbara P. Hampton is finally home after 9 months in the hospital." 




TCR Editor’s Note: As I read this, I wondered about the feasibility of this type of prison ministry for the African Methodist Episcopal Church and if we had AME clergy who might be interested in this type of ministry for the AME Church.


I had never thought about the possibility of AME mission churches in prisons until I read this article. 


Of course, approval and ecumenical endorsement would be needed for the persons involved in AME prison ministry. And, of course, the reality is that there would be little or no pay, unless sponsor churches caught the vision.


Contact information of the UMC persons involved in the UMC prison ministry is listed at the end of the article.


Behind bars, a United Methodist church takes hold


March 15, 2013 Posted by Special Contributor


Lane Gardner Camp, Special Contributor…


Memphis, Tenn. — “Have you ever been pursued?”


It’s a question that drew some laughter when posed by Bishop Bill McAlilly during a Feb. 16 worship service at Grace Place UMC in Memphis.


Bishop Bill McAlilly baptized one of the charter members of Grace Place United Methodist Church, during a Feb. 16 service at the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center in Memphis. The church was approved in 2012 as the first prison-based mission congregation in the UMC’s Southeastern Jurisdiction.


Grace Place UMC, realize, is located inside a female prison—the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center (MLCC), part of the Tennessee Department of Correction.


Only Bishop McAlilly wasn’t referring to being pursued by law enforcement. He was talking about being pursued by God.


Bishop McAlilly illuminated his question with a sermon based on what he called the “familiar and friendly words” of Psalm 23 that comfort men and women throughout the entirety of their lives by providing hope.

“Even when we’re not good, God’s goodness and kindness pursue us,” said the bishop, who described the God of Psalm 23 as the One who “pursues us so we might not walk alone.”


Bishop McAlilly was one of approximately 75 people—inmates and Memphis Conference laity and clergy—assembled in MLCC’s chapel for “a service for organizing a new congregation” that included the bishop’s message as well as music, liturgy, prayer, baptisms, communion and more.


Mission congregation


Grace Place UMC is the first prison-based mission congregation in the denomination’s Southeastern Jurisdiction and the second in the country, after Women at the Well UMC at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa.


It was last August that the combined cabinets of the Nashville Episcopal Area that includes the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences, voted unanimously to approve Grace Place as a mission congregation of the United Methodist Church, according to the Book of Discipline.


Grace Place was started in 2007 with a private gift as an extension ministry of Good Shepherd UMC in Memphis. Volunteers from many United Methodist churches in the area have for years supported the ministry with gifts of time, goods, services, money and prayer.


Grace Place UMC operates with two councils—an “Inside” one that includes inmates and the Rev. Diane Harrison, the church’s pastor, and an “Outside” one made up of volunteers (laity and clergy) from throughout the Memphis area, most of whom are United Methodist, but not all.


The church meets inside the correctional center on State Road. The chapel is in the medium security main building which houses approximately 330 inmates, according to Ms. Harrison. Across the street, she said, is the minimum security “annex” with a population of about 125.


Because minimum and medium security inmates are not allowed to intermingle, Grace Place draws only from the 330 women in the main building, even though the church does offer a book club at the annex, explained Ms. Harrison.


Gathering for worship


As inmates gathered in the chapel Saturday evening, visitors from outside the prison slowly trickled in. All had to pass through security and screening checkpoints before being cleared to enter.


Some visitors also had background checks done by the MLCC’s chaplain through the National Crime Information Center.


Lena Townsend, liturgist for the service and secretary of the church’s Inside Council, welcomed visitors and helped them find their seats, while passing out printed copies of the order of worship.


Asked about the meaning of the service to her and the other women at MLCC, Ms. Townsend teared up and replied, “It’s great to have a church here. It’s especially great for long-timers when someone cares about you and keeps coming back.”


Annie Laura Jennings, a member of the Outside Council from Ripley First UMC in Ripley, Tenn., and an active volunteer at Grace Place, was moved by Ms. Townsend’s emotional response, noting, “And Lena is not one to cry!”


Ms. Townsend officially transferred her church membership that evening—from Good Shepherd UMC that she joined in 2008 while in the prison. Only now, after being approved as a mission congregation, is Grace Place able to formally receive members.


Worship and activities


“[Grace Place] means so much to these women,” commented Mary Nelle Cook, a member of the Outside Council from Christ UMC in Memphis, who attended the service.


