Are you fed up with the A.M.E Church or are thinking of leaving?greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
I just felt moved my the Holy Spirit to send a letter of encouragement to A.M.E's around the world. Are you fed up with the A.M.E church or thinking of quitting? DON'T!!!!! I want to talk about worldly things and spiritual things. It is the spiritual things that we must be mindful of. Scripture warns us repeatedly about the children of darkness or the children of Satan. Scripture tells us we are the children of light and we cannot be defeated. It is imperative, actually a mandate from God that we are to be obedient, humble ourselves and study his word and our prayer requests will be answered. Over the two years I have been on this board, I and others have been attacked, there have been stories about sexual scandals that should have been in the National inquirer, the word of God has become a faint voice as we discuss politics and other worldly matters. Leaving us vulnerable, weak and discouraged. Scripture tells us we will be attacked for following Christ, so it is an honor to suffer for him who loved us so greatly. Our denomination has ALWAYS been attacked for it was born of God!!! Yet 200 years later we are still here and we will be victorious, if you are fed up with the A.M.E church ask yourself this question how can you be fed up with 3 million believers, most of whom you have not yet met. If you are honest it will be one or more people usually not more than 10 who have turned you off to our great zion. Scripture tells us who they are, meditate on these words from 1 John 3 vs. 7-9 "Let no one deceive you, my children! Whoeverdoes what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. Whoever continues to sin belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the very beginning. The Son of God appeared for this very reason, to destroy what the Devil had done. Whoever is a child of God does not continue to sin, for God's very nature is in him: and because God is his Father, he cannot continue to sin. Here is the clear difference between God's children and the Devil's children: anyone who does not do what is right or does not love his brother is not God's child." Meditate on this scripture and others and you will see it is not the A.M.E Church but those who try to deceive us so we will abandon the work of the lord that he has called us to do through this church. Scripture warns us that there will be false prophets, children of darkness who will have Rev. and other titles in front of their names. Please do not confuse them as being one with Christ for they are not. We must see beyond wordly tricks and study our bibles daily, go to church regularly have a prayer partner so we can be strong in the Lord. Do not give up!!! God sees everything and they that hurt God's children will pay dearly. Do not forget to look around and acknowledge those who are kingdom building in our denomination. Our churches in Africa who are fighting aids and starvation, yet they hold the banner of Christ high! The old lady in your church who spends half of our social security check every month by tithing to the church. Laity who spend their own money to fly to conferences to build our church up, the list is long!! We are also the children of Richard Allen he did not give up and neither will we. And to those who says "I am new and I don't know" I do indeed know that is why God called me to be A.M.E so the children of the light would finish his work. We are not posting spiritual matters on this board, which also means we are not encouraging one another on the mission field. The last post on Sunday was from a witch a member of WICCA. Will you join me in strenghthening yourself up in the lord and pray that the anointing of Christ will come to this board. For when we are silent somebody will not learn of Jesus, somebody who is searching will not know him. Do not quit our denomination, do not allow yourself to me moved from God and you post ask yourself is it worldly post or a spiritual. Praise, God, Praise his Son and the Holy Spirit, nothing can defeat those who Love Christ. I love you all!!
-- Anonymous, November 11, 2002
Despite what the world may throw or our Church may go, I going to trust in Lord till I die. There is too much work to be done to be sitting around distracted by the earthly events even in our Church.God has not promised us tomorrow let alone the rest of today. Scripture says if I hold my peace God will fight the battle. For the last four weeks we have prayed for the second Episcopal District through the sniper rampage. Were any of our members shot dead?.
It is not about how great God is because of what he has done or what he may do. It is about the fact that he is God and God all by himself. God has the last word. The harvest is plenty let us not leave it to go rotting. Let us be found busy (not sleeping) in the work of the Lord while we are amongst the living.
May the great God in heaven inspire us all today and all of our tomorrows.
God Bless You, Don't Give Up. The Testimony comes after the test.
