The Right Reverend Vashti MurphyMcKenzie - Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Roderick D. Belin,Publisher
Mr. John Thomas III, the 21stEditor, The Christian Recorder
1. TCREDITORIAL – MUSIC CAN WRECK OR ENHANCE A WORSHIP SERVICE:
TheRev. Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III
Theretired 20th Editor of TheChristian Recorder
Iwant to remind us again about church musicians, which include the choirdirectors, organists, pianists, other accompanists, choir members and soloists.
Musicis an important part of worship. Music can wreck or enhance a worshipservice. Liturgically, the choirselections should compliment and be an “anchor” that inspires and complimentsthe sermon. The choir music should not be a “stand-alone” andentertainment-focused entity of worship. The music should have someconnectivity to the liturgical event.
Ifthe musician doesn’t know how to “connect” the musical selections to theworship event, the musician should coordinate and learn from the pastor how todo so; and hopefully the pastor would be knowledgeable to provide guidance.
Musiciansshould be familiar with the AME liturgy (or whatever denomination he or sheplays for) and understand the appropriateness of the selection of hymns orgospel music at particular points in worship. For instance, and I have saidthis more than once, the opening hymn and the opening part of worship is alwaysin adoration of God. “Jesus Be aFence All Around Me” or “I Been ‘Buked and I HaveBeen Scorned”are not appropriate opening hymns.
Traditionally,we kneel for prayer in Methodist churches, so musicians should know what aprayer response is and not attempt to “sneak” in another choir selection duringthe prayer response. The prayer event is not concluded until the end of theprayer response has been sung. And, to keep clergy and those who are kneelingin prayer for long periods of time is inconsiderate.
AHymn of Invitation should be carefully selected. A rousing gospel song mightwork, but sometimes an appropriate selection that allows parishioners toreflect on the sermon and the challenges of the message might yield moredecisions for Christ and encourage people to live more Christ-like. In otherwords, the music needs to be appropriate for the entire worship setting – frombeginning to the end.
Howmany of us have seen choirs “wing it” and sing their favorite selections overand over again and the selections had nothing to do with the worship event?
Isuspect some pastors need training in the area of music and the appropriatenessof music in liturgy.
Ido not regularly watch televangelists, but sometimes I surf the channels andwatch a portion of a program and I notice their music is appropriate to theirworship style and that some thought went into the selection of music.
Sadto say, some of our churches are missing the appropriate music link thataugments liturgy and sometimes the result is disjointed worship. When worship is disjointed, parishioners canmeander in at any point of worship and leave at any point without missing theliturgical connectedness of worship.
Backin the day, I played for a church and it didn’t matter when parishionersarrived or departed. The worship was designed in such a manner thatparishioners could come and go at any point in the service; a parishioner could“get his or her shout” and be on their way. The church sold dinners everySunday and that was a part of their stewardship ministry. The dinners wereoutstanding! Parishioners could get something to eat before, during and afterworship. The meal ministry was a part of the church’s program.
Methodistchurches do not, and should not function in such a casual manner. The AMEChurch has a liturgy crescendo, which should reach its apex at the sermon.Music plays an important part in the worship event.
Justa reminder, music is an important part of worship. It can wreck or enhance aworship service. I suspect church attendance is affected more by the music thanthe sermon.
Achurch with a mediocre music ministry probably experiences mediocre attendance.
Ihave put together some thoughts entitled:
“The Sins of theChurch Musician.”
1. The musician who is always late for worship.
2. The musician who decides what the choir isgoing to sing after the worship service has begun.
3. The musician who has not familiarized him orherself with the African Methodist Episcopal liturgy.
4. The musician who tries to “make somethinghappen in worship” by playing the so-called, “Pentecostal shout chords.”
5. The musician who does not know how to teachthe choir members their parts, i.e., S.A.T.B., who encourages loudness ratherthan teaching choir members their musical parts.
6. The musician who has to always leave earlyand can’t stay until the end of the worship service and who probably arrived toworship late.