Ms. Cook is a retired physical education teacher who visits Grace Place UMC once a week to teach an aerobics class, one of many small group activities the church offers, including another exercise class, choir, Bible study, book club, and crochet group called “Touch of Grace.”


Including worship services that average about 60 in attendance, weekly activities of the church total about 14 hours per week in the multi-purpose chapel. Small group activities serve anywhere from 10 to 20.


‘We’ve come together’


With the 15-member choir seated at the base of a large cross draped in purple for Lent and everyone else looking on, Ms. Harrison welcomed Bishop McAlilly and his wife, Lynn, from Nashville, along with the Rev. Sandra Clay, superintendent of the Asbury District in the Memphis Conference, and others from inside and outside the prison.


“We’ve come together to form a new congregation,” said Ms. Harrison, referring primarily, but not exclusively, to the church’s 14 charter members, presented by Lauren Enzor, chair of the Outside Council and a member of Covington First UMC in Covington, Tenn.


Two of the women were received into membership by “baptism with laying on of hands” while the other 12 joined by transfer of their church memberships.


“Remember your baptism,” Bishop McAlilly told the 12 who reaffirmed their faith as he threw handfuls of holy water in their direction.


More may join in time, said Ms. Harrison, but the church understands that many already have strong church affiliations. Those women are invited to simply “partner” with Grace Place UMC while they are at MLCC.


Prayer shawls

Early in the Saturday evening service, prayer shawls were presented, one each, to Bishop and Mrs. McAlilly. The couple wore the shawls for the remainder of the service.


Prayer shawls, often handmade, are created to wrap around one or more people to create a sacred space for meditation and prayer. Usually the ones who make the shawls pray for the recipients.


After receiving the prayer shawls from Bessie Dodd and Sarah Richardson of the church’s Inside Council, Bishop McAlilly looked out on the many gathered for the service and commented that the number in attendance was probably greater than the average attendance of more than half the United Methodist churches in the Nashville Episcopal Area.


He called it a “great privilege” to be part of the church’s organizing service for which so many had worked for such a long time.


“Five years!” many of the inmates said in unison.


Bishop McAlilly said after the service that while he has visited in many prisons, this was the first time he has presided over a United Methodist service inside a correctional facility.


Because a prison setting does not lend itself to a traditional time of passing an offering plate for financial gifts, Grace Place UMC used that part of the worship service for those gathered to individually express words of appreciation and gratitude to God.


Among the spoken prayers were thanks for “bringing the bishop here,” “letting us see another day” and “second chances.”


One inmate prayed, “Thank you that we can love and have church even in here. We are more free than many on the outside.”


To which many replied, “Amen!”


The choir offered songs throughout the service, including “You Are My All and All” and “He is Jehovah.”

Michelle Shoemaker and Shayne Lavera, who call themselves “Hands of Grace Place,” signed (though American Sign Language) the recorded song, “Lord, You Are Holy.”


‘This is my church’


After communion was served to all in attendance, Bishop McAlilly declared Grace Place UMC “duly constituted and organized for the glory of God, the proclamation of the gospel and the service of humanity.”


He prayed, “Bless this your congregation. Watch over its beginning. Increase its ministry and mission. And sustain it to the end, through Jesus Christ our foundation.”


After the service, as inmates and visitors left the chapel, Bessie Dodd, president of the Inside Council, contemplated on the ministry of Grace Place UMC, saying, “I’ve been locked up 31 years. I never had a church, but now this is my church. . . . Before Pastor Diane came, I stayed locked in my room the whole time. There was nothing to come out for, but now there is.”


Bishop McAlilly’s parting words as he headed out the chapel door were ones of appreciation for “a night when God’s grace can penetrate even the walls of a prison.”


Ms. Camp is director of communications for the Memphis Conference.


Filed Under: Home Center Position 3, News Tagged With: Bishop Bill McAlilly, Grace Place UMC, Lane Gardner Camp, Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center, prison, Rev. Diane Harrison





Be a Part of the 2016 General Conference…Let Your Voice Be Heard


When the 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2016, it will be an historic experience for the venerable church of Richard Allen.  For one fortunate attendee with a creative mind, it will also mean being a part of that history.


The General Conference Commission will give one free registration to the person who proposes the theme that will be selected for the 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference.


Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Chair of the Media and Branding Committee for the conference said, “The theme is critical for setting the tone for the work of the conference.”  She added, “Whoever submits the winning entry will have something to talk about for years to come as the church comes back home to celebrate its 200th birthday.”


The 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference is going to be one of major significance for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The conference will take place July 6-13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   The church celebrates the Bicentennial— its 200 year birthday - an “once-in-a-lifetime event.”


Bishop Samuel L. Greene, Sr., President of the Council of Bishops said, “The 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church will be a celebration which will accentuate the greatness of our Zion.  This Bicentennial milestone is an opportunity to reflect on the basic beliefs and tenants upon which our founding parents established the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  I encourage every AME member to share in this exciting moment by submitting a suggestion for a theme and/or logo for this historical celebration.  Get excited and share your thoughts as we recognize how far we have come, impacting the world and changing lives.”


Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop of the A.M.E. Church explained the General Conference will be a celebration of advancement for the denomination and the nation.


“The African Methodist Episcopal Church is very proud of its legacy of being the oldest historically black denomination in the western hemisphere,” said Bishop Bryant. “Our event to celebrate our 200th birthday will take place at the site of our first General Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city of brotherly love. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was birthed in a nation that still practiced slavery. The progress that the nation has made in racial equality is made clear by the fact that the President of this nation on the occasion of our 200th Birthday is an African American, President Barack Obama.”


Just as the nation celebrates Independence Day, on July 4, the occasion ushers in this great event of the 50th Quadrennial of the General Conference, in the city that cradles independence and pride.  The Connectional AME Church will continue the celebration with service to kingdom building in the City of Brotherly (and sisterly) love. “Celebrated as the birthplace of democracy and first Capitol of the United States, Philadelphia is also the treasured home of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where our founder, Bishop Richard Allen, built the denomination’s first church, Mother Bethel,” said Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram.


The Host Bishop of the General Conference, Bishop Ingram added, “In 2016, the First Episcopal District will serve as the host of our Bicentennial as the world recognizes us as the oldest denomination in America founded by persons of color. The Celebration of our 200th Year will include a myriad of ceremonies, parades, concerts and special exhibitions to pay tribute to our founder and many contributions members of our denomination have made around the world. It will also mark the historic 50th General Conference of African Methodism as we cast the vision of priorities for the next four years, review and propose new legislation, and elect General Officers and Bishops.”


Because of this momentous occasion, clergy and laity are invited to participate in selecting the theme for the General Conference.  According to Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, “This is the third time the AME Church has invited the membership to suggest the theme that is scripturally based.”  This project gives everyone an opportunity to ‘let your voice be heard.’


Dr. Richard Lewis, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the AME Church said, "We are excited about the upcoming General Conference in 2016, which is just over 40 months from February, 2013.  As we celebrate the 50th Quadrennial in Philadelphia, which has such historical significance for the AME Church, the place where we started in 1816, it is noteworthy that both clergy and laity have the opportunity to participate by submitting a theme. Planning is crucial, preparation is critical and your contributions are paramount."


This past summer the theme for the 2012 General Conference was “Exalting Christ to Impact the World” based on St. John 12:32.


Other past themes include:


1996 “Refocusing Our Heritage, Reassessing the Present, Re-envisioning the Future”     

2000 “Awakened to Serve Christ, Church and Community”   

2004 “A 21st Century Church, Serving the Never Changing Christ”         

2008 "Equipping the Saints, Empowering the People, Transforming the World”    


Interested individuals should email their suggestions to the Chief Information Officer, REVJBC@aol.com, Dr. Jeffery B. Cooper by 5 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.


The winning entry will be selected by the Executive Committee of the General Conference Commission and the Council of Bishops.  The winner will be announced in The Christian Recorder print and online issues. In addition to the AME recognition, the selected winner will receive one free registration to the 2016 General Conference. Be a Part of History…Participate!


Note: Only members of the AME Church are allowed to participate.


*Submitted by Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, 13th Episcopal District in collaboration with the Rev. Salethia Honors, 10th Episcopal District and Mrs. Billie D. Irving, 13th Episcopal District.




The Reverend Andrew Rollins, pastor of St. James AME Church in San Jose, California, was a presenter at an important conference held on the weekend of March 15-16, 2013 at the University of California - Berkeley.