Love From Bermuda to you all
-- Anonymous, November 12, 2002
Bro. Nalton God is so great!! And we are victorious!! We just have to keep praying and lifting one another up. Yesterday during my devotional time with the Lord the holy spirit laid it on my heart what to post on the board. And someone wrote me privately yesterday to ask about the post, I assume there is someone(s) who is ready to give up and that message is for them. One of the by products about being on the mission field is that it makes one physically and spiritually strong, for it is literally back bending work. We talk about going to bushes and hedges, but when one actually does that, it means knocking on doors, walking up stairs, going into nursing homes, it strengthens every muscle in our body. And our heart is a muscle. When we can begin to look at our church through God's perspective every thing we do can and should be for kingdom building! Writing a letter to someone who was not in church, folding the chairs after fellowship. Etc. When we know we are part of God's plan for salvation NOTHING can stop us. That is why scripture gives us the gift of discernment and also tells us what to watch out for when we come across those who are not walking in the ways of the righteous. We can identify them and turn to God and go on to our next assignment, without a worry about the final outcome, that is why I suggest we read the Bible so we will be drawn closer to God's protection. I want to share something with you that happened at my church on Sunday. We had our first Baby baptism, beautiful 8 month old Lauryn, the Holy Spirit anointed every corner of the room and personally touched everyone. Baptisms are always a holy experience for it is done only once no matter if someone changes churches. God Baptizes, the Minister is the Proxy and God's sign can not wash off or wear off it lasts for eternity. hence the one Baptism. Our church is a multi-ethnic church in a town that is 98% white. But God planted an A.M.E church here. At the beginning of the service I say "Just so I will not feel alone, is there anyone else here who loves God with all of your heart, please raise your hands" Everyone did but five people. I took a moment and closed my eyes and asked God what to do next, the Holy Spirit told me to ask this question "Is there anyone here who wants to know God but is afraid?" All five of the people who had not answered the previous question raised there hands. It was a powerful moment. In our service we break into prayer partners so that everyone has someone to pray for them during church. I was with one of the women who had not raised her hand initially. She sat and cried and cried and kept thanking me over and over, she said God was calling her to be a Christian but she was married to a muslim and the voice of God was getting louder and louder. She had never attended a Christian church before and her tears were tears of joy for she was from out of town and was afraid to go to a Christian church. She now knew she belonged to Christ. She came to our church because her brother had heard me speak at a peace rally the week before and he brought her. The five were all white. I kept thinking if I and my staff had given up and had not stood firm on the word of the lord. So many lives would not have been touched by God for he was using our small church for a greater purpose. Also during the service near the end a drunk man came in and took his hat off and joined the service. My Director of Men's ministry and I jumped for joy for we had been praying that God would send to us those who are addicted or do not fit in any other church. Our Director of Men's ministry will be working with him. The A.M.E Church was born of racism, we fought the odds and won against evil. We will do it again. And for those who worry that I am discouraged. NO WAY!!!!!!! I am excited, thrilled, joyful and on fire for the Lord. Just remember when we get distracted by the "smoke and mirror tricks" of the children of darkness it takes us from fullfilling the great commission. Be A.M.E and be Proud for that is what God called you to be. Joy
-- Anonymous, November 12, 2002
I was advised to read this by a fellow member of my Church and I feel blessed to have done so. I have been an AME all of my life, nearly 54 years, and I have become discouraged as our young people go looking for something more fulfilling. I am discouraged as I witness a nearly empty sanctuary each Sunday, while othr denominations seem to flourish. But I keep returning each week and praying for a positive change.
While I don't profess to be the as knowledgeable as many, I do feel that the AME Church should consider making some changes so that our churches will thrive for generations to come. Our agenda must change from one that is more concerned with meeting budgetary expenses to one that meets the spiritual needs of the people. I want to be excited about participating in my church, but it is sometimes difficult to do, in the midst of financial woos and so few people in the congregation to accomplish the mission.
I will continue to pray for our churches and I will pray for you as well. God will provide and you letter is proof the His Spirit is at work, because it directed me (through my fellow member) to this site.
God Bless You.
