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

Mark and Save Date in your Calendars:

August National Immunization Awareness Month


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

In the last issue, I wrote, “One of the interesting things about being the Editor of The Christian Recorder is the opportunity to interact with parishioners from across the AME Church, both here in the U.S. and abroad.”

The other positive, and I touched on it, is the opportunity to learn and to recall things that I have forgotten. I am appreciative that so many of our readers are so knowledgeable.  

Still learning

I have learned, after many years, the correct word in the Offertory, “All Things Come of Three…, is “have” instead of “as.”  Now that was a real learning curve because I had been saying “as,” for many years, which is wrong. The biblical text says, “…Have we given Thee.”  I haven’t mastered the corrected word because sometimes I slip and say, “as.”


I was also reminded this week by the Rev. Anita Marshall about the liturgy for the Order for an Affirmation of the Baptismal Covenant found in the AMEC Book of Worship on Page 52. The liturgy is designed for “…children baptised as infants and nurtured within the congregation who are read into full membership…” 

After reading the liturgy I concluded that I see no reason why the liturgy could not be used as a service of reaffirmation for anyone baptised who feels that he or she needs to remember something about the sacrament of baptism and who would like their baptismal covenant publicly renewed; and of course, “no water and no re-baptizing.”

I was also reminded by the Rev. Denise Rogers who lives in Montana that Richard Allen and Absolom Jones are both honored with feast days on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA).  The Richard Allen feast day is March 26 because that is the day of his death.
Absolom Jones who walked out of St. George Church with Richard Allen and others, was the first African American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States is listed on the Episcopal Calendar of saints and blessed under the day of his death, February 13.

They are both honored in the Episcopal Church along with Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther, Jr. and other Christian saints.

I wondered how many of us in the AME Church pause to memorialize Richard Allen on March 26. I suspect, not many, but many AME churches celebrate Founder’s Day on February 14, the day of Richard Allen’s birth.

It would seem that as we approach the Bicentennial of the formal organization of our Zion that we would be “ramping up” the celebration of Richard Allen’s birth and other significant events of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Jarena Lee comes to mind as a life of a person that the AME Church should be celebrating. Jarena Lee is the model of a woman who had a clear vision.

She was born on February 11, 1783. Jarena Lee was the first pioneering woman licensed to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1819).  There is no known record of the date of her death.

Read Jarena Lee story by clicking or pasting in your browser:

Failure to honor special events

I am not only concerned that we, AMEs fail to honor our saints, but it seems to be the failure among people of color to ignore significant events related to our social and religious histories.

In recent years we have gotten excited about Juneteenth, which commemorates the announcement in 1863 of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas, and more specifically the emancipation of slaves in the slave-holding states; it did not affect those persons who were held in slavery in the non-Confederate slave-holding states and it had minimal actual effect because Texas and the other slaveholding states did not comply with the Emancipation Proclamation.

It would seem to me, and especially black people, would celebrate the passing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery throughout the United States of America.

I would bet that most readers do not know the date of the passing of the 13th Amendment.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America on January 31, 1865. The amendment read, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude...shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

It would seem to me that January 31st would be a significant date in the lives of black Americans. 

I learn a lot

I learned something from Brother Darwin Curry who attends Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC.

Oprah Winfrey joined Bethel AME Church while living in Baltimore when Bishop John Bryant was the pastor of Bethel.

I also learned that Bayard Rustin a leader in Civil Rights’ Movement was an active member of Bethel AME Church in West Chester Pennsylvania.  Rustin attended Wilberforce University and was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He also attended Cheyney State Teachers College (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania).

I also learned that Senator-elect Corey Booker grew up attending an AME church in New Jersey.

Sometimes a “Wow” moment

I attended Bible Study this past Wednesday and one of ladies who attended the Bible study also attends a community Bible study that meets at a United Methodist Church. 

We were discussing the importance of hymns, gospel and spiritual songs and the importance of their relationship to the sermon and the scripture lessons.  She mentioned that when she was skimming through the Methodist Hymnal she noticed that the hymns had biblical notations that she found exciting.

I thought what an opportunity for a teaching moment.

I responded that the AME Church Hymnal has scriptural references for the hymns and other worship resources. 

I went to the sanctuary retrieved hymnals for the members of our small group and showed them the resources in our hymnal, including the Lectionary and gave examples on how the resources could be used. They were surprised and I am surprised that some of our pastors are not taking advantage of the available worship resources. 

Effective inspired Holy Ghost worship does not just magically happen. Astute pastors design their worship resources, while allowing the presence and working of the Holy Spirit.

Hymns and scripture lessons should not be last-minute, haphazardly and unthinkingly selected.

I have said it before and will say it again, “There is nothing inappropriate about practicing and tweaking the order of worship.”   When a pastor knows what he or she is going to preach it is appropriate for him or her to go to the back of the hymnal and select hymns that coordinate with the scriptural lesson(s) and the sermon. But, yep, that takes more work.

We have such great resources in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and our parishioners would be better served if pastors and musicians utilized and coordinated the sources available in the Bible, the AME Hymnal, and The Discipline.

TCR Editor’s Note: The Editor will be on vacation this coming week. The next issue of The Christian Recorder Online will be published when he returns from vacation.


--To the Editor:

RE: TCR Editorial- Interesting Questions that Needed to be Answered

Although we don't re-baptize, I believe the AMEC Book of Worship has a Reaffirmation of Baptism ritual for those wishing to reaffirm their covenant relationship with God.  The UMC has a ritual as well.

