Bishop Vashti McKenzie : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

My pastor announced on yesterday that Bishop McKenzie will be preaching at our church on August 5, 2001 at both the 8:00AM and 11:00AM services. She will also be signing autographs for her two books. I am scheduled to be in LA during that time and now I'm faced with a real dilemma. Oh, what wretched man am I committed to be in California when the first woman Bishop of the AMEC will be preaching right in the same sanctuary where I worship freely and regularly?! Woe is me for buying this non-refundable, restriction-laden super-saver round-trip ticket for now any changes I make will be the economic equivalent of paying a modest home mortgage. My wife has heard me rant and rave about McKenzie's theological acumen, crusade for justice, physical beauty [hey, at least I'm honest and not so pious to deny this fact :-)] and love for the AMEC. Now she, like me, won't get a chance to see her in action. Oh well, I guess I can always fly to her District in Mozambique. QED

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2001



Fret not thyself. You MAY be in luck if you attend the Connectional Lay Biennial in Jacksonville.

She was everything a Delta Girl is suppose to be at our Conference!

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2001

Bishop Vashti McKenzie certainly made history as the first female AME Church Bishop but she has certainly disappointed all of us since her relection. She has dont NOTHING; ZERO; ZIP for the 18th Episcopal District since her election.

Bishop DeVeaux, former Bishop of the District (who lived in the District) really had a well-received quadrennial report at the General Conference of his labors in the 18th District and really had things moving, but Bishop McKenzie came behind him and has done nothing since then. Bishop DeVeaux even began building churches in the District, especially Mozambique, which is sorely in need of church buildings/schools/parsonages and housing for the people since the devastating flood.

I challenge Bishop McKenzie to match the work done by Bishop DeVeaux in his 4 years in the District, go there and live among the people, and build several commodious, representative church buildings in Mozambque. She knew the poverty conditions of much of our overseas work before she was elected a Bishop; if she can't perform as a Bishop and show some positive results, I think she should step down.

We did not elect her to speak at Delta Sigma Theta Conventions and gloat in her popularity; we elected her to serve the people and she should live in her District 95% of the time.

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2001

I am saddened and shocked at Mr. Will Chambers' disparaging and most erroneous remarks concerning Bishop Vashti McKenzie's service to the 18th Epsiscopal District and the AME church at large (July 2, 2001). His assertion that she "has done NOTHING; ZERO; ZIP for the 18th Episcopal District since her election" could not be further from the truth. I must assume, as this is indeed a Christian forum, that his comments were well-intentioned, and therefore were based on a lack of knowledge. As a member of Payne Memorial AME Church in Baltimore, MD, where Bishop McKenzie served as pastor for ten years prior to her episcopal election, I have followed closely her ministry activities this past year, and take great pleasure now in accurately and most informedly setting the record straight. For further detail and clarification on the points I make below, please feel free to request a photocopy of Bishop McKenzie's Annual Episcopal Report 2000-2001, presented at the Bishop's Council in Los Angeles in June, from either your local presiding elder or your district's episcopal office. Another great source of accurate information would be to request a copy of "Eighteenth District News," the newsletter of the 18th Episcopal District which was distributed to nearly 2,000 members of the 18th Epsicopal District in May and June.

Notable Points of Bishop McKenzie's leadership, ministry and service in the 18th Episcopal District this past year include the following:

> Twenty-five computers were purchased for Johnson Baker High School in Lesotho.

> An Orphans Program was initiated in October at the Joan M. Cousin Center in Labotse, Botswana. It is an after-school program for children whose families are grappling with the realities of AIDS related death and disease

> Five group homes are planned in Botswana and Swaziland for children orphaned due to the pandemic AIDs crises. Each home costs $51,000, and each will house 12 persons and a house mother. Seed money has already been obtained for the first home for blueprints, licenses and site improvements. Ground breaking is scheduled for the fall.

> Emergency food and clothing have been provided to those devasted by first war and then floods in Mozambique.

> Fifty-one homes have been built for those left homeless by Mozambique floods.

> Desks were built for a school of 200 students who came daily to learn in spite of having to sit on the floor. School supplies, food and clothing for the students and their families were also provided.

> Negotiations with the government are ongoing for a new church structure in Maputo, Mozambique where flood victims were relocated. Funds for the church are already in place thanks to the generosity of Bishop DeVeaux and the AME church.

> Annual conferences were held in Maputo, Mozambique; Mafeteng, Lesotho; Manzini Swaziland; Buta Buthe, Lesotho and Gaborone Botswana from October to December.

> A Planning Meeting with the launching of the 2000-2004 District Agenda was held in December at Johnson Baker High Schoolin Mafeteng, Lesotho.