7. The musician who doesn’t remain in thesanctuary during the sermon. They leave the sanctuary and return after thesermon has been preached.
8. The musicianwho doesn’t know how to coordinate the music with the sermon text or theliturgical season. (Of course the pastor has some responsibility in sharingwith the musician the biblical text and the liturgical emphasis that the pastorwould like to musician to follow).
9. The musician who gets angry with the pastorand “sits down” on the pastor in worship, and tries to dampen worship.
10. The musician who does not arrive in time toplay a prelude and/or in a rush to depart that he or she does not bother toplay a postlude. And, choir members who meander to the choir loft, chatting andjostling with each other as they amble their way to their seats. And theymeander out of the choir loft at the end of worship.
11. The musician who day-dreams, engaged / engages in conversation withchoir members during the worship service, and especially during the sermon andduring the Communion Service and as a result hinders the liturgical orspiritual movement of the worship service.
12. The musicianwho doesn’t know how the play hymns and who doesn’t practice or learn to playhymns and anthems. And, also the musician who doesn’t know how to play gospelmusic and who doesn’t practice or learn to play gospel hymns.
13. The musician who doesn’t know how to play inall of the musical keys; who only plays in a couple of keys like C major, Fmajor, G major, major (?) and B flat.Hymns, particularly, are written in certain keys because the hymn can be sungbetter in certain keys. Ever wonder why some musicians carry their ownkeyboards when the choir goes out sing? If, during worship, another musician plays in a key that they can’t playin; they can transpose the key on their keyboard.
14. The musician who only teaches, what I call,“7-11” songs; seven phrases sung11 times, over and over and over again.
15. The musician who is excited when the choir is singing or when heor she is playing the musical instrument, but tunes out during the sermon andother parts of the worship service.
16. The choir director /musician who allows choir members tosing even when they fail to attend choir practice.
17. The musician who allows choir members to sing even whenchoir members arrive after the worship service has begun and allow choirmembers, “who have something to do” to leave worship services early.
18. The musician who doesn’t insist on having choir rehearsals.
19. The musician who is engaged in his or hercellphone during the worship service.
20. Musicians whochew chewing gum throughout worship. If they struggle with halitosis (badbreath); a mint, used discreetly, might be a better option.
21. The musicianwho thinks that he or she, instead of the pastor, is the leader for worship.
2. THE 2016-2020ASSIGNMENTS / RETIREMENT DATE OF THE BISHOPS OF THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPALCHURCH:
EpiscopalDistrict Assignment / Name / Retirement year
EcumenicalOfficer – Bishop Frank Madison Reid III - Frank Madison Reid III - 2024
1- Bishop Gregory Gerald McKinley Ingram - 2020
2- Bishop James Levert Davis - 2028
3- Bishop McKinley Young - 2020
4- Bishop John Franklin White - 2024
5- Bishop Clement Willie Fugh - 2024
6- Bishop Reginald Thomas Jackson - 2028
7- Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green, Sr. - 2036
8- Bishop Julius Harrison McAllister, Sr. - 2024
9- Bishop Harry Lee Seawright - 2032
10- Bishop Vashti McKenzie - 2020
11- Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. - 2024
12- Bishop Michael Leon Mitchell - 2036
13- Bishop Jeffrey Nathaniel Leath - 2032
14- Bishop E. Earl McCloud - 2028
15- Bishop David Rwhynica Daniels - 2032
16- Bishop Anne Henning Byfield - 2024
17- Bishop Wilfred J. Messiah - 2028
18- Bishop Stafford Wicker - 2036
19- Bishop Paul Jones Kawimbe - 2036
20- Bishop Ronnie Elijah Brailsford - 2032
3. RECAP ANDFOLLOW-UP NEWS - THE CLIMATE CHANGE RESOLUTION:
Fromthe Director/Consultant of the Commission on Social Action and FormerCommission Chair, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson
50thQuadrennial Session AME Church General Conference
Pleasesee the link below to the video and to a recent story in the Guardian. Again, we give thanks to the AME Churchleadership and delegate body for catching the vision and making the commitmentto take leadership for our communities and people.
