The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
AME Church Connectional Day of Prayer – April 11, 2014
Easter: April 20, 2014
March: Women’s History Month
1. TCR EDITORIAL – ONE-LINERS - “THE SYMPTOMS OF A FAILING CHURCH”
Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III
The 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder
Changing a failing church to a growing church
Failing churches can be turned around. I want to share some one-liner clues of failing churches, but first the bottomline up front.
The way to turn around a failing church is by prayer, fasting and hard work. Hard work and more hard work; having a strategy for ministry and more hard work; a love for the Bible and more hard work; a love for people and more hard work; a love for the community and more hard work; a committed and spiritually focused ministry team and more hard work; a love for local church, pastoral and episcopal leadership and more hard work; a love for the African Methodist Episcopal Church and more hard work; follow The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church- 2012, resist the temptation to “do it your way and more hard work; and a commitment to more prayer and more fasting and more hard work; and more prayer and more hard work; patience and more hard work. And, a love for the African Methodist Episcopal Church is a must.
Let me get off-track
Every church can’t be a mega-church. Historically AME churches were not designed to be mega-churches. Historically we had small churches, medium-sized churches and couple of large churches in annual conferences.
In the eighties and nineties of the last century, some of our talented pastors were able to grow large AME and even some mega-church congregations. And, of course, growing very large or mega-churches became the dream of many pastors.
We have a number of mega church pastors who are gifted and successful pastors.
Let me take the Rev. Dr. Grainger and the Rev. Dr. JoAnn Browning, and I don’t mean to embarrass them, as an example. They would have been mega-church pastors no matter in what denomination hey pastored. They could have been Baptist, Church of God in Christ, nondenominational or any church and they would have grown whatever church they pastored into a mega-church. Bishop T.D. Jakes would have been a mega-church pastor wherever he served; and the same with other mega-church and large church pastors.
For instance, Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram served for 13 years as the pastor of the Oak Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan before being elevated into the episcopacy and under his leadership, 2,400 members joined Oak Grove and more than 1,400 became tithers and under his pastorate, $2.3-million building-and-expansion project was paid off in five years. We have other pastors who have done equally well in growing the churches to which they were assigned. Obviously they have unique gifts. And, like the Brownings, the Ingrams and others who have grown large congregations have gifts that most of us do not have.
We may not have their gifts, but we have the gifts and graces that God has given each of us who are called to ministry. God’s work will not fail if we “stay in God’s will” and use our God-given gifts, which might mean pastoring a medium-sized or even a small church. Pastors need to use their pastoral skills to the glory of God.
Let me get to the one-liners
- Uncommitted parishioners who are too busy to work in the church
- Inconsistent attendance of parishioners
- Lazy parishioners who fail to participate in ministry
- Inconsistent stewardship of the laity and clergy
- Local church organizations that fail to function
- Choir members who won’t attend choir rehearsals
- Choirs that won’t rehearse
- Choirs that refuse to learn new songs
- Choir directors and musicians who won’t practice
- Musicians who won’t take time to learn how to play hymns
- Musicians who won’t take the time to learn contemporary music
- Musicians who arrive late for worship services
- Musicians who think they are the “main event” in worship services
- Ushers who don’t take their jobs seriously
- Usher Boards that refuse to rehearse and practice
- Ushers who are not people-friendly
- Ushers who turn people off
- Absence of church school
- Absence of church school activities
- Unconcern about the absence of a vibrant church school
- Absence of youth in the religious program / worship services
- No structured youth programs
- Absence of structured programs for the elderly
- Absence of training for new members
- Unstructured or no Bible study
- Absence of prayer meetings or structured prayer sessions
- No training for stewards, trustees and other church officers
- Absence of social interaction between pastor and church officers
- Lack of respect for authority at all levels of the ministry
- Failure to constructively address conflict
- Lack of openness and secretiveness about the affairs of the church
- Failure to strategize and plan for ministry
- Absence of pastoral leadership
- Absence of local church officers’ leadership
- Low-energy church officers
- Church officers who fail to read The Doctrine and Discipline 2012
- Church officers who fail to follow The Doctrine and Discipline 2012
- Church officers who won’t read the Bible
- Church officers who are biblically illiterate
- Church officers who fail to read and love the Bible
- Church officers concerned about position rather than ministry
- Church officers who are unqualified and uncommitted to ministry
- Church officers who won’t follow pastoral leadership
- Pastors who won’t follow the episcopal leadership
- Pastors without vision or energy
- Pastors who tolerate uncommitted musicians and officers
- Pastors who fail to take responsibility for ministry
- Pastors who allow the pulpit to be disrespected
- Pastors who have become discouraged
- Pastors who fail to reenergize themselves
- Pastors who fail to care for their families
- Pastors who fail to take care of themselves
- Pastors who fail to be well-read
- Pastors who rely upon his or her sermon for church growth
- Pastors who fail to prepare sermons or “grab” sermons of the internet
- Pastors who are concerned about the next pastoral appointment
- Pastors who fail to teach
- Pastors who fail to mentor subordinate clergy
- Pastors who fail to mentor church officers and parishioners
- Pastors who take “short-cuts” in ministry
- Pastors who fail the prophetic and priestly functions of ministry
- Pastor who fail to provide community-based ministry
- Pastors who fail to visit the sick and shut-in church members
- Pastors who fail to study
- Pastors who fail to grow
- Pastors who are not skilled in interpersonal relationships
- Pastors who refuse to maintain theological and academic updates
- Pastors who fail to learn
- Pastors who fail to delegate
- Pastors who appoint incompetent church officers
- Pastors who tolerate incompetence
- Pastors who are untrusting of the local church leadership
- Pastors who are not grounded in the Bible
- Pastors who do not follow The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church- 2012
There are probably other one-liners that some of you can add. We invite you to do so.
We always invite op-ed (opposing editorials) to this and other TCR editorials.
2. CONNECTIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH – APRIL 11- 13, 2014:
The Connectional Day of Prayer for the African Methodist Episcopal Church will be held on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12 Noon (U.S. Eastern Time):
Call In Number: 605. 475-4850
Access Code: 357450 #
Please note that this call initiates a season of prayer which begins on Friday, April 11 and continues through Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014. Additional calls for prayer will hopefully continue on Saturday and Palm Sunday.
Friday, April 11th has been chosen because it denotes the date of the election and consecration of our beloved founder and first bishop, Richard Allen. As global sons and daughters of Richard and Sarah Allen we look forward to sharing our prayer time in our own unique time zones.
We thank God for the life and Episcopal ministry of our “Prayer Bishop,” the late Bishop Sarah Frances Taylor Davis, whose life and prayers inspire us today.