-- Anonymous, November 23, 2002
Sister Patricia God bless you for being obedient to the Lord!!! You just wait and see how God is going to show off in our denomination. He is doing that now on a daily basis!! I have been doing various forms of ministry for 20 years. And I can honestly say that those who attack God's children, never succeed!!! The apostle Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord and not be discouraged. When I graduated from seminary 10 years ago. Statistics showed that 80 Percent of all clergy women left the church within three years for various reasons, sexual harrasment, not being promoted etc.. (This included all denominations) they left, they did not switch denominations. We are also seeing this across the board within mainline denominations in terms of laity leaving. So, who is left? The remnant that God will use to build up his kingdom. I cannot stress enough the power of PRAYER!!!! As my grandmother use to day "Don't get mad,PRAY!!" Can you imagine our denomination if everyone of us prayed everyday to God for the out pouring of his holy spirit on our church. WOW!!!!!! God delights in answering the prayers of his children. Sis. Patricia, laity has TREMENDOUS POWER!!! to build up the church for God. Remember the early church was a lay movement. Read the book of Acts, God poured out the holy spirit!! God's power has not dimenished, God's promises to us are still in effect. I want to share a story with you, years ago when I was a professional singer, before I became a minister my band and I were performing, my manager had booked us into this new jazz club. There was only one person in the audience. My band said "Look there is only one person here, let's not kill ourselves. Let's do three songs and get the money and leave" I said "No, I am doing the full set, 16 songs for that one person made the effort to come and he deserves the best that I can give. I sang my heart out" At the end of the show the man left very quickly. The next day my manager called me screaming on the phone "Did you see the paper! You got a fabulous review in the New York Times music section!" I couldn't believe it that one person was a music critic there to review my show. And the next week we were booked into the major jazz festivals in europe. So many miracles come out of giving your best. That is what God wants us to do for him!! He wants us to give him our best, no matter what things look like. God has a plan. If there are only a few in your church, pour your heart out to them, have a weekly Bible study at your house. Take the young adults bowling, have a potluck at your house. Remember it is always darkest before the dawn. This is the most exciting time to be A.M.E!!!!!!! Again my sister, thank your for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you. And keep encouraging one another. God loves you and so do I!
-- Anonymous, November 23, 2002
Greetings All, I am fed up with the AME Church. I have prayed, fasted and I am still doing them. I want to know how Long? I am in a district where there seem to be no shame in what pastors, elders do. Correct me if I am wrong, But I thought when God call you into the ministry to preach, you are call from among those things you did in the world.You were to be the High Priest to set the example for us. But not so, It is very disheartening when you have pastors, elders, gambling, committing adultry, drinking acohol, using the scripture to their benefit by misquoting it, taking money from the church, and the one I really have a problem with not following the Discipline. Is there not a Bishop or anyone who cares? I am reading God Chasers as was suggested by some of you a few months bay. I will continue to fast and pray, and I know God will in His own time take care of these men and women that are not good shepherds. I love the AME Church, but there is so much coruption and no one seem to care. Please pray for a change soon.
-- Anonymous, November 26, 2002
Dear Sis. Linda, be strong in your faith for the Lord and continue to do his work. One of the tremendous blessings that we as Christians have is the Bible!! Everything you have described is recorded in the Bible, Paul the apostle warns us of such things. But he also tells us to look ahead and keep striving for the prize which is Jesus! Paul the apostle was attacked in his travels to plant churches, he was jailed numerous time but he kept pressing on! And that is what scripture tells us to do. Last year 167,000 Christians were killed because of their faith. They are our modern day martyrs and yet Christians keep rising up. Those who deny Christ and or are not righteous, scripture makes it clear what will happen to them. They will go to hell. We can pray for them that they give their lives to Christ, but we must not let their ways deter us from working for God. Sis. Linda I would suggest you read Philippians in the new testament. It will give you strength. Paul is writing this letter the congregation in Phillipi and he is in jail! But there is a joy that no one can take from him. For his love for Christ is so great. Here is what he say in Philippians 3 vs. 17-21 "Keep on imitating me, my brothers. Pay attention to those who follow the right example that we have set for you. I have told you this many times before, and now I repeat it with tears, there are many whose lives make them enemies of Christ's death on the cross. They are going to end up in hell, because their God is their bodily desires. They are proud of what they should be ashamed of and they think only of things that belong to this world. We, however are citizens of heaven and eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ to come from heaven. He will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like this own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule." To sister Linda and all those who have written me privately, DO NOT GIVE UP! Jesus is coming back!!!!!!! Be his light in this wicked world, and when other's harm you because of your faith, remember Jesus bears all for us. When those around you are stealing and doing other ungodly things, remember God sees all. Scripture says the wicked shall not prevail. I do encourage everyone to read their Bibles daily for it will strengthen you. Be strong, for you are the children of the light.