The Rev. Anita Marshall

-- To the Editor:

Re: Interesting Questions that Needed to be Answered:

Just a note to respond to your comments about baptism. It was absolutely marvelous...I have taught those tenets many times as a pastor. I have told you before you are just what the Church needs; especially pastors. I am very proud of you and your words of encouragement and deep knowledge concerning Baptism. It would be helpful for many Pastors and others like Stewards if you would put that info into a publication.

Jim Wade

TCR Editor’s Note: Dr. James Wade is the Executive Director of Church Growth and Development

3.  I ASK:

Retired Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry

I Ask:

The Speaking in tongues in the AME church

According to the Acts of the Apostles, it is written that “When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a loud noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the house they were sitting...They were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.”

I have noted that a lot of denominations practice speaking in tongues, in the AME Church however I don't remember this practice ever being done or being encouraged. I tried finding out what does the AME Church say on this subject but could not get the answer. The question I am humbling asking is this: Is the practice of speaking in tongues allowed in the AME Church?

Mr. K. A.  Moloi

Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry’s Response to the Question:

The Twenty-Five Articles of Religion are the basic tenets of Doctrine of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Each article is based in scripture. (I will ask Dr. Sydnor to publish them with the scripture references at another time).  The Apostles' Creed is a "summary" of the major teachings.

Your question is referenced in Article 15: Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue as the People Understand - "It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive Church, to have public prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people."

(This Article Refers to the Roman Catholic Church practice of its use of Latin in public worship to people who spoke a different language – it does not refer to the “spiritual gift” of unknown tongues, referenced in I Corinthians 12:27-31; I Corinthians 14:1-5; and I Corinthians 14:14-19.

The scripture you referenced, Acts 2:4-12 should be read in its entirety and taken in context.  When you read the verses following verse 4 you find an explanation for the "phenomenon" in verse 4.  "....And they heard them (talk) in their OWN languages, (Medes, Parthians, Elamites, etc").  These were not incoherent babbling's, but languages spoken by all those in attendance in Jerusalem that day.  People from many parts of the world, speaking many different languages heard the Gospel in their own "understanding." There needs to be a distinction between “Other tongues” and “unknown tongues” (“Unknown” is always in italics in the King James Version).

The AME Church is not opposed to persons exhibiting the "Gifts of the Holy Spirit," but we do teach that they should be used according to the dictates of scripture.  I Corinthians 14:37-40.


Ms. Mildred Hubbard, an 80 year young senior athlete, qualified from her home state of Mississippi in eight Track and Field events to attend the 2013 Senior Games in Cleveland, Ohio.

She has competed in the Senior Games since the age of 50 at the National Games.  Over the years she has won more than 100 medals in the Mississippi and Arkansas Senior Games. 

In January 2001, Ms. Hubbard was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and received chemotherapy and radiation.  However, she did not let her physical condition dictate her spiritual will to compete.  In May of 2002, she was back in the game 10 days after her last chemotherapy treatment running the 100 yard dash race and other track and field events.

In Cleveland, Ohio  this summer she placed in the 50 meter dash with a Bronze medal; Long jump with a Bronze medal; Javelin Throw 4th place; Triple Jump 5th place; Discus Throw 6th place; and 200 meter run 4th place finishing in .48 seconds.

Ms. Hubbard is a member of Solomon Chapel AME Church in Cleveland, Mississippi where she serves as a Trustee. Her pastor is Rev. Ruby Davidson.

Submitted By Sister Maye D. Martin


Do not open any Google Support messages alleged from Bishop Samuel Green, Bishop John White, Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry or anyone else – The messages in the emails are fake.

If you receive an email from Bishop Samuel Green inviting you to sign in to Google Support do not sign in.  The message is a fake. The message has a “Click here” link. Delete the message. Don’t sign in with your email and don’t click on it. 

Never sign into any message that asks you to sign in with your email address. And never, ever provide your password to anyone; and never in response to any email message.

If a message looks suspicious, don’t open it!

For at least the 25th time: Put all multiple addressees in "BCC" format and delete all previous addresses to prevent spamming.  When you forward email messages, delete the forwarding history as a courtesy to others who may not wish to have their email address sent all over the world. Erasing the history prevents spammers from mining addresses and prevents viruses.


We pray that God will comfort your heart, uplift your spirit, and carry you through this time of sadness to a place of peace.

It is with deep regret that the Second Episcopal Lay Organization announces the passing of centenarian, Brother Joel Emmett McCleod of Washington, DC.  Brother McCleod was an active member of Turner Memorial AMEC in Hyattsville, MD.

Brother McLeod, who was born February 22, 1910 in Jeff Davis County, GA, was 103 years old. He attended the local public schools, graduated from Georgia State College, served as a local school principal, and married his wife, Eva McLeod, who was a young teacher on his staff. Brother McCleod, subsequently, moved to Washington, DC and accepted a job with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although, Brother McLeod worked hard to take care of and provide for family, he was even more diligent working for his master and for his church. He served as a delegate to the ACE League Conference, vice president of the Georgia Club, pastor steward, member of senior choir, class leader, and local Sunday school treasurer and convention delegate.  When the Washington Conference Lay Organization was organized, Brother McLeod served as the first conference delegate.  Fifty years later he was elected as a delegate to the General Conference, again.

As a community leader, he served in many civic associations as member as well as officer, including   president of AARP Chapter 3473, member of the Iverson Mall Walkers, and the Hillcrest Heights Wellness Center; he was appointed to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and he was elected as one of the first Washington, DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.