Hereis the link to the video now posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul0kPE4siOk&feature=youtu.be
Pleasewatch and help us tell the story to all those who were not at the GeneralConference, and those who were there, but missed the action taken.
Fromthe Director/Consultant of the Commission on Social Action, Mrs. JacquelineDuPont Walker and Former Commission Chair, Bishop Reginald T. Jackson
4. CHURCHES CALL ONAFRICAN-AMERICANS TO LEAD ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
ErikaBolstad, E&E reporter
Published:Friday, July 15, 2016
TheAfrican Methodist Episcopal Church pledged this week to support climatepolicies that will protect people and build a clean energy future, part of thegrowing movement by faith-based organizations to bring attention to the socialjustice inequities in adapting to climate change.
TheAME Church, a predominantly African-American denomination of 2.5 millionmembers and 7,000 congregations, has a "deep history of ministering to thesocial, spiritual, and physical development of all people," churchofficials said in a statement.
"Damageto our climate puts the health of children, elderly, and those with chronicillnesses at greater risk and disproportionately impacts AfricanAmericans," Bishop John White, president of the Council of Bishops of theAME Church, said in a statement. "We believe it is our duty to commit totaking action and promoting solutions that will help make our families andcommunities healthier and stronger."
TheAME Church said that the goal of its resolution is to reduce damage to theclimate as well as to inspire others to lead on climate solutions in theirhomes, congregations and communities. In its resolution, the church noted thatabout 39 percent of the people who live near coal-fired power plants in theUnited States are in low-income communities and are people of color. They aremost impacted "but not fairly represented in the decision making processesthat would lead to a clean, healthy, and prosperous environment," theresolution said.
Thechurch also points out in its resolution that its members in Africa face manyof the most adverse impacts of climate change, including floods, droughts, theincreased spread of infectious diseases and changing weather patterns thatchallenge their ability to provide food. In the Caribbean, its members areespecially vulnerable to more extreme storms and rising sea levels. Suchconditions especially impact the rural and urban poor, the resolution notes.
TheAME Church is a founding partner of Blessed Tomorrow, a climate leadershipprogram for faith organizations that will help with resources for futureengagement and action. Blessed Tomorrow's partners include organizations likethe Catholic Climate Covenant, Disciples of Christ Church and U.S. Baha'iOffice of Public Affairs.
BlessedTomorrow, in a list of talking points to help churchgoers discuss climatechange in their communities, acknowledges that the church wasn't always aleader in climate change. But its leaders "have come to realize thataddressing climate is an essential part of how we fulfill our responsibility toprotect and provide for our congregation, children and country."
TheAME Church joins other U.S.-based denominations and world religions thatalready have come out in support of the mitigation and adaptation goals in theParis climate talks. Pope Francis last year called on Catholics worldwide toembrace action on climate change, and Muslim scholars from 20 countries alsoissued the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, calling on the globe's 1.6billion Muslims to be stewards of the environment.
InMay, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed a resolution updating theJewish community's climate change policy that supported the Paris Agreement andreiterated its support for renewable sources of fuels that threaten security inthe Middle East. The council framed the issue not just as one of a moralobligation, but one of national security.
"Cleanenergy is critical to ensuring global and national security while climatechange continues to threaten our pursuit of peace and economic stability, inthe U.S., Israel and around the world," said Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb,chairman of the council's Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
Manyreligious leaders and movements, including the AME Church, have begun to frameclimate change as a moral challenge that people of faith have a responsibilityto address. It's notable that the AME Church, which is a mainstreamdenomination with deep roots in African-American communities, has taken thison, said the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of Green Faith, whosemission is to "inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religiousbackgrounds for environmental leadership."
Themove by the AME Church adds a "distinctive voice" to the issue inAmerica, Harper said.
