I have the best Presiding Elder

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As I was saying my prayers today I lifted my Presiding Elder up to God in prayer. Dr. Ellis Casson is my Presiding Elder and he is truly annointed by God, he cares so much about his clergy and building up our conference. He is retiring this year after 42 years of ministry and I will miss him dearly. Please share about your Presiding Elder, how many churches, sermons etc. Also what are some positive ways we can work with our Presiding Elders?

-- Anonymous, February 28, 2001


The P.E. for my district is Rev. Ralph Wilson. In addition to his normal P.E. duties, he serves as the manager for the FL Conference AME Credit Union. He also served on the 1996 Compilation Committee and does an excellent job in keeping our Lay Organization informed on upcoming Connectional events and activities. While I am one of the few who believe this position should be phased out I nonetheless acknowledge my P.E.'s committment to excellence in church work. QED

-- Anonymous, February 28, 2001

Bill I am curious as to why you feel the P.E position should be phased out. One of the main reasons I transferred to the AME denomination was because of my Presiding Elder. Dr. Casson took the time to meet with me, discuss my ministerial background and to also listen to my dream of starting a church. His discernment was incredible and from the clergy perspective having the P.E input and advice along with his many years in ministry has been empowering. I must also add that Bishop Bryant is tremendous in his support of new churches and clergy also. Actually my experience in the fifth district has been exemplary! I especially love the Pacific Northwest Conference which includes Alaska, Washington, oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. I also want to share my daughter is Presbyterian, but after meeting our Presiding Elder and hearing him preach, and to see him take time with young people; she will be joining the AME church. I just can't imagine not having a P.E. So I will be eager to hear what you have to say.

-- Anonymous, February 28, 2001

Brother Dickens,

I would be very interested to know what your reasoning is for beleving that the Presiding Elders postion should be phased out. While I usually find myself "there with you" in most of your postings, I have trouble with this one. Presiding Elders are designed to serve in the capacity of mid-level managers. They are to "pastor' the pastors assigned to their districts, stay on top of what is transpiring within the churches in their district, serve as a facilitator and problem solver when difficulties arise between pastor and people, and serve as an advisor to the Bishop on the capabilities (strengths as well as weaknesses) of the various clergy assigned to them as well as the unique and sometimes peculiar needs of the individual churches within their Presiding Elders District. All of these services (and more) are SORELY needed in our Church today. My Bishop (Bishop Bryant), as truly great and wonderful as I think He is, cannot possibly fullfill all of those roles. He has responsibility for over 300 churches. I'd be lucky if he knew my name at this point or if he had more than a passing notion of where Moreno Valley, CA even was. No Brother Dickens, the solution to the problem is not to eliminate the position in my humble opinion, it is for Bishops to elevate Elders who have the gifts and abilities, wisdom, temperment and vision to be effective managers as well as "pastoral coaches". Sadly, for pastors as well as for congregations, this has not been the case in many places for far to long. In Southern California Conference I have been blessed to serve under some outstanding Presiding Elders in the ten years I have been privileged to pastor here.For the previous four years )until this past October), my PE was Rev. Carolyn Tyler Guidry, whom I consider to be one of the finest in the Connection. She is sensitive to the needs of her churches while at the same time is able to encourage, counsel, and bring out the best in her pastors. When nessacary, she "took me out to the woodshed" but she always did so privately and with an eye toward building me up so that I might be a more effective Pastor, rather than tearing me down. She invested her time,her love and even her financial resources into the work here at Quinn, Moreno Valley both before my arrival here as well as subsequent to my assignment.

I am now in another PE District as a result of some re-alignment that took place at our last annual conference. My current PE (Rev. Lonnie C. Wormley)has been exceedingly helpful and very much an encourager in the short time that I have been in his district. Reports that I have received from other Pastors who have served under him,indicate that he too, is a sensitive, caring and very capable Presiding Elder, Elder Wormley is the senior PE in our Conference.

Well, all of this is probably more that any of you out there really wanted to know, but I felt it necessary to share my heart....

blessings, pastor mike

-- Anonymous, February 28, 2001

By the way Pastor Mike Presiding Elder Guidry's love knows no boundaries. She has been kind, loving and encouraging to me as I walk the road to coming into the AME denomination. I know for a fact that people from across the connection call her because she is so wise!

-- Anonymous, February 28, 2001

Several posters have asked me to explain my views concerning the position of Presiding Elder [PE]. I am more than happy to oblige. Let me preface my comments by first acknowledging that I agree with the historical purposes for utilizing the PE. Rudimentary modes of communication, physical distance and geographical contraints limited the ecclesiatical effeciencies for Bishops during the 19th and first half of the 20th century. The PE was not only a regional "pastor" specializing in dispute resolution matters but for many he was the de facto Bishop for many since it was unlikely that many AME parishoners would actually come in physical contact for reasons described above. However, technological improvements in both communications and transportation have renedered these 19th century barriers virtually obsolete. Access is no longer the predominant problem for members. Furthermore, from a strict organizational behavior [OB] perspective, the mid-level manager, i.e. PE, fosters organizational inefficiencies because the work can now be done without expanding the hierarchy. Why should pastors and parishoners be put in a position for having their ministries under additional scrutiny if all that really matters is the consent of the Bishop? Is it really necessary to have an intermediate level? Do additional layers of management review foster organizational efficiency? If one reads the technical literature on this topic [Havard Business Review, Cal Management Review, Sloane Review, etc.] you will be hard-pressed to find any OB scholar [Mintzburg, Drucker, Simons] who answers yes to any of the afoementioned questions. All credible OB evidence in leading publications provides near consensus that "flat" organizations are more effecitve because they are better suited to respond quickly to management "crises". These economies [swift response] are invaluable in evaluating the organization's goals and objectives. Now I am aware that Moses benefitted richly by heeding the wisdom of his father-in-law to employ a myriad of judges to assist in managing the affairs of the new "state of Israel". Yet, Jethro's prescient advice should be looked at within the proper limits of time and distance. Moses was the only "bishop" and access was still the predominant issue. Jethro was correct to offer a new OB model and history has concluded that the paradigmn shift was effective. Nonetheless, institutions, much like living organisms, are subject to the laws of evolution. Jesus said we ought not put new wine in old wineskins. The challenge for the 21st century AME church is not to manage today as we did in times of antiquity. The outcomes will be the same as the old and ineffective wineskins. QED

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2001

I want to agree whole heartedly.

PE Giudry is one of the most amazing women I have met.I visited the WIM = conference in St. Loius 1999.And met her.We went to California and she = took us around.She is friendly warm and an inspiration to me.I will = never forget how she was led to give me a robe.I had never had a new one = and the one i wore was first made in the 1960's.I did not tell her about = my old robe that was falling to pieces.At her house she gave me this = beautiful robe and I could not stop the tears.The Holy Spirit convinced = her that I should have this robe.Her name is engraved on the = inside.Every time (every Sunday) when I put on that robe I bless = her.That kind thought is my pride and joy.I don't have to be ashamed of = my robe no more thanks to a wonderful,kind PE Guidry.God Bless her.

Rev. Ursula Higgins

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2001

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