U. S. Based Partnership with Africa Overseas

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Rev. Hanse of Namibia (formerly Southwest Africa), 15th Episcopal District wrote a response to "American Bishops Dis-service in Africa" that stated "Africa and Africans do not really profit from US- based leadership." As an American who has championed the cause of Africans and other marginalized AMEs overseas, I feel that Rev. Hanse's remark is un-true, repugnant, mean-spirited, un-informed, and otherwise, outright ungrateful and needs to be repudiated and corrected. Although I agree that the AME Church in the U. S. in recent years has been indifferent and has shown a lack of accountability for our leadership and commitment in our Overseas work, no one can dispute the fact that we have made positive contributions to the work on the African continent and that Africa has definitely profited from U. S. based leadership.

It was the AME Church here in America that gave refuge, solace, encouragement and support to the Ethiopian Church in South Africa and to Fathers Dwane and Mokone when Bishops Henry McNeal Turner and H. Blanton Parks embraced them and brought them into the fold of African Methodism. It was the AME Church in America who gave financial support towards the education of countless African students who stdied in the U. S. and elsewhere, many of whom, even to this date, now provide sound, solid, indigenous leadership to their people on the African continent. It was the AME Church here in America that provided financial support to the construction of Wilberforce Institute and the R. R. Wright School of Religion when our constituency there could not afford or were not allowed to attend the racist institutions of higher education in South and Central Africa. It was Bishops like Henry McNeal Turner, J. Albert Johnson, Levi. J. Coppin, R. R. Wright, Frederick Douglass Jordan, G. Dewey Robinson, Frank Madison Reid, H. Hartford Brookins, Frederick Calhoun James, and Gregory Ingram (of today), all American AME Church Bishops who provided sound leadership, built school, churches and clinics, educated promising young men and women, pointed the way to freedom, shut the mouths of the lions of the oppressors and did a great spiritual work so much so that many Africans yet rise up and called them blessed. And even YOU, Rev. Hanse, has been the recipient of some of the crumbs, and not very few either, that fell from the American AME Church table. So how can you say, in good conscience and in such an arrogant and ungrateful tone, that African has not benefitted? True, our current committment and leadership has been somewhat lacking and wanting but no one can truthfully say that there has not been some beneficence service to the peoples of the African continent on the part of the AME Church here in America.

Furthermore, it was the American Church who provided the funds more than sixty years ago to build the imposing, cathedral-like structure that is known as Bethel Memorial AME Church in the Cape area of South Africa as well as church structures throughout Southern, Central, and Western Africa. So, Rev. Hanse, Africa has benefitted and the American Church has benefitted through our partnership of cultural exchange, kerygmatic styles, songs and prayers, spiritual understanding and renewal that cause us to say, "God is good, ALL the time!"

However, there is a general attitude among many Americans, especially those who have not interacted with the peoples on the African continent, that your assessment, attitude, and spirit of in-gratitude is endemic to and representative of the entire African population and they will not contribute one dime towards overseas missions because of statements like yours. Thus, your statements could potentially give a false assessment or misunderstanding of the African people who really appreciate the American initiatives, sacrificial giving and service of involvement. Please don't attempt to throw out the "Baby with the bathwater."

Even on this bulletin board, I see that you have requests for funds from the very American people that you rebuff; therefore, if Africa and Africans do not really profit from U. S. based leadership, your request for funds should be made elsewhere and not to us Americans whose sacrificial givings have sustained the ministry of several churches and pastors of goodwill in overseas areas. If your wish and goal for Africa (just as mine) is for total indigenous leadership, self-reliance and self-help, then it must be just that; then whatever contributions the Americans give are done prayerfully for those truly in need and not to those who simply solicit funds because they have access to the most advanced technological means to do so while others who are no so fortunate in Africa rely only on their prayers and the belief that God will answer them (whether through Americans or others) and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek HIM.

