U. S. Bishops "Dis-Service" in Africa

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Brother Payne, while you seemingly have a propensity to regurgitate what appears to be "hard, cold facts" as spoon-fed to you be the episcopal powers that be, they are quite wanting and lacking for the "hard, cold truth." It appears that you have not either been an observer or participant on the AME Church's political scene long enough to garner the knowledge and reality that most of us AMEs know all too well; the paternalistic attitude AME Bishops have for the African Continent, the evolution of the concept of General Superintendent which later became known as the Bishop's Deputy or Bishop's Administrative Assistant, and the lack of funding for the AME Church in Africa in spite of whatever funds the Bishops raise here in America.

It is quite shameful the AME Church work has suffered and been stagnant in Africa for most of the one-hundred and ten plus years we have been there. With the exception of Bishops Henry McNeal Turner, Coppin, Wright, Heard, Jordan, Hatcher, Ball, Collins, G. D. Robinson, Reid, James, Brookins and Richardson (of late,who served in West Africa) we have had almost no leadership and very little accountability for our AME Church work on the African continent. For example, in Sierra Leone, we yet have less than twenty congregations (the same number organized and received into the AME church by Bishop Turner more than one-hundred years ago). To put it succintly, very few of the Bishops have made any positive contribution to the growth of our church on the African continent notwithstanding the insulting amount the Overseas Development Fund allocates for the work. In addition to this, I have both heard and witnessed U.S. Bishops raising thousand of dollars without one cents ever reaching the African people. I have seen Bishops treat the Africans in a condescending manner; especially Bishops Ming and Chappelle.

The position of Bishop's Deputy Superintendent and Administrative Assistant evolved from what amounted to a demotion of leadership when the indigenous African congregations united with the AME Church. They were, themselves, General Superintendents or Conference Presidents of their congregations (and this is a "true" Methodist concept; Methodism never had Bishops nor intended to, they only had Superintendents or Conference Presidents; the Bishopric system is only adopted by the American Churches which seems strange to other Methodists all over the world including Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and even Africa). So the Americans sought to appease the African congregations by naming their duly elected leaders, Bishop's Administrative Assistants or Deputy Assistants. There have been many persons in this position before the late Dr. Frances H. Gow (later Bishop), Easter M. Gordon, etc. and today Dr. Moses D.Phethlu is serving well as a Bishop's Administrative Assistant in the 19th Episcopal District.

While I congratulate you on your effort to respond to the querie in a poignant and efficient manner, your facts and positions do not reflect the true nature of the problem nor the understanding of African Methodist polity. "This has to be caught (by observing and being a part of for years) and not taught."

I am native borh American, but I do know that Africa will be much better off spiritually, financially, and numerically in the hands of indigenous leadership. They can't do or be any worse than what we have assigned there to date. Bishop Vashti McKenzie is a disappointement; she wanted to be an AME Bishop (and reap the windfall of whatever "goodies" that go along with it) but is always here in the U. S. on speaking engagements promoting her own popularity rather than seving the people on the African soil of the 18th Episcopal District (which encompasses 4 countries). And too, Bishop Norris supervises 5 countries in the 14th Episcopal District; if he could not get into the countries of Ghana and Sierra Leone (which I doubt is true for I was in both countries earlier this year), then there is enough work in Nigeria (more than 100 million people with less than 25 AME congregations), Liberia, or Cote D'Ivoire or he could continue to organize the work in the West African countries of Togo, the Gambia, Senegal, etc. (First of all, he did not wish to be assigned to the 14th District and felt that since he was elected before Bishop Ingram, he should have been assigned to the 15th Episcopal District embracing a more affluent area of South Africa in the Cape region). He should be in Africa expanding the work in those countries rather than politicking for the 1st Episcopal District. Bishop Richardseon served in West Africa for 4 years, building schools and congregations and even lived there during the "Civil Wars" wherein some of the pastors of his major congregations were executed rightin his presence and he even stepped over dead bodies while presiding over his Annual Conferences in Sierra Leone. Is Bishop Norris any better than Bishop Richardson? "If he can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen." We need church growth in West Africa more so than in the other African Districts due to the small number of congregations, lack of available pastors and impoverished, war-torn condition of much of the District. But once again, there is Nigeria (with more than 100 million people and other countries along the West African coast)

It is a known fact; our work in Africa has been hamstrung by U. S. Bishops who have stifled all progress in those areas for the more than one-hundred years we have been there. By now, we should have covered the African continent.

