What are the issues to address and General Conference

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Now that Convo IV is over. What are the issues to be aware of as we prepare for general conference? And how can non-pastors and lay persons get a hold of this inofrmation?

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2000


Sister Michelle

There were many important issues raised at Convo Iv, and the three Convos that came before it, that needed to be thought about and digested prior to the General session in July.

I do not know if there really is a matter of priortizing the issues, so instead here is just a handful to consider.

The consolidation of church offices for efficency: The office of missions, editor of the A.M.E. Review, the editor the Christian Recorder..all of these posts are being considered for review and possible change.

Having a Biship serve as chief operating officers..similar to a CEO in a major company. This would make sure there was one person in a position of responsibilit for the day-to-day operations of the church at all times. This would eliminate the need of convening a committee to deal with pressing daily issues.

The indiginization of Africa. Having African A.M.E.s in positions of leadership in Africa. This was presented in conjunction with the possibilty of redistricting in the United States and have judicial areas in Africa.

The possibility and implication of a female in Episcopal office. To elect a Bishop requires Godly judgement. The call was for A.M.E.s to allow that judgement to extend to females with some indicating most other major denominations, with the exception of the Roamn Catholic Church have women in such a leadership role.

Care for the caregivers. That there be put into place a method for pastors to have counseling themselves. They are asked to heal and soothe but who is there for them?

Better communications using the modern technology that is available.

This is just a nutshell overview of some of the more pertinent points of Con IV. I hope it is enough to start the thought process.

Rev. John

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

Financial Accountability from Local Churches through the Connectional Church including the Council of Bishops.

Must have Financial Statements and Audit Reports available to all members alone with responses to recommended procedural changes or improvements from auditors.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000

IMO the key issues which will greatly define the future of this denomination are: [1] reunification of AME, AME-Z and CME [2] the geographic realignment of Episcopal Districts [3] a new and aggressive evangelistic program targeted at young believers [YPD model is NOT WORKING!!!] [4] indigenous concerns of our Districts 14- 19 and [5] AME supported colleges and universities. Issue one is the most important but due to selfish sectarian posturing it will not be discussed except on venues like AME Today. Issue two is critical since the current arrangement of Episcopal Districts is short of geographic anarchy. How can you justify single-state Districts like AL, GA, SC or FL [which is de facto single-state ignoring Bahamas] and have 17 states in the 5th Districts? Second in importance to issue #1 for me is Issue #3. With the exceptions of some our churches we don't do a very good job recruiting new members, especially young recruits. But like issue #1 this topic only receives superficial attention.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2000


I agree with you in most of your assessments. I might pull your number three issue up to number one. We need to increase our evangelism. But to cite a problem is easy...to come up with a solution much more difficult.

As a pastor, I realize today I face a lot more competition than pastors in the past have. There are more splinter and independent churhes than ever. Some of the independents are the biggest.

And there is good reason. They have little to worry about other then themselves. Being connectional brings a great feeling of fellowship but it also entails an interconnecting that does not always allow us to be as free (financially) as neighboring independent churches.

Secondly, aside from spiritual competition, we face worldly competition. Television, Computers, and other distractions which find many people putting church last on their list of "leisure time" activities.

So the question I raise...in acknowledging the need for evangelizing...badly needing it...what is the best way for the church to reach out in this age to save souls.

Personally, I would like to utilize this technology a lot more and will be incorporating a strong evangelical piece into this site in the very near future. But on the highways and byways how are we going to attract people in the 21st century. This is not limited to just Bill, but anyone reading, what can we as a church do to bring people through the doors in this rapidly changing and increasingly Godless age.

Rev. John

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2000



Our company is FIBRE Internationale, LLC. We participated in the New Initiatives Work Group at CONVO IV. We specifically focused our involvement at CONVO IV on drafting legislation toward an Information Technology Solution.

Concerning FAS2: Numerous approaches were discussed in crafting the Information Technology legislation. FAS2 was recommended by the New Initiatives Work Group and received by the general body of attendees.

As a consultant to the process, FIBRE believes that church leadership is still growing in its understanding of FAS2 and how any minister or lay person can participate in its development.

We invite you to bring your professional capabilities, intellectual properties, and tools to the FAS2 project. FIBRE's objective is to identify professional resources from within every AME church and present these combined resources as the collective, professional capacity of FAS2.

To God be the Glory for the great things He has done!