"Weknow that the African-American community is disproportionately impacted byclimate change," he said. "And we know that it is very legitimate toframe civil rights as a civil rights issue and a human rights issue, as well asan environmental issue. By the church speaking out and recognizing it in theway that they did, it is an important way of featuring or raising awarenesswithin their membership that this is something that's important to them."
5. THE TRUTH IS THE LIGHT:
*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins
Dr. Watkins’ column will resume in the nextissue
*The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Watkins, Jr.,is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina
6. GETTING TO ZERO: AMEC PASSES HIV/AIDS POLICY IN HISTORIC 200THYEAR:
*Dr. Oveta Fuller
The 50th General Conference of theAfrican Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) held July 2016 in the birthplace ofAmerica—Philadelphia— is in the annals of history. It was monumental in manyways!
The stature of Bishop Richard Allen wasdedicated. The beautiful intricate mural featuring our first bishop wasunveiled. Faithful-serving general officers and bishops retired. Anointed newgeneral officers and bishops were elected. Members were trained and old friendsgreeted. The worship services—singing, dancing, praying, and preaching— werephenomenal. And new legislation was passed.
We Move Forward to Stop HIV
Two of the proposed bills passed by delegates tothe historic 50th General Conference, labeled HALT-1 and HALT-2,address how the connectional AMEC can help to eliminate HIV/AIDS. These billsalso are directly related to the great legacy of Richard Allen and the firstmembers of the Methodist Society. They bravely moved forward in service toimpact lives during the 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic.
The Methodist Society and the 1793 Yellow FeverEpidemic
Yellow fever epidemics are caused by mosquitobites that transfer the yellow fever virus. In the summer of 1793 death andsickness from yellow fever shut down city and national governments. People, whocould, fled out of Philadelphia to other places. That summer yellow feverkilled over 5,000 people.
The then Rev. Richard Allen, Sarah Allen and theearly members of the Methodist Society were asked to remove and bury theonslaught of dead bodies and to nurse the sick. In these pre-emancipationyears, there was a misconception that “the Negroes were immune to, not affectedby the fever, aches and agonizing death from yellow fever.”
Although this is false (yellow fever viruscarried by mosquitoes is an equal opportunity pathogen), early members of theMethodist Society served bravely in Philadelphia to care for the living andbury the dead. They did not leave the city, but served faithfully until theepidemic ended in late October with the onset of colder winter temperatureswhen mosquito carriers did not survive.
AMEs Get “Back to the Future”
It seems fitting that 200 years after itsofficial birth in 1816-- also in Philadelphia, the AMEC should faithfully andbravely move forward towards ending the pandemic from infection of anothervirus-- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is fitting that we commit toactions that will help reduce preventable loss and deaths from acquired immunedeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
At this 50th General Conference, inthe birth city of this denomination, we honored the great legacy of visionaryleadership, brave engagement and faithful service of the AMEC.
This July 2016, the AMEC proposed, carefullyexamined, vetted and almost unanimously approved revolutionary HALT legislationthat will apply throughout the Connection. We have agreed to do what, to myawareness, no other denomination has done.
What is HALT?
HALT-1 and HALT-2 (HIV/AIDSLegislation Team) are the culmination project ofeighteen members of the March 2016 week long CM243 intensive class at PayneTheological Seminary (PTS). Interestingly, rather than coming from severaldenominations, all eighteen members in this class were AMEC clergy or layofficers.
After they understood the global and USA impactof HIV/AIDS as “our disease” and that this is a fragile virus that can betransmitted by only four fluids, they wanted to know what they could do inaddition to working in their own family, church and community. They organizedto write and submit legislation to put into action what a forward-thinking AMECis uniquely situated to do.
The proposed HALT legislative bills were amongthe first introduced to the great assembly gathered on the floor of theballroom of the Pennsylvania Center for the 50th General Conference.Each proposed bill was read the required three times. Questions from the floorwere addressed. Delegates from over 40 countries voted. Both HALT bills werepassed into official AMEC policy on the first vote!