He is survived by his wife of 74 years Williams McLeod, Eva; four children, Joel, Jr. (Linda), Benjamin, Judyth ("Butch") and Kay (Les); three grandchildren, Anthony (Edwina), Jo'Elle (Nathaniel) and Sati; step- grandson, Bernard; and three great-grandchildren –

Clara B. Neal,
Second Episcopal District,
Director of Public Relation


Click on View Events for schedules. Most events are open to the public.

The National Archives Marks 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
Remembered with special document display, program and screenings


(New York, NY) – The NAACP commends US District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin for her decision today regarding the New York Police Department’s racial profiling tactic of “stop-and-frisk”. In Floyd vs. City of New York, Judge Scheindlin ruled that stop-and-frisk violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, and said she would appoint an outside lawyer to monitor the NYPD for further violations.

“This is a groundbreaking victory. Judge Scheindlin recognized what the NAACP has been saying for years: the racial profiling tactic of stop-and-frisk has no place in our enlightened society,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “We hope that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly will heed this decision and end their crude and abusive policy. We will continue to stand up with the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who marched with us last June and fight for the protections of the Community Safety Act.”

On Father’s Day 2012, the NAACP joined with SEIU 1199 and National Action Network to lead a “Silent March to End Stop-and-Frisk” down Fifth Avenue in New York City. The march drew tens of thousands of people from diverse races, ethnicities and religions.

“This is a great day for justice and equality in this city,” stated New York NAACP President Hazel Dukes. “Our city is leading the way for others to follow. We are grateful to the city council members and those in our coalition who have stood up against this racial profiling policy. We now need those council members who courageously voted for the Community Safety Act to stay strong and override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto.”

The New York City Council is currently considering whether to override a veto of the Community Safety Act, a bill that would create an Inspector General for the NYPD and allow victims of stop and frisk to charge police for racial profiling.

“Judge Scheindlin’s decision to appoint an outside lawyer to monitor the NYPD bolsters the need for the Community Safety Act,” stated Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program. “We need an effective policy that bans racial profiling, an independent city agency to oversee the police department, and a legal recourse that empowers victims of racial profiling.”

According to the NYCLU, in 2012 the NYPD stopped and interrogated people 532,911 times, a 448% increase in street stops since 2002. Nine out of 10 people stopped were innocent, and about 87% were African-American or Latino. White people accounted for only about 10 percent of stops.

Judge Scheindlin wrote that ‘no person may be stopped because he matches a vague or generalized description — such as male black 18 to 24 — without further detail.’ In 2011, black and Latino men between the ages of 14 and 24 made up less than 5 percent of the city’s population, but 42 percent of those targeted by stop and frisk.

She also announced that “In a separate opinion, I will order remedies, including immediate changes to the NYPD's policies, a joint-remedial process to consider further reforms, and the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with the remedies ordered in this case.”


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.


Bishop Don DiXon Williams

Recent polls indicate that the approval rating for Congress has fallen to 10 percent—a historic low. Bickering and dysfunction on Capitol Hill are seemingly to blame for this frustration with lawmakers.

Over the past three years, efforts to reduce the federal deficit have overshadowed the people who are most in need of assistance. The most conservative wing of the House of Representatives has pushed for deep and disproportionate cuts to programs that help poor people. However, by fits and starts, Congress has come to agreement with the president on about $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction without gutting anti-poverty programs. Cuts to programs for poor people have come to about $25 billion—just one percent of the radical cuts that the House has proposed.

But deeper cuts to vital programs are inevitable unless Congress commits to work together and with the president on a sensible plan. When negotiations between Congress and the president broke down earlier this year, sequestration went into effect, triggering automatic budget cuts.

These cuts are doing real harm—70,000 fewer children will be enrolled in Head Start this year, for example, and millions of meals to housebound seniors have been eliminated. Unless sequestration is replaced, deeper cuts will continue each year and fewer vulnerable people will be protected.

During the economic crisis of 2008, hunger surged in the United States, but it has not since increased, even though poverty and unemployment rates have remained high. Because the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), which is funded through the farm bill, was protected during budget battles, the vital program helped to keep hunger at bay.  

This summer, the House Agriculture Committee proposed a farm bill that included $20 billion in cuts to SNAP. That is equivalent to eliminating half of all the charitable food distribution by churches and food banks over a 10-year period. But some House members wanted even steeper cuts—the House recently doubled the proposed cut to $40 billion.

A House committee has approved a cut of 26 percent to development assistance programs that provide help and opportunity to extremely hungry and poor people around the world.  These cuts would leave millions of people, in countries such as Ethiopia and Tanzania, without access to food aid, clean water, and life-saving medicine. 

Such cold, uncompromising decisions contribute to public disapproval of elected officials.

The nation is again approaching hard deadlines that will require our leaders to come to bipartisan agreement on budget matters. Failure would lead to government shutdown and, once again, risk our nation’s creditworthiness and economic recovery. 

We ask members of Congress to put an end to brinksmanship and come to agreement on these difficult issues. We must all urge them to maintain a circle of protection around the programs that help hungry and poor people in our country and abroad.

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


New America Media, Commentary, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Posted: Aug 12, 2013

The scuttlebutt is that Attorney General Eric Holder is poised to say what has long been obvious to anyone who has the faintest notion about how the wildly failed, flawed war on drugs has been waged for three decades. The obvious is that the war on drugs has been a ruthless, relentless and naked war on minorities, especially African-Americans.

