Tokenism or a move forward : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Greetings in the name of Him who is able. In submitting my congratulations to Bro. Weldon Schuman with his election to the office of Third Vice President of the Connectional Lay Organisation a sigh of relief comes to mind. When I decided to throw my weight behind his campaign ( see many critized this effort as being to no avail. Some felt he did not stand a chance against the "great" Americans, others felt that this post will inevitably be a position of "tokenism". Well, you can't please all people all the time. What is important for me is that Africa now has a place o voice it's concerns from more effectivey. We do not now have somebody speaking on our behalf, but somebody reflecting our concerns and desires. I wish Bro Schuman God's richest blessings and is sincerely proud to continue being associated with him

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001


Some of you in South Africa complain and whine all the time about "American Imperialism" and how sinister our intentions are. If you are elected, you complain; if you don't get elected, you complain. South Africa is not the only Overseas District in the AME Church and it constitutees only about 5% of our overall membership. Supposed those in West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and the Caribbean/South American areas complained and made demands like you. After all, the pie can only be sliced so many ways. Your demanding and arrogant attitude will get you know where. Be grateful and thank God!. You appear to be very "pushy", Rev. Pillay.

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

Sounded to me like Clive was being positive and congratulatory. Maybe I need to read the post again. (and by the way, Clive is a good friend of mine and he is pushy, no doubt about it, and sometimes he can push people to do right.)

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

The comment about the other overseas districts triggered a thought about allocating the offices based on districts and/or perhaps AME Membership. What if we did set aside a certian number of offices to be filled by persons from the overseas districts? Would that be Affirmative Action?

Blessings, Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

All of us who are AME's belong to one global family. African Americans, Caribbean Blacks and Africans from the Motherland, share one common destiny. There should be no step-children in this family. The AME will never achieve its true greatness, and its real potential until our turf wars are over. In my humble and considered opinion, global AME's who are qualified should be able to assume any office in the gift of the church without discrimination. Congratulations to Bro. Shuman in his new role as 3rd Vice President of the Connectinal Lay organization God bless our great Zion, Wilfred D. Lewis

-- Anonymous, July 11, 2001

I join the congratulating voices to Bro. Weldon Schuman for the confidence bestowed on him by the members of the Connectional Lay Organisation. To God lift our praises and prayers that you may prove to worthy of the course of kingdom building through this vehicle of our Church.

Similarly, I want to take this opportunity to respond to the very arrogant manner in which MD Carter, Sr deals with very sensitive issues that face the Church. To single out South Africa as complaining and arrogant is indicative of you not understanding what is going. What you don't know is that South Africa has always been trying to find middle ways of dealing with the politics of the Church. South Africa does not hold the most radical position in districts outside of the US. Do your research on positions held in West Africa, Zambia and Namibia, among others, in relation to the power struggles in the Connection. I am certain that hearing their voices soberly, you will swallow your arrogance.

I am glad that you can provide estimates of membership of South Africa in relation to the overall membership of the Church. You are in effect agreeable that we too are part of the connection. In fact, we are not complaining but are part of the struggle of the connection to make the Church a comfortable home for all. That 5% contributes to the AME Church being able to boast of being a global Church.

It is our prayer that Church ought to be the Church, liberating and reconciling. And let they prayer be followed by our resolve to deal with the inequities that exist. We cannot hope to change society while we do the very things that society does in relation to the minorities and the vulnerable.

-- Anonymous, July 12, 2001

At least, Mr Klaas, the West Africans, Zambians, and Namibians have a sense of gratitude and do not feel that they should always be the foci of international attention. As you stated,this is a connectional church and not a South African Church nor an American Church. It happens, though, that the vast majority of our members are here in the U. S. and 99.9% of the contributions come from the U. S. as well. That is not arrogancy, that is a matter of record and fact.

The 2nd Episcopal District wherein I live and labor has done much to vote for legislation that will improve the relationship of the AME Church to its overseas constituency; but I really think that autonomy would be the most viable solution.

-- Anonymous, July 12, 2001

Greetings to all.

I am grateful M.D Carter, Sr that you have revealed what is in your thoughts. South Africa is just a scapegoat to use in pushing for your thoughts for autonomy. I say that because there are two episcopal districts in South Africa, one of which includes Namibia and Angola - that is, the 15th Episcopal District. I still believe that you still have to point out exactly who has perturbed you so much that you are prepared to generalise, mistaking wood for furniture.

I don't dispute your statistics. But, by no means does that imply that the minority must not be allowed space to express themselves; that the majority may continue to do what they want to do willy- nilly. One thing certain, there will be a time when the majority will be outside of the US, specifically in Africa. In fact, I forsee that. I forsee that in the context of Africa still being poor without wealth to leverage and boast about, but having growth of numbers. The question really is; does that mean Africa should undermine and ignore the aspirations of the minority? Just as I believe it is wrong for those you have today, I will remain in that position then.

I am grateful to know that you live and labour in the 2nd Episcopal District, under the illustrious leader of Bishop Vinton Anderson. I know his commitment to making the Church a home for all who are part of it. I am also confident of leadership corpse of his district - man and women of integrity. I don't think that casting their votes was an act of charity for the so-called overseas district. I believe, for them, it was an act of solidarity and a need for enhancing the unity and koinonia of the Church. I recall vividly that 1998 opening sermon of Convocation II, by Dr Lee P. Washington of Reid Temple (Maryland) - alluding to classism and sexism in the AME Church.

There is something else you need to know. We are not looking for autonomy. It is not our intent to cut the connection and have autonomy. Where we belong is in the connection. Our plea is a humble one; let us be part of the leadership. Things cannot continue to happen over us as if we are not part of this. No! They ought to happen in and with us, too.

Since it is your thought to impose autonomy, let me alert you to the fact that you need to be careful of the morality of your thoughts. Especially considering your assertion that 99% contributions come from the US constituency, I must remind you that the wealth of the West and North has not been simply because those countries have been blessed and Africa was cursed by God and her ancestors. That is precisely because of the plundering and ravaging that took place in Africa. As a Christian, I think, you should begin at thinking what needs to be done about part of the 99% percent leveraged by the US constituency of the AME Church. Wield it against them or stretch out a hand of koinonia and solidarity with them?

I must make myself clear that I have high respect for African- American. In fact, I have made friendships with them and I continue to cherish my friendship with them. I admire their frankness and sensitivity to issues related to relationships within and outside the Church. They have always asserted themselves where it due. Your engagement I admire, too. It could be that the need for frank and deep introspection on how things are done among us is essential to eliminate such labels as “American Imperaliasm.”

I realise I have taken so much space and time writing this response. I wish I kept it short and sweet but am betrayed by the fact that I thought these words in three local languages I speak before setting them out in english.

Blessings and Peace,

-- Anonymous, July 13, 2001

Well said, my brother. I argue that it is only a matter of time before Africa is a dominant force in the Church and the world. You will have the numbers. And even though your homeland has been plundered, there is still plenty of wealth there. God has blessed Africa to be the last great power in this world.

Blessings, Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, July 13, 2001

While the subject of connectional officers are on the board, i wish to send out congralations and kudos to Ms. Lorraine Mcmillan, of the 8th Episcopal District, La. Annual Conference New Orleans, La. Bishop Carnall Garnett Henning;Bishop and the illustrious REv John k. Holiday, Presiding Elder. MS mcmillan wwent in un opposed to the position of recording secretary of the connection. once again, God choicest blessings on ms. mc and the rest of the connectional officers. And by all means, let us continue to pray for our connectional church.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2001

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