Content of HALT-1 and HALT-2 Legislation
The two HALT bills are independent, but related.They require no associated additional cost. They are modeled after ideas thathave been successful policy in our Zion for many years.
HALT-1 that was voted into AMEC legislationstates: “We propose adding the following question to be answered on therequired Annual Report form submitted by the pastor and steward board of eachcharge/church to their Annual Conference:
New Question: Health Ministry
a. Does your charge/churchhave an active Health Ministry? Yes___ No___ In progress____
b. Did your charge/churchengage in ministry or awareness events towards eliminating or addressingcongregation or community needs associated with the HIV/AIDS pandemic?
Yes ___ No____ Optional to provide info on event(s):
HALT-2 that was voted into AMEC legislationstates: “We propose that: Clergy, at alllevels, and appointed or elected officers shall be required to obtain a basicscientific foundation to understand HIV/AIDS. This can be summarized as 'Whateffective religious leaders should know about HIV/AIDS' (see content below).Mandatory training shall be provided annually throughout each EpiscopalDistrict, at ongoing or special planned sessions as directed by the PresidingBishop and Presiding Elders. Each clergy person or officer is required to becertified and/or updated at least once every four years through this offering.”
Further, “The annual training should provide atleast three or more contact hours about HIV/AIDS. Content should provideunderstanding of: (1) current prevalence and impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemicin local communities and globally, (2) the biology of the virus and itsdisease, (3) community resources available and (4) practical ways religiousleaders can help to eliminate HIV infection, AIDS and death from AIDS-relatedcauses."
A Simple Question to Our Zion
The content of a G20 column in January 2016,suggested that “the AMEC is ideally structured and situated to make asubstantial difference in eliminating HIV/AIDS especially in African andAfrican-American communities that we serve. The AMEC connectional structure,leadership opportunities and key Commissions and Departments (e.g. Health,Church Growth and Development, Social Justice) are in place. Multiple local andconnection conferences and meetings throughout the year provide an establishednetwork to move what we know into practical use.”
It further stated, “We know the issues. We havethe means to deal with the issues. Do we have the will to get it done?”
“New legislature will be instituted at thehistoric General Conference in Philadelphia as part of the BicentennialCelebration. We could use the knowledge gained and demonstrate the will that isconsistent with our founders by approving legislation to require each church toengage in addressing HIV/AIDS. This expectation could be fortified through twosimple questions added to the annual conference report form completed by thepastor and officers of each congregation. These two simple Yes/No questionsare: 1) Does your church have an activehealth ministry or health focus? And, 2) Did your church have an event orministry to address HIV/AIDS this conference year?”
“Yes, we have the means. Among the multipleissues confronting our people, here is ONE that we (not dependent on some otherentity) can do something about. Do we have the will in the historic year of2016 to get such legislature in place so to move closer toward zero withHIV/AIDS?”
The AMEC Answers in July 2016
A response resounds from the CM243 class of March2016, PTS leadership, members of the Revisions Committee, the GeneralSecretary, the Judicial Council, bishops and officers who examine all proposedlegislation, and importantly the plethora of delegates from all 20 EpiscopalDistricts who voted on behalf of AMEs that they were elected to represent. Wehave the will!
We have the will to do what we are uniquelyprepared and situated to do. We received and passed pioneering policy. As theanswer is implemented, the resulting actions will positively impact lives ourclergy, officers, members and people in communities around the world.
Into an Incredible Future
First, we are profoundly grateful to God forguidance in the past and in these times. Second, we take a moment, only amoment-- to breathe deeply and celebrate the pioneering move forward of theAMEC to propose, adopt and now implement HALT-1 and HALT-2. It is the right action for such as time asthis. We are the right people.
The new HALT policies of the AMEC approved atthis historic 50th General Conference stand on the foundation laidby many known and unknown-- missionaries, clergypersons, laypersons, family andchurch members-- who have battled HIV/AIDS as they knew how to do from theearly 1990’s so we can get to this monumental move of God.