In the coming weeks, Holder may tell exactly how he’ll wind that war down. It shouldn’t surprise if he does. President Obama and Holder have been hinting for a while that it’s time to rethink how the war is being fought and who its prime casualties have been. Their successful push a few years back to get Congress to finally wipe out a good deal of the blatantly racially skewed harsh drug sentencing for crack versus powder cocaine possession was the first hint. Another is the mixed signals that both have sent about federal marijuana prosecutions, sometimes tough, sometimes lax.

But if, and more likely when, Holder acts on much needed and long overdue drug law reforms, he’ll do it standing on solid ground. Past surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the sex and drug habits of Americans and a legion of other similar surveys have tossed the ugly glare on the naked race-tainted war on drugs. They found that whites and blacks use drugs in about the same rate.

Yet, more than 70 percent of those prosecuted in federal courts for drug possession and sale (mostly small amounts of crack cocaine) and given stiff mandatory sentences are blacks. Federal prosecutors and lawmakers in the past and some at present still justify the disparity with the retort that crack cocaine is dangerous and threatening, and lead to waves of gang shoot-outs, turf battles, and thousands of terrorized residents in poor black communities. In some instances, that's true, and police and prosecutors are right to hit back hard at the violence.

The majority, however, of those who deal and use crack cocaine aren't violent prone gang members, but poor, and increasingly female, young blacks. They clearly need treatment, not long prison stretches.

It's also a myth that powder cocaine is benign and has no criminal and violent taint to it. In a comprehensive survey in 2002, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the White House's low profile task force to combat drug use, attributed shoplifting, burglary, theft, larceny, money laundering and even the transport of undocumented workers in some cities to powdered cocaine use. It also found that powder cocaine users were more likely to commit domestic violence crimes. The report also fingered powder cocaine users as prime dealers of other drugs that included heroin, meth and crack cocaine.

The big difference is that the top-heavy drug use by young whites -- and the crime and violence that go with it -- has never stirred any public outcry for mass arrests, prosecutions, and tough prison sentences for white drug dealers, many of whom deal drugs that are directly linked to serious crime and violence. Whites unlucky enough to get popped for drug possession are treated with compassion, prayer sessions, expensive psychiatric counseling, treatment and rehab programs, and drug diversion programs. And they should be. But so should those blacks and other non-whites victimized by discriminatory drug laws.

A frank admission that the laws are biased and unfair, and have not done much to combat the drug plague, would be an admission of failure. It could ignite a real soul searching over whether all the billions of dollars that have been squandered in the failed and flawed drug war -- the lives ruined by it, and the families torn apart by the rigid and unequal enforcement of the laws -- has really accomplished anything.

This might call into question why people use and abuse drugs in the first place -- and if it is really the government's business to turn the legal screws on some drug users while turning a blind eye to others?

The greatest fallout from the nation’s failed drug policy is that it has further embedded the widespread notion that the drug problem is exclusively a black problem. This makes it easy for on-the-make politicians to grab votes, garner press attention, and balloon state prison budgets to jail more black offenders, while continuing to feed the illusion that we are winning the drug war.

In an interview, Holder on that point was blunt, “There’s been a decimation of certain communities, in particular communities of color.” This is no accident. The policy deliberately targeted those communities due to a lethal mix of racism, criminal justice system profit, political expediency, and media fed public mania over drug use. This is why Obama and Holder have delicately, but to their credit, publicly inched toward a rethink of the drug war, including who it benefits and who it hurts. They should be applauded for that.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter.


IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2013-18

If you’re looking for a way to help your community, then consider becoming a tax volunteer. The IRS is looking for volunteers now who will provide free tax help next year.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly are community-based programs. They provide free tax return preparation for people who need tax help but can’t afford it. People with low-to-moderate incomes, seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English skills usually qualify for this free service.

Here are six good reasons why you should become a VITA or TCE volunteer.

1) No previous experience is required. Volunteers receive specialized training and have the option of serving in a variety of roles. If you’re fluent in a language other than English, you can help those who do not speak English.

2) IRS provides free tax law training and materials that allow volunteers to prepare basic individual income tax returns. Volunteers learn many aspects of tax return preparation. This includes tax deductions and credits that benefit eligible taxpayers, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly.

3) The hours are flexible. Volunteers generally serve an average of three to five hours per week. Volunteer programs are open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline, which will be April 15, 2014.

4) Volunteer sites are located in communities throughout the nation. You’ll find them in neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations. VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing for both federal and state tax returns.

5) Veteran and non-veteran volunteers may be able to help military personnel and their families.

6) As a volunteer, you become part of a program that has helped people file tax returns at no charge for more than four decades. With VITA and TCE, you do make a difference. It’s people helping people. It's that simple.

Additional information about becoming a VITA or TCE volunteer is available on IRS.gov. Type the key words "tax volunteer" in the search box. Those interested need to submit Form 14310, VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up, by email through the IRS website.