-- Anonymous, November 27, 2002
This is a great teaching.In my conference ( South West Zambia ) we lost about five Itinerant Elders who have left to join other churches.I wish i had this messege before they left, i could have shared with them.
-- Anonymous, November 29, 2002
Rev. Mwandu welcome to the board! Yes we are loosing clergy and laity because they do not feel supported. That is why Paul the apostle wrote letters to the churches he founded so they would stay strong in their faith. The Bible tells us to encourage one another, it is also a way of protecting from becoming discouraged. I am so glad that you are staying, I have no doubt that God will call others to help you in the mission field. Stay strong my brother for Jesus is your strength. God bless!
-- Anonymous, November 29, 2002
A key question each person needs to ask is, "Have I outgrown my church?" I believe it's possible to do this. Where a person is growing in the things of God and their church's vision and mission are not, it's only a matter of time before a holy dissatisfaction sets in. That's why the book, "God Chasers" one individual mentioned is important. It tells how powerful Chritianity can be. Most of us haven't experienced anything close to this, and when we read about it, we become hungry for things that don't exist in our current churches.
I've mentioned how I enjoyed each church the Lord placed me in, but I could never go back to most of them. As my job took me from place to place, most of the new churches I settled in spoiled me for the earlier ones. I found new vistas in the Lord that didn't exist where I came from. Had I stayed I would have stopped growing, and that isn't God's will for anyone.
Of course it doesn't have to be this way. It's God's will for church bodies to continue to progress in the things of God too. If in the last few years there hasn't been any new vision, if the mission statement hasn't evolved, if the leaders haven't had significant personal spiritual growth, if the membership is the same or fewer, beware. Those are signs the church body has ceased to progress. Your people who are actively seeking the Lord, the ones you most want to keep, will start feeling a holy dissatisfaction with your church, and it'll only be a matter of time before God moves them on.
What's true for individuals and churches is also true of denominations. Fresh fire must be part of the overall movement, or entire churches will start leaving. In my city a United Methodist body of several hundred recently left that denomination. The pastor and most of the congregation now meet in rented space, leaving about 30 people rattling around in the old building.
There are right and wrong reasons to leave. Sure, we need to pray our churches and denominations get on the ball for God, but when they don't, there comes a time for the God Chasers to move on.
And now, at no extra charge, here's a plug for the greatest book I've read recently. Check out "The Costly Annointing" by Lori Wilke from Destiny Image, copywrite 1991. It's another one of those books that will give you fresh vision. Like "God Chasers" it'll give you a picture of cutting edge, Book of Acts Christianity. You'll want to be a part of it.
-- Anonymous, November 29, 2002
To my beloved A.M.E family I encourage you to go to God in prayer if you are thinking of leaving our great zion. There are forces that do not want our church to succeed and therefore we must go to God for discernment. When I pray to God about our denomination, I am told that God is going to use the A.M.E church in new and wonderous ways. Do not take my word for it, go to him in prayer and ask. Richard Allen had the opportunity to leave Methodism that day he was thrown out into the streets, but instead he said "no matter what you do to me I am Methodist!" He was obedient to the word of God. Believe me I Know how hard it is to stay put and wait on God when all around you is falling a part. I have been Methodist since I was 16 and now I am 50. I have had to deal with discrimination, sexism, sexual harrassment, and even death threats. But through it all God told me to wait on him. I came to Montana with my daughter and i did not know where Montana was to serve the Lord. I could have quit and gone to another denomination. But God said he needed me in Montana. To leave NYC was hard but itinerant ministry means moving. Scripture repeatedly tells us we will suffer and be attacked for following Christ but scripture also tells us to stay put and stand on our faith. Reading books is good, but the ONE BOOK THAT GIVES US ALL OF OUR ANSWERS TO LIFE IS A BOOK ABOUT GOD!! It is called the Bible. We as Christians are not "God Chasers" for God is with us at all times. We do not need to move from one church to another to seek him. He is with us wherever we are. Call his name and he will come. Several months ago we had three members leave, one was on the ministerial staff, they wanted to go to the church that had all the fancy bands and overhead projections. They did not want to do Bible studies they only wanted entertainment. I wished them well and thanked them for their help. Well I ran into one of them the other day and I could tell she was not doing well, I greeted her with love. I asked how things were going, she said she did not like her new church anymore and she was going to go to another one. She said she was sorry our church wasn't doing