I saw on the Bulletin Board a listing of AME Churches throughout the world, and Namibia, in particular who were in need of assistance. That listing appears to be quite representative and even places the names of several indigenous leaders, mainly Presiding Elders (who would know the needs in their Districts) posted in a fair manner. However, you, Rev. Hanse, appeared to be so eager to solicit funds from the same Americans who you do not believe have been the base of any positive profits to the African peoples that you posted several requests and suggestions that if any congregation in Namibia should be assisted it should be yours, since it was the most visible. Be careful, Rev. Hanse, if you really aspire for indigenous leadership and autonomy for "he who pays the piper calls the tune." Nevertheless, I must hasten to say that I have several good friends in Namibia who believe and have a burning testimony that Africa, in general, and Nambiia, in particular has benefitted from U.S. based leadership. And while, I agree that there is a flaw in leadership (both on the part of Africans and Americans), that our commitment is waning, and even promote the cause of the African people for self-determination and indigenous leadership, I will never embrace any idea of alienation, isolation or inaccurate statement that denies our contributions and attempt to stifle our mutualities of good-will, spirituality, intercultural beneficence, and connectionalism.

But my heart is made warm when those Africans, who have benefitted from U. S. based leadership and partnership write me letters of gratitude and testify to their unsullied commitment to continue to promote the kingdom of Christ under the bannerof the African Methodist Episcopal Church, though often working in hard and remote places. Those loyal AMEs in West, Central, East,and South Africa as well as other places through Sub-Sahara Africa, though often inarticulate, are generally grateful, kind, loving and have very sweet spirits knowing that God is our leader and African Methodism stands to benefit from whatever good fortune that may come our way, whether we be in Africa, the U. S., Caribbean, Europe or Asia.

Therefore, Rev. Hanse, to those few Namibians or Africans who may think like you, "go and tell John!" Better yet, "take the letter to Garcia!"

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2001


AMEN,AMEN,AMEN I would like to thank all those Americans who sacrificed and cared for us Africans.Thank you for broading our horizons for bringing hope through your donations. I personally haven't received but I believe when the church in Africa have received we all have benfitted. As a small girl I looked up to late Mother Ming me who taught me "I'm somebedy,I'm somebody" I remeber how "Operation Education" that allowed students to study in the US gave lots of young people a dream and we could set our goals higher than what the oppressive regime wanted. I would like to say that Leadership with integrity does not come from a particular nation we ( Africans )want to believe that Africans know it all.They come from God.Africans aren't perfect,All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I am thankfull for the seeds sown by all our previous Bishops. The present is the right person at the right time with the right vision and we want to support and take ownership if only we are allowed thank you for your reminder and may God bless you

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2001

Ms. Cynthia Poteet

I am happy to hear that there are some members of overseas that have positively contributed to the development of our zion in Africa. I am also happy that you have been involved yourself and could site some examples.

However, the experience on the Namibian soil has been that Bishops raised money in the US, you as good and faithful christian brothers and sisters in good spirit do donations and contributions. But the reality has been that the money in most cases never show up on this side. And now, people like REv. Hanse and myself gets frustrated for we have friends in the US good friends that know us and value us for what we are and the good values that we want to uplift. Such friends would inform us that a number of US dollars have been raised and then one expects the Bishop to report, I have raised this amount of money overseas and this is how I intend spending it.

Nothing of this sort happens and what is donated to individual churches is yet the money raised at the conferences and it is against that background that statements such as those made by Rev. Hanse is forthcoming from some of us. I myself made a few times such statements.

These are made to make you as our christian brothers and sisters aware that although you make positive contributions, and yes you do, it hardly reaches us. Thus perhaps it has become time as somebody suggested over this discussion forum that we have partner congregations and that money so solicited for development in Africa be filtered directly to the Conferences or the particular churches with specific development projects attached to it.

You have site a few development initiatives whereby the Church in the US has involved themselfs, but do you really think that after two hundred years of existence of the church in Africa, these projects that one could count on one's fingers justifies US involvement in Africa and that Africa should be content with that.

To my mind, the church in US owes and aggresive involvement to ensure positive development in Africa. For what "we" the AME church has done in Africa is nothing compared to what the other mianline churches have done in Africa. And the AME church is considred to be a mainline church also.