-- Anonymous, February 18, 2000

Rev John, Thanks for your thoughtful response. I am convinced that solutions are only as difficult as we make them. Consider the field of particle physics. The problem is routine and straightforward. How do you manipulate atomic energy in order for it to be used for benevolent purposes [i.e. electricity, nuclear medicine, etc.]? The solution though complex in the details is equally straightforward. Harness and arrest the energy in fuel rods so that the energy when created has an infinitessimally small chance of being released to damage people or the environment. Nuclear energy is safe, efficient and clean but the obstacle for using it are the unwarrented NIMBY fears caused by Love Canal, 3 Mile Island. Now fast-forward to our predicament for 21st Centtury growth in the AME Denomination. Many of us are articulate in correctly defining the challenges and problems we face. Yet, we also know what needs to be done. The chief impediment IMO is an unaccounted hierarchy which stifles creative thinking for fear it may upset the prevailing status quo. This is a straightforward application of C. Wright Mills classic text, The Power Elite. If we truly desire to recapture youth for the 21st Century we should [1] Have a youth representative for the steward, stewardess and trustee boards [2] reorganize out Lay Dept. so that every AME member becomes an active participant [3] take steps like those presented by Rev. George Champion. Church school should be on Saturday where kids in the community can attend freely without concerns about dress or proper attire. Champion's materials provide specific rites of passage activities along with rigor in Bible study which can keep youth attentive and create an envrionment for entertainment. As you can problably detect I am a big fan of Champion's paradigm for church growth.

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2000

Excellent comments! However I don't understand the phyics part. Dr. Champions ideas are also good but we cannot say that Saturday School is the answer for everyone. We should try and see what works best for our community and take the action. I see nothing preventing one from implementing those things without a mandate from the General Conference.

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2000

In follow up to Bill Dickins' comments of 16 Feb 2000

1. Reunification of AME, AMEZ, CME - a more appropriate term would be UNIFICATION. We can REunify if we ain't be Unified. But semantics aside, I don't belive this will ever get beyond the stage of rhetoric. Why? In addition to saving money, we're also talking about folks' jobs here...and I don't think any of the bishops and other national/connectional officers are very willing to potentially vote themselves out of a job.

REunification can apply if we (AME's or all of the above) were to choose to go back to our mother church, the United Methodists, but then we would have to deal with mundane issues like homosexuality amont the clergy and general membership [yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek here] and we would really be giving up a lot of control. But on the other hand, they elected women bishops some time ago. Ohio has had a black UM bishop and a woman. In fact, Ohio, which has two UM districts, had women heading up both districts. The current female bishop is retiring soon; I haven't heard who her successor will be. Is this a model for AME's? I'm quite undecided.

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2000

Opps, I forgot something. On Mr Dickins comment re an aggressive evangelical youth program because YPD is not working. At one time, the church strongly supported the Allen Christian Endeavor League and participated with Christian Endeavor International. In recent years, the name has been changed to ACE Fellowship, then to Allen Christian Fellowship.

The Dept. of Education has virtually ignored ACE as an official part of the Chr. Ed. program. I understand it is very active in parts of the African Districts, but it's directed at those in the post teen years.

Christian Endeavor International has gone through a long, dry, spell and for several years did not have much to offer, but earlier this year they launched a new web-based program which is truly cutting edge in the area of youth ministry. Because it is interracial and inter denominational, it does not speak directly to some of the concerns of black congregations, but some of what is offered can be adapted. AND CEI just announced a brand new evangelistic thrust of Praise and Worship services to be conducted in regions across the country. Imagine youth of various colors and cultures gathering together for prayer without regard to denominations and colors!!!

If interested, take a preview look at www.teamce.com. Maybe it's time for us to go back to the Christian Endeavor model as we are not really doing much ourselves other than having a Christian Ed Congress every four years. The program is already there...all we need to do is to buy in to it.

BTW - My church has never stopped using ACE (weekly) and we also have YPD (monthly) and both work quite well together.

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2000

Yes, I agree with many of the issues raised. As an African I'll put emphasis on the following: One, let us re-align the borders for efficiency and effectiveness sake, especially in southern Africa. Second, let us put mechanisms in place to audit everyone and anyone who handles denominational money (including bishops). Third, let us implement Operation Partnership (no need to re-invent the wheel), connecting poor rural churches in Africa with mega-churches in the USA. We need to revisit the selfhelp concept and probably put in elements of solidarity in it. In conclusion, the 2000 - 2004 quadrennial should open better lines of communications between the US-based district and overseas districts. The week we spends at GenCon is not enough to reach common agreement / concensus on many of the issues. What about one major Transatlantic AME Convo biannually?

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

Rev. Hanse,

Your recommendations concerning linking mega churches with rural churches and having a transatlantic convo are superb!! Come to think of it, they resonate with spiritual wisdom and common sense.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2000

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