But more importantly, let's continue in prayer for our Overseas areas by sending contributions (not rhetoric) directly to them (then we know they will receive them. Moreover, at the General Conference of 2004, there will be no compromising; regardless to the number of Bishops we elect, 7 or 8; 5 of them must be indigenous for the 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19 Episcopal District. THERE WILL BE NO COMPROMISE.

Having said this, let's pray to see this transfer of leadership happen in peace, harmony and goodwill for the entire AME connection.

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2001


Ms. Poteet,

If what you say is true, and I have no evidence to say otherwise, the AME Church in Africa will one day be the dominant force in the worldwide AME Church. That will happen when all Africans decide to take responsibility for themselves and promote local church growth such that the delegates from the African continent exceed the delegates from the rest of the world. What if the people of Africa were to establish churches asking only for assistance from local Africans and did grow to 1,000,000 members in 5,000 churches, would not the delegate strength be such that they would control the election of bishops? I think it is possible. What a testimony to the glory of God! Did not Jesus say to take the gospel to the ends of the earth? In Africa, you are closer to the Holy Land than we in the United States.

Just thinking Blessings,

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Another thing, in 2004, why don't we get rid of this rule that all NEW bishops are assigned to Africa? Maybe we ought to seek the will of God for each Episcopal District and assign bishops where their gifts and graces can be best utilized in the AME Church?


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Dear Ms. Poteet this discussion board has truly been one of love and encouragement for so many of us. Brother Jerryl Payne shared his opinion and what is stated in the discipline in a professional manner. He did not attack anyone or harm another person. On this board he has shown respect, decorum and has shared a lot of information that has been a blessing to many who read this board. This discussion board is unique!! For it is Holy Spirit led. I am saddened that Mr. Payne's remarks and your response from another post are displayed in this thread without the full context of what he said earlier. How can we help our African sisters and brothers when we in America do not show respect for one another when responding on this discussion board. I feel your passion for your concern for what is happening in Africa and I too am concerned for the welfare of all God's children, for that is what Christ calls us to be. Words can hurt and harm the spirit of encouragement that is needed by all of us on this board. I hope that we will not be reduced to harming another to make a point, for in that case we all lose. Thank you to all that share on this board and thank you for keeping the discussion at a high intellectual level and I pray that we will keep our discussions and responses at an even higher Spiritual level. Let Christ kind our words and deeds.

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

The last line of my previous post should read "let Christ guide our words and deeds"

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Ms. Rogers, it appears that in your position as self-anointed moderator and "counselor-in-residence" that you too have missed the full-thrust and gravamen of this argument; and my response is not simply bourne out of zeal and passion, but facts and truth as well! The liberating, but often salient aspect of truth is its ability to often make us uncomfortable, especially when the very theories and hypotheses that have been our driving force to blind church loyalty are found to be faulty, even in our attempt to reject the null hypothesis.

If you look critically at the history and development of Christianity tday, you will notice that the majority of Protestant members of the Church are found in the developing world and in nations formerly colonized and Christianized by the Western World. Today, Christianity in general, that is inculsive of Roman Catholicism is accepted in and dominating this same region of the world, and basically growing. And one can unequivocally affirm that Christianity has faired well in the Third World in the wake of nationalism following the exit of colonialists in the former colonies. Certain reasons are given for this fact. AUTONOMY, INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP AND INFRASTRUCTURES, AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT are among the factors that brought about the situation. Is it possible, then, that given autonomy, certain infrastructure and adequate financial backing, the AME Church could expand its membership and ministry in other over-seas mission areas like Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and throughout the African continent?

There is no doubting or denying the supposition that culture and allied factors have much to do with the fact of current status quo in the membership increases of both the Protestant and Roman Catholic adherents in the "developing" countries of the world, particularly Africa. But it must be re-emphasized that the ability to make decisions to make decisions including local culture and leadership to be brought to bear upon the understanding and explicating or the theologizing about Christianity as well as the wherewithal to foot the bills have much to do with the new state of affairs in the developing world.