The conference, sponsored by the Center for Race and Gender and the Multicultural Community Center, was entitled "Speculative Visions of Race, Technology, Science and Survival" and included academicians and scholars from all parts of the world. 


Presenters discussed a variety of topics relating to biopolitics, including: the impact of technology and science on cognitive liberty; the inequality in distribution of health care based on a new wave of "racial science" policies and the vision of the future from the perspective of Afrofuturism.


The Rev. Rollins, the only active member of the clergy invited to be a presenter, spoke on the topic, "Transhumanism and the Prophetic Message of the Black Church."  Rollins defined the transhumanist movement as one in which scientists intend to use genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology as tools for radically redesigning the mind, memory, physiology and, many believe, the soul of human beings. 


Rollins presented the social, ethical, biblical and theological ramifications of transhumanism.  He postulated how the transhumanist movement in the hands of a small, elite power group could lead to abusive practices for controlling the masses of people, citing this country's history of slavery, race discrimination, eugenics, the Tuskegee experiment and other forms of social injustices.  He stated the pressing need for the Black Church to rekindle its prophetic tradition to serve as a visible and vocal advocate for social justice...just as it did in the 19th Century through the abolitionists' fight against slavery; and in the 20th Century fight for civil rights. Rollins urged, "The 21st Century black church must now be in the forefront facing the challenges of this potentially new form of social, psychological and spiritual enslavement before it is too late."




The Rev. Dr Jonathan Weaver, pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church in Bowie, MD will be presented with the "WETATi Man Ambassador Lifetime Achievement Award" at the Annual Multicultural and Multinational Awards Banquet that will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2012 at the BWI Airport Hilton, Linthicum, Maryland. 


Dr. Weaver is being presented the award because of your lifelong dedication and commitment to public service, educational excellence, and equality for women, creating economic opportunities for minorities and other numerous public service initiatives. He is also being recognized because of his pastoral effectiveness as pastor of Mt Nebo since 1988 and for his vision that led to the formation of the National Collective Banking Group, as a result of bad experiences in securing a loan from a bank in 1992. The National Collective Banking Group today comprises over 215 churches; over one million individuals and over $100 million dollars have been pumped back by the banks to the community as a result of his efforts.


About WETATi


WETATi, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization, was founded to Advance and Challenge women to DARE to achieve their “impossible”– whatever it is that they once thought and/or were told was “impossible” in life.  It is a very unique and empowered women organization that is dedicated to challenging and inspiring women to DARE to achieve their ‘impossible’, regardless of their socio-economic status, geographical or other limitations. With WETATi, women are challenged to become a force for good in our world using several well thought out life-changing and personal development programs in our community.




An International Ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

The purpose of The Music and Christian Arts Ministry Music Scholarship is to provide scholarship assistance to students who pursue an undergraduate degree in music.  Upon completion of study, the recipient should plan to assume a music leadership position in a local African Methodist Episcopal Church.


Eligibility Requirements


- Must be a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


- Must be a graduate of a high school in an Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


- Must attend an AME College or University, or an accredited Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the fall of the year the applicant plans to matriculate in college, with a major in music.

- Provide official admission document from the AME College/University, or Historically Black College or University.


The Scholarship Award


The amount of the scholarship is two thousand dollars ($2,000).  The scholarship award will be sent, in two equal payments, directly to the student upon proof of enrollment.  In the event the recipient is unable to attend school in the fall of the year of application or to complete the academic year (two semesters or equivalent), the award will be forfeited and shall be returned to the Connectional Music and Christian Arts Ministry.  Recipient of the scholarship should make every effort to assume a music position in a local AME Church.  The search for a music position shall be for two years for each award received.  Failure to comply will result in a forfeiture of all funds received, and the student must return the full amount of the scholarship award(s).  Every legal effort will be pursued to retrieve the funds.


Application Requirements


Applicant must submit the following materials in one package:


- A completed application (must be typed or scanned into the computer).

- A current official high school transcript (must have official seal).

- Three character letters of reference: one from the student’s music teacher/director, a teacher or administrator of the student’s high school who is familiar with the student’s academic achievement and music performance level, and the applicant’s pastor;

- A one page essay entitled “Why I Should Be Awarded This Scholarship.”  The essay must be typed or word processed with size 12 fonts and double-spaced.

- A CD or cassette recording that sufficiently represents the student’s ability and level of performance.  The recording shall be verified by the student’s music teacher/director.

