The AME Church and Africagreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Africans feel left out and ignored by the last General Conference. Many are in a state of shock by the mistreatment and must now re-evaluate there relationship with the AME church. What advise would you give them?
-- Anonymous, October 04, 2000
Rev. April I am fairly new to the AME denomination, but I have noticed frustration voiced on the discussion board. What is going on? Could you give me some specific examples of how our African brothers and sister have been mistreated. Also can you or someone else give a brief history of our relationship with our ame family on the motherland. We as the body of Christ must heal, and I am concerned, especially since our world is so global. Within a few hours we can be on the other side of the world. US policies are having tremendous impact on African-Americans and Africans, and too often it is not a good impact, employment, aids, housing, police brutality etc. I pray that we as a denomination can have solardarity when we have so many of the same issues to overcome.
-- Anonymous, October 04, 2000
The 46th Session of the General Conference was my first, and I may have missed out on some of the aspects. I am not so sure whether shocked is the proper word, may be disappointed. I went to that meeting with a couple of expectations, and some were met, some not. And I thank God for what we have achieved (and the expectations that were met) and continue to pray and commit myself to work harder for new expectations, challenges and responsibilities that will come our way in 2004. I prayed for the AME Church to rise to the challenge to elect a female bishop, and I was more delighted when the "special resolution" was rejected and Bishop V M McKenzie got elected on merit. I prayed for at least one African to get elected, and thank God for the votes Rev. Dr. Wilfredt Messiah drew until he withdrew and asked his supporters to cast their votes in favour of Bishop Ingram and Bishop Williams. I prayed and thank God that the idea of the African Jurisdictional Conference was approved, may be not in the way I wanted it, but we can still re-model it as we go along.
The playing field is not levelled, and I understand that. But we are our greatest enemy, for we did not need so many candidates from Africa all splitting Africa's block vote. Accross the Connection there were unnecessarily more than 40 candidates, and if Africa would have united in the first ballot with one candidate we may have succeeded. It is my prayer that the Africa Jurisdictional Conference will address this issue before 2004, for the 1st ballot is very important in the sense that it indicates who the leading candidates are! Also, I do not understand why all our serious candidates seek office as bishop, whereas I would have loved to see Rev. April and Rev. Messiah running for the former Secretary of Missions (now occupied by Flowers). These two gentlemen are Africans who are products from the mission field, and were fortunate to be educated and pastoring in the USA as well. They know the heart, soul and mind of the Africans, African-Americans, and African-Carribeans, and still very young in age and experience. General Officers are the "Managing Directors" of our Departments. No need to say that I wish them well and will suppport their respective campaigns for the episcopacy in 2004.
Finally, on the issue of the AME Church and Africa, I do not think that we should re-invemt the wheel. On page 305 of the 1996 edition of the AME Book of Discipline and Doctrine, Operation Partnership-in- Mission is stated to have been supposedly implemented at the beginning of the 1980-84 quadrennium. We were not so serious with this one. We should strive to make a change on the local level - that is where the core of our business is, to preach the Gospel, to seek out and save the lost...And here we are in Africa, we have pastors on subsistence farming, who do not earn a dime from any AME Connectional Department. And here we are in Africa, many preachers destitute ( and I do not mean they are without the luxuries of the dining table) but are without food in the rural areas and in the Namib Deserts where Namibia recently held their millennium session... And here we are on hi-tec Internet, and instead of leaving Connectional politics until at least 2003 when campaings will intensify, we mourn and grown in the AME-Today on what is past. History is only important in that it locates your past. Let's look forward with Faith, leaning on the Lord! If you are in a favourable position today, what can you do for your neighbour? If you have achieved success on your local level, say it loud and let us hear and learn! The Lord is calling us from the comfort zone, sometimes to be uncomfortable. Now that you have progressed to your present position, what are you going to do next? I thank God for the AME-Today and for Rev. John, and in the retirement words of Bishop Bob Thomas, "I'll say anything I want and I'll write anything that I like". Attending the 46th Session of the General Conference in Cincinnati was indeed a blessing, and I am proud to be African, and I am proud to be AME!!