My response was not meant to stroke one's ego (Denise, yo do a good job of that quite often) but to enlightten, reprove and even rebuke, if necessary. Heretofore, I have noticed remarks and responses that were lame, shallow,inaccurate, incorrect and ludicrous comments to say the least without even a response from me, but on this issue, my heart, spirituality and love for the AME Church all converged and caused me to say, "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace."

If this Bulletin Board is for "ego stroking" and "back scratching" then I will arrest my participation, but if it is for enlightenment and information then we as mature, spiritual beings must and should "speak the truth in love" and love has so many varying manifestations and forms.

"See then that you walk as wise, not as fools, redeeming the time because the days are evil."

S. C. Poteet

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

As far as I am aware, there is NO rule in place as to where NEW Bishops are assigned. While it is true that they are usually assigned to districts outside the US and Canada, that is 16-19, their assignment is totally left to the choice of the Episcopal Committee. It should be noted that Bishop Richard Allen Hilderbrand's first assignment was to the Sixth Episcopal District (Georgia) and I believe he was never given an assignment outside the districts in the United States.

The Episcopal Committee has representation from each of the 19 Episcopal District. While it is true that the districts in countries outside the US are outnumbered on that committee, they still may express their opinions and opposition to that committee. I am certain that when this is done they are heard.

Without calling names, I am quite aware of Bishops who were NOT sent to certain African districts because the African delegation on this Committee said it would be unwise to send them there. I was also present at the General Conference in Kansas City when the entire delegation refused the assignments of this committee and they were instructed to return and make the necessary changes.

In light of what I said above; let me hasten to say that Bishop Hilderbrand was not one of those persons refused. He has always distinguished himself as one who is quite capable of presiding in any district, as it is now being observed in his assistance with the work of the First.

Finally, I might also add that Bishops can only assign to us persons whom WE allow to be ordained to the ministry, and the Episcopal Committee can only assign persons whom we elect to Episcopal office. So, perhaps we need to more carefully scrutinize our OWN choice of person we allow to become ordained ministers, and persons whom WE elect for Episcopal service.

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Ms. Poteet I am fully aware of the influence of Christianity on the continent of Africa for it is more than a passing interest of mine but my life's work. Both academically and professionally. As the Executive Director of an international Peace organization that is actively working with countries on the continent of Africa. My organization is working with African countries using the creative arts to stop hatred and poverty. We are also working in the middle east. Please see our web page http://www.gomontana.com/hatefree. I read your points several times and I assure you my love and concern for my African sisters and brothers are real. My main concern regarding this board is that we not spend valuable time attacking one another. For that is engergy that can be used to raise money for the very people that we are speaking out about. I make no apologies for also speaking the truth with love and intelligence. Ms. Poteet if you feel I am a self imposed "annointed" moderator. That is your opinion and you are entitled to your opinions. But I will always try to walk the path of Christ. And for me that is a path of love. There have been several churches from the continent of Africa that have asked for financial help on this board. I am more interested in finding concrete ways that we can help them, rather than arguing on this board. How you feel about me does not matter, what does matter are the needs of the people of Africa. If everyone of us on this board were to get a group of 2 or more within our individual churches and send money. It would begin to be a solution to the problem. If you see me as a counselor. Thank you I take that as a compliment. My training is in the field of Social Work, so my training is about providing concrete services. If you wish to dialog with me further on this particular issue or any other issue, please contact me personally and I will gladly continue this conversation. mzone@usa.net I am not leaving the discussion board and my style of writing and caring are part of who I am. I hope we can focus our energy on coming up with creative ways we can generate funds for African AME sisters and brothers. This summer my youth group, will be washing cars, selling home made soap, and cookies to raise money for our sister church in Namibia. Ms. Poteet I look forward to hearing from you on any additional ideas you may have to fund raise and also about African churches you are in partnership with.With the love of Jesus Christ Rev. Denise Rogers

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Brother Matthew, in you asssessment and understanding of the workings (and under-workings) of the Episcopal Committee, NAIVETE once again reigns supreme! My father, grand-father, brother and I have all been members of that Committee one time or another beginning way back in 1936. To put it bluntly, this Committee, as you know is mostly hand-picked by the Bishops and is nothing but an instrument of the Bishops. While there are a few of us who make it on the Episcopal Committee without the Bishop's blessings, we are in such a minority that our vote hardly matters because the "die has been cast" before we even get to the General Conference.