I hope that by this brief the eyes of my people are opned and that our outcries are not necessarily to discredit you but to make you aware of what is really happening. I love this church and I am and will always be appreciative of all the things that the AME church has done in my life and I thank God for the many people he sent on my way who has been a blessing to me.

Therefore, my dear sister, allow us to address issues as we experience them on the ground in order for you to have better understanding of our predicament. It is also my dying hope that you would also become instrumental in solicitng funds to develop our zion here in Namibia. As a matter odf fact, I have been appointed at our last annual conference to the Ebenezer AME Church who is the mother congregation in the capital. The church building can hardly accomodate 150 people and there is no parsonage, now hall or kitchen whatsoever. In this year I have revamped the fence, renovated the church building, put in new tiling, curtains etc. and I didn't received a single cent from any body else but the people of Namibia, despite my numerous request for assistance. Mind you about 60% of the full emebrs are unemployed abd from the remaining 30% only 5% has an income level above US$12 000.00 per annum.

Now you may realize what one is faced with on a daily basis, perhaps now you may realize why we are fuming all the time. Finally, may the peace od God that passeth all understanding be with you and yours now and always. Yours in the Masters service Rev. A. Eberhardt Biwa Senior Pastor

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2001

My husband and I visited Kenya, Africa in January. I was wondering if anyone has any information on AME activity in Kenya? forward information to St. John AME Church, P.O. Box 357, Bishopville, Md 21813 Attn:Pastor

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2001

There are 4 or 5 AME congregations in Kenya who have no permanenet place of worship. Back in 1984-85, Rev. Fred Harrison, then Secretary of Missions, solicited funds for the AME congregations in Kenya for the purpose of erecting houses of worship. We had hoped that the project would have been completed by the time we met during the World Methodist Conference in Kenya back in 1985.That never materialized but the faithful AMEs in Kenya yet carry on under the banner of African Methodism. It would be great if we could purchase or erect a house of worship in the capital city of Nairobi as well as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

For more information on how to send funds to these congregations in Kenya and Tanzania, please write to Bishop Preston Williams in Atlanta, Georgia and inform him what your funds are earmarked for. I am willing to follow suit soon as we can get a commitment from Bishop Williams for erecting a building in Nairobi and organizing a conference for Kenya as well as Tanzania and Uganda.

You may also write one of the Presiding Elders in Zambia (whose address is listed on this Bulletin Board under "Overseas Congregations in need of assistance." They have been overseeing the work in both Tanzania and Kenya.

Thanks for your interest and I look forward to working with you on such project through either Bishop Williams or directly with the congregation as he provides you with the names and addresses of the Pastors in that area.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Count me in on the Kenyan AME Church Building endeavor. While I'm no fan of Daniel Arap Moi the significance of this project drawfs my political disagreement towards internal Kenyan politics. I would like to be updated and informed on this important missionary project. Thanks. QED

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

I think I have every right to assess any situation and air my views on this forum. Ms. Poteet. I always give credit when and where due. Generally speaking, I still fail to see the impact of the Connection on Africa, unless we are a training ground for newly elected bishops. With the more than dozens of AME educational institutions, the AME Church was not even able to accomodate 1 Namibian! In Cincinatti I failed to see at least 1 African elected to the bishopric! Have we ever held one Quadrennial Convention or General Conference outside continental USA? Have you ever witnessed the election of an African as General Secretary? Hundreds of impoverished Africans are preaching under the banner of African Methodism, and they have to ensure 100% reports at conferences to satisfy the bishops. Will be abck with more.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Poor Ms. Poteet I think I have every right to assess any situation and air my views on this forum, Ms. Poteet. I always give credit when and where due. Generally speaking, I still fail to see the impact of the Connection on Africa, unless we are a training ground for newly elected bishops. With the more than dozens of AME educational institutions, the AME Church was not even able to accomodate 1 Namibian! In Cincinatti I failed to see at least 1 African elected to the bishopric! Have we ever held one Quadrennial Convention or General Conference outside continental USA? Have you ever witnessed the election of an African as General Secretary? Hundreds of impoverished Africans are preaching under the banner of African Methodism, and they have to ensure 100% reports at conferences to satisfy the bishops. Destitute preachers I am talking about and I do not refer to the lact of luxuries!

