Did the AME Denomination leave Cincinnati with a black eye?

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Cincinnati was my first General Conference and I have to be real about things, I left with a sick feeling about the state of the Church. I arrived with high expectations and I somehow thought that the Spirit of God would be all over the place, but what I saw was a side of the Church that needed to be hidden from the public. Next to the unfriendly delegates who walked around as if they where better than everyone else and the meetings (that at times, where delegates almost came to blows), the only positive thing that I can said occured was the election of Bishop McKenzie. It felt as if I was at the Democratic Convention. I guess I expected more from the leadership of this church. It sad that God wasn't invited to the General Conference in 2000.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000



Unfortunately you had to be witness to what has occured within our church for many years. It is unfortunate that the same people we see jumping, shouting, and running in our local churches were behaving in such a manner. I guess the Lord's invitation was lost because at times it felt like he was not present. Thankfully he is everywhere at all times! In my opinion He allows this to transpire so that the hearts of people will be stirred to want to make a greater change in the future. Don't be discouraged about this but let it inspre you to want to invoke change.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2000


Although I was not present, I have witnessed these activities in our church for some time. And it is a very sad situation. I have witnessed occasions where the move of God was completely stopped to continue the business session! The conduct of the delegates and people in leadership has been displeasing and still is. And I am pretty sure that you know the reason why things happened the way they did. It wasn't God, that isn't like him. The culprit was SATAN! His whole plot is to Kill and Destroy us. What better way to attack the body of Christ than when all of our leaders (the head) are assembled together! I feel that it is at these times when we should listen solely to the voice of GOD, not the voice of money, self, etc. When you see these actions, you know that we are conforming to the world and its systems. As the word says, "Lean not to thy own understanding. In ALL ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path." Too many of us refuse to deny ourselves, and because of it the AME church is dying (especially the youth). I pray that our ministers and pastors start stepping out on faith and speaking out about these issues and BINDING SATAN at these Conferences before he can even get started. It seems like we are on the same page, but this message is intended for all of us to realize that when it comes to the business of doing God's work, we can't do it unless we are reciving a word from him, and we can't do that unless we are totally connected to him.

In his service,

C. Meredith

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2000

It was my first time to attend a session of the General Conference. These meeting have two dimensions: the spirituality during the worship services as well as politics when we deal with the temporal administrative issues. I am convinced that there were more positive things happening than the negatives, and that we have left Cincinnatti with more determination to do the Lord's work here on earth. It is my humble opinion that we do not do missions at all these events, but on the local level is where we are to save the lost. The crux of our mission statement is to be implemented on local levels, and we have these meetings (on local, area, district, annual and connectional levels) to monitor, inspire and re-arrange our local efforts. It was a blessing to attend General Conference and I am even more happy that a woman was elected on merits (and not by special resolution) and wish to encourage the African candidates for the episcopacy to pray and fast for another return in 2004 to be elected on merit. God bless

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2000

Please remember that the General Conference is a business meeting more than a worship service. I was in attendance of the Cincinnati General Conference ( 46th. session) and did strongly feel the presence of God enough to know that He was there.His Spirit was in all deliberations, even the ones you thought should have been hidden from the public. Not only was God invited, He was there. In the opening worship service, God was there. In the Communion service, God was there. In the Singing by the 3rd. District choir, God was there. In the business session, God was there. In the election of all officers, God was there. If God had not been there, the meeting probable would still be going on, and only the super rich would have been able to remain and complete the business of the church. This is still God's church, and He allows everything to happen for a specific reason. Did you invite the Holy Spirit to accompany you as you made ready to attend the General Conference? Because you thought enough of the AME Church to attend the General Conference, you are a part of the "leadership". Remember always that those who lead this church are humans being directed by God. They have their strong points AND their weaknesses. That's why they are humans. All humans make mistakes. It is the God in you that allows you to look beyond human weakness and see God. Hold your head up high. God is still in control of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. If you felt that God was left out of the General Conference, look beyond the human players and see the great director, God. He Was There.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2000

I was told that if I could attend a general conference and come back Christian I had accomplished a lot. I was in Louisville in 1996 when the mayor rightly so threaten to end the conference.