Your statement that newly-elected Bishops are not always sent "Overseas" but often to domestic Districts is not a true analysis of the entire process and subject matter. Only when there are MORE BISHOPS elected than there are needed for overseas and yet there are vacancies in U.S. Districts do newly-elected Bishops get assigned to U. S. Districts. You speak of Bishop Hildebrand's election in 1972 and immediate assignment to Georgia (6th District); this is only because we elected 8 Bishops at the 1972 General Conference in Dallas, Texas, brought Bishops H. I. Bearden and G. D. Robinson from Africa to U. S. Districts, sent Bishops Reid, James, Talbot, Brookins, and Anderson (though short lived due to the death of Bishop G. D. Robinson following the General Conference he was subssequently assigned to Alabama), all newly-elected Bishops were asigned to our Overseas work. Because Bishops Adams, Hildebrand and Morris were the first Bishops elected in 1972, they were assigned to Texas, Georgia, and Oklahoma/Arkansas; thus all 8 Bishops had been assigned, 3 to U. S. based Districts and 5 to Overseas based Districts. The same is true of the General Conference of 1976 that did not assign neither Bishops Cummings nor Cousin to Overseas Districts (and Bishop Talbot wanted to complete another 4 years in the Caribbean/South American area).It has basically held to tradition that Bishops are assigned to the larger, more affluent Districts according to election and seniority. There is only one instance in the history of the AME Church when this did not happen, and I shall save these lengthy details for the future.

In addition to this, only three times in the history of the AME Church did Bishops not become assigned as they instructed the Episcopal Committee (en masse); two of these examples occured within 8 years apart, in 1948 and 1956, when the Connectional Council (ministers association) was quite strong and powerful.

So before we begin our wishful thinking and analysis of how we COULD assign Bishops in spite of the Bishops directives, I simply wanted you to see the REALITY of the matter. And until we see Episcopal Districts as being an opportunity to serve rather than an opportunity to allow graft and greed to seep in, it will always operate in this fashion.

In conclusion, the late Bishop Frederick Douglass Jordan of Hollywood, California, that great scholar, orator, pulpiteer, real estate investor, ecumencial servant, was the only Bishop who actually requested the Episcopal Committee to assign him to the African work (on 2 occasions) after he had served as a Bishop in the U. S. He and Mother Jordan were true, self-less, congenial leaders and the church is the poorer now that both are gone. The African people loved them because they treated them with deference, mutual respect, honesty and goodwill. Bishop Jordan did not have to steal, lie or promote his selfish agenda since he was a millionaire before being elected a Bishop and when he retired he gave Morris Brown College $250,000.00 (a quarter million dollars) for endowment. Several Bishops were jealous of him and his success and tried outright to frame him while he served as Bishop, but he continued doing God's work and weathered the storm. The late Bishops Jordan, David Henry Sims, William Franklin Ball, Frank Madison Reid, and Frederick C. James certainly served the African people and the AME Church well.

I love the Episcopal form of government (the one spoke most often about in the Bible) but we can all see that there are many flaws in the system that need immediate attention, lest the Bishopric move to a Dictatorship; and none of us whose parents and fore-parents sold chicken and chittling dinners to bring the AME Church thus far will allow that to happen, whether the Bishops refer to us as radicals or not!

In the meantime, let's see how much assistance we can muster up and not simply send FUNDS, there are enough of us who visit this Bulletin Board to collectively BUILD an AME Church overseas. Not to boast or brag, I have (anonymously)raised funds to build 5 AME Churches overseas; the challenge is ours and let all of us answer the question, "How much can I do for my God and his Church?"

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Ms. Poteet, If you notice my posts here, you will also note that I refuse to stoop to personal attacks and name-calling and I won't even do that for your sake. However, I must once again state that what happens at any of the five (5) conferences held in the African Methodist Episcopal Church happen ONLY because AMEs ALLOW it to happen. As I also stated above, the Delegation of the General Conference can and HAS refused to accept the assignments made by the Episcopal Committee. I personally witnessed it happen and I was, in fact, one in the delegation. Also, as I have stated, there are NO Rules requiring where these assignment are made. The mechanism to correct any problem IS in place. It also WORKS and works very well when we are not too timid to take a stand on the issues involved.

