Accountability in the AME Church : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I am lately very concerned about accountability in the AME Church, especially the Episcopacy. I cannot comment on the General and Connectional Officers since they report to the Generak Board and the General Conference, whilst I think that there is room for improvement (auditing). With bishops the picture in especialy the so-called overseas districts is very, very unclear. Firstly, we do not know when the bishops are using official money and when using personal money. We do not know their sources, whether it comes from the Overseas Development Fund, or whether the bishop raised the money in the US districts! What you see is the bishops literally taking cash out of their pockets and donating it to recipients he has the sole criteria of. I mean if I go on a US trips to preach in different churches to collect money, that money should be reported into the church's coffers and only the Official Board has the mandate to dispurse such money. Well, to whom are bishops accountable for all the money they receive and appropriate (in cash) and who does the auditing? Secondly, when attending Connectional meetings in the USAm what criteria are being used by the AME Church Treasurer to give sustentaion money to delegates. Those visiting from overseas districts have had mixed emotions about this. Some bishops gave their delegations about $150-00 per person, other bishop gave almost $400-00 per person, etc. Some delegation were told in 2000 that the AME Church is in financial mess (because of a so-called sexual harrassment law sue case which was never officially dealt with on General Conference floor to my knowledge). We are asked to contribute towards travelling and accomodation (whilst we have been contributing for an itme called "quadrennial travel" at both Midyear and Annual Conference Sessions! And the money that the bishops disbursed in casg to delegates, who does audit that. The truth of the matter is that people felt cheated by many a bishop! And unless the bishops come out of the dark into God's marvellous light and are transparent in their financial handling, a lot of us remain very suspicious, for we are all human. What do AME's say about financial accountability in the AME Church?

-- Anonymous, September 23, 2000


In the 4th District we just raised more than a $85,000 for Bishop Norris to take to the 14th Episcopal District. The Chicago Conference contributed more than $12,000 of that sum. Bishop Norris should be able to do something significant with that money as the value of the dollar is so much higher than the currency in the 14th Episcopal District. I believe we should post the amounts of monies that are given to Bishops in the United States to serve the people of Africa. That is one way of keeping Africans informed and also keeping Bishops accountable.

-- Anonymous, September 25, 2000

It would be prudent that all finances in the A.M.E. Church be handled in the manner that would comply with General Acceptable Accounting Rules. All organizations in the church, from the local church up to and including, the Presiding Elder Districts, Episcopal Districts, Schools, Missions, and General Departments should be audited annually by a single Certified Public Accounting Firm. No firm should audit more than three consequtive years. The church demands great stewardship and accountability.

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2000

The accountability of the church goes further than just the money. Bishops are ignoring small family churches within their districts because those churches are unable to pay their assesments. While this happening, we are losing out on young adult members who are trying to bring their children up in the church. The church should be held accountable for all finances and for seeing that membership is on an increase instead of a decrease. I cannot see why the church had to increase its budget by almost 30% on all local churches when the U.S. economy is in a surplus. Where is the money going? Why are our colleges/universities in jeopardy of losing accredidation? My only guess is that membership has fallen off and no one in leadership seems to care because as long as they get their budget, they're fine. It is time to get back to what Richard Allen started! Make these Bishops be held accountable!

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000

Ms. Cooper raises an interesting aspect about accountability, but is it fair to assess it only to the bishops? Each bishop has anywhere from 200-400 charges under her/his care. Even if a bishop visited one church a day, it would be hard, in some cases, to get them all in one year. Thus, a bishop must delegate to the next levels, and those levels must help the bishop with the church's Prime Directive - Evangelism.

Accountability begins in the pew, with each member. If we are interested in church growth, we the "sheep" must "beget sheep." We must do what we can to invite and encourage others to fellowship with us. Next, we must do what we can to make the place of fellowship someplace one would want to come to. This means personal accountability - taking responsibility for our own friendliness and Christian love - and assembly accountability - providing the right mix of teaching, programs, and minsitry that make a church an exciting place of worship and growth.

Once we have done our part, the role of the bishop is easier to perform.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000

Mr. Jerryl makes a great point by stating that it starts with the sheep of the church to maintain Christianity in the church, however, we all know that pastors have a great influence on the minds of new church attendees and when it is time for the pastor to be moved and the "light" is shown about what is going on in the denomination, they leave. It is solely the Bishop's responsiblity to make sure churches are growing. If production begins to fail at your job, the CEO has to take responsibility. Our CEO's happen to be Bishops.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000

Rev. Hanse I greet you in the name of Christ! I am fairly new to the denomination so please bear with me. You are asking on the discussion board about financial accountability. Have you written a letter to your Presiding Elder and Bishop with your concerns. The reason I ask is that sometimes it is better to discuss one's frustration with the person that you feel is causing the frustration. Money is always a hard issue. I could not attend my annual conference and wanted to because it was too expensive. And to fly to the Gen Conference would have cost me almost $1,000,000. I live in a part of the US where it is hard to get cheap airfare because there is so few people. I do not want the Devil to have the last laugh by watching our denomination fall apart. Let us all put our thinking caps on and put our prayer shawls on. There is nothing that God cannot do. NOTHING! I am suggesting two things, one, let's all do a thirty do prayer treatment, all of us on this board pray for thirty days about this accountability issue. For it can be worked out. Two, we have four years before the next GenCo. This denomination has over 1 million members worldwide. We have AME's who are travel agents, we should be able to get discounts on plane tickets and single rooms for our sister and brothers outside the USA. I know we can do this, we have to do this. Money cannot be the wedge that brings this great denomination down. Rev. Hanse I am beginning today to pray, I will claim the victory that this situation will be healed by God. If God is silent now it is only because he is working on the situation. Jesus has always provided for us, he is the same yesterday, the same today! Our denomination was founded by an African, Richard Allen did not say we cannot do this because they discriminate against us because of color or the Methodists aren't being fair. No he prayed, he used what he had and he prayed some more. That is our legacy and we will pray and pray.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000

Sorry Rev. Hanse I forgot to sign my name. I am Rev. Denise Rogers

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2000

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