More information:


Open positions are posted at: 


Bishop John F. White, Presiding Prelate
Mrs. Penny H. White, Episcopal Supervisor

Botswana Annual Conference
August 21–24, 2013
Balls AME Church—Lobatse District
Rev. Godfrey M. Jankie, Host Pastor
(+267) 76851777 / gmjankie@gmail.com 
The Rev. Tiroyaone Mobea, Host Presiding Elder
(+267) 71628437 / tmobea@gmail.com  and MobeaT@bpc.bw 

Mozambique Annual Conference
September 4-7, 2013
Sao Paulo AME Church, Beira Central District, Mozambique
The Rev. Jose Bussane, Host Pastor
The Rev. Jose Bussane, Host Presiding Elder

Swaziland Annual Conference
September 17-22, 2013
Nhlango AME Church, Shiselweni District
Box A 28, Swazi Plaza, Mbabane, Swaziland
The Rev M.T. Nkonyane, Host Pastor
The Rev. S. J. Nxumalo, Host Presiding Elder
(+268)76150365 / solomonj@gmail.com 

North-East Lesotho Annual Conference
October 9-13, 203
Botha-Bothe AME Church, Botha-Bothe District
P.O. Box 73048, Botha-Bothe 400, Lesotho
The Rev. L.S. Libete, Host Pastor
(+266) 58122251
The Rev. M.T. Machefo Host Presiding Elder
(+266) 63275121 / 63135447 / taelomachefu@gmail.com  

Lesotho Annual Conference
October 16 –20, 2013
Johnson Baker AME Church, Mafeteng District
P.O. Box 64 Mafeteng — 900, Lesotho
The Rev. S.C. Chakela, Host Pastor
(+266)58050774 / 57919141 / 22700273
The Rev. T.S. Malealea, Host Presiding Elder
(+266) 63077153 / tsmalealea@yahoo.com 


DENTON, TX (August 1, 2013) - The St. James AME Church in partnership with the Denton County Health Department announces the Building Healthy Relationships: HIV/AIDS workshop, which coincides with National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day on September 18 and National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27. The event will be held Saturday, September 21, 2013, from 12-2 p.m., at 1107 E. Oak, in Denton, Texas.

This local effort collaborates with Marie Brown, Denton County Health Department; Ben Calloway, Health Services of North Texas; Diona Cuellar, The Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse of Dallas; and Kelly Richter, Gilead Sciences Pharmaceuticals to raise awareness and equip our community with the knowledge and tools to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The workshop will feature presentations on HIV 101 basics; offer HIV testing; disseminate prevention and treatment information; and provide care and support resources. The presenters will make up the expert panel and answer questions in the workshop.

Judith Dillard, New Bethel CIC Church, Ft. Worth, plans to make a special presentation focusing on the challenges facing people living with HIV/AIDS. She is the Community Outreach and Health Educator under the direction of Pastor Michael Moore. Special invited guest includes Robert Ashley, News Director and Talk Show Host of KHVN Heaven 97 Radio.

Of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections each year, more than 50 percent occur among African Americans. AIDS is the number one cause of death among black adults, ages 25 to 44, before heart disease, cancer and homicide (BalminGilead.org, 2013).

In Denton County, the 2011 Texas Health and Human Services HIV Surveillance reports HIV infection rate was largest among age group 20-24 (41.8%); followed by ages 25-29 (35.2%); and 30-34 (28.5%); and 35 years and older were 26.1%. African Americans had the highest rate of infection at 48.8%, Hispanics 14.3%, and Whites, 9%. Among all groups, African American women had the highest rate of HIV/AIDS diagnoses at a rate 58.8%; followed by Hispanic men (36.1%); African American men (35.1%); and White men (25.1%).

Other activities include:

• Onsite HIV/AIDS testing
• Gift bags given to the first 50 people.
• Door prizes, skits and music.
• Health literature and care resources.

Lunch will be provided for workshop participants.

Pastor Mason Rice said, “HIV/AIDS is at epidemic levels nationally and locally, and we must make people aware.” He added, “This is a public health issue, and the faith community can work with others to ensure that those we serve have access to screenings, learn ways to prevent the transmission of the disease, and advocate for better care and treatment.”

St. James AME Church is in its 139th year of providing service and leadership to the community. In 1985, it was designated as an historical landmark, and has played an integral part in the religious tradition of Denton.

For more information, call Mary C. Taylor at 940-220-9054 or 940-387-1223.


*Dr. Oveta Fuller

Several ladies were chatting after the Sunday morning worship service. One asked if Brother Jones was still in the hospital. Another answered, “Yes, he is still there after over two months, and it is hard to believe that a broken leg could be so difficult to deal with.” Another lady added, “I spoke with Sister Jones who said that since he has been there, they have found that he has cancer.” 

After a few quiet moments to adsorb this new information, one of the group said, “Oh my!” Another proclaimed, “I don’t believe it! I don’t believe that a broken leg could lead to cancer. We will have to continue to pray for him and pray for strength for Sister Jones as they go through this time.” It took another few quiet moments to comprehend all that had been said. Then the last person in the conversation chimed in, “I hear your thinking, but it is not likely that the broken leg caused the cancer. It is more likely that the broken leg was related to cancer that was already present. Perhaps it is a blessing that Bro. Jones had to be hospitalized for the broken leg so the underlying condition- cancer could be detected and dealt with. Breaking the leg did not cause cancer. Likely presence of cancer contributed to the fall that ended in a broken bone for Bro. Jones.” 

The above scenario is based on a true story. It well illustrates the concern and frontline potential of an engaged and informed church in the lives of individuals and families. It also illustrates how understanding, or lack thereof, can profoundly affect perspectives and actions. An ongoing effective Health or Wellness Ministry and training of clergy, officer leaders and members about health related issues can contribute substantially to physical, spiritual and mental well-being.

