Agenda for Overseas Areasgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
What do you think the Church should focus on in the development of an overseas agenda for parts of Africa and other locations outside of the United States? The Church has only recently demonstrated a real or perceived interest in Africa or parts thereof outside of the US. Much needs to be done in this area of growth and development. What do you believe the focus should be? What should we be trying to do first?
-- Anonymous, October 09, 2001
Canada is an untapped gold mine. Toronto has 2.5 million people and one (1) AME Church, Mississauga has 325,000 people and one (1) new (Philip R. Cousin AME Church) that is 12 months old, Brampton has 295,00 people and no (0) AME Church. this is just the western part of the Toronto area and Toronto, the eastern side has the same potential. Then there are the other areas of Canada with a great deal of potential. These are they that need the liberation message of Jeus Christ that we have to share.
-- Anonymous, October 10, 2001
The 15th Episcopal District has the 7 Point Partnership Plan, courtesy of the visionary leadership of Bishop Gregory Ingram. These are Missions, Church Gworth, Resource Inventory Bank, Economic Development, Education, Church Administration and Stewardhip. Part of the process include a demographic study, highlighting areas in which our beloved Zion is represented in what makes up the 15th Episcopal District in southern Africa. With the bishops resident in South Africa in the furthest south point in Cape Town, further away areas remain uncovered. During the 1992-1996 quadrennial the group from Angola joined the AME Church and were grouped in the 15th Episcopal District. Formerly the AME Church was mainly in central and southern Namibia. With the big number of Angolans joining in our northern Namibia, Bishop McKinley Young pioneered into northern Namibia. It must be stated that 50% of the Namibian population live in the four northen "O"-regions. Now we have established one church in Oshakati (also properly named McKinley Young AME Church) with less than 40 members. This church is about 800 kilometres from the nearest St. Gustav AME Church, Okahandja. During August 2001 we have admitted in local relations one brother from this church. Currently the Rev. Claude Katuamba visits this church once per month and I must say that these brothers and sisters keep the AME banner high under very harsh conditions. Recruiting members in a new environment is not that difficult, but mainataining such churches is a major financial burden. Established churches find it hard to carry their own financial commitments. With hig unemployment and underemployment it is really difficult to maintain present smaller rural churches. If the AME Church would only put money into programs the job can be touched, but our budgets (Namibian experience) is that we budget for meetings without end whilst do little or nothing for diaconical services. There are areas that we can go into, but let us first revisit the areas where we are prsent and reflect. Thank you for this tiemly discussion.
-- Anonymous, October 10, 2001
I have always felt that South America represents untapped potential for growth of the AMEC. Countries like Brazil, Columbia & Venezuela have significant people of African descent. Brazil's black population is actually the highest in all of the Americas, including the US. Outreach in Africa is fine but evangelistic efforts should not be overlooked in other continents and countries. QED
-- Anonymous, October 10, 2001
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME.
The AME Church NEEDS to focus on developing some of its churches here in the U.S. We have too many small, broken down churches with very few members with large budgets, uneducated people and uneducated pastors, and some so-called educated pastors who preach the same crap every Sunday because they are more interested in their outside projects and keeping other people down than they are with preaching the liberating truth of God's word. The darkness is overwhelming in some of these areas.
Why are we developing churches in other countries when we can't even encourage our own members to go to school and get an education? Why do we have people in AME churches in the U.S. PICKING UP CANS for a living, claiming to be sick to draw DISABILITY, practicing WITCHCRAFT to STEAL things they can't afford to buy and working in low, minimum wage positions cleaning toilets and wiping tables. Pastors can't encourage them to go to school and improve themselves because some older presiding elder, former pastor or church member has them clinched in the belief that they are SUPPOSED to be the way they are, or they are just discouraged from going. IT IS TIME OUT FOR THIS CRAP!!
The federal government has made financial aid available to every citizen who qualifies, but somehow our people (AME's, who used to have a reputation for being well educated) are so messed up in their minds with all of the rivalry and chaos in the church, they can't concentrate long enough to see the need to get a formal education. They are still sitting on "mourning benches", having "sangings", bootlegging, selling raffle tickets(games of chance), stealing money from church treasuries and running back and forth to the Baptist Church for whatever they think they get there.