- Applicant may submit in writing any information which would enhance the probability of being selected that has not been covered in previous responses.


-  To be considered, all materials must be received by the deadline date.


-  A scholarship recipient may apply for a second year if he/she has accumulated a 3.3 or above academic average with at least 30 semester credit hours.


Completed Application and Materials must be received by April 10, 2013.


Mail All Materials To:  Dr. Rosalie Hill, Chair; Music Scholarship Committee,


Insert Scholarship Application.





DALLAS – March 14, 2013 – The “Yes We Must” Coalition will hold its 4th annual membership meeting on the campus of Paul Quinn College March 22-23, 2013.  Yes We Must was formed to increase the number of degrees received by students from under-resourced communities by advocating for small, independent, non-profit institutions such as Paul Quinn.  PQC is the only member institution in the State of Texas.


“We are an ardent supporter of Yes We Must and the important work it does." said Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn and a Board member of Yes We Must.  "Lost in the current debate about higher education reform are the silent cries of students who have been marginalized due to the economic standing of their families.  Yes We Must provides a voice for institutions that are dedicated to these types of students and their families.  Paul Quinn is proud to be that type of school and a member of such an important organization."


“Yes We Must” consists of 29 member institutions.  The organization seeks to achieve goals that include improving graduation rates for students from under-resourced communities, contributing to the national goal to increase the number of students receiving college degrees by 2020, and developing measurements for demonstrating college success for students from under-resourced communities, among other important goals. 

More information can be found at www.yeswemustcoalition.org  and http://www.yeswemustcoalition.org .


About Paul Quinn College

Paul Quinn College, the 2011 HBCU of the Year, is a private, faith-based, four-year liberal arts-inspired college founded by and affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


Eddie Francis

Director of Communications




Bishop Don DiXon Williams, Bread for the World


We all know of local churches and charities that make it their priority to put an end to hunger. But we are often unaware of the time and commitment it takes to make sure no person in our community goes unfed. Volunteers spend many hours of their free time tracking down donations, running food drives, preparing food, and serving their neighbors.


Yet, the task of feeding all the hungry people in the United States—not to mention around the world—is too big for churches, charities, and food banks to do alone. Community groups contribute only 4 percent of assistance that the federal government provides to hungry people in the United States? Millions of mothers and half the babies in this country receive vital nutrients through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, significantly increasing the odds that those children will grow into healthy, contributing adult members of our communities. But that assistance is now in jeopardy.


On March 1, the sequester—mandatory across-the-board cuts in government spending—went into effect, making the lives of hungry and poor people even more  uncertain. If lawmakers can’t come to an agreement, WIC, poverty-focused development assistance, international food aid, and other vital programs face cuts.


Consider this: if nothing is done to replace the cuts to WIC, more than 600,000 women and children will lose access to important nutrients. If poverty-focused development assistance or international food aid are cut, millions of hungry and poor people in developing countries will be denied lifesaving food and medical assistance. These programs were put in place to assist those who struggle, those who often do not have a voice.


We still have time to make sure these programs do not get cut. It is up to us, as a nation, to ensure that the efforts made by our churches and charities are not wiped out by changes in the federal budget. Fortunately, there is something you can do.


On the day the sequester took effect, Bread for the World launched its 2013 Offering of Letters, titled “A Place at the Table.” Bread is promoting letter writing in churches and other community locations—that urges Congress to protect these programs and make them exempt from budget cuts. It also asks the President to work with lawmakers to set a goal to end hunger.


A major documentary, also titled A Place at the Table, launched on March 1 as well. Produced by Participant Media and distributed by Magnolia Pictures, the film portrays the depth of the hunger epidemic in this country, but also the good-hearted people who are looking out for their hungry neighbors by volunteering and organizing food distribution efforts. Those people are making a difference—but they are overwhelmed. 


Our government has a responsibility to ensure that people do not go hungry in the United States or abroad. Join me in imploring leaders to continue supporting programs that prevent people from going hungry and lift them out of poverty. Find out how to make your voice heard through Bread’s Offering of Letters: www.bread.org/ol.