For more information call: 614.575-2279
*Bishop McKinley Young is the Presiding Prelate of the 3rd Episcopal District and Dr. Dorothy Young is the Episcopal Supervisor
3. THREE BELIN SIBLINGS INDUCTED INTO MOREHOUSE COLLEGE CROWN FORUM INDUCTION CEREMONY:
A contingent of Stewards, Trustees, and Members of Lee Chapel AME Church journeyed to Atlanta’s Morehouse College on Thursday, April 3, 2014 to witness the induction of their pastor, the Reverend Roderick Dwayne Belin during the Crown Forum Induction Ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers, Board of Sponsors, and Collegium of Scholars. The College of Ministers & Laity recognizes pastors, other ordained clergy, and laity engaged in ministry as their primary professional vocation who have distinguished themselves as exemplary spiritual leaders in the ethical tradition of Dr. King.
The Rev. Roderick Belin was inducted along with over 80 faith leaders in the largest class ever of the Annual College of Ministers and Laity Program. Inducted with Pastor Roderick Belin were his siblings; the Reverend Henry Allen Belin III, pastor, First AME Church: Bethel AME Church in New York City; and the Rev. Toni Belin Ingram, pastor, Greater Smith Chapel AME Church in Atlanta.
They are the children of retired Bishop Henry A. Belin and Supervisor Lucinda Belin. The Rev. Roderick Belin, a graduate of Morehouse College, is a former Chapel Assistant and member of the renowned Morehouse College Glee Club. According to sources, this is the first time three sibling pastors were simultaneously inducted into the College of Ministers & Laity.
Also inducted was the Reverend Joshua Dubois, former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The son Presiding Elder W. Antoni Sinkfield, of the North Nashville District of the Tennessee Conference, the Rev. Dubois’ early religious foundations was in the AME Church. He left his White House position last November to write the best-selling book, The President’s Devotionals, and to become the founding CEO of Values Partnership.
The mission of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College is to teach, encourage, inspire and support the development of “everyone we touch as ambassadors of the Beloved World Community.” The vision is that the Chapel will be a beacon for students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as others from around the world that seek a meaningful connection with Dr. King’s World House values of ethics, nonviolence, service and unity.
Founding dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Lawrence Carter, created the Board of Preachers 29 years ago to honor King’s legacy. Citizens in the public or private sectors and academicians across faith traditions are also recognized.
The Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel vocational exploration programs support members of the Morehouse community in discovering and living their unique, vocational “calling” as servant scholar leaders. The thirty-two year old Chapel Assistants program develops and prepares students called to a learned pastoral ministry and assists students called to service in other fields in making meaningful career decisions.
With nearly 900 inducted members since 1985, the Martin Luther King Jr. College of Ministers and Laity program (including Board of Preachers, Board of Sponsors, and Collegium of Scholars) also provides ongoing professional development for alumni clergy and other faith leaders in the practice.
For more information about Morehouse College visit their website at http://www.morehouse.edu. For information about the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel visit http://www.morehouse.edu/mlkchapel.
4. PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY RECEIVES GRANT TO STUDY CONFIRMATION PRACTICES:
The African Methodist Episcopal Church among denominations in the study
Princeton, NJ, April 1, 2014–Princeton Theological Seminary received a $1.1M grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund a study of confirmation practices in five North American Protestant denominations—the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The Confirmation Project, Christian Youth: Learning and Living the Faith, will explore the effectiveness of confirmation and equivalent practices for strengthening discipleship in youth. It will also provide churches with examples of strategies and practices to help young Christians grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
“We want to understand how young people make decisions, how they integrate faith into their lives, and how they are initiated to the church,” says Richard Osmer, professor in the Practical Theology Department at Princeton Seminary and one of two codirectors of the project. “We’ll ask questions to explore diverse practices, who participates, and how long confirmation programs are.”
The study comes at a time when demographics in both church and society are changing. Technology will be a key part of the project, according to Katherine Douglass, codirector and post-doctoral fellow at Princeton Seminary. “We want to take advantage of innovations in technology that young people use, like new media and social networks. We are using some of the money from the grant to design an interactive web site for gathering and sharing data and models, and for creating online communities.”
The project’s codirectors, steering committee members, and graduate assistants for each denomination are currently identifying individual congregations to participate in the study. Qualitative research will begin in the fall of 2014, with site visits and a focus on storytelling about confirmation practices. The project will conclude in December 2016.
Osmer says that Princeton Seminary is the logical place to lodge this study because it has historically combined a commitment to excellent scholarship and a strong Ph.D.-level Practical Theology Department, with a deep commitment to the church. “We value research, but the goal is always to help people do better ministry.”
The Confirmation Project is ecumenical and committed to diversity. “We want churches to learn from each other,” says Osmer. “We are thrilled to include the largest African American denomination (AME), and to include research with English-, Spanish-, and Korean-speaking congregations.”
In the end, the goal is to benefit churches and young people. Research outcomes include helping churches gain an understanding of confirmation and equivalent practices across denominations, and helping them assess the expectations and levels of satisfaction of young people, their parents, and ministry leaders. “There are huge gaps between what parents, ministers, and young people think about confirmation,” Osmer says. “We want congregations to close that gap. We hope this research will serve as a basis for a fresh discussion about confirmation and other practices that support discipleship formation of youth.”
For more information, email email@example.com or visit http://theconfirmationproject.com/.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. More information can be found at www.lillyendowment.org.
Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church of Jesus Christ worldwide, and its more than 500 students and 11,000 graduates from all fifty states and many nations around the world serve Christ in churches, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies, initiatives for social justice, mission agencies, and the emerging ministries of the church in the twenty-first century.
5. MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
Last night [March 31, 2014], the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act came to an end.
And this afternoon [April 1, 2014], we announced that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.
That doesn't count the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their families' plans. It doesn't count the millions more who have gotten covered through the expansion of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. It doesn't include the more than 100 million folks who now have better care -- who are receiving additional benefits, like mammograms and contraceptive care, at no extra cost.
Now, millions of our fellow Americans have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing they're no longer leaving their health and well-being to chance. For many of them, quality health insurance wasn't an option until this year -- maybe because they couldn't afford it, or because a pre-existing condition kept them locked out of a discriminatory system.
Today, that's changed. And while our long-broken health care system may not be completely fixed, it's without question a lot better. That's something to be proud of -- and there's no good reason to go back.
Regardless of your politics, or your feelings about the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans with health coverage is something that's good for our economy and our country.
At the end of the day, that is what this law -- and the other reforms we're fighting for, from a 21st-century immigration system to a fairer wage for every American who's willing to work for it -- are all about:
Making sure our country lives up to our highest ideals.
I am thankful to be your President today, and every day. And I am proud that this law will continue to make life better for millions of Americans in the years to come.