Third, now we must prepare together for what isrequired to effectively implement the HALT policies throughout our Zion to makea difference in lives affected by HIV/AIDS.
At this historic time of transition for ourbeloved Zion, I do not know what is next for the Getting to Zero column. Ithank the editor, The Rev. Dr. Calvin Sydnor, for his stellar service and hisvision of publishing a weekly column on HIV/AIDS as part of The ChristianRecorder. I am grateful to the many Masters of Divinity students fromacross the USA and to the leadership of Payne Theological Seminary forresponding to what is taught about HIV/AIDS in the CM243 intensive class. I amgrateful to friends, family and colleagues in Zambia and South Africa who havefaithfully embraced research to establish the Trusted Messenger Interventionfor stopping HIV/AIDS. I am grateful to each person who has ever read,commented on or shared any part of the content of this column.
Now, by the Almighty power of God, let ustogether use all that is available already to move forward day by day, personby person to stop HIV/AIDS. It is done! Let us move towards an AIDS-freegeneration and into an incredible future.
*The Rev. Dr. Oveta Fuller is finishing upher Sabbatical leave from the
University ofMichigan and has recently returned to the U.S. and will submit her column asher schedule permits. She is theincoming Director, African Studies Center Associate Professor Dept Microbiologyand Immunology University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan
7. iCHURCHSCHOOL LESSON BRIEF FOR SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2016 - DEATH BECOMES LIFE - ROMANS6: 1- 23:
Key Verse: Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism intodeath, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory ofthe Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 (NRSV)
MaryWollstonecraft Shelley (née Godwin) was an early 19th centuryEnglish novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, andtravel writer. She was best known for her Gothic novel Frankensteinpublished in 1818. The focus of her thought provoking novel was to highlightthe advantages and unintended consequences of scientific curiosity “making”life from death. The central character of the book is the mythic monsternamed after his “creator,” Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein’screation is a motley collection of cadavers and organs recovered from deceasedhumans. With the proper voltage from electrical storms the patient isreborn. However, much to the chagrin of Dr. Frankenstein his creation isnot a benevolent creature but embodies fear and terror for people in themythical British town.
Thetopic for the Adult AME Church School Lesson for July 31, 2016 is DeathBecomes Life. Paul’s commentary in Chapter Six ofRomans illustrates how we can obtain life thru death. Unlike Dr. Frankenstein,Paul has no aspirations of creating life. That enormous task is way abovehis “pay grade” and beyond his area of expertise. Instead, the great bardof the Gospel uses convincing allegory to demonstrate that we can livebecause of the voluntary death provided by Jesus. Let’s see how Pauldevelops this position in our next section.
BibleLesson - Power of Baptism
Ourlesson text intersects the role of baptism, sin and eternal life. Baptismrepresents an important rite in our Christian odyssey. Romans 6:1-4metaphorically describes the act of baptism as an act where we are participantsin Christ’s death. Our sinful character is submerged and we are freed ofthe power and penalty of ungodly behavior. In short we are dead to sin sothat we might experience life when we honor the sacred sacrament ofbaptismal. We can now walk with confidence in our new life (Romans 6:4)
Disciplineis a quality trait admired by many, practiced by few. Discipline separatesthe great athletes from the average athlete. Disciplinedifferentiates a great army from a rag tag militia. Paul understandsthe importance of discipline in verses 5 -16. Since we are now dead tosin we have life in Jesus. However, this does not imply we should have apass to sin without consequence. We should remain resistance tosin. Sin is now in the proverbial “rear view mirror.” Reject who youwere or what you used to do. This can only be achieved with a disciplinedlifestyle. Discipline promotes maturity. Maturity promotesobedience. Obedience promotes character.