-- Anonymous, October 04, 2000
European nations colonized Africa and we can look at history to see what the results were, the colonies eventually gained indepedence. We are no different from the former colonial powers. Perhaps we can learn from history. I think we ought to reorganize the AME Church worldwide with each continent as equal partners in a worldwide church. For example: AME Church in North America, AME Church in South America, AME Church in Africa, etc.. . On those continents where we do not currently have a presence, evangelism and establishment of churches could be done. Each brance would elect and consecrate its bishops and ministers. Ministers would be allowed to serve on continents other than their birth continent but they would be required to move and live in the area of choice, learn the national language and any local languages required to communicate with their parishioners, etc. An organization such as this would open the entire world to our evangelism efforts. Can you imagine, an AME Church in Israel! God Bless Pastor Paris
-- Anonymous, October 07, 2000
Dear Rev. Hanse, I can certainly appreciate your observations regarding Africa and the AME Church and more specifically your observations with respect to Wilfred Messiah and my candidacy as it relates to the episcopacy. Allow me to thank you for your endorsement and support.However, my beloved brother, we were not elected, because of the politics of the bishops.In the AME Church, bishops elect bishops.If you would compare our academic qualifications and successful pastoral leadershipship in America, you will discover that no bishop, past our present,has any more or less than what we have.I thought I had left the plantation of Apartheid in South Africa when I fled the scourge of oppression and sought refuge and sanctity in the United States, but, guess what, they too are oppressed.I don't know if I need to get back in the race. After all, when Desmond Tutu left, he became the Arch Bishop of one of the largest churches in the world,not because he was an African, but because he was qualified.Today I am pastoring one of the largest and most historic churhes in Dallas, Texas, not because I am African,but because I am qualified.I served as Head of the Religion Department at the oldest liberal arts College , west of the Mississippi and had my own live TV program, taught at major colleges and universities in Texas, edited college text books,pastored successfully for twenty years,secured allmost $2Million dollars from the Meadows foundation to refurbish the historic St. James AME Church that is the only church in the South listed in the Federal Registry as a national historic treasure(Aug.99 issue, Christian Recorder,front page).My greatest achievement in the United States was when a little boy of ten years old came running to me asking the question, "What must I do to be saved" and when five hundred prisoners under the preaching anointing of the Holy Ghost, in a little town called Marlin, in the Hobby Unit Prison, surrendered their lives to the Lord. So my brothers and sisters,I solicit your prayer support as I enter this period of aloneness with the Lord on the Mount decision making. May the power of Pentecost be yours. Peace and Prosperity. John J. April.
-- Anonymous, November 02, 2000
God allowed Saul to pursue David to drive David to the position that God wanted him to be. David was satisfied to be Saul's soldier -- but God wanted David to be His king. what do you think? Am I missing something?
-- Anonymous, November 02, 2000
The African Methodist Episcopal Church seemed not to have awakened to the burning African issues. The presence of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the majority of African countries is not as a result of a great missionary activity (whereby I mean that we were already Christians belonging only to a different denomination), but many countries joined this great Zion because of her emphasis on sociological issues. Like Richard Allen in 1787, Namibians left the then German Rhynish Missionary Society not because of doctrinal differences, but because of inhumane treatment, and we joined as a organised group officially on July 3rd, 1946 after the founding fathers came into contact with the AME leadership in neighbouring South Africa. Angola is another perfect example, of an organised group joining the AME Church. In the Namibian case, the AME Church was a vehicle (a means) during the liberation struggle, and people such as the honourable Rev. Dr. Hendrik Witbooi, PE (currently also Namibian Deputy Prime Minister) were able used the AME platform for the liberation struggle. Yet the financial support for all AME-named anti-apartheid projects and programmes were not funded by the AME Church. In fact, these projects such as schools, clinics, etc. were funded from especially Germany churches, whose relationship to 3rd world countries are characterised by the solidarity principle. I hate to say this, but the AME Church's self-help principle only favours those in the 1st world USA, those who have means to help themselves. It is the failure of the AME Connection to run budgets based on programmes that is busy frustrating and alienating many Africans. Our present attitude to give so-called offerings in the hands of individual bishops to do as they see fit is increasingly frustrating. We have the new office of Global Witness and Ministry, and we have a budget for dr. Flower's office, and salary, and staff, but we do not budget for the programmes that are to be implemented by this office. And this makes a mockery of the AME machinery! We have 6 American bishops based in overseas districts, with no budget for development. For the 54 years Namibians have associated themselves with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, I am ashamed to say that not a single Namibian minister has received a dime from any AME Connectional department! Not a single Namibian has benefitted from the various AME Institutions of higher learning; in fact, not even funded to a local institution of higher learning! Our ministers work in this church not because we are compensated, but because we love the Lord and we share in the rich heritage of Richard Allen! There are ministers who are destitude (and I am not talking about the luxuries of a modern dining table), and you tell him to help himself. In writing this contribution, I want to talk to the heart, soul, mind and conscience of African Methodism; I want to call every bishop and general officer to give a thought to Africa; I want you to know that the AME policy of selfhelp is meaningless unless you show me how to catch the fish. Our environments are different, our economies are different, and having lived in London, United Kingdom I want you to know that we do not have the opportunities in Africa that are at your disposal. There are pastors with mega-churches in the USA who do not even respond to correspondence from abroad, and the candidates are the weakest link in the entire connection. Capitalism has a very bad influence on our invidual and collective existence, and unless we change from selfhelp to solidarity we'll see a movement towards more independent AME church's in overseas districts in the near future. Come and let us pray and act about this before it is too late.
-- Anonymous, November 06, 2000
Your last post points out some of the inherent internal inequalities for our Zion. I fully support the idea of resource redistribution to many of our indigenous spiritual African clergy. I fully support your candid observation that benign neglect by our American AMEC leadership to Africa represents a theological abdication of duty for Christian service. What I am puzzled about is how you equate these inequities to capitalism. What is immoral about a social system defined by private property and individual freedom in the pursuit of self-interest? I have worked as an economist for over 17 years and part of that time has been devoted to looking at ways to increase the material well being of individuals living in economically distressed regions. I have friends and colleagues at the World Bank & IMF who work indefatigably to see that poor African nations acquire the necessary capital to foster GDP growth. Capitalism is an ally, not an enemy of social and economic progress. Collectivization of the type advanced by Julius Nyere or Nkruma is a failed policy. I want to see Africa succeed economically but singling out capitalism as the culprit is not the answer.
-- Anonymous, November 06, 2000