President Barack Obama
6. PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIONAL CALL WITH THE FAITH COMMUNITY:
*Ms. Jacquelyn “Jackie” Dupont-Walker, Director, Social Action Commission – AME Church
Greetings and we welcome this opportunity to share the story about the AME Church’s journey with the Affordable Care Act. We could give a start-date going back to advocacy for this law, but actually our church’s concern for ministry to the whole person goes back to the Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia in the Spring of 1793. The city sought the assistance of the Free African Society (now known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church) to help treat and bury poor people of all races - based on the mistaken assumption or myth that native Africans would have the same partial immunity to the new disease as many had to malaria and even knowing the risks, they readily agreed. So what we have done in outreaching, educating, and enrolling people in this blessing called the Affordable Care Act (and, to many Obama Care) is a continuation of caring for all of God’s people.
The AME Council of Bishops unanimously endorsed, the General Board affirmed, and the Social Action and Health Commissions executed, partnering and collaborating with many of our departments, organizations, auxiliaries, Episcopal Districts, Annual Conferences, and local congregations. We also worked collaboratively with other community groups, and ecumenical/inter-faith bodies. Embracing the marketing advice that it takes 27 hits to get attention and 7 hits to inspire action, we have erred on the side of saturation with eBlasts, conference calls, webinars, and presentations at seminars, meetings, and conferences. These efforts have created internal and external networks that can stay together and with asset mapping, the partners will learn more about each other. As we go forward – adding prevention and wellness as a focus – we can make a difference in the quality of life. Our experience has validated one more time, that there is nothing that cannot be done when we come together in networks.
What other time in our history will we be able to help our communities focus on wellness, to help every citizen access a means to be healthy and treat medical conditions breaking the trend of making emergency rooms and “urgent care” our primary care physicians? The need for messaging coming from trusted voices – the Black Church – made our involvement more compelling.
Over these last months, we have made presentations at every major church gathering, supported those who wanted to become certified educators and enrollment specialists, as well as navigators, distributed materials widely, and trained volunteers to create a “buzz” in church settings and in informal community places like beauty salons, barber shops, nail salons, markets, on buses and trains, just everywhere.
When a state chose not to create a marketplace or expand the Medicaid options, we have re-doubled our efforts and used resources from Enroll America and the HHS offices. Specifically, the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer of the AME Church designated staff to use the official website as a connector to Enroll America and www.healthcare.gov. Our Social Action and Health Commission websites created links to collateral material, enrollment sites, resources, and reporting forms re work done and help needed.
Pausing to recognize every AME who caught the spirit and answered the call to make this praise report possible, I share our outcome thus far:
Targeting our leadership - Six conference calls reaching thousands of participants and three national webinars that reached over 1,000 leaders in our denomination (over 450 in one webinar); events - Over 5,000 events from the remote rural areas to large urban centers. Much of this success is a result of collaborations with other faith groups and community organizations.
Lee Chapel in Nashville Tennessee organized an event in partnership with the NAACP and other churches to educate and enroll. They were supported by Enroll America. Radio advertising, flyer leafleting, phone banking, and personal invitations were used in addition to e-blasts, twittering, and Instagram. All organizational websites listed information about the Feb 15th event. Of those who attended 40% received personal counseling and 10% were enrolled. Two stories stand out: Two ladies whose incomes did not exceed $600 per month were counseled and referred to other sources. Since Tennessee does not have a marketplace and did not expand its Medicaid coverage, this strategy gave them hope coverage and Lee Chapel has remained in contact with them. Another lady has been the victim of identity theft and found it difficult to enroll via the website. A navigator took 2 hours to intercede she left with coverage.
The outreach has been a godsend helping those who knew there was a deadline approaching to find a resource to take action.
The AME Ministerial Alliance in the Los Angeles area made a commitment to work collectively with other faith partners for the past 9 months in the state that established the first marketplace. Weekly bulletin announcements, e-blasts, and other reminders to pastors; appeals to supporting organizations for presentations; presence as any events sponsored by the churches or at their facilities has led to increased momentum. The churches have become the centers of information, as validated by phone calls asking when the Obama Care folk will be back at the locations.
From being a significant presence at “A Taste of Soul” in October with 250,000 people at a street fair and educating thousands and enrolling hundreds to events targeting the Young Invincible, calls come to our Info line with response committed within 24 – 48 hours, requests for educators are handled with core staff of 5 certified educators(one bi-lingual) and volunteers sent to worship services, church business meetings, libraries, conferences, elected official seminars, health fairs, town halls, and any events where people make requests. Partnering with certified enrollers via Covered CA, and resources from Enroll America, AARP and CoMerica Bank webinars and phone consultations have helped to make the AME Alliance a top performer in the state. They engaged a comedian, Angel, to help the young invincible connect, shape questions about their fears and hesitancy, then remember the message and enroll.
In Washington DC and Maryland the Episcopal District leadership has dedicated staff to support local congregations in educating and enrolling over 13,000 people in partnership with DC Healthlink.
In Georgia, a team is being dispatched to every church (approx 600) on at least one Sunday to support the local church in outreach to enroll, and where needed to compliment their efforts with HHS support from Atlanta. Key to HHS support is an employee who is a member of the AME Church and proud to tithe her work experience in her worship setting.
Several segments of the AME Church has devoted quality time for education and enrollment at national gatherings including the Church Growth and Development Seminar, Women’s Missionary Society Executive Board meeting, and the Lay Organization Biennial convention. Our bishops have devoted time and resources, bringing in navigators especially in the 11 targeted states to reach others.
HHS, Enroll America, and Covered California have brought resources, educators, enrollment specialists, navigators & materials (handouts, webinar access) to this effort. We have outreached in the 49 states where we have churches with strong efforts in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Texas.
We've been helping folk think through steps to take during these last weeks of the home stretch, and have found that urging everyone to make ACA their conversation niche everywhere they go is essential. We are making it our small talk. And using humor, we all receive serious information better when we can laugh at ourselves, and then address our inaction.
We have found that not being shy about highlighting the pending deadline followed by quick options for meeting the deadline works. Offering on the spot advice or access to enrollment, addresses the "right now" syndrome and instant gratification expectation that so many have become accustomed to.
Especially for the young invincible, using the tablet or hot spot connection to enroll on the spot is a good tool. For others, getting an enroller on the telephone or taking them to an event is key to getting them enrolled.
For the population or demographic that we have been courting but nothing solidified, NOW is the time to go back and close the deal. Everybody wants to join this winning team, and be a part of making a huge difference in the lives of so many.
Finally, in communities of color, we find that it's time for grandma, Mom, Great Auntie, or Grandpa, Daddy, and that favorite mentor to get on the phone, call a family gathering, get the sports teams together, or whatever it takes to get the young invincible, middlers, who think that it's not that important to hear from their elders. Pastors and lay leaders are conveying that message giving license, if you will to our Elders and having a resource to talk with the hesitant and resistant when the Elders can get their attention. We expanded to include doctors, lawyers, teachers, police, fire, and elected officials to sound the alarm - March 31st is here. . It is not too late, because there are always some who are slower than others to take action, and you can be THE ONE who helps them beat the clock.