I have referred to the Ming-era that raised our self-awareness and dignity - my written record speaks for itself - during the heat of apartheid. I have given credit to the accurate and transparent financial reports that were given at the recent Joint Midyear of the 15th District. I give credit wehere due.

I am not mean-spirited , uninformed or whatever you prefer to call me. Are you in a better situation than I am to assess my own situation? The fact of the matter in my constituency is that we have had unaccountable administrations, and all new bishops do not want to have anything with his predecessor's administration! I lead a balance life as far as I can, and I have always recognised positive contributions.

Personally, I have not benefitted from any Connectional Table crumbs. I finished high school, university and even went to study in London UK, working part-time as a courier delivering parcels and paid for my studies. In fact, I bailed out the AME Church when I pastored First London AME Church when there was nobody there to shepherd over the flock when the Rev. Sephula died. And I did not get paid for that. let the record speak for itself. I hosted the London Annual Conference, and when no one else was willing to invite the Conference for reasons best known to you, you ask Bishop Webster what I did in 2000. And I can say it loud and clear, the African Methodist Episcopal Church did not give me any crumbs.

Yes, there are individuals and local congregations who have been good to us, for no man is an island to himself. And my comments were meant on the Episcopacy. The fact of the matter, and that is the overwhelming feeling amongst Africans, is that we have not really benefitted from the association with the AME Church, especially on leadership development. The concept of self-help suits the Americans and their institutions, because they have means to help themselves. When you are a destitute African preacher what you need is solidarity, and I am not talking about lip-service on this medium. That is why I disapprove the channelling of development assistance via bishops, but believes in peer-to-peer partnerships. Ordinary AME members in the USA to be connected with ordinary AME members in Africa, and preachers to be connected.

I do not advocate the severance of ties between USA and Africa, but the playing field is not level. First timer in Cincinatti, I was shocked by the resources needed by candidates to run these booths. Africa is ready to lead herself, and I am calling for modifications to the current connectional structure, even if that means that the so- called overseas development aid will be suspended!

Ms. Poteet, by the grace of God alone - O!! if my futurre would have depended on people like you, sjoe! By the grace of God, I have job security and any modern things that makes life easier for us. And very proud of what I have achieved in life!! Somebody prayed for me, and the AME Church cannot claim monopoly on my achievements. I can sit in any transnational company with my head high and give credit where due and criticise where and when I want to. In my very brief career, without consultation, whilst a deacon only, I was assigned to the historic Ebenezer AME Church, and I thank God that I left that church with a clear record. Upon arrival, I was asked by the leadership to remedy the situation at Purity AME Church. I am NO Nelson Mandela, but I was a political prisoner at Seeis for my inalienable freedom of speech. I was hurt in the secular world. In the church, because of my advocacy of the development of African leadership, I was humiliated at every opportunity and almost pushed out of the Christian Ministry by Bishop McKinley Young (the hero of Rev. Higgins!). I stood on the conference floor, and when the Dean and the Board of Examiners recommended uanimously that I passed, Bishop M Young refused to entertain the motion and I was left out in the cold. By the grace of God, these experiences made me stronger in the Faith that I should fear only God.

Many of our brothers and sisters in the USA are uninformed about the situation on the ground in Africa. Since when are you the expert on African issues? Those present in Harare bear testimony to the fact that I even challenged the leadership for elections to take place and for referendums to be held, to test the Will of the People. I am not the lonely voice calling in the desert. The quest for recognition should not oppressed because we are poor and have not the resources to finance this Zion.