More overseas projects will mean more money to be raised to send to "OUR PEOPLE OVER THERE" when OUR PEOPLE OVER HERE can barely get a prayer heard to get what they need--which is encouragement, enlightenment and INCENTIVES to reach their full potential and get as much formal training and education as they can. Many people don't even attempt to go to annual conference meetings because they don't feel they want to be bothered with the once a year hoopla that goes on, when they KNOW no one is praying for them during the year because no one seems to care about them. If we have any money, we NEED to use it here to send somebody to school or to fund some other worthwhile project.
For as long as I have been a minister in the AME Church, which is almost 20 years, I have NEVER seen a career table set up to expose members to school and career opportunities anywhere other than an AME school. In this district, that school is the NOW DEFUNCT Shorter College, a former two-year institution of higher learning. Well, two years won't get it anymore, and that one won't get it at all until it is operational again. That too is something we NEED to concentrate on. We NEED to make all of our colleges into full four-year institutions replete with dormitories and technological centers, and continue the growth toward offering graduate degrees and fully accredited seminaries or even hospitals. I believe that is the vision the founding fathers of this church had when they began to develop schools in the church.
AND, Don't send anymore of my money anywhere to try to develop another church in some foreign country to encouage and uplift people who act like they think they are better than I am in my own country, when my forefathers backs and necks were broken to help to build this DYCM country. I walk past African-Americans on the streets of AMERICA who have needs every day and some of the area churches are too snotty or unprepared to take them in to address those needs. This field that is directly under our noses is white enough. Let's look at the hedges, highways and byways down or across the street first. What hurts another African American hurts me. We have been bruised, torn, separated from our kindred and raped of our heritage too long and we desperately need to be restored to a sense of humanity. I strongly believe this church should stick to Richard Allen's objective to help free African-Americans everywhere. Even the cowards who believe they are being an asset when they try to sell out the leaders in our communities. We NEED to "walk together" to achieve this goal.
Also, be sure I can order what I NEED from the AME Church Publishing House over the internet before we go anywhere else to do anything else and that EVERY preacher or pastor has access to a decent church endorsed or supplied benefit package for our families and our health, life and retirement needs. Let's get with the program. We can't reach out until we have the internal strength with which to reach out. In other words, let's get our own house in order before we try to build one for someone else.
Sincerely, Yours truly, Yours in Christ and I love you,
-- Anonymous, October 11, 2001
Rev.Stocker, thank you for your response to this issue. Your response sheds light on one of the problems within the fabric of our Church. The AME Church is not an American Church. It is a Church founded in American that exists across the world. I am not proposing that we supply our brothers and sisters with more fish. I believe we have means of teaching them how to fish. This fishing process, however will require that we as a Church establish policies and proceedures around the process. Most often, we fail to establish the policy, proceedure, vission or mission that is required to get the ball rolling.
I agree that we have a number of clergy that require higher levels of education as well as members. This can happen if we would make a conserted effort to raise the bar of expectation. This bar will applyb to both clergy and laity. I also agree that seldom if ever do we see tables providing information on educational opportunities or self-help opportunities. I believe that between us we can make a difference. It has been my practice in ministry not to leave to others something I can do myself. As a College administrator, soon to be a Professor of Religion, I place a tremendous emphasis on higher education and the concept of self-actualization.
I believe that if our Church is going to grow, and if growth is our intention, we need to plan it. The concept of planning one's work and working the plan still means something with me. from where I sit, the greatest areas for growth in the AME Church is in the overseas regions. I do not believe that all of this will require American/Bermudian/Canadian/Carribbean dollars in the process.
The same way I advocate growth in the overseas regions, I believe there is tremendous potential within the United States for growth. If I am correct, Bishop Frank C. Cummings once called for the creation of fifteen Episcopal Districts within the United States. The real challenge for us is in determining "if" we really want to do the real evangelistic work that Christ has called us too. The harest still is planteous and the laborers are few.
-- Anonymous, October 12, 2001