Reframing is occurring

Cancer, once known as the “Big C”, typically was not openly discussed. However, education and awareness campaigns are reframing cancer as another disease, albeit still a dreaded one that takes a high toil. It can be fatal quickly when diagnosis is delayed. With early detection, cancer often can be dealt with medically for a cure, or at least to keep at bay debilitating or fatal outcomes. 

In 2013, instead of secretiveness and shame about the “Big C,” we talk more openly about cancer.  For example, the month of October includes a focus on breast cancer detection and research.  Even hefty professional football players participate in the awareness campaign by wearing pink socks or using pink gear in their October games. Other months are dedicated to awareness of prostate, lung or other kinds of cancer. Though the race to cure cancer is not yet won, we have come a long way. Still there is much to do that would decrease illness and deaths from cancer.   

In the after church conversation described above, it is a blessing that Bro. Jones went to a hospital for the broken leg so that presence of cancer could be determined. The leg injury may have occurred as one indication of the body’s distress. Cancer of the bone might have led to a weakened limb and to a fall.  Such might have started in cells of the bone tissue. Or the cancer could have “metastasized” to this location. Cancer might have weakened Bro. Jones’s muscle-skeletal system to result in an overall fragile unsteady body. Dividing cancer cells can usurp nutrients and energy from food intake that is usually available for normal cell functions. The broken leg did not cause cancer, but most likely the cancer contributed to events that resulted in the broken bone injury.

What fundamentally happens in cancer?

Cancer occurs when normal body cells lose control of their cell division and growth. Amazingly, healthy cells of the human body limit their own development, division and continued growth. Control of cell division is programmed by genes in DNA inside a cell. The natural order is that normal cells divide to make more cells, but only until there is physical contact with another cell or tissue. This is called “contact inhibition”. It is a normal physiological attribute of healthy tissue.  (We are fearfully and wonderfully made!)

When something causes mutations or reprograms genes of a normal cell so the cell loses growth control, a “transformed” cell is produced. Transformed cells continue to divide indefinitely. One cell divides to make 2, 2 to 4; 4 to 8; 8 to 16; 16 to 32; 32 to 64; 64 to 128 and so on, to produce a mass of cells, or a “tumor”. When dividing cells in the interior of a mass of transformed cells demand nutrients and energy, blood vessels can be produced to transport required nutrients and allow waste elimination. This process of angiogenesis takes vital energy, nutrients and physical space away from normal cells and tissues. It can lead to weakness, recurring pain, fatigue and many other symptoms. Or, sometimes there are no obvious symptoms.

As a further complication, a few transformed cells may break away from a tumor mass and travel through the blood stream to a different part of the body. These cells lodge in a capillary (small blood vessel) in other tissues or organs where the transformed cell will continue to divide since it has no contact restrictions. This leads to “metastasized” cancer.  For example, metastasized cancer has occurred if a tumor mass in the liver is found to have biological markers to indicate that it originated from cells in the membranes of the lungs. Such metastasized masses often appear in multiple locations in later stages of cancer. It is always best if presence of cancer cells or discovery of a tumor mass is detected early in development and dealt with BEFORE metastasis occurs.

What does this mean for individuals?

High intake of fruits and vegetables in a balanced diet helps to keep anti-oxidant levels elevated so the body’s immune defenses function well to detect and destroy transformed cells early before they multiply. Routine screening tests such as mammograms, prostate exams, breast self-exams, PAP smears, colon-rectal scans and monitoring changes in skin appearance can detect changes that might indicate development of transformed cells. If detected early by sensitive screening technology or by routine physical exams, transformed cells in tissue can be removed surgically, treated by chemical therapy or irradiated to kill these faster growing cells. Ideally this happens before a visible mass, tumor or lump is formed. Without early detection, transformed cells grow unchecked to a larger mass, tumor or lump that can cause serious illness or even metastasize to damage key organs.

What is the take home message?

Get tested. Get screened. As testing for HIV infection is critical to controlling HIV/AIDS, regular cancer screening exams can reduce illness and deaths from cancer. Screening can occur at annual physicals (as recommended by your health care provider) or may be requested at a medical care appointment. If cancer screening is not mentioned in a physical or medical visit, ask the health care provider about age and gender appropriate screening procedures you should do, or undergo for preventive health care.

Some screening can occur through church, community or workplace health fair opportunities. Take advantage of these. Pay attention to educational sessions in workplace or media campaigns.

Stay alert to your own body and its natural changes during the aging process. There is truth in the statement “getting older is not for cowards.” Aging with grace, confidence and enjoying the blessing of good health requires intentional effort of individuals, family and community.

Cancer, like HIV/AIDS and so many other diseases, has a disproportionately high impact on Black Americans and people of color globally. To reduce the likelihood of severe disease or fatal outcomes:  (1) get routine screening tests that can detect cancer cells early when they more easily can be eliminated.  (2) Eat a balanced diet that includes high fruit and vegetable content. (3) Remain physically active to regularly invigorate the body and its immune defenses. (4) Avoid exposure to known carcinogens (cancer causing agents) such as smoke, radiation, some chemicals and some infectious agents. (5) Tune in to pay attention to your physical temple. Without becoming paranoid, be aware of how your body feels, performs or appears. Especially check into sudden changes in any of these. (6) Remain spiritually engaged and regularly refresh the mind with positive thoughts.

An informed and aware person is the best defense against cancer.  Setting up and sustaining an effective Health Ministry to move better health information and wellness tips to members of a congregation can be a huge blessing.