In my Annual Conference the Bishops hear and respect the wishes of the members because they have found that we WILL stand up and take issue to anything not allowed by the Discipline. This however we do not by any unholy, or unchristian attacking or disrespect of individual--including the Bishop--who is in fact by the positive LAW of the church the Chief Administrator and Pastor of the District. We do it rather by saying. "According to Section (___), Article (___), found on page (___) of the (year) Discipline, this is the positive Law of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. We do it in LOVE and we are heard.

As for one's pedigree in the AME church, I too can trace my own back for several generations spanning more than a century, but that is not an issue here and to me it's not that important. The issue is that the Church works if we cares enough to truly get involved and not to just sit idly on some appointed or unappointed committee critizing what THEY have done. The appropriate question is what have I--with God's help---done for MY church and how can I with His help do even more?

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Mr. Matthew, your understanding of the subject matter is yet wanting. The reason(s) the Episcopal Committee's recommendation for the initial assignment of Bishop Anderson at the 1984 General Conference to the 10th Diistrict, rather than Bishop Stokes, was not because the 10th District had any power to over-ride the General Conference's vote, it was because the Bishops, themselves, were divided on whether to send Bishop Anderson or Bishop Stokes. There was a state of political inclemency among the Bishops, not the 10th Episcopal District delegation which was merely a pawn in an "in-house" fight among the Bishops. Had the Bishops been united in assigning Bishop Anderson to the 10th District, there would not have been even a whimper from Texas. The political process and implications you suggest are a bit lame and naive, to say the least. Furthermore, while the process may be in place, the effective tools and personnel to execute or implement certainly are not. Once again, there are inherent structural flaws that need to be revised or replaced.

By the way, I was not simply tracing my family roots to the AME Church which parallel, not a hundred years, but its initial inception, I was paralleling my historical involvement in the workings and mechanisms of the AME Church and my "on-the-scene", up-close involvement and participation, especially the Episcopal Committee. My criticism of my Church is out of love; hopefully, your lack of is out of love as well rather than being blind, aloof, and un-informed. I will always remain vigilant and aggressive as I attempt to make suggestions toward the improvement of the "church of my choice" until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ." "Arise, Shine, Give God the Glory; for this is the year of Jubilee."

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Ms Poteet you are truly a blessing to this thread. I am so glad to read someone's knowledgeable and accurate account of what is happening in this African Methodist Episcopal Church. This network has been very boring to read because everyone was kissing and appeasing each other. The truth will set you free. You indeed are connected. We as a people must agree to disagree. What we don't know we don't know and what we do know we share with others. Now if we all will do some research we will find that Ms Poteet is telling the truth.

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001

Whoever we think we might be or what little we think we can or cannot do, it is nothing. "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." To glean the truth of this statement we need look no further than the US Senate and the events of this one week.

Mother Teresa once said, "Let nothing disturb you; Let nothing frighten you; EVERYTHING passes away but God; God ALONE is sufficient." Lest we be deceived, let us dare to remember the words of one of my favorite hymns, "Although the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the RULER yet!" MY GOD REIETH!, in Africa, in the US, and in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. When all is said and done HE ALONE still reigns and He ALONE is sufficient.

-- Anonymous, May 27, 2001


-- Anonymous, May 27, 2001

Africa and Africans really appreciate the issue under discussion. It has been part and parcel of our questioning of American-based bishops on the continent on Africa. There are two issues I wish to highlight for the Comnnection.

One, do you really need a foreigner to supervise over your own house. If I am elected and assigned to the 1st Episcopal District, it will take me a couple of years before I am familiar with the conditions in that district. We are a connectional church with a simplified order of worship and a unified legal system presented quadrennially in the Book of Discipline and Doctrine. And this is true for any and all bishops currently assigned to Africa. The situation on the ground is not easy for them to comprehend. A very concrete example is the Seven Point Plan of the 15th Episcopal District. Bishop GGM Ingram provided the vision and we are now to implement a plan we are not sure will exist beyond 2004. Simply because every new bishop comes with his own administration, and many do not want to have anything to do with their predecessor's issues. The Seven Point Plan has been received and adopted by the entire Episcopal District. But we are still in the information gathering phase, and trying to raise funds within and without the district. By 2003/4 this plan will be in full swing, but it is very hard to imagine the re-assignment Bishop GGM Ingram to the 15th Episcopal District because there would be enough vacancies in the US-based district. Such hard realities justify the assignment of local leadership to ensure continuity. With Bishop HB SEnatle's consecutive assignments to the 19th Episcopal District, the people succeeeded with their plans and erected and dedicated the Philip Street project. Africa and Africans do not really profit from US- based leadership.