Make no mistake, once I also lived in Nigeria and knows what goes on there in the 14th Episcopal District. Make no mistake, the idea of the African Jurisdiction si an idea whose time has come. It can only be delayed.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Rev. Hanse, either you are too selfish or too blind to see the forest for constantly looking at the tree. The AME Church's missionary activities in Africa are not limited to Namibia; however, we operate in some 23 countries on the African continent. If you are going to speak of our lack of positive impact and influence on the African continent, you cannot isolate Namibia in a crucible and then hold it up as the acid test of American AMEs lack of impact and contribution. Though no Namibians may have been educated at our AME Church institutions here in America (and I will do more research on this issue) there are hundreds of others in South Africa, West Africa, East, Central Africa as well as South America and the Caribbean who have been educated in U. S. institutions. Many returned home but many are yet pastoring some of our leading congregations in the U. S.

For example, Rev. Magnus Scott of Liberia, now of Oklahoma is Presiding Elder; two West Africans Pastor AME Churches in New Mexico; Rev. Robert Eckert of South Africa formerly pastored Coppin AME Church in Chicago (one of the leading churches in the connection); Rev. John April of South Africa pastors St. James AME Church in Dallas, TX (second church on his District); Rev. Jordan Mwanazi of Zimbabwe pastors Bethel AME Church in Dallas, TX (first church on his District); Rev. A. Wright of Liberia Pastors Gaines AME Church in Dallas, TX; Rev. David Daniels of Liberia Pastors one of the largest AME Churches in the Columbia, SC area; the late Dr. J. S. T. Decker was a forceful Pastor and Presiding Elder in the 2nd and 5th Episcopal Districts; and the list goes on and on and on. Many like Greg West, Messiah, and Lionel Louw, among others, chose to return to Africa and make their contributions there.

And Rev. Hanse, it depends upon attitudinal approach as well. You cannot approach an AME Church Bishop or College President about a scholarship as if they owe you anything or are obligated to do so for you. But if a Namibian (or any other AME overseas) truly wants a scholarship to study here in the U. S., if he/she contact Bishop John Hurst Adams - 11857 Honey Locust Drive - Jacksonville, FL - 32223; and if the applicant has any potentials, as well as academically, spiritual and social inclinations, I can almost guarantee you he/she will be awarded a scholarship to study at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL. (the same can be said of other Bishops and institutions).

Secondly, although I have never seen a person from the African continent, elected General Secretary, I do know of persons who were not Americans who were elected as Bishops and General Ofices including Bishop William Paul Quinn of East India (near Bombay); Dr. John Hurst of Haiti (later Bishop) in the Missions Department who had served as pastor of Bethel, St. John, and Payne in Baltimore, MD; Dr. Mosselle of Haiti; Bishops J. Albert Johnson, C. Spencer Smith, Richard R. Disney of Canada; Bishop W. B. Derrick of Antigua, West Indies; Bishop Joseph Gomez of Trinidad, West Indies; Bishop D. Ormonde Walker of St. Vincent, West Indies; Bishop Frederick Talbot of Guyana, South America; Bishops Anderson and Ming of Bermuda; Bishop Francis Herman Gow and Harold B. Senatle of South Africa and several others who were General Officers of the Connectional AME Church who were not Americans. Just because they were not Namibians does not mean that they were AMERICANS. And thank God for such a global witness and leadership as the AME connection. Admittedly, we can and MUST do more for overseas missions but we cannot erase the great and mighty works we have already done. And so far as holding connectional quadrennial meetings (General Conference and Missionary Conventions) on the African Continent, it is financially unfeasible to do so at this time; while culturally rewarding, it would be financially disastrous. More than 80 per cent of those who attend such meetings are Americans living in the U. S.; if the connectional AME Church paid for delegate travel and sustentation to a conectional meeting in Africa for some two-thousand delegates averaging four to five thousand dollars each, it would be a financial disaster and the utilization of funds that could be more wisely and appropriately used on the African and other "overseas" fields. However, I do hope that another Bishops' Council can be held overseas either in the Bahamas, West Indies or on the African continent within the next few years since we have not been overseas since the Bishops' Council in Jamaica more than twenty years ago.

And finally, Rev. Hanse, you state that the reports of those pastoring on the African continent must be 100% in order to please the Bishop. I am not so sure of that! I think the report should be 100% because that is what is required and expected of you by the Conference; there is a song that says "99 and a half, just wont do!" But in you assessment and analysis of the situation, please include the fact that all the money raised in Overseas Districts stays there and is used for the operation and administration of the AME Church in those areas; none of it comes to the U. S. So, please do not cloud the issue.