*The Rev. Dr. A. Oveta Fuller is an Associate Professor in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School and Adjunct Faculty at Payne Seminary. She served as pastor of Bethel AME Church in Adrian, MI for seven years before primarily focusing on global HIV/AIDS ministry. Currently, she serves at Brown Chapel AME Church in Ypsilanti, Michigan in the 4th Episcopal District while continuing HIV/AIDS research in parts of Zambia and the USA. 


Bill Dickens, Allen AME Church, Tacoma, Washington

Basic Need

When a new store or stadium is ready to debut, the event is characterized with much celebration and fanfare.  Local officials will have a big ribbon-cutting ceremony to symbolize the store or building is officially “open for business”.  It is not uncommon for local high school bands to play several selections and leading political and business leaders to provide short speeches to highlight the significance of the event for the community at large.  The August 18, 2013 Adult AME Church School Lesson looks at the “grand opening “of the Jerusalem Wall.  Nehemiah was committed to not only having a celebration to mark this historic event but more importantly equipping his fellow countrymen with a sense of purpose, pride and praise for what the rebuilding project means from a spiritual perspective.

Basic Lesson

Nehemiah Chapter 12 represents a personal eye-witness account of the preparation and proclamation about the Great Wall of Jerusalem.  Walls are important in the fabric of human history because they offer inhabitants protection against enemies and provide security and stability for every member.  The restoration of the Great Wall of Jerusalem was no exception.  Nehemiah however knew this infrastructure was more than just physical protection.  The Great Wall also symbolized God’s providential care in the lives of His people.  For that reason the Wall is dedicated with a spiritual renewal consisting of music and celebration (Neh. 12: 27-28).  In addition to the music, people such as the Levites, priests and government officials were required to be purified or spiritually cleansed prior to dedication of the Wall back to God.  (Neh. 12: 29-36).  Nehemiah concludes the dedicatory service by emphasizing the importance of participants to give thanks and sacrifices to God for living to see this great event.  (Neh. 12:38 & 43)

Basic Application

When we build a wall our intent, knowingly or not, is to keep people or things at a distance from our private property.  People who choose to live in gated communities accept the gate as a symbol for restricted access.  Everybody just can’t come and go as they please in “gated communities”.  God’s Grace is the antithesis of the gated community philosophy.  There is no restricted access to God’s ubiquitous love and care.  God provides protection for his believers ‘round the clock as seen in the Biblical witness of Elijah, King David and the Three Hebrew Boys in the book of Daniel.  Throughout human history there have been many great walls: Great Wall of China, Walls of Jericho, Hadrian’s Wall and the Berlin Wall to name a few.  The common denominator for each is seen in the emphasis of exclusivity.  Jesus however transcends “walls” by demonstrating that unless we embrace inclusiveness of those we dislike, our external wall will prove fruitless in the eyesight of God.  Nehemiah rejoiced and celebrated at the dedication of the Jerusalem Wall.  We celebrate that God’s Wall today is not based on fear of unknown enemies but the fact that Jesus stands ready to receive all who accept his invitation.

*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

I recently had the less than pleasurable experience of being in an auto accident. A careless and very apologetic driver pulled out of a parking lot and drove right into my path.  It took a couple of weeks to straighten things out since the other driver, regretfully, had his insurance expire the day before the accident.

My insurance company followed through, appraised the damage and sent me a check to cover the cost of repairs, but they also sent me a copy of the appraisal and asked that I share it with the shop that would repair my vehicle.  They included an explanatory note that said, “Some of the damage may be hidden until the shop tears things down and takes a closer look, but if there is any unseen damage, give us a call and we’ll cover you and fix it.”

I found that note to be reassuring, and I also found it to be an object lesson in why it’s good to know and trust in the Lord. 
Try as we may, all of us run into unanticipated troubles in life sooner or later - troubles that shake us, damage us and leave us feeling less than whole and in woeful need of spiritual repair.  We usually do our best in those times to fix things on our own, but often find out that our best efforts to make things right and whole still leave us with unseen, unanticipated and damaging cares, fears and uncertainties.

When we believe by faith, however, in the Christ who came into this world to give His life for our sins and to clear up the confusing and damaging times in our lives, we can find relief, restoration and wholeness.  We can be assured that when unseen and unexpected headaches, heartaches and obstacles come our way, we can still go in prayer to the God who says, “Give me a call and I’ll cover you and fix it.”

We’ll all face our share of damaging situations and unseen problems sooner or later, but that’s not what matters.  What matters is that the God we serve knows what we need before we even think to ask for it, has the power to make us whole; and can restore us, encourage us, reassure us and enable us to say with those who shook off the chains of slavery and the indignities of “Jim Crow” segregation, “Whenever you pray let Him have His way, Jesus will fix it for you.”

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

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


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. Gerald Powell, a member of New Tyler AME Church IN Memphis, Tennessee for more than 25 years. Mr. Powell is the husband of Mrs. Rita Fugh Powell and father of Jerita and Jeralyn Powell. He is also the brother-in-law of Ms. Gwendolyn Fugh Dillihunt, 13th Episcopal District WMS President, and cousin of Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the 14th Episcopal District.

The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements:

Friday, August 16, 2013
Wake - 2-5 p.m.
R. S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home
374 Vance Avenue
Memphis, TN. 38126
6-8 p.m.
New Tyler AME Church
3300 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN. 38122

Funeral - Saturday August 17, 2013
11:00 a.m.

