Where do we go from here?

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In the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 the Preacher puts forth the thesis that there is a time and place for everything. Surely the historic gender achievement at GEnCon 2000 culminating in the election of Vashti McKenzie warrants a time for spirited celebration. But after the parties end, high-fives cease and the celebrations conclude, what do we do next? I for one am quite concerned about issues which the delegates were expected to vote on like reapportionment of delegates, geographic realignment of Episcopal Districts, ministerial appointment commensurate with credentials/experience, mandatory retirement, etc.

What was the outcome of these issues? Did they make it to the floor for vote?? If not, someone has to be held accountable for this dereliction of duty. Furthermore, I was quite appaled at the behavior of some delegates and Bishop H.H. Brookins in particular. The acrimonious debate and ensuing brouhaha among the delegates Saturday night was clearly unChristian. Thankfully, the spectacularly stupid suggestion about locking the press out was defeated. Why make these GenCons look like the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, IL?? The Bible exhorts us to be "in the world but not of the world". Do we wish to behave like the ungodly and relish in carnal communications? The chicannery of Bishop Brookins in side-stepping retirement and seeking "location" sets a pitiful example of leadership and responsibility. This is conduct unbecoming of a Servant [emphasize SERVANT] of Christ!!!

I am personally happy for McKenzie but what about PE Carolyn Guidry? If she was just as worthy, and based on her LA district seems so to me, how is it she too wasn't voted when the vacancies expanded from 2 to 4? Was this a vote for women or for just a woman? I contend gender inequality was NOT erased by this historic vote. This Zion is faced with fundamental challenges both here and abroad. If all we can say is our Zion is the oldest black church in the US while our youth leave in droves, sexual harassment continues unabated and church growth continues to stagnate, our collective witness is weak and ineffective. The revelry about Mckenzie should be short and the proper focus needs to be aimed squarely at increasing membership growth, indigenous concerns in the 14-19 Districts, radical realignment of Districts, etc. Last year I suggested that the AME Church should hire a top-notch management consulting firm like McKinsey & Co. or Andersen Consulting to critically look at how we are doing business and provide constructive suggestions for organizational improvement. This is still a sound suggestion. I am disinterested in change occurring in slow incremental stages. M.L King, Jr. said it best, justice delayed is justice denied. Let's us all GET TO WORK!!

-- Anonymous, July 13, 2000


I also salute the newly elected Bishops. It is wonderful that Bishop McKenzie won without a setaside slot. However, The process leaves much to be desired. I was at the Civic Center, behind and to the side of the platform when all the madness of "Negotiations" were happening. It was disgaceful to say the least. There was not God in any of what I witnessed. Bishops put together tickets, candidates making deals, and worldly politics prevailed.I can not see how we allow this twisted system to survive in selection of our leadership. It was rumored that one candidate even provided limos for all the Bishops' wives, buying favor. In spirit of full disclosure, my candidate did not win but walked alway with intact integrity. If anyone saw the demeanor of most of the Bishops as they presided over business sessions, they would not be surprised because some of the Bishops are a product of this election system. Votes were being taken without the nays being asked for, voice votes called wrong (thankfully the electronic box was used later), unrully presiding officers led to unrully delegations, as few as maybe 9 or 10 delgates monoplolized the microphones as spoiled everything for the Gen Con. Too bad!!! The Word calls for us to pray for those in authority and we will. We must also pray that those in authority seek transformations of their minds. God Bless!

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000

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