Bishop Don DiXon Williams is racial-ethnic outreach associate at Bread for the World and sits on the Board of Bishops of the United Church of Jesus Christ, Baltimore, Maryland




*Brother Bill Dickens


Lesson Text: Luke 22:14-30


Bible Need


When you see the words potluck and picnic what typically comes to mind?  A likely reaction will be some type of communal meal that brings together family and friends.  Communal meals seek to not only satisfy our innate biological needs but cultivate a social need as well since group eating can foster communication and fellowship.  The popular movie Soul Food illustrated how the Sunday evening meal was a catalyst for bringing black family members in Chicago closer together.  The Adult AME Church School Lesson for March 24, 2013 examines the start of Holy Week with the Lord’s Supper.  Today’s lesson from Dr. Luke emphasizes the role food has for the nourishment of our soul, body and mind.


Bible Lesson


The Lord’s Supper represents a solemn event for Christians.  This communal meal (hence the term ‘Communion”) depicts our Lord providing yet another teaching moment for believers.  The bread and wine are important spiritual metaphors.  The bread is symbolic of Christ’s body which is the repository for human sin.  The wine symbolizes the blood voluntarily shed for the redemption of human sin.  The “new Covenant” symbolizes the dispensation of Grace supplanting the Law.  As AME’s we teach that the elements are symbols and do not imply the bread and wine literally take on the form of Christ’s body and blood.  We are not cannibals hence we reject the doctrine of Transubstantiation.  It’s also important to note that the Lord’s Supper coincides with the Passover.  This is not by accident.  The Disciples were in the Upper Room to celebrate the Jewish Passover but unbeknownst to them, something bigger than Passover was about to happen. As Christians we remember what Jesus did at Calvary.  Now one would think that Christ’s “Sermon at the Supper”, would’ve been sufficient for the Disciples to understand their individual responsibilities.  In a remarkable turn of events, Dr. Luke records how this solemn occasion was followed by a petty and selfish sidebar discussion among the disciples regarding who was the greatest.  The Disciples allowed their egos to interfere with the big picture.  True discipleship requires remaining focused on the important issues pertaining to the Gospel and not going down some rabbit trail chasing unproductive things and aspirations.


Bible Application


Twenty years ago, the popular motivational book, Chicken Soup for the Soul was created by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.  The cottage industry that followed linked the simplicity of chicken soup to a variety of life’s issues.  The Lord’s Supper is not Chicken Soup.  It is one of the two sacraments (baptism being the other) recognized by the AME Church.  The observance of this sacrament is described in our Articles of Religion Number 18.  While our Zion typically celebrates the Lord’s Supper on the 1st Sunday of each month, Article 18 doesn’t stipulate a specific date, time or frequency for the celebration. Personally, I would like to see more AME churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper in an evening worship service which coincides better with the term ‘Supper’.  However, what is of paramount importance is we reflect, remember and resolve to reach our creative potential that we have thru Jesus the Christ!  


*Brother Bill Dickens is currently the Church School Teacher at Allen AME Church in Tacoma, Washington.  He is currently a member of the Fellowship of Church Educators for the AME Church.




*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby


My oldest son and I both like to “de-stress” at the end of busy days in the same way – by playing a computer version of the card game “solitaire.”  We both also consider ourselves to be “experts” and when he’s at home, the same thing always happens.  He’ll walk into my study and, if I’m in the middle of a difficult game, he’ll suggest moves that I should make.  When I take his suggestions and win, he takes the credit, but when his suggestions don’t work and I end up stuck and have to start over, he always says, “What did you expect? I was just passing through - you’re on your own now!”


My son and I laugh about our regular “solitaire” experience, but similar and far more significant things happen in all of our lives - some of which are less than humorous.  The game of life presents all of us with choices, some that are easy to make and some that are far more difficult.  All of us sometimes rely on the wisdom and advice of family and friends to deal with life’s intriguing choices and difficult situations.  Family and friends can sometimes offer us wise counsel and good advice, but they can also give bad advice that leaves us stuck in tough situations with no good options, situations that sometimes lead them to say, “I don’t know what else you can do, you’re on your own now.”


Well-meaning family and friends can sometimes give us bad advice that makes our bad situations worse and leaves us feeling lost, confused and isolated.  When we take the time, however, to seek God’s advice in prayer, God will provide good answers to life’s tough questions and give us comfort and consolation, even in our times of difficulty and struggle.  The God who knows what we need before we ask for it will always give us the strength to press on, the determination to not give up, and the confidence to be assured that regardless of life’s questions, Jesus is the answer.