We believe that the same energy used to urge voting is called for here.
When we come together, we can scale up our ministries to reach more, and make a huge difference in the quality of life in the communities where we live, work, play and worship. In these last 21 days, if there is an AME Church near you, we are waiting to work with you.
Mrs. Jacquelyn “Jackie” Dupont-Walker is the Director of the Social Action Commission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
7. THE TRUTH IS THE LIGHT:
*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.
Based on Biblical Text: Luke 10:30: "And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead."
Interestingly, for a very short period of time this week I had a couple of minutes to myself. During that brief interlude I found a moment or two to read the news paper. I found page after page of not so good news. Story after story indicated that as a people we generally are not very nice to one another. However, I did stumble across a story or two that let me know all is not lost. Satan is as busy as ever but there are still some “Good Samaritans” left in this world.
Satan is still in the business of destroying every one of us. It appears he keeps our names on a list and his main purpose is to bring us down and cause us to wallow in our own despair. His job is to cause us to miss out on our claims as heirs to the throne of Grace. To that end he remains vigilant in his quest to deter us from the path of righteousness. Using his skills as a master psychologist he knows where each of our weaknesses lies. He is cunningly, “going to and fro, seeking whom he may devour” from his list of “would be Saints.” My Grandmother used to warn me that, if you are not on his list, he may already have you where he wants you.
It is a good idea, every now and then, just to pause for a moment to ponder. Has Satan bothered you lately, tempting you with evil thoughts? If not you could be in danger. If Satan never entices you, it could be that he already has you, lock stock and barrel. Satan is in the business of destroying God’s children. He has been very successful at his job from the time in the Garden of Eden when he got to Adam and Eve causing them to fall. He has not missed a day on the job ever since.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan represents a four-fold portrayal of some insightful Biblical truths. First, there are the thieves who rob and then beat an innocent man half to death representing Satan’s success in causing mankind to fall. Secondly, there is the man lying in the ditch on the side of the road, bleeding, suffering and totally helpless, representing man’s complete inability to save himself. Next there is the priest and the Levite representing organized religion, with the Law and the prophets and their ineffectiveness in dealing with the sin problem and man’s deadly fall. Finally we find the Good Samaritan representing Jesus Christ, who is the only One who is able to pick us up out of the sewer of sin and reestablish our spiritual wellbeing.
The text says there was an innocent man, minding his own business, trying to make his way to the house with his hard-earned wages. Out of the bushes comes some lazy, “foolish souls” who don’t feel the need to earn their own wages. They bushwhack the man, beat him up, steal his money and leave him in a ditch at the side of the road to die, alone.
No doubt, that was the work of Satan who specializes in getting into the minds of greedy people and causing them to believe that they are entitled to prosper taking the profit of somebody else’s labor. The news paper chronicles the mounting crime in our communities. Certainly, Satan is at work there, having his way. We find, in our own neighborhoods, people who have been robbed, beaten and left half-dead.
The innocent man lay in the ditch, half dead, waiting for someone to come to his rescue. The first person to happen by was the priest. I can only imagine that the man must have thought he was in luck however, the priest, upon hearing his desperate plea, ignored the helpless man and crossed over to the other side of the road.
Before we condemn him I wonder how many times we have crossed the street to avoid a begging, homeless person who is crying out for someone to liberate them from their predicament. Was the priest, like some of us, too busy with the affairs of his own life to be concerned about the needs of another? The text doesn’t say but maybe the priest said a quick prayer. Maybe he called out to the man and promised to report the incident to the authorities. It could be that he made an entry on his iPhone intending to bring up the man’s needs to the Church Conference. Perhaps he planned to appoint a committee on crime and commission them to research the problem of robberies and assaults in the area.
I may be exaggerating a little. Or am I? That is in far too many instances, the way the hierarchy of our churches deal with the problems of society. Instead of a cure, we seek to analyze. God bless those who quickly and effectively come to the aid of the distressed without first holding a board meeting to discuss associated costs, analyze the need and vote on whether or not the need meets the criteria to lend a hand.
Next to come down the road to pass the man was a Levite. The man must have thought; this could be my help; perhaps a “churchman,” a man of ecclesiastical authority, a layman with clout; or a steward or trustee. This was a man who held a position of honor and responsibility in the church. Surely, he was not too busy to stop and help a dying man.
The Levite, just like the priest before him, passed by on the other side of the road. It could have been that the Levite called out to the dying man and assured him that he understood what he was going through. The Levite could have very well let the dying man know that he loved him and would be praying for him. He was perhaps even apologetic for his inability to provide assistance without the approval of the Official Board and the church congregation. Perhaps he promised the man that he would present his case to the congregation, and try as best he could to persuade them to vote yes on his proposal to help him out of his predicament.
Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but isn’t that some times what we do? Far too often we find ourselves so caught up in the church policies governing the disbursement of God’s money, that we delay its benefit to those who really need it. We convene meetings to argue the benefits of spending God’s money where it is needed. We form sub-committees to draft elaborate proposals and schedule a time convenient for us to meet again to vote. While we attend to the “Principals of Parliamentary Law” our brother or sister is lying in a ditch, dying. In the interest of democracy we opt instead of pointing people to Jesus Christ, to appoint committees to deal with crisis.
The text says after lying there a little while longer, the wounded man heard some more footsteps. No doubt by this time discouraged and disappointed he didn’t expect much. But, when the Samaritan heard his cry, he rushed over to his side. He saw the predicament the man was in, and was moved to compassion. He didn’t hold an office in the church, nor did he work with a committee instead he used some of his own resources. Without asking any questions, he mended the man’s wounds as best he could, lifted the man on to his own donkey and carried him to a nearby hospital. The Samaritan stayed with the man through the night until he was sure that he would be all right. Then he paid the hospital bill, and promised to pay any additional expenses when he returned.
The Samaritan didn’t engage in dialogue, didn’t appoint a committee, didn’t write a lengthy proposal, and didn’t organize a fund-raising drive. The Samaritan had compassion. He went to work, coming to the man’s rescue.
The man who was robbed and beaten represents every one of us who has or ever will walk this earth. The Jericho road represents the road of life that every one of us must travel. The robber represents Satan, who is always on his job, going to and fro, seeking whom he may devour. The Priest and the layman represent man’s lack of knowledge of God, and the Good Samaritan represents Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, the solution for whatever ails us.
You may be depressed and suffering from low self-esteem because you have been beaten up by circumstances beyond your control. Maybe you have been forced to tolerate a supervisor who refuses to pay you a fair wage for the excellent service you provide. Perhaps you have been victimized by a lifetime of unfair treatment, a wayward spouse, disobedient children, or poor health. You are feeling beaten down and beat up.