too well. I told her we are doing great, have new mission projects and will be planting a church in January! She shared with me she was looking for housing. I almost cried when I told her that Bishop Bryant had set aside monies in our district for first time home owners and that our church was working on an economic development plan. She was chasing God and he was right there in our church with her. My point is the road will become dark and we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but Ps. 23 says we are WALKING! We are getting through the trial with God's help, the psalm does not say "though I am stuck in the valley" God will always deliver us. One last thing I am also a therapist and when I have clients that are moving a lot or changing jobs, relationships my role is to help them understand it is not the job, or situation or the other person. It is them!! There is something from their past that they have not resolved and so they make what I call "the geographical cure" that is to go somewhere else, move on to someone else etc. But whereever they go they bring themselves with them. And so the cycle is repeated. If God tells you to leave the church then that is a different matter, but I think for most of us he is telling us to stay and build up his church. Let us as A.M.E's encourage one another and we must also be wary of others who tell us to leave. Rob (RP) for two years I have asked you to attend an A.M.E church so you could learn more about our denomination and receive a blessing. You have been a contributor for two years, have you had a chance to visit one of our churches. This board is open to anyone who wants to participate for that is how Rev. Fisher and the A.M.E church works we welcome everyone. I wish you well with all your books, and I wish you the peace of Christ as you move from one church to another. I wish you his peace as you made the decision to leave ordained ministry in your denomination, I wish you the peace of Christ as you write on this board. But let me tell you one thing, there is a big difference between United Methodists and A.M.E's (I have been both) A.M.E's don't quit!! We may complain and whine because we are human, but we will keep small churches open, Our Bishops make themselves available to clergy and laity and if slavery, racism, segregation, and all other things that are evil have not stopped us. Nothing will! So. A.M.E's let's get back on the mission field and get a few more spiritual callouses. God loves you!
-- Anonymous, November 29, 2002
I'm happy to say I'll likely be in this church for many years to come, and it could well be my last. I'm nearing retirement, and am finally ready to settle. One never knows where God may relocate us, but as far as I can tell, we're finished moving.
That isn't the only reason I think I've found my final church though. There's big vision here, and we're only getting started in seeing it accomplished. The leadership absolutely outstanding. I've never seen such unity on a board. They're also growing in God too.
We also see a number of people being groomed by the Lord for bigger things. Our people are starting to become workers, our workers are being moved into leadership, and our leaders are becoming leaders of leaders. God is readying us for harvest.
Example: I received some training in an intercessor's ministry which the Lord led me to establish in our church. The idea is to spread intercessors around the sanctuary during the service. My wife and I were initially the only participants, but we've now got a small group that joins us. Now the Lord is showing me people who will someday lead teams of intercessors I'll station around the sanctuary.
God is also sending people to us, and we're desperately seeking a larger facility as a result. There's expectancy and hunger, and a knowlege that this is not church as usual.
That's the kind of church I want to go to. It's growing along with me, and it's doubtful I'll outgrow it. The denomination is of secondary importance.
My pastor told me that when we first met I was an Assemblies of God company man, but I'd grown past that. It was one of the nicest things he could have said to me. Like him I hope I've become a Kingdom Christian, and I hesitate to even refer to myself by a denomination anymore.
Bottom line is we must obey God. If there's a church (AME or otherwise) that's prevailing against the gates of hell, I'd be the last person to want to leave. If it's slippling and sliding though I won't be happy. I'll ask God if He'd have me stay as part of the repair team, and if not, I'll move on with no regrets. My relationship with Him is of primary importance, and I want to see it grow at any cost.
-- Anonymous, November 30, 2002
I've read that "the race is not given to the swift or to the strong, but to the one who endureth until the end". I, too, Rev. Denise, am growing very weak about the condition of our Zion both locally and on a Connectional level as well. I also agree with the writer who asked does the Episcopacy care? Perhaps we have become too top heavy. It brings tears to my eyes to see some of the things which I see each Sunday. In answer to your original question, YES, Sister Denise, I have become fed up with the AME Church and am thinking of leaving? I see all of the positive, innovative things happening in other denominations (or non-denominations). It's hard to be still and wait.