Cultivate good friends and count on family and loved ones to help, but take the time as well to take the concerns in your life to God in prayer.  You’ll find new direction, new inspiration and new meaning in the words of the hymn that says, “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”


Get Ready for Sunday, and have a great day in your house of worship!


*The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby is Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District of the South Carolina Annual Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church




The Rev. Amiel "Henry" Delafield went home to be with the Lord on Monday, March 18, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  The Rev. Delafield was an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and had pastored in the 5th and 10th Episcopal Districts.  He retired in 2006 from Knight's Chapel (now New Jerusalem AME Church) in Dallas, Texas.


The following information is provided regarding the Wake and Celebration of Life:




Friday, March 22, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.


Celebration of Life:


Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 - 2:30 p.m.


The Wake and Celebration of Life will be held at:


Mt. Zion AME Church

The Rev. Charles M. Jones, Sr., pastor

549 Palmetto Avenue

Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043


Telephone: (904) 278-7037


The Rev. Delafield's final earthly care has been entrusted to:


Leo C. Chase & Son Funeral Home

262 W. King Street

St. Augustine, Florida 32084


Telephone: (904) 394-0414


Condolences may be sent:


Mrs. Deanna Delafield (Spouse)

4701 Charles Place, Apt. 2028

Plano, Texas 75093


Telephone: (214) 394-0414




We are saddened to announce the passing of Mr. David C. (D.C.) Easley, age 99, son of the late Rev. M. L. Easley, Sr. and Mrs. Reena (Thorpe) Easley and the last uncle, of the Rev. Dr. William W. Easley, Jr., pastor of Shorter Chapel AME Church in Franklin, Tennessee.


Mr. David C. (D.C.) Easley was a 33rd Degree Master Mason and a member of St. James AME Church, Cleveland, Ohio where the Rev. Gerald A. Cooper is the pastor.


Services for Mr. David C. (D.C.) Easley:


Monday, March 25, 2013


Visitation: 10:00 a.m.


Masonic Funeral Rites


Funeral: 10:30 a.m.

Gaines Funeral Home

9116 Union Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44105


Telephone: (216) 367-9597

Fax: (216) 641-1332


Burial immediately following:


Evergreen Memorial Garden

5505 Northfield Rd

Bedford, OH 44146


Telephone: (216) 662-0335


Expressions of sympathy and condolences may be sent in care of the family of Mr. David C. (D.C.) Easley to Gaines Funeral Home, address above, or in care of St. James AME Church.


St. James AME Church

8401 Cedar Avenue

Cleveland, OH   44103

Telephone: 216-231-3562


And to:


The Reverend Dr. William W. Easley, Jr.

5981 Hitching Post Lane

Nashville, TN 37211




The Reverend C. E. Jenkins, Retired Presiding Elder of the Eleventh Episcopal District will celebrate his 90th Birthday on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.


The Reverend C. E. Jenkins anticipates preaching at Mount Hermon AME Church in Garden City-Miami, Florida, his last pastoral congregation, on Sunday, March 24, 2013.


Birthday greetings and well wishes can be emailed to:


The Reverend C. E. Jenkins: Neal2339@aol.com




We are saddened to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Hattie Pierce, the mother of Mrs. Wilma Miller and the mother-in-law of the Rev. Menjou Miller, pastor of Sulphur Spring AME Church, Cunningham, Tennessee. Mrs. Pierce passed on Saturday, March 26, 2013.


Service Arrangements for Mrs. Hattie Pierce:


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wake: 11:00 AM

Funeral: 12:00 Noon


St. Paul AME Church

405 Church Street

Columbia, TN   38401


Telephone: 931-388-4069

The Rev. Dr. James H. Walker, pastor


Services are entrusted:


Baxter Brothers Funeral Home

1105 E End Street

Columbia, TN 38401

Phone: (931) 381-1353


Expressions of sympathy and condolences may be sent to:


The Rev. and Mrs. (Wilma) Menjou Miller

813 Oneida Avenue

Nashville, TN 37207


Mobile: (615) 226-1248

Mobile: (615) 972-0490


The Rev. and Mrs. (Wilma) Menjou Miller

813 Oneida Avenue

Nashville, TN 37207

(615) 226-1248 - Cell

(615) 972-0490 -Cell




We are saddened to inform you of the passing of the Rev. David Bowles, Jr. Superannuated minister, Eighth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. David Bowles, Jr., transitioned to the Church triumphant early Monday, March 11, 2013. The Rev. Bowles is the step-father of the Rev. Linda Brown-Saffore an associate minister at Lee Chapel AME Church in Nashville, Tennessee where the Rev. Dr. Edward Thompson is the pastor.  The Rev. Bowles resided with his son David and wife, Ja' Lana in Lawrenceville, Georgia.