In conclusion, Rev. Hanse, no one owes you nor Namibia anything, but we owe GOD EVERYTHING. If your attitude, outlook and approach change, you would be surprised how much and how soon your prayers will be answered as you labor on the "missions" field under harsh conditions. You would probably receive blessings that there will not be room enough to receive. Therefore,until then, "Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for you know your labor is not in vain."

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Rev. Hanse, you used personal pronouns, especially "I" more than 41 times. We all have sacrificed for the AME Church, and yours is not any greater or smaller than anyone else. The ink on your ordination papers is hardly dry, and you go on and on about what you have done. Maybe you have sacrificed, but if men who gave and are giving of themselves for forty, fifty years and more, like Drs. A. J. Blaauw, Easter Michael Gordon, Pedro, Fantsi, Kemeng, Bonani, Oliver, Davids, Josias, Joubert, Malinga, Lodi, Makhene, Phetlhu, (all of South Africa) J. L. C. Membe of Zambia, N. C. Christians, J. Jacobs and Witbooi of Namibia, Phillp Van Putten of Haiti, Flemming Joseph of Trinidad, et al would share with you just one week of their sacrifices for God and African Methodism, yours would be as a drop of ink in the Indian Ocean. You don't have a clue, yet, as to what real sacrifice is about on the Overseas Missions field.

And although, Rev. Hanse, you have not eaten (as you say) from the connectional AME Church table, you do admit that you have eaten from the tables of individual AME Churches here in America. Since we are a connection, there is no such thing as "individual AME Churches", whatever is done is done in the name of God and the AME Church. And Rev. Hanse, crumbs are crumbs and either way, it appears that your "belly" is full; take heed that it does not burst wide open lest your head does not continue to swell and burst open before your belly does.

Once again, I support the African Jurisdictional Conference and am always faxed first-hand information by its original convenor bu tit appears that you will do more harm to the African Jurisdiction than good. It appears that you and others want a 20th Episcopal District that encompasses Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. This will not pass because it is nothing more than an attempt to create another Bishopric position. I communicate with Namibians all the time and they give me a fair assessment of the work there; thank God their attitude is nothing like yours but they know you very well and, according to them, some things you communicated to us about Bishop Young is not true, only your tainted version. In your self-anointed, self-appointed position as the mouthpiece of Namibia and Africa, it appears that very few Africans recognize or appreciate your position.

Finally, Rev. Hanse, I know more about your activites while you were living in London, England than I care to share on this Bulletin Board for the world to see. However, we can email each other privately and I will share with you a myriad of things which may not be to your liking.

The one thing we have in common, though, is our love and commitment to God and the African Methodist Episcopal Church (I hope). If this is true, let's work toward improving our relationship to both, and maybe even you and I can find some commonalities, such as the African Jurisdiction Conference, to advocate. But do not be disappointed if you are not elected one of the Bishops in the African Jurisdictional Conference for the African leadership in Namibia and South Africa as well as Central, East and West Africa have conveyed to me that you are neither qualified through experience, commitment, loyalty, education, nor spirituality to be elected an AME Church Bishop by them.

However, I am quite sure that there will be a place in the Jurisdictional Conference for you and others who think like you. Where, I am not sure yet, but I do have a few suggestions. If you are interested, email me and they will be conveyed to you but in a private setting.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2001

Thank you; thank you; thank you! Now this discussion board has really become the foremost tool in the AME connection whereby we can learn the err of our ways, sharpen our minds, and re-focus our attitude on missions overseas and abroad.

Because of my negligence and lack of concern about our brothers and sisters in overseas areas, I was convicted of the sin of omission. However, I prayed to God for forgiveness and this past Sunday my church contributed $1,000.00 to one of our congregations in South Africa and I contributed another $500.00 from personal funds. This we shall do each quarter and then have an annual "Overseas Missions Day" and set our goal of $5,000.00 to be given to our adopted church each year as well. And this is just the beginning; we hope to increase our leel of giving each quarter and each year!