-- Anonymous, November 30, 2002
Sis. Fulton thank you for your honesty. I want to explain why I put this post on the board. It was through prayer that the Holy Spirit asked me to put this post on the board. I ask all of you to go to God and pray and ask him what he wants you to do!! I really think you will be surprised at what he tells you to do. You and others have asked if the Episcopacy cares? The real question is "Does God care" and the answer is YES! We are to look toward God and expect our help from him and his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I am touched that you are responding to this post for it shows you have been thinking about this issue for awhile. Persevere my sister, press on. I am an insulin dependent Diabetic, I have had diabetes for 38 years. My body is racked with pain all the time from nerve damage, my major organs have been attacked. My doctor says "I do not know how you are alive let alone walking?" I tell him there are two things that keep me going. 1.) My love for God and 2.) I know there will be a cure for Diabetes! I ain't leaving till I see that cure;-) It is our faith that is the fuel that keeps our souls and bodies running. It is the assurance that God will work everything out. Sis. Fulton keep posting on the board. And write me privately, let's encourage one another!! I have been doing ministry for almost 20 years, I am 50. I cannot even begin ro tell you how many times I was told women should not be ordained, or the good ole boys tried to stop me from doing the Lord's work. I held on to what God told me to do. Some times we have to be a pit bull for Jesus and hold on to the hem of his robe and not let go!! Jesus the son of God was betrayed by Judas, Judas who was so dear to Christ, Judas who saw the miracles, Judas who felt the love of Christ betrayed him. Scripture repeatedly shows us that there are enemies of our Lord and Savior and we must not be discouraged by them. The apostles kept pressing on after the death of Judas, Jesus overcame death after the betrayal of Judas. And yes I know there are those that steal, lie, commit terrible sexual acts in our denomination. But they are part of Satan's army not God's. Even Paul the apostle speaks of these very types of people in the early churches he built. You wondered if the episcopacy cares. I really think they do. I have a great Bishop. Bishop Bryant and in the two years he has been in the fifth district, there has been incredible blessings, more women are being brought into conferences and given churches, he has started a program for home ownership etc. and I know other Bishops are doing like minded things. Here is some more good news; Bishop Richardson Jr. the head of the Bishop's Council addresses some of the issues you and other's are concerned about. He is saying the episcopacy DOES CARE! Go to the official web site of our denomination,
www.ame-church.com ONCE THERE CLICK ON NEWS AND EVENTS then once you are on the page click on Bishop Richardson. And read what he says, the Bishop Council wants to do something.
Email me privately and let's see what I can do to help as a pastor. God is so good and worthy to be praised.
-- Anonymous, December 01, 2002
To see Bishop's Richardson's statement, Click Here.
The Tenth District, McKinley Young (109), Prelate, has begun to take action on Item 2, Redistricing. This past conference series we conducted the seven conferences in five meetings, reflecting the consolidation and realignment that Bishop Young espouses. Bishop Young proposes to reduce his cabinet from 12 to 10 in the process, hopefully providing a modicum of financial relief to some financially strapped districts.
-- Anonymous, December 04, 2002
You Speak about waiting all the time how much longer we have to
wait? When Bishops allow one pastor to remain at a church for 20 years that church can't do anything but die.I'm knowledgeable of the church and a minister is appointed for only one year.Not for 20.
Unless the church is growing and making a contribution to the city were the church is located. I mean really doing somthing.
I'm very sorry to say this is not the case. You can't keep killing this congregation, befor to long there won't be anyone there. I have not been attending like I should have but one can only
take so much.It is very hard to go and sit and listen to minister who did not prepare him self and have to rely on the members to read all over the bible so he can prepare his self to PREACH. The Laity at our church is a joke. The few people who know the ame church are sit a side What I really mean we are warming a bench. Please pray for us that someday a bishop will come along a hear our cry, and feel our pain. There's only one thing they care about is $$$$. May God bless and keep you this is my Pray.
Mrs. Patricia Ann Washington Clark
-- Anonymous, January 27, 2003