There is only one who can help when we have been beaten down by “this business we call life.” There is only one who is able to reach down and pick us up when we find ourselves “left for dead.” That One is Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God. He has heard our cries for help and has walked that lonely road for us, carrying an old rugged cross. He has paid the full price for our redemption. If we cry out to Him, He will reach out and lift us up from sin and despair.
*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr. is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
8. BRENDA SCOTT ANSWERS A HIGHER CALLING:
*By Elise Rambaud Marrion
Brenda Scott describes her life as a moving train that stops in the most unexpected places. That’s because she has relinquished control and lets faith guide her journey.
The “let go and let God” approach must be working, because Scott has found considerable success in both her personal and professional lives. Scott, who has worked at the city of Houston for 25 years, began her career as a legal assistant in 1988 and is now the deputy assistant director of Housing and Community Development.
Practiced at walking the tightrope of work-life balance, Scott has also earned a master of divinity degree with highest honors and serves as the pastor of Mt. Calvary African Methodist Episcopal Church in northwest Houston. Meanwhile, she's earning a doctorate in ministry degree specializing in urban ministry at Southern Methodist University.
To top it off, she also writes music and poetry, has contributed to an online ministry magazine, paints on poetry, hosted a radio show, participated in television ministry programs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and has three books in the works.
“I’m a church girl. I grew up in the church. It’s been a part of my life all my life, no matter where I have been in my transformational process,” Scott said. “I have been in some low places, but church was always my refuge. It became ingrained in my life process.”
Barbara Pierce, senior assistant city attorney, who hired Scott, has developed a close friendship with her over the last two decades.
“I have seen Brenda grow tremendously in her professional and spiritual lives, and it has been a joy to see her evolve,” Pierce said. “Brenda doesn’t have to tell you about her life in ministry because you can see it in the way she carries herself and how she serves others. I’m a better person for having known her. I always say that I want to be like her when I grow up even though we are the same age.”
Although she has tried to slow down and simplify her life, Scott said she always felt compelled to keep going.
“After I completed my denomination’s ministerial institute, I said I was done,” Scott said. “I didn’t plan on earning my master’s degree. Don’t ever tell God what you’re not going to do. Every time I try to say no, God shows me a way to say yes. I prayed: ‘If this is God’s divine plan for me to go to the next level, open a door and show me how to finance it.'
"Seven days later, I got a call from my pastor who encouraged me to apply to Inspire Women, an organization that invests in women in ministry. They gave me a scholarship, and in 2012, I graduated with highest honors.”
Scott’s professional, educational and spiritual development has seen setbacks. While working full time and going to school, Scott oversaw the treatment of her mother’s declining health.
“My mother supported me in my ministry. There are still many differing perceptions about women in ministry, and sometimes you don’t get treated all that well,” she said. “But my mother saw those gifts and graces in me from the time I was a little girl, so she was my cheerleader. I don’t know how I made it when she passed away, but my training as a pastor helped me immensely.”
Leading the double life of two professions is easier when the jobs bear some similarities, Scott said.
“The two roles have so many parallels. I am called to lead, teach, counsel and develop people and communities in my job at the city and as a pastor,” Scott said.
The discipline she learned in her career helped make her a better student, Scott said, and conversely, her studies have influenced her approach to various situations at work.
“Religious education is not just about religion. We learn about psychology, sociology and leadership, so you can understand others and how to engage people. I apply all of those things to my work at the city,” Scott said. “My skill set as a student is enhanced because I have kept up with technology through my work. I can easily prepare reports and presentations for school because I do it every day at work.”
As for the future, Scott said she tries to keep an open mind.
“I will probably do all of it until I can’t do it anymore. At some point, I will retire from the city. I am grateful for my time here, and I will always do some type of community development in the context of ministry.”
*By Elise Rambaud Marrion. This article originally appeared in the November edition of the City of Houston’s employee newsletter, City Savvy.
9. RECENT ACTIVITIES OF THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF FAITH-BASED AND NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERSHIPS (OFBNP):
Central African Republic: On March 18, OFBNP and the USAID Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships sponsored a meeting with a delegation of Muslim and Christian leaders from the Central African Republic who have united to seek an end to the violence in their country. The meeting also included a diverse group of religious leaders from the United States, and we had a very productive dialogue about ways in which US leaders could assist CAR leaders in these efforts. A delegation of leaders from the National Association of Evangelicals, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Islamic Society of North America will visit the CAR on April 8, 2014 on a trip organized by the Department of State and USAID. We will continue this work and hope that it helps to reduce the conflict and eliminate the use of violence in the name of any religion.
“Business Sunday”: This past Sunday afternoon, OFBNP and the Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at Commerce and the Small Business Administration joined forces to host “Business Sunday” at the 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. The event aimed to enable faith and community leaders to access valuable federal resources to help start or grow their businesses, and thus spur job creation and greater opportunity for all Americans. The program included a panel discussion, featuring remarks by 19th Street Baptist Church Pastor Derrick Harkins, Melissa Rogers, and representatives of the SBA, the Minority Business Development Agency of the Department of Commerce, and BusinessUSA, an interagency initiative that highlights business development resources that are offered across all federal agencies. Two-hundred and thirty current and future business leaders from local congregations and communities attended. The Department of Commerce posted a blog entry about the event, which is available here. Attendees were also encouraged to join the SBA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Small Business Majority for a free, weekly webinar series offered every Thursday at 2 pm ET to help small business owners understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. Go to http://www.sba.gov/healthcare for more information and to register.
POTUS visits with Pope Francis at the Vatican: President Obama met Pope Francis on March 27 at the Vatican. In an interview associated with the visit, President Obama said: “The Holy Father has been an inspiration to people around the world, including me, with his commitment to social justice and his message of love and compassion, especially for the poor and the vulnerable among us. “
Received from the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
10. A TIP FOR MAKING SECURE ONLINE TRANSACTIONS:
HTTP and HTTPS are vastly different!
The web address starts with the prefix HTTPS. The "S" is important because it means that an encryption protocol called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is being used to connect to a web server. The prefix HTTP (without the "S") means that encryption isn't being used, and the transaction is less secure.
If you receive a message in the Notification bar telling you that some content isn't secure, then the webpage is displaying content using both HTTPS and HTTP web server connections. HTTP (without the "S") transactions might not be secure.
11. EIGHT COMMON TAX MISTAKES TO AVOID:
We all make mistakes. But if you make a mistake on your tax return, the IRS may need to contact you to correct it. That will delay your refund.
You can avoid most tax return errors by using IRS e-file. People who do their taxes on paper are about 20 times more likely to make an error than e-filers. IRS e-file is the most accurate way to file your tax return.
Here are eight common tax-filing errors to avoid:
1) Wrong or missing Social Security numbers. Be sure you enter all SSNs on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.