It is no secret what God can do! Of whom much is given, much is required. Remember, Overseas Pastors do not receive salaries from their congregations; many walk or ride mules more than one-hundred miles each way to get to their preaching point (often "brush arbors") , sleep on the ground, and have very little food to sustain them when they arrive. In addition to this, most dont even have Sunday School Literature from our denomination but must use Jehovah Witnesses literature (because it is free to them) to teach God's word. This is a serious indictment on the AME Church.

Focus your attention on other countries, periodically, and let each of us not only commit to send funds but Christian Education material and even expired Sunday School AME material to them as well. "Give and to you shall be given..."

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2001

A great testimony and example of God's love, Rev. Wilson! I will go and do likewise!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2001

Thank you Reverends G S Wilson and F Reid. That is a very positive sign.

I trust this is my final contribution on this topic. The record of my contribution on this Discussion Board is very clear! I have never called for the creation of an additional 20th District, but I believe that the re-arrangement of borders of present districts can see Namibia, Botswana and Angola on one Episcopal District. On numerous times I have categorically stated that I do not propagate the severance of ties between USA and Africa, but that we must work hard to modify some of the principals on which our Connectional Model is based. Even if that includes the creation of 2 or 3 benches in the Council of Bishops. I still maintain that many ( not all) of the AME Bishops dis-serviced Africa, and the personal attacks on my position and ministry did not shed much light. Let us bring in chartered accountants to audit the Episcopal finances in all our overseas districts, for say, the past 20 years as the acid test. Many of our clergy and lay members in the USA will be shocked that monies they have raised for overseas work did not reach the intended beneficiaries. And that is why I have always preferred peer-to-peer partnership programs.

In all of my contributions on this Forum, with regard to the election of bishops, I do not advocate sexism, regionalism or continentalism. I do not care whether a bishop is male or female, from Africa, haiti or USA. What I care about is compassion and love for God's Mission in his Son Jesus Christ. About accountability and transparency. About truth and justice and righteouness. I want to see a bishop De Veaux- type leader, amongst the flock he supervise during the floods in Mozambique. I want to see my Bishop amongst other Namibian denominational bishops when the ecumenical bodies are discussing the war on the Angola-Namibian war.

Generally speaking, what the original contributor referred to in the article that I also contributed, is tantamount to "absentee landlords". If an African Itinerant Elder does the job of the Bishop in his/her absence, why make him/her an Administrative Assistane? Why? Excluding a very small minority, the overwhelming majority do not live in their districts and is a dis-service. At the beginning of this quadrennial, there was a report on this Forum about a bishop who reported in his Quadrennial Report a very expensive automobile, which is nowhere on this continent to be found! No one in that Africa district knows anyhting about that car! In the 15th Episcopal District we bought a residence and a car, and 2 quadrennials later, we are still told by our current Episcopal leadership that there are still debts left. All over this Connection, especially in Africa, we take bishops for their words. We have trusted them and with every new administration we are shocked by what has been going on in the previous administrations. And many a times this is permitted to happen because many African ministers eat the crumbs from those bishops. One such person I know in the 15th Episcopal district who is a regular contributor on this Forum.

I use the noun "I", simply because I participate in my private capacity in this Forum. In many instances, these are my personal views and not that of an organised group. These are my impressions. These views are, however, not exclusive or the ultimate. I must admit that these views are subjective, but it speaks from my local conditions, frustrations, fears - it is me speaking! Many a times I may sound aggressive, but that is not the intend of the thought as I am civilian in behaviour. Possibly just too compassionate about the AME Church and for the unbenefitted grace God has bestowed upon me.