Power ofEternal Life
Death inChrist brings not only life but eternal life. The penalty of sin diedwith Christ’s redemptive act on Calvary. Jesus is now the propitiation ofour sin so that we can enjoy eternal life We are no longer slaves to sinbut servants of righteousness. The wages or consequences of sin - death. In contrast, the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23)!
BlackLives Matter (BLM) is a new social movement aimed at articulating why the valueof black life is important. In addition, BLM speaks unequivocally withclarity and volume that indiscriminate killing of young black males by lawenforcement officials is morally unacceptable and must cease and desist. Blacklives matter is a self-evident truth. As a community of faith wealign ourselves with BLM because we understand the value of life. Collectively, we understand and are thankful for the sacrifices (some by death)made by our ancestors to allow us to enjoy life today. BLM because God,the authentic creator of life, values life. Jesus values each individuallife. Let’s choose life! QED
*BrotherBill Dickens is currently the Church School Teacher at Allen AME Church inTacoma, Washington. He is currently a member of the Fellowship ofChurch Educators for the African Methodist Episcopal Church
8. MEDITATION BASED ON ROMANS 8:31-39:
*TheRev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby
I took the time while attending the 50thQuadrennial General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to doa little Philadelphia, Pennsylvania “sightseeing.” I visited IndependenceHall, where the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed and visited MotherBethel AME Church, the congregation founded by Richard Allen and his followerswho refused to accept second-class, racially tinged Christianity.
Those very different historical sites are justa few blocks apart on Philadelphia’s Sixth Street. The members of thatfirst Bethel included slaves and former slaves who were determined to exercisetheir religious freedom, while those who met right down the street at the sametime were white, wealthy and influential men who sought political freedom fromEngland - in spite of the fact that many of them “owned” slaves.
Those familiar with both movements in the late1780s would have probably been optimistic about the possibility of a UnitedStates of America, but doubtful that a small church created by black folk wouldamount to much or survive. Two hundred later, however, the United Statesof America and the African Methodist Episcopal Church are both alive,flourishing and affirm the truth that regardless of who you are or what youhave or where you start out - as a familiar hymn says - “It is no secretwhat God can do.”
Remember that in a time when many of us feelthat we can’t make it because of our limited resources, ethnicity, education,mistakes or relationships and when many of our young people are written off andgive up because of what they think they can’t do. The USA and the AMEChurch had very different beginnings, but their endurance bears witness to whythe Apostle Paul told Christians in Rome, “If God is for us, who can standagainst us?”
Look beyond the limitations imposed by thisworld and those in it. Look to the God Who specializes in using ordinarypeople and Whose Christ came into this world to save us in spite of our sinfulunworthiness. When you do, you’ll see new blessings, discover new hope,claim new victories and understand why one modern spiritual says, “Littlebecomes much when you place it in the Master’s hands.”
*TheRev. Dr. Joseph A. Darby is the Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District of theSouth Carolina Annual Conference of the Seventh Episcopal District of theAfrican Methodist Episcopal Church
9. CLERGY FAMILYCONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENT:
-- Mrs. Ella BelleRichardson Couch Celebrates 106th Birthday
OnAugust 2nd, Mrs. Ella Belle Richardson Couch will be 106 years old. St. Peter AME Church, Clarksville, Tennesseewhere the Reverend Lisa Hammonds is the pastor, celebrated her upcomingbirthday along with the recently past birthday of Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath,Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District at St Peter AME Church's 150thChurch Anniversary on Sunday, July 24th.
Mrs.Ella Belle Richardson Couch is the widow of the late Reverend W. T. Couch ofthe Tennessee Annual Conference. Mrs. Couch is currently the oldest member ofSt. Peter's AME Church, Clarksville, Tennessee. She continues to play the organat the church located at 518 Franklin Street as she has done for fifty plusyears. Mrs. Ella B. Couch takes pride inbeing a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a LifeMember of the Women's Missionary Society.