2) Wrong names. Be sure you spell the names of everyone on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
3) Filing status errors. Some people use the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help you choose the right one. Tax software helps e-filers choose.
4) Math mistakes. Double-check your math. For example, be careful when you add or subtract or figure items on a form or worksheet. Tax preparation software does all the math for e-filers.
5) Errors in figuring credits or deductions. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the standard deduction. If you’re not e-filing, follow the instructions carefully when figuring credits and deductions. For example, if you’re age 65 or older or blind, be sure you claim the correct, higher standard deduction.
6) Wrong bank account numbers. You should choose to get your refund by direct deposit. But it’s important that you use the right bank and account numbers on your return. The fastest and safest way to get a tax refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.
7) Forms not signed or dated. An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s not valid. Remember that both spouses must sign a joint return.
8) Electronic filing PIN errors. When you e-file, you sign your return electronically with a Personal Identification Number. If you know last year’s e-file PIN, you can use that. If not, you’ll need to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally-filed 2012 federal tax return. Don’t use the AGI amount from an amended 2012 return or a 2012 return that the IRS corrected.
12. SIX TIPS TO MAKE FILING LESS TAXING:
Doing your taxes doesn’t have to be taxing. You can make preparing and filing your federal income taxes easier by following these six tips from the IRS:
1. Use IRS Free File. If you made $58,000 or less, prepare your return using free, brand-name tax software. If you made more and you’re comfortable doing your own tax return, use Free File Fillable Forms. This option is the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Go to IRS.gov/freefile to get started today.
2. Try IRS e-file. You should try IRS e-file whether you do your own taxes or have them done for you. E-file is the safest, easiest, most accurate way to file a tax return. In fact, you’re 20 times more likely to make a mistake when you file a tax return on paper because e-file software will usually catch your errors. It will also alert you to tax credits and deductions you may otherwise miss. If you owe taxes, you can file now and pay later. The easiest way to do this is to use the Electronic Funds Withdrawal option to pay by the April 15 deadline.
3. Don’t delay. Avoid doing your taxes at the last minute. If you rush to make the filing deadline and file a tax return on paper, you may overlook tax savings. You’re also more likely to make a mistake. An error will usually delay your refund and often causes the IRS to send you a letter.
4. Visit IRS.gov. Go online for tax news and information. Make ‘1040 Central’ your go-to source for all the tax help you need to file your tax return.
5. File on time. If you owe taxes but can’t pay by April 15, you should still file on time and pay as much as you can. This will minimize penalties and interest charges. If you can’t pay all the tax you owe, you may apply for an installment agreement. The best way to apply is to use the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You can also apply by mail using IRS Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request.
6. File an extension. If your tax return is not ready by April 15, you can get an automatic six-month extension. E-file your extension request using the Free File program. You can also get an extension using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You should e-file or mail Form 4868 and pay any tax due by April 15.
Visit IRS.gov to get the tax forms you need. You can also call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have them mailed to you. Allow at least 10 days for mailing.
13. THE 6TH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT 2014 SCHEDULE OF ANNUAL CONFERENCES:
Bishop Preston Warren Williams II, Presiding Prelate
Dr. Wilma Delores Williams, Episcopal Supervisor
South GA Annual Conference
Tuesday-Friday, March 11-14, 2014
Bethel A.M.E. Church
1203 South Court Street
Quitman, GA 31643
The Reverend Anthony Brinson, Host Pastor
The Reverend Jacqueline Smith, Host Presiding Elder
Southwest GA Annual Conference
Tuesday-Friday, March 25-28 2014
Saint John A.M.E. Church
3980 Steam Mill Road
Columbus, GA 31907
Telephone: 706. 682-6944
The Rev. Debora Grant, Host Pastor
The Rev. M. Sven “Karl” Colquitt, Host Presiding Elder
Georgia Annual Conference
Tuesday-Friday, April 8-11, 2014
Saint James A.M.E. Church
632 East Broad Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Telephone: 912. 236-2051
The Reverend Rosalind Kent, Host Pastor
The Rev. R. Nathaniel Neal, Host Presiding Elder
Augusta GA Annual Conference
Tuesday-Friday, April 29-May 2, 2014
Bethel A.M.E. Church/ Augusta
623 Crawford Avenue; Augusta, GA 30903
The Reverend Mark Pierson, Host Pastor
The Reverend Ella Mae Samuels, Host Presiding Elder
Macon GA Annual Conference
Tuesday-Friday, May 6-9, 2014
Saint Paul AME Church/Macon
2501 Shurling Drive, Macon GA 30603
The Reverend Robert Angrish, Host Pastor
The Reverend Benjamin Ridley, Host Presiding Elder
Atlanta North GA Conference
Tuesday-Friday, May 20-24, 2014
Flipper Temple AME Church
580 Fair Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
The Reverend Augusta Hall, Host Pastor
The Reverend Walter Daniels, Host Presiding Elder
Post-Planning Meeting & Theological Institute
June 11-13, 2014
Rainwater Conference Center
1 Meeting Place
Valdosta, GA 31601
14. WHAT IS “GETTING TO ZERO”?
By Oveta Fuller
Glad that you asked.
“Getting to Zero” (G20) is the 2011-15 Strategic Plan from the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
UNAIDS is the United Nations assembly specifically commissioned to provide leadership, develop policy and strategic plan, and guide implementation and use of resources in a worldwide attack on AIDS.
The Strategic Plan recognizes the challenge and the need to coordinate efforts from multiple agencies and countries.
It states, “We must aim for nothing less than zero duplication, zero incoherence and zero waste. In getting to zero, we need to strengthen several mechanisms that cover the breadth of the Programme, from its governance to the specifics of country delivery.”
The Strategic Plan recognizes not only the need to reverse the global impact of HIV/AIDS, but to do so in efficient and effective partnership. “Zero duplication, zero incoherence and zero waste.”
Let us look at how this might work in a local community.
If Church A focuses on youth and parent education, Church B can address HIV testing and linkage to clinical care, while Church C might focus on connections to housing or employment for those with AIDS or other conditions that qualify them for available resources.
All three churches offer different, but complimentary services in the same community. They know the goal and their role, keep each other informed, participate in sponsored events of the other and share about resources available. (Imagine that!) Ultimately, people of the community are more blessed, resources are better used and church members engage!
Zero incoherence means that when goals and guidelines for countries and governments are clear, all can move more rapidly in the same direction.
Zero waste means to spend effectively and keep focused on goals. Minimize use of funds for personal gain and maximize its use for direct services to people.
The G20 Vision and their 2015 goals seek to revolutionize HIV prevention. Three long-term ‘Vision’ areas are: - Get to Zero New Infections; - Get to Zero AIDS-related Deaths; and - Get to Zero Discrimination.