> Mid-Year Conference was held in June in Manzini, Swaziland. An extensive teaching agenda was enacted with Clergy-Lay Institutes; Womens Missionary Society and Young Peoples Division Institutes. Resource materials on prayer and leadership were also distributed. The International Sunday School, a donation, was given in both print and CD form, for each Presiding Elder District. A special session on Conflict Resolution was taught by Bishop McKenzie. Supervisor Stan McKenzie taught leadership workshops for the Women's Missionary Society. Bishop Gregory Ingram preached and taught. Rev. Katurah York Cooper of the 2nd District taught morning bible studies, as well as WMS and Women in Ministry workshops.

> Bishop McKenzie led a delegation of twenty members of the 18th district to the African Jurisdictional Council meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe in January. The delegation was an excellent representation of clergy, youth and laity. Delegates from the 18th district were elected to the Executive Committee and most of the commissions. The 18th District will host the next African Jurisdictional Council in February 2002.

> A district newsletter was published and distributed to nearly 2,000 members of the 18th district.

> Churches in each annaul conference were assisted in their building projects from expansion, renovation, electrical & plumbing to putting on roofs.

> Financial assistance and books for four 18th district students studying in the US are currently being provided. Additional financial assistance is being provided for the thrological education of two 18th district ministers.

> In pursuing a goal of digitizing the district this quadrennium, annual conference offices are being opened with fax, computer, email and telephone capabilities. Swaziland's is almost complete; Botswana's is in operation; and Lesotho already has access to the District Office in Maseru.

> Vital repairs to the F.C.James Center for Service in Maseru, Lesotho, at a cost of $21,000 will begin this fall.

> Bishop McKenzie has traveled 16,619 km within the bounds of the 18th District this past year, including a visit to the AME church in Beira, in the Northern Province of Mozambique. There was great excitement tere as this was the church's first visit ever by a presiding prelate.

In the future, we should be careful how we make comments, especially on such a wide-reaching forum as this, that could be perceived as defamations of character, not just towards Bishop McKenzie, or any Bishop and/or elected or appointed officer of our church, but to anyone in general, especially if we have not taken the time to research and verify whether or not our information is accurate. If we feel strongly enough about an issue to publish such intense remarks as those published by Mr.Chambers, then that passion should naturally foster sufficient concern to commit time and energy in making sure that we are well-informed in our statements, so as to not spread falsehoods and rumors. As a public relations specialist, if I find any fault in Bishop McKenzie's service this past year -- her first in Episcopal Office -- it is that she has not taken enough time from ministry and other duties to keep the larger AME connection abreast of her significant ministry activities in the 18th District. But given the magnitude of her responsibilities (ie: of the 4 countries that comprise the 18th district, three have greater than 25% HIV/AIDS infection rate and rank among the top four HIV/AIDS infected countries on the continent of Africa, two rank among the highest infection rates in the world-- see Time Magazine), and given the fact that I have yet to walk even one inch in her shoes, who am I to say that she should take time from her vital activities to make us feel good about what she is doing.

Mr. Chambers' message has been beneficial in that the horror of the inaccuracy of it has propelled me to "put my money where my mouth is" and I shortly will be offering Bishop McKenzie my Public Relations services -- probono, of course -- to help get clear messages out to the larger connectional body of the ministry work being accomplished in the 18th district. Perhaps if Mr. Chambers, having now been accurately informed, would choose to likewise put his money where his mouth is, he would send the 18th district a check so that the many schools of the district could obtain computers, gain internet access, and the young people could respond to this forum themselves with regard to ministry and work in the 18th District.

One final note: the members of Delta Sigma Theta, a public service sorority founded on Christian principles, at whose conferences I understand Bishop McKenzie has spoken (appropriately so as she serves as their National Chaplain), have already put their money where their mouth is and have contributed well over $40

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2001

My final paragraph does not show on my previous posting.

It reads:

The members of Delta Sigma Theta... have contributed well over $40,000 to the work of the 18th district this past year alone.

In Christ,

Kim Lee Bedfor

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2001

And I will not retract any thing I have said about Bishop Vashti's ineffectiveness and inefficiency in the 18th District nor give one inch. The things you speak about, you only say are in place, or she is preparing to do, when in fact, these projects were in motion by Bishop DeVeaux, former Bishop of the District, and executed by the people before she came. If you read other posts on this forum, you will discover that persons from the 18th Episcopal District convey the same assessment and it is from them who provided me with data when I attended the Bishops'Council in Los Angeles about her ineffectiveness and her snobbish attitude.

All the houses that you mentioned in Mozambique and the PLANS to build a church were begun under Bishop DeVeaux with the money in place; as a matter of fact, if she were living there and provided proper supervision, the CHURCH and other churches would have already been completed. She cites projects that were already funded and in place or those that the poor Africans have planned for and are trying to complete on their own meager resources.

The funds she talks about (except the few dollars from DST) contributing were from the AME Church's Connectional Budget fund allocation and other generous AMEs, not hers, so it is not like she is Santa Claus and have done such a great deed. I challenge her to live in the District as she was elected to do. I further challenge her to give a detailed report of all persons who gave her money, and to submit how the money was spent.