Birthdaycards and well-wishes can be sent to:
Mrs.Ella B. Couch
TelephoneCalls: (931) 645-6965
10. EPISCOPALFAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Weregret to inform you of the passing of Kenna Christopher Owen, age 56, thebrother of Paul Joseph, husband of Marcia Fugh Joseph; daughter of the RightReverend Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District AMECand Episcopal Supervisor, Dr. Alexia Butler Fugh.
Servicesfor Kenna Christopher Owen:
Friday,July 29, 2016
FamilyVisitation: 6:00 PM
Lewis& Wright Funeral Directors
TheRight Reverend Clement W. Fugh, Eulogist
Expressionsof sympathy may be sent to:
Mr.Paul Joseph and Mrs. Marcia Fugh Joseph
588Castle Gate Drive
Oremail to: MDFugh@yahoo.com
11. CLERGY FAMILYBEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Itis with regret that we announce the death and the funeral services for Mr.Eugene Victor Woolridge, of Devonshire, Bermuda, which occurred on Monday, July25, 2016, the father of the Rev. Trevor E. Woolridge, pastor of Johns ChapelAME Church, Enterprise Alabama, Ms. Pandora Woolridge, Ms. Michelle Grimes andMr. Marvin Woolridge all members of St. John AME Church, Hamilton Parish,Bermuda.
Thefollowing information has been provided regarding the funeral arrangements.
FamilyVisitation: Wednesday, August 3, 2016
7:30p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Celebrationof Life Service: Thursday, August 4,2016
Viewing: 3:00 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Condolencesand Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to:
TheRev. Trevor E. Woolridge
12. CLERGY FAMILYBEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
TheThird Episcopal District regretfully announces the passing of Mr. ThurmanMiller, Sr., the grandfather of the Reverend Dr. Brandon A. A. J. Davis, pastorof St Andrews AME Church Youngstown, Ohio.
Serviceswill be held Saturday July 30, 2016 at 1 p.m.
HinesChapel Free Will Baptist Church
Eulogist:The Reverend Braxton Fredrick
FuneralServices Entrusted to:
812S Center St.
MountOlive, NC 28365
Dr.Davis can be reached via email
13. CLERGY FAMILYBEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Weare saddened to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Vernadine Carter, wife of theReverend Dr. Carrington D. Carter, pastor of Mt. Moriah AME Church inAnnapolis, Maryland. Mrs. Carter passedon Sunday afternoon, July 24, 2016.
Servicearrangements for Mrs. Vernadine Carter:
Thursday,July 28, 2016
Mt.Moriah AME Church
2204Bay Ridge Avenue
MarylandServices entrusted to:
WilliamReese & Sons Mortuary, P.A.
Saturday,July 30, 2016
St.Peter’s AME Church
NorthCharleston, South Carolina
NorthCharleston Services entrusted to:
Expressionsof sympathy may be sent to:
TheReverend Dr. Carrington D. Carter & Family
GlenDale, MD 20769
14. CLERGY FAMILYBEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
Itis with great regret that we share the passing of Mr. Andrew Jackson, Jr, fatherof First Lady / Evangelist Peggy Jackson Wright and the father-in-love of theRev. Charles T. Wright, pastor of Holy Trinity AME Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.
TheHomegoing Service for Mr. Andrew Jackson Jr. will be held:
Saturday,July 30, 2016 - 11:00 am
BethelMissionary Baptist Church
224North Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Telephone:(850) 222 8440
TheRev. Dr. R.B. Holmes, Pastor
Servicesare being handled by:
Strongsand Jones Funeral Homes Service
551W. Carolina Street
Telephone:(850) 224 2139
Condolencesmay be sent to the family in care of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Strongsand Jones Funeral Homes or via email to:
SisterPeggy Wright -
TheRev. Charles T. Wright
15. BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDEDBY:
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
16. CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER:
The Chair of the Commission on Publications, the Right ReverendVashti Murphy McKenzie; the Publisher, the Reverend Roderick Belin and theEditor of The Christian Recorder, Mr. John Thomas III offer our condolencesand prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the peace of Christwill be with you during this time of your bereavement.
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