It only strenghten my resolve to try and change the things that need to be changed in our denomination and to concentrate on changing the hearts of those in the local church.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2000

I find the comments in this thread extremely interesting. It appears that a careful distinction has been offered to view GenCons as "busines meetings" first and "spiritual meetings" second. Codes of conduct and ethical standards seem to be unimportant in the former whereas God-like attitudes are expected in the latter. As a lay worker I find this dichotomy theologically suspect. It must be remembered that first and foremost we are to be Christians in all that we do. This means being Christ-like in "business meetings". Second, the so-called business meetings pertain to the business of God's Church. The Bible admonishes us to do things in "decency and in order". How is acrimonious debate and near fisticuffs consistent with these Bibilical mandates? The Book of Acts Ch 15 provides an excellent account of how the early Church responded to "business" matters. We can agree to disagree without the propensity to be disputatious and vexing in spirit. We can and should exhibit exemplary deportment in our organizational sessions. If we as AMEs accept this dichotomy by condoning abberant behavior in one "meeting" while encouraging pieous attributes in the other "meeting" our collective witness suffers and we make a mockery of the Gospel!! Clinical psychologists describe the mismatch between actions and beliefs as cognitive dissonance. Christians [even church folk] ought to be about minimizing dissonance and maximizing holiness.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2000

The AME Church leftthe General Conference with a hole in the stained glass ceiling not a black eye in the church. We left with renewed hope for the leadersh and determination to live out the mandate of liberation for all people regardless of color, gender or social status. It is true that the conduct of some of the members of the delagations was not Christ-like. The process was indeed highly political and very emotional at times. Yet, the hand of God was truly visible in the process. I was very impressed by the Christ- Centered determination that the McKenzie Campaign maintained during the G C such as, fasting, available prayer room, prayer groups and encourging other candidates in their campaigns. When voices were raised in anger I saw many heads bow in prayer. Many people were praying and fasting for the GC before and during the sessions. The AME Church allows a forum for a voice and a vote and that process has rights and responsiblities that allow for both negatives and postive behaviors. We must always strive for prayerful excellence in all levels of the church but never underestimate the power of prayerful intervention. The hand of God was present and accounted for at the 46 session of the AMEC General Conference. The church is alive and hope has been restored for the challenge of a new era in our church. Pastor Bess McCallister, Balti.,Md.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2000

I agree with Pastor Macallister. In addition what we must remember is the greatest thing that seperates us from all of the creatures that God created and that is we are human. We are at times subject to emotion and I feel that this is all withing God's plan. He has given us this passion that makes us more available to Him because it causes us to see that we are limited and in need of Him. That is the sum total of our worship. We see that there is someone that is Greater than we are. Yes we represent God as a church, but we must also recognize that we are not Him, we are flawed, broken vessels in need of the Potter to put us back on the wheel and constantly repair us. As a Lic. in the New York Conference I constantly ask myself is this the church I want to be a part of and my answer is YES because with all of it's flaws I see God doing a mighty work because He is always there imparting His Grace and Mercy, just like when David had Uriah killed. Yes we are wrong, but He still loves us in spite of ourselves.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2000