For instance, a specific 2015 goal of Zero New Infections is to reduce by half the number of new infections from sexual transmission or from mother to child transmission during childbirth.
Individual countries and agencies can determine how to meet 50% transmission reduction by 2015. Actions to meet a priority need of one community or country may differ for another; however, the goal is the same.
Each day more than 7,000 people are newly infected with HIV. A total of 1,800,000 people died from AIDS-related causes in 2010 and there were 2,700,000 new HIV infections.
AIDS is a mostly preventable disease from infection with a relatively fragile virus. HIV survives mainly by taking advantage of human sexuality for travel from one person to the next to make more viruses.
Getting to Zero may sound ambitious. But step by step, person by person, goal by goal, it can be realized. What can you do?
The Strategic Plan (and a shorter executive summary) can be found at http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2010/jc2034_unaids_strategy_en.pdf.
-- This submission is co-authored with guest writer- the Rev Terri Silas who was a student in my recent Payne Theological Seminary classes.
*The Rev. Dr. A. Oveta Fuller is a tenured professor in Microbiology and Immunology and faculty in the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan. An Itinerant Elder in the 4th Episcopal District, she served as pastor of Bethel AME Church in Adrian, Michigan for seven years before focusing fully on global health research in Zambia and the USA for HIV/AIDS elimination. At Payne Theological Seminary she teaches a required course, “What Effective Clergy Should Know about HIV/AIDS.”
15. iCHURCH SCHOOL LESSON BRIEF FOR SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2014 - JESUS CLEANSES THE TEMPLE - ISAIAH 56:6-7; JEREMIAH 7:9-11; MARK 11: 15-19:
*Dr. Bill Dickens, Allen AME Church, Tacoma, Washington
Benjamin Franklin once opined that if you are mad about something, count to ten before you act. This timeless wisdom is often referenced to help us contain our emotions and anger.
The Adult AME Church School lesson for April 6, 2014 depicts Jesus displaying His anger and disappointment concerning the proper protocol for authentic worship. The Biblical story is significant because it is a continuation from last week’s lesson concerning Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Shortly upon entry, Jesus decides to visit a Jewish Temple (an AME Church?), but quickly discovers the spirit of worship has been violated and polluted with foreign exchange commercial activities and the buying and selling of animals for sacrificial offerings (churches selling chicken dinners for sale?).
The Old Testament scriptures in Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that non-Jews (unchurched members?) would visit the temple seeking God’s presence. However, many of the devout Jews (church members with 40 year membership?) are more preoccupied with carnal gain and filthy lucre.
Jesus wastes no time in issuing a verbal rebuke to the desecration of the sacred perimeter. In a related passage in St. John, Jesus extends his angry verbal rebuke with a physical display of force by over-turning the money-tables and his hand-made whip used to scare off the corrupt exchange-traders (see John 2: 15-16). The message of Jesus’ anger and show of “force” is unambiguous. God’s House is reserved and should always be preserved for the sanctity of worship, not a haven for illicit commercial transactions. The currency traders were reprimanded not, for providing animals for sale as an offering, because this practice was common since many itinerant travelers lacked such offerings upon arrival. The temple traders (Wall Street executives?) erred by conducting this form of business inside the House of God. Jesus knew that the problem of temple desecration could only be solved thru temple purification. A cleansing was the perfect spiritual antiseptic.
What can wash away my sin? – "Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? – Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"
We should all have a “zero-tolerance” attitude concerning any activity in the House of God that devalues the purity of worship. If we happen to see ungodly activities in our churches we should be quick to say “Clean-up on aisle A.”
*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.
16. MEDITATION BASED ON PSALM 23:
I’m writing this meditation on the evening of April 1, 2014 while reflecting on my all-time favorite “April Fools’ Day” prank from the days of my youth in Columbia, SC. One of my older aunts was living with our family, and another of my aunts told her that there was a cow running loose in our back yard garden, leading her to shriek, curse, run and look before realizing that she’d been “pranked.”
That was especially funny because we lived in the heart of the city, where the only “cow presence” for miles was chopped up beef in our local grocery store, and because my aunt who sounded the alarm didn’t live in Columbia - she called on the phone from out-of-town to report the “cow invasion.” My older aunt instinctively reacted to a scary and unexpected situation without considering how someone who wasn’t nearby - or even in the house - could know that there was a cow in our yard!
As funny as that was, it speaks to an aspect of human nature. All of us face our share of scary and unexpected situations as we go through life, and all of us have an instinctive need to “fix” those situations as soon as possible - often by any means necessary.
All of us can recall times when we’ve tried to hastily address troubling, scary and unexpected physical, spiritual, emotional and financial situations on our own - only to find out that our work was in vain, that we made a bad situation worse or that we complicated things to the point that we were left feeling stressed, frustrated, inadequate and disconsolate.
That’s why it pays to have a good relationship with the God who created us and who knows the situations we that encounter far better than we do. When we pause, take a deep breath, go to God in prayer and let God take over and lead us, we can find new direction and new possibilities and put life’s critical situations in the right perspective, so that they often become far less critical and clearer than they initially appeared to be.
Turn your scary and unexpected situations over to the Lord. They’ll become less daunting and more manageable, you’ll find answers where there only seemed to be questions, and in a world where many can only point out your problems, you’ll trust in the God who led one writer to say, “Jesus knows all about our struggles, He will guide us till the day is done. There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus; no, not one; no, not one.”
17. CLERGY FAMILY CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENT:
-- The South Carolina Black EXPO has named Jason C. Darby son of Reverend and Mrs. Mary B. Darby to the 2014 "Forty Under Forty" Achievers" list
The South Carolina Black EXPO has named Jason C. Darby, Director of Marketing for the University of South Carolina's Palmetto College, to the 2014 "Forty Under Forty" Achievers' list. Mr. Darby is the son of the Reverend Joseph A. and Mrs. Mary B. Darby, Presiding Elder and Consultant of the Beaufort District, South Carolina Conference, Seventh Episcopal District.
Congratulatory messages can be sent to:
The Rev. and Mrs. Joseph A. Darby; firstname.lastname@example.org
18. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We are saddened to announce the passing of Former Episcopal Supervisor, Mrs. Portia Bailey Beal. Mrs. Portia Bailey Beal was appointed as Episcopal Supervisor in 1986, by the Rt. Rev. Samuel Solomon Morris, after the death of Mrs. Ermine Morris and served the 4th Episcopal District and the AME Church faithfully in that capacity until 1989. This was Mrs. Bailey Beal's second term as Episcopal Supervisor having been appointed by Bishop Howard T. Primm in 1974, following the death of Mrs. Edith Primm. Mrs. Bailey Beal was also an accomplished musician and a dedicated and committed servant of God. The arrangements for her Homegoing Service are as follows:
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Quinn Chapel AMEC
2401 S. Wabash Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60616
The Rev. James M. Moody, Pastor
Wake: 9:00 a.m.