The free computers comtributed were a noble idea but what is the use of having computers when most churches and schools do not even have buildings and electricity. Ask her how many church buildings does she have in Mozambique and how many will she have completed towards the end of her tenure there? She is attempting to preside over a vast District as an "absentee landlord" and the traveling she logged was only a fraction of what she should have done. She should not be living in the U. S.; she should be living in her District.

Those surfaced workshops did very little for the people in the 18th District who are struggling to build churches and schools so they will have a simple, decent place to worship GOD. We are waiting to see the great cathedrals she will build in Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Botswana.

Public Relations is just what is is PR and "propaganda"; therefore, she does not need a PR specialist, she needs a willingness to go and do the real work that she was called to do in her position of higher Christian service. It is more than just workshops and meetings; as a matter of fact, those in the 18th Episcopal District could teach her and her husband, Stan, more about the AME Church than they could ever teach them; what makes him such a specialist. The 18th District does not need teaching about the AME Church, at least, from them anyway. That is what the various District Conferences and Quarterly COnferences are for; they know the church already. They need substantive leadership. And we will know when she has providedd true, effective leadership by what the PEOPLE SAY and not by any Newsletter or PR specialist. All of this is just window dressing to prepare her for a larger U. S. District in 2004; however, most District leaders, both lay and ministers that I speak with, certainly ARE NOT campaigning for her.

When she provides that kind of leadership and when she begins to live in the District and when she complete the church stsructures began by Bishop DeVeaux, I will apologize to her in person and on this board; but as long as she does not do the work she was elected to do, I will continue to say as do others, SHE HAS DONE NOTHING FOR THE 18th District.

By the way, I contributed more money to members of the 14th, 17th, and 18th District at the Bishops' Council in Los Angeles and the Lay Convention in Florida than mose people have done in a life time. An duntil Bishop Vashti and others give a detailed report, all my money will go directly to the Pastors and ministers who are trying to accomplish a great work for God.

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2001

First I'd like to congatulate Bishop Vashti on her recent appointment, and may God bless her efforts,at home and abroad. I am,however,concerned about the comments like that of Will Chambers. You can tell a lot about what someone is thinking based on what they talk about and what they do...more than often. Will, you have every right to express yourself,within the confines of "free speech",but it seems like your point of view speaks volumes about your psychological profile,more so than constructive criticism of the good Bishop Vashti's missionary efforts. Based on my obsevation, you seem to be dealing with issues of change,and dare I say,a male superiority complex. Her affiliation with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority-one of many greek-lettered organizations that has provided great service to the African-American community, reinforces her commitment to service and change, for African-American men and women! I'm wondering if you have some kinda "beef" with the Bishop, and if so,you should be a "man" and deal directly with her, in that regard. On the other hand,I'm wondering if you had some special allegiance with the incumbent Bishop, which reveal issues of co-dependency or even comes across somewhat conspiratory in nature. If you are a man of color-Shame on you,because that type of criticism is the most blatant form of jealousy, envy and resentment,that water of the seeds of contemptment. Did you want to be considered for the post of Bishop, were you a potential candidate? Will, you seem to have Bishop Vashti in your cross-hairs,and it is my concern,as well as other supporters,that your position is not malicious. I think if you get busy doing more for humanity, you wouldn't have time to disect Bishop Vashti's mission. In closing, I would le t say that I don't know you- Will or Bishop Vashti on a personal level, however I do possess rare skils of analytical observation, and I know goodintentions when I see them,especially in writing... Happy hunting Will! And Bishop Vashti keep up the GOOD-GOD work!

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2002

In light of other Bishops that have been assigned to international districts -- some have not even stayed in thier districts a respective amount of time --- we even had one that stated that he had nothing to do with them so why he should have to serve in the district-- so he decides to not serve the people of that district. I beleive that Bishop McKenzie is doing an excellent job -- Bishop is truly a leader among leaders! GET THE TRUE FACTS WILL!!!!! LOOK AT THE WEB SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2002

In light of other Bishops that have been assigned to international districts -- some have not even stayed in thier districts a respective amount of time --- we even had one that stated that he had nothing to do with them so why he should have to serve in the district-- so he decides to not serve the people of that district. I beleive that Bishop McKenzie is doing an excellent job -- Bishop is truly a leader among leaders! GET THE TRUE FACTS WILL!!!!! LOOK AT THE WEB SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2002

The 18th District's web site may be found at

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2002

The works that she has done will speak for her. Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Secondly, it is a good thing that Bishop McKinzie is building on the foundation laid by Bishop DeVeaux. That is one of the problems with our church. Too often a bishop and pastors choose to start anew rather than building on the foundation laid by the preceding bishop or pastor. Blessings,

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, February 22, 2002

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