Secondly, many bishops assigned to Africa do not settle themselves here. In the 15th Episcopal District we are really fortunate. Bishop GGM Ingram has settled himselfs, and attends to even local and district conferences and conventions. The Namibia Annual Conference Christian Education Congress was attended by Bishop GGM Ingram for the 1st time in more than 5 decades. Many Africans view bishops simply as tax collectors, who show up during Midyear and Annual Conferences to collect budgets and other disciplinary provisions.

In a nutshell, it is only a selected minority who stay on the ground and give devoted attention to their ministries.

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2001

Rev. Hanse:

I agree wholeheartedly with your point about continuity as the key for implementing these "visions" articulated by Episcopal Bishops. All plans have a start-up, deployment and evaluation cost. Most researchers conclude that these phases, if successful, take at least 4-5 years. It is reassuring to read that Bishop Ingram has taken residence in the District where he presides. This will do well to remove the absentee overseer stigma. Bishop Ingram is also to be commended for providing financial information as expressed in your home currency, the Rand. One of my teaching areas in economics is advanced macroeconomics and international business [trade]. Please refresh my memory, is the Rand now fully convertible with its exchange rate value determined by free market forces? One of the barriers to international wealth generation is the periodic intervention in currency markets by home governments. If exchange rate values reflect the true value expressed in currency markets, as oppossed to the high values set by govts., this can be a catalyst for stimulating capital flows and export creation. Indigenous economic growth strategies is the principal activity for both the World Bank and the IMF. If you or any other AME clergy in the 14th - 19th Districts are interested in seeing how these international development agencies can be an allay in your quest for stable economic growth please let me know. QED

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2001

Just a few thoughts: 1. All AMEs should remember that our church was born out of a protest by some Africans who refused to be treated as anything other than a full and equal participant in St. George's United Methodist Church. As such, the cries of unfair treatment by our brothers and sisters ought to resound as loudly as a steel hammer on an anvil in a blacksmith shop. Not only have they been treated unfairly, but it ought to be in our AME DNA to be responsive. 2. At some point we need to confess our sins namely, the love of money is at the root of all evil including some of our own foolishness. A lot of good things have happened in and through our church, but we sabbatage our potential of true collective world-wide greatness because the "money changers" are in the temple. "The love of money" shows up at every major meeting and decision of the church. It does not have complete say, thank God, but it always has a comfortable seat at the table. 3. The time has come to make a profound decision. Either we will be one church or some amalgum of regional bodies. If one church, then there have to be plans in place to systematically make sure people are treated fairly which in my view includes representation at the highest levels of the church. I defer to others to suggest what and whether there are systems that could be put in place to ensure fairness. If one church, then someone elected from South Africa could be the bishop of South Carolina and vice versa. If one church, then it should not be viewed as paying your dues or punishment to serve in Africa, but as an honor to serve God's people. This requires attitudinal changes as well as a plan to equalize the money. If the decision is for an amalgam of regional bodies and there are elected indigenous leaders, seems to me that the vote for those leaders ought to be localized as well using the same arguments for indigenous leadership. My view or vote would be to try to maintain the one church model with a recognition that there have to be major changes. The alternative is a concession to the "tyranny of low expectations".

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2001

I too favor the one-church model. However, an African running for bishop is at a considerable monetary disadvantage. Therefore, as a temporary measure, African bishops ought to be elected by Africans until such time as we can equalize or remove the money from the equation. I could also support One Church with a Senior Bishop presiding over a bench of bishops elected locally, that is US, Africa, British Empire, etc.

I also favor a reduction in the bench of bishops by electing only African bishops in 2004 and consolidating districts to fit the remaing active bishops. I would continue this until the bishops and general officers are downsized to fit the current AME Church.


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, May 29, 2001

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