Funeral: 10:00 a.m.
Repast follows immediately after the Service
Interment at Burr Oak Cemetery, 4400 W. 127th St., Chicago, Illinois
In lieu of flowers, all expressions of sympathy or donations, in memory of Mrs. Portia Bailey Beal, should be written to Quinn Community Services Alliance of Chicago (QCSAC). You may also donate on line by going to:
Click “online giving”
Click Drop-Down Box
Expressions of sympathy to the family may be sent:
C/o Quinn Chapel AME Church
2401 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60616
Please pray for the family and friends of Mrs. Bailey Beal. She will be greatly missed.
19. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It is with great sadness the Third Episcopal District announces the passing of the Reverend Dr. Eugene L. Schoolfield. Dr. Schoolfield pastored many years in the Third Episcopal District of the AME Church. He was currently serving as the proud pastor of the St. James AME Church, Cleveland, OH.
Home going celebration:
Saturday, April 5, 2014
St. James AME Church
8401 Cedar Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
Viewing: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Alpha Memorial Service: 11:30 a.m.
Home going Service: 12:00 noon
Eulogist, Bishop McKinley Young
Presiding Prelate of the Third Episcopal District
Monday, April 7, 2014 there will be a Memorial Service at St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Church, 103 Mills Avenue, Beckley, West Virginia 25801.
Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Eddiena Schoolfield:
119 Smith Street, Beckley, WV 25801
Arrangements entrusted to Carter Funeral Homes, Inc.
3001 Elyria Avenue
Lorain, OH 44055
Tel: (440) 244-5200
20. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Mrs. Dorothy Wade, the mother of the Rev. Ella T. Jones, Local Deacon, Quinn Chapel AMEC, Lexington, KY, and mother-in-law of Brother George Jones, transitioned Thursday, March 27, 2014. Absent from the body-present with the Lord.
Bethel Baptist Church
552 Ash Street, Lexington, KY,
Saturday, April 5th, at 10:00 a.m., until time of the Funeral Service
Bethel Baptist at 1:00 p.m.
Condolences may be sent to:
Rev. Ella T. Jones at
21. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We regret to inform you of the passing of "Papa Pastor" Rev. C. B. Johnson. He was a great Prayer Warrior/Intercessor for over 40 years as a staff minister of Bethel Memorial AME Church.
He leaves behind his lovely wife, Immogene Johnson who celebrated with him two weeks ago at Bethel Memorial 60 years of marriage. The Rec. C. B. Johnson was a giant in the plea for prayer in his Church locally as well as prayer for the San Diego Community and beyond.
The Homegoing Celebration for the Rev. C. B. Johnson:
Monday, April 7, 2014
Viewing: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Service: 11:30 a.m.
Bethel Memorial AME Church
3085 "K" Street
San Diego, CA 92102
22. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
It with heartfelt sympathy that we announce the home going from labor to reward of Sister Geraldine Hughes, the beloved mother of the Rev. Robin Hughes Crawford, former California Conference Women in Ministry Coordinator.
Funeral Arrangements for Sister Geraldine Hughes are as follows:
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
First AME Church
3701 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609
Telephone: (510) 655-1527
The Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Sr. Pastor
Services are entrusted to:
McNary Williams & Jackson Mortuary
3630 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94607
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
The Rev. Robin & Brother Keith Crawford
51 Edgemont Way
Oakland, CA 94605
Phone (510) 332-2969 or (415) 565-4746
*The Rev. Dorisalene Hughes, 5th Episcopal District Prayer Ministry
Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Presiding Prelate
23. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We are saddened to inform you of the passing of Mother Winnie Reece, mother of the Rev. Joyce Reece Kitchen, Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Turner AME Church, Los Angeles, CA and grandmother of Rev. Charles Lee Johnson, Senior Pastor of Corona Community AME Church, Corona, CA.
Arrangements for Mother Winnie Reece:
Thursday, April 3, 2014, 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
Harrison Ross Mortuary
4601 South Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90043
Telephone: (323) 584-1230
Fax: (323) 293-3958
Friday, April 4, 2014
Emmanuel-H.M. Turner AME Church
5200 Compton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011
Telephone: (323) 232-6322
Veteran's Memorial Park
West Los Angeles
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
The Rev. Joyce Reece Kitchen, Senior Pastor
Emmanuel Turner AME Church
5200 S. Compton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011
Phone: (310) 261-7001 Cell #
The Rev. Charles Lee Johnson, Senior Pastor
Corona Community AME Church
321 East 6th Street
Corona, CA 92879
24. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
We are saddened to announce the following: Mr. George "G.G." Johnson transitioned from this life to his eternal rest on March 29, 2014. He was born in Columbus, Georgia, the son of the Late Reverend George Johnson and Deaconess Johnnie Mae Johnson of the Sixth Episcopal District; and had been an active member of Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky, until illness caused his moving to Atlanta, Georgia.
Brother Johnson was the first and only African American Head Golf Professional in Kentucky, managing as the Head Pro at Bobby Nichols Golf Course in Waverly Park, Louisville, Kentucky, since 1997. George became a Professional Golfer in 1964, qualifying for the U.S. Open in 1965. In 1971 he won the Azalea Open and became the fourth African American to win a PGA Tournament. Johnson is a lifetime member of the PGA Tour. In 2008, George Johnson was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame. His spirit for life was contagious, a wonderful witness for God and the Church! He was a Christian Gentleman!
He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife, LaJune Johnson; daughter, Kristi Johnson; brothers: Charlie W. Johnson of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Harold (Etta) Anderson of Romulus, Michigan; Johnny (Mattie) Johnson of Dallas, Texas; and a sister, Gwendolyn Johnson Williams of Greater St. Mark A.M.E. Church in Columbus, Georgia; as well as countless nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Service arrangements are as follows:
VIEWING: Friday, April 4, 2014, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Gus Thornhill Funeral Home
1315 Gus Thornhill Jr. Drive
East Point, Georgia 30344
Service of Celebration:
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 11:00 a.m.
Hoosier Memorial United Methodist Church
2545 Benjamin E. Mayes Drive, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30311
Expressions of Love, Cards, and Messages of Condolence may be sent to the Family of Mr. George Johnson:
Mr. Charlie W. Johnson
1400 Willow Avenue, #1801-1802
Louisville, KY 40204
Mrs. LaJune Johnson
2860 Brookford Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30331
25. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
Ora L. Easley, Administrator
AMEC Clergy Family Information Center
Web page: http://www.amecfic.org/
Telephone: (615) 837-9736 (H)
Telephone: (615) 833-6936 (O)
Cell: (615) 403-7751
26 CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend T. Larry Kirkland; the Publisher, the Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour and the Editor of The Christian Recorder, the Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III offer our condolences and prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the peace of Christ will be with you during this time of your bereavement.
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