The funeral service for the Rev. David Bowles, Jr. was held on Saturday, March 16, 2013, at Grant Chapel AME Church in Amite, Louisiana, the last church that the Rev. Bowles served as pastor. The Rev. Mack Hurst is the current pastor of Grant Chapel.


Condolences and expressions of sympathy may be sent to:


David Bowles

500 Padens Chase Court

Lawrenceville, GA 30044


The Rev. Linda Brown-Saffore

6625 Upton Lane

Nashville, TN 37209

Email: Ladyltcol@aol.com




We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Ethel Copeland, the mother of the Rev. Chris Copeland, an associate minister at Ward Chapel AME Church in Memphis, Tennessee.


The arrangements for Mrs. Ethel Copeland who was a devoted member of Ward Chapel AME Church are as follows:


Both services are to be held at Ward Chapel.

The Viewing, Friday, March 22, 2013 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Funeral Service, Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 11:00 a.m.


Ward Chapel AME Church

1125 South Parkway East

Memphis, TN 38106


Services are entrusted to:

E H Ford Mortuary

Phone: 901-345-9558


Condolences and expressions of sympathy may be sent to:


The Rev. Chris Copeland

4471 Laird Drive

Memphis, TN, 38414


Sister Gloria Foster                                                                                  

5441 LaStrada                                                                                                                                                                                                           Memphis, TN 38116


Myrtis Taylor                                                                                                                                                    

1931 Richmond Road                                                                                                                              

Memphis TN 38125




The funeral services for Mrs. Queen Esther Brown, mother of Sister Harriet Brown Birk our Episcopal District WMS President will be held at St. James AME Church, 2891 Orange Street in Marianna, Florida on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11 a.m.


The services have been entrusted to Van Funeral Home, 4265 St. Andrews Street in Marianna, Florida. The telephone number for Van Funeral Home is (850) 482-3300.




The Fourth Episcopal District is saddened to announce the transition of Mrs. Juanita O. Garnett, the mother of the Rev. Galda McCants, pastor of Saint Paul AME Church in Springfield, Illinois and mother-in-law of Presiding Elder Gary McCants of the South District, Illinois Conference.


The arrangements are as follows:


Visitation on Friday, March 22, 2013  after 1:00 pm at Stamps Funeral Home, 10834 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60628.


The Funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at Bethel AME Church, 4444 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL.


The family will greet friends at 10 a.m. followed by the Funeral at 11 a.m.


Presiding Elder Gary McCants will be the eulogist and the Rev Willie A Gholston II, pastor, officiating.


Interment will be in the Camp Butler Veterans Cemetery in Springfield, IL on Monday March 25, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.


Messages of condolences may be sent to:


The Rev. Galda McCants

3925 Rocky Falls Road

Springfield, IL 62711


Arrangements have been entrusted to:


The Rev. Thomas M. Hughes

T M Hughes-Perry Mortuary LLC/Stamps Funeral Home

10834 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL 60628




Home Going Celebration for Sister Maggie Lou Russ, the beloved mother of the Rev. Phillip Russ IV, pastor of Hurst Chapel AME Church, Pensacola, Florida.


Celebration of the Life of Sister Maggie:

Services will be Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.


Funeral Site:


Mt. Olive AME Church 

6280 State Highway 81

Ponce de Leon, Florida 32435


Telephone: 850 836-5222


(Community of Red Bay, Florida)

The Rev. Delanor E. Myrick, pastor


Funeral Director:    

Joe Morris Funeral Home

701 N. Devillers St

Pensacola, FL 32501


Telephone: 850-432-3436

Fax: 850- 433-4179


If you fax or email your resolutions, please include Sister Maggie Lou Russ' name so that it will be directed appropriately.




Ora L. Easley, Administrator

AMEC Clergy Family Information Center

Phone: (615) 837-9736 (H)

Phone: (615) 833-6936 (O)

Cell: (615) 403-7751







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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