In the Namibia Annual Conference, we did not oppose any single bishop personally or or his position. However, many a bishop have expressed his sincere appreciation for the honest opinions we express whenever we are displeased! During the Centennial Celebrations Namibia was also fortunate to be a point of celebration, and I wrote an open letter to the Visiting AME Delegation about opportunities for Namibian AME's in our denomination's educational institutions. I still have copies of that letter in my possession. Many a bishop felt offended by the factual fact, that not a single Namibian was afforded an opportunity by the global connectional AME Church! When the AME bishops were hosted by the American Embassy here in Windhoek, the question was posed to them what the AME Church has contributed to education in Namibia. Those of are present in that delegation bowed our heads in shame, when one bishop blatantly lied that a couple of Namibians study with AME scholarships in the USA!! I was there! I do not intend to minimise the value and impact of projects such as Operation Education (from the Ming-era), B Thomas Fund (Thomas-era) or the present efforts of Bishop GGM Ingram. But to the original question of dis-service of AME Bishops in Africa, I still affirm that generally speaking the impact is not what is desired.

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2001

Rev. Hanse, you are so hypocritical and full of yourself. You accuse me of personally attacking you although I only respond to your loose statements against the AME Church and what you refer to as our imperialistic attitude towards Africa. Are you sure that is the term you wish to use, because if so, then we should not be there at all; however, we respond to Christ's mandate to, "Go ye into all the world ..."

You accuse me of personally attacking you but you constantly attack a female,like me, Rev. Ursula Higgins, and not once has she responded to your crude, biased, chauvinistic, ethnocentric statements that accused her "pandering to Bishop Young." You are very hypocritical; if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Your remarks are constantly replete with what YOU want for Africa; what about what the people want and what Christ wants. The AME Church in Namibia and Africa was operating well before you came along and will be operating long when you are gone. African Methodism belongs to God; it came straight from the heart of God, and in the end, God, and God alone, will be in control.

It is apparent that you are projecting yourself more than you are the CHURCH; Christ's bride. Do you love Casear more than ROME? The AME Church is greater than you, me or anyone in Namibia. "I love Thy Church, O God, her walls before Thee stand; dear as the apple of Thine eye and graven on Thy hands." If you stop projecting yourself awhile and project Christ, you will see the difference that it makes when we are more Christ-focused than personal-focused. (I, me, mine and "all roads must lead to my house.")

You should be grateful that you even have an automobile; many Africans (and Americans) do not have automobiles. And yes, I drove myself to my Mid-Year Conference as well and no one paid me either nor reimbursed me for my expenses; why should they reimburse you for yours? That is part of the price we pay for our devotion and commitment to the AME Church and its related functions. "It goes along with the territory!

If you wish to get so overly involved in micro-selection of countries, regions, or people that are being impacted by the AME Church on the African continent, you choose to ignore the underlying and fundamental foundation of Methodism in general which is the concept of Connectionalism.

Let me say, in conclusion; I was born poor, and although I am a professional and businesswoman, I am basically poor now (I am not a millionaire) but I have lived for God and African Methodism all of my life without want or compromise. I do not believe in the absoulte authority of an American; I do not believe in the absolute authority of a Namibian, either. African Methodism cannot be run by any one person; it cannot be run by any group of persons. The AME Church belongs to God and in the end, God will be in charge.

I have been working on two fronts for the past thirty years for God and African Methodism; how much longer, I do not know because God is calling the old as well as the young and shadows are gathering over all of us. But this I know; tell the boys in Namibia that I stand firmly in the faith that African Methodism belongs to GOD, and I mean to stick with it too; all the way to the end!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 17, 2001

RICH; RICH; RICH!!!!!!!!!!!! I am beginning to love this Bulletin Board and must admit that the past few lessons Ms. Poteet has given us via this medium on real AME Polity, History, Theology, and Current Events are more than I have learned in my 58 years of being an AME. I like lively debates and the past few weeks visiting the Bulletin Board have been real "eye-openers." I previously visited the Bulletin Board only once or twice per month, but now (over the past month) I visit it three or more times per day to see if any updates or new information has been presented. I think the entire AME Church get on board; otherwise, they are losing out!

I have also committed myself to Overseas Missions and have adopted an AME Church in Trinidad, West Indies (Presiding Elder Flemming Joseph from the Bulletin Board listing of AME Churches in need of assistance) and will underwrite a Pastor's salary and church reconstruction at the rate of $400.00 per month. "To God be the glory!"

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2001

I agree with you, Mr. Harrison, and I will follow suit!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2001

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