I attended my first General Conference in 1956 in Miami, briefly. My first full on was in Dallas in l976. Trust me, our G.C.'s are MUCH better than they used to be. I, too, wish that we could conduct business with a more SPIRIT-FILLED attitude, however, realizing that we are at different levels of faith, we can't expect too much. However, concerned ones can continue to pray for the church. God sent a youth to respond to the confusion--remember? This caused at least one delegate to publicly apologize to a bishop. Ideally, he should have been under control so an apology should not have been necessary. Also be cognizant of the fact that unless delegates adamantly demand to be heard, the conference would only be a "rubber stamp" for the "powers that be." Delegates caused the Episcopal Committee to reconsider its decisions. I could go on and on. Rejecting a resolution to elect a woman was DEFINITELY an act of God. Now Bishop McKenzie doesn't have to live under the stigma of being ALLOWED in. Praise God, the election showed just how much she could come in on her own merits. It is my prayer that Rev. Carolyn Tyler and Rev. Messiah be included in 2004. It is my opinion that we do have representation from our overseas districts. They, also, have very qualified leaders. I only know Rev. Messiah. At any rate, the AMEC is the CHURCH OF MY CHOICE--with all its weaknesses-- AME BORN, AME BRED, WHEN I DIE, I'LL BE AME DEAD!!! Have faith, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING--"Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell WILL NOT PREVAIL upon it."!!!!!

-- Anonymous, July 22, 2000

This was also my first (and poss. last) GenCon. I've been an AME all my life (so far)...and am a 50 year member of my congregation (so I'm not a baby...at least, chronologically speaking) and had heard things about previous conferences and has pledged NEVER to attend one. Why? Well, my statement was that, "in all good conscience, I would have to leave the AME church.

Well, since we (the 3rd) was host, and it was only about 1 1/2 hours away, I felt that I should at least put in an appearance. My plan was to come on Tuesday - AFTER the politicking and elections - and was much dismayed to read in AME-Today just prior to leaving on Tuesday that the elections had not been held. Since I had paid for my chartered round trip I came anyhow...and was dismayed to see upon arrival, "Norris for Bishop" folks surrounding the convention center and the "McKenzie campers" and others scattered amongst them. Entering the lobby, there was an African delegation chanting and marching through the concourse (actually, this was kind of nice)...and other stuff that did, in fact, look like the Dem and Reps USED to look when their conventions were interesting and the final candidate was NOT known months before the conventions.

I was dismayed - yet, GLAD to have witnessed part of this mess first hand...and was pleased to witness the election of our first female bishop. I might add (and please, no brickbats) -- I was pleased for the historicity of the event, not that I agreed with it.

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2000

I came away from Cincinnati with a greater appreciation for the local church and a better understanding of the word "remnant". It is those of us, truly saved, spirit filled Christians, who keep the doors of every AME (or any other church) open. It is only when we, who only want to do the Lord's work, do what he has asked that anything is accomplished for his honor and glory. We stand in the gap where our leaders fail. Let's pray for our leaders and pray that future general conferences will yield spirit filled leaders seeking to advance God's kingdom on earth.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2000

A wise man once said "People who love Sausage and respect the law should never watch either of them being made" I think to some degree that's true of Church Law and politics also.

Just my thoughts Mike

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2000

By the way, General Conferences for all of the protestant denominations are filled with politics and high emotions. The United Methodists had there conference in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Police had to be called in, several clergy were arrested including a Bishop!

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2000

I was born into the parsonage of an A.M.E. Church. I have been a member all my life. I was baptized in the church as an infant. I officially joined and confirmed my belief in Christ's Redemption at the age of 8. I am now 55. God has been, and is still very much alive in the A.M.E. Church. I began attending General Conferences in 1964 at the old Cincinnati Gardens. I missed a few in between but I have now attended a total of six--returning full circle to Cincinnati once again. I have been both an observer and an elected delegate. If God allows it I will never miss being in attendance again, either as a delegate or an observer. This year, I was also fortunate to meet teenagers who were attending their 4th General Conference and felt the same as I. The Spirit of God dwells within and among us and not in some outside circumstances or appearances. Each day and every session of the General Conference begins with worship; prayer and devotion in which we ask God to direct our path. The business of the church is necessary in order that we might effectively address the issues of change, ministry, growth, and polity. Often those whom we elect to represent us from the Local, Conference and Episcopal District levels address these issues with fervent zeal and passion. Yet in the end a consensus is reached, the church moves on, and we return not as enemy or foe, but as a united body of Believers--bothers and sisters in Christ. No, we have not left Cincinnati with a black eye!

-- Anonymous, July 29, 2000

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