New Tyler AME Church
3300 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN. 38122

Telephone: 901-3239371

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:
Mrs. Rita Powell
3636 Shadyhollow
Memphis, TN 38116


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. David Moore, the brother of the Rev. Gerry Moore, pastor of First Community AME Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and who serves as a connectional ceremonial marshal.  Mr. David Moore passed on Monday, August 12, 2013 at the age of 52 after a short illness.

Services for Mr. David Moore:


Monday, August 19, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
A.D. Porter & Sons Funeral Home
1300 West Chestnut Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40203
Phone: 502-587-9678
Fax: 502-581-1869

Visiting hours for the family will be:

Sunday, August 18, 2013
4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
A.D. Porter & Sons Funeral Home
1300 West Chestnut Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40203
Phone: 502-587-9678

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Reverend Gerry Moore
15912 Avalon Avenue
South Holland, Illinois 60473

Telephone: 616-459-0151
Cell: 708-574-6802


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Robyn Cliett, the daughter of Mrs. Doris Reynolds, past connectional officer of Conn-M-SWAWO + PK's and widow of the late Rev. Dr. J. C. Reynolds, Atlanta North Georgia Conference.

Services for Mrs. Robyn Cliett:


Saturday, August 17, 2013, 12:00 noon
Turner Monumental AME Church
66 Howard Street, NE
Atlanta, Georgia

The Rev. J. Haithcoat, Pastor

There will not be a wake.  The viewing will be 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Murray Funeral Home on Friday, August 16, 2013.

Murray Brothers Funeral Home
1199 Utoy Springs Road, SW
Atlanta, GA 30331
Phone: 404-349-3000

Minister's spouses, widows and widowers attending the service are requested to wear black with the organizational stoles or pin.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

Mrs. Doris Reynolds
5035 Cascade Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30331

Telephone: 404-699-0521


We regret to inform you of the passing of Sister Denise Ann Fortune. Sister Fortune is the granddaughter of the late Rev. Thelma Pearson, an associate minister at Saint Matthew AME Church in Philadelphia and the cousin of the Rev. Stephen M. Lewis, pastor of Bethel AMEC in Freeport, New York. She was a member of Wesley AMEC in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania where the Rev. Victoria Brown is the pastor.

The following information has been provided regarding funeral arrangements.

The funeral was held on Friday, August 9, 2013 at St. Matthew AME Church in Philadelphia. The Rev. Roland McCall is the pastor, the Rev. Stephen M. Lewis officiated and the Rev. Pleasant Hailey, retired pastor from the Philadelphia Annual Conference was the eulogist

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:

Thurman Fortune
709 Washington Ave.
Media, PA 19063-4112


This message to inform you of the passing of Dorothy Miller-Melvin on Sunday, August 4, 2013. She was the daughter of the late Rev. Dr. Isaac J. Miller II and Mrs. Hattie Miller.

The Celebration of Life Service for Dorothy Miller-Melvin was held on Monday August 12, 2013 at Turner Memorial AME Church in Hyattsville, Maryland. The interment was held on Tuesday August 13, 2013 at the Maryland Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Cheltenham, Cheltenham, Maryland.

Cards can be mailed to

3406 Edwards Street
Springdale, MD 20774


We regret to inform you of the passing of Sister Shirley Cyprian of Oakland California.  She was the sister of the Rev. Nathaniel (Debra) Cyprian, (retired) pastor of the Louisiana Conference; the sister of Sister Dorothy (Charles) Hampton of Fluker Chapel AME Church, Fluker, Louisiana; the aunt of Sister Denice M. Williams, Saint Philip AME Church in Atlanta, Georgia; the aunt of the Rev. Dennis J. (Barbara P.) Hampton, pastor of Bethel AME Church in Claremore (Tulsa), OK; and the cousin of the Rev Joseph (Lois) Cyprian, retired Presiding Elder in the Louisiana Conference.

The Funeral was held on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at Fluker Chapel AME Church in Fluker, Louisiana.

The Rev Wardell Dyson is the pastor and the Rev. Dennis J. Hampton was the eulogist

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:

The Rev. Joseph Cyprian
P O Box 615
Folsom, LA 70437

Sister Denice M. Williams: dwblessed3@yahoo.com
The Rev. Dennis J. Hampton: PastorHampton@aol.com


We regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. Tony Glover, Jr., the brother of First Lady Gail Glover Booker-wife of the Rev. Spencer Lamar Booker, Senior Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Homegoing Service was held on Friday, August 9, 2013 at Jones Brothers Mortuary Memorial Chapel in Macon, Georgia.


Gratitude is expressed to the Rev. Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder, who I am proud to partner with in online ministry and for his magnanimous sprit. Dr. Sydnor, as he did in October 2012 when I had spine surgery, arose early on Wednesday morning August 7, 2013 and drove through thunder storms to be present for my total knee-replacement procedure, in order to be present to offer encouragement, prayer and words of assurance to me and to my husband, the Reverend Dr. William W. Easley, Jr.

I have now been discharged after the assurance of a successful surgery procedure to the watchful eyes and caring spirit of my husband. A surgical nurse will visit our home two days a week for one month and the physical therapist will visit three times a week for six weeks, after-which I will go to out patient physical therapy for three days a week.

Thanks to each of you for your prayers and well wishes.

God Bless!
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
The AME Church Clergy Family Information Center
(615) 833-6936 (O) * (615) 403-7751 (C) * (615) 837-9736 (H) & FAX
www.amecfic.org * https://www.facebook.com/AMECFIC * http://twitter.com/AMEC_CFIC


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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