Morris Brown Sunday....Will it be enough? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

The second Sunday in February has been slated as "Morris Brown Sunday." Every church within the connection has been asked to lift an offering on behalf of Morris Brown and its debt relief. That's good! However, will it be enough? This appears to be placing a bandaid over a gunshot wound (shotgun that is)! Real surgery is required! Our church has been raising money since the first of the year...and at the close of each Sunday persons ask "When will the madness end? Will we need to lift another offering for the other schools?" At least we are trying....but will it be enough?

-- Anonymous, January 26, 2003


When we go out to buy our fancy clothes and our luxury cars we may show slight hesitation to the price, but we give in to that price with little coaxing and with very little complaint, why? Because it is what we want. Should the price of the education of our young Black men, and for that matter our young Black women, have cause for hesitation or complaint? It is our responsibility, our duty, and our privilege, to do all that we can to ensure that the few Black Universities that are in existence, remain.

I believe a question should be asked of each of us and that question being; "Why did you allow your Black Universities to be in a position to be wounded (with a shotgun)? Yes, we want to put a bandage on the wound to make it appear to be better. Yes, we want to give a token to say we gave. Yes, we as a church want to say we participated in the lifting of the (our) much-wounded University. Yes, we are trying, but as you asked, will that be enough?

No, it is not enough. It is not enough to just put a bandage on a wound, there has to be a deep, penetrating healing to sufficiently restore life and that often may take many applications. For as often as you witness the life of Black child being born, is as often as you need to reapply the medication to the wound, lift another offering.

Regardless of denomination, a Black University is an honor and is worthy of maintenance no matter how great or small the price. Over all else, aren’t we talking about the education of our children and our children’s children, future representations of who we are? Howard Thurman wrote, and Martin Luther King Jr. let it ring across America that, “we should have a hunger deep within and that we can never be what we ought to be as long as our people are not what they ought to be. Only when our people become what they ought, will we become what we ought. Then and only then will our hunger have been met.” I have paraphrased the quote; nevertheless, what does that mean?

Rachel Gilbert

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2003

In short the answer is NO. We can't dine on caviar and champagne while paying for sardines, saltines and pop. Our present budget of approximately $12,000,000 is grossly inadequate for our needs. We need Ten times as much simply to maintain what we have. Until this changes occurs we will continue, "robbing Peter to pay Paul." We must address the way we manage our facilities as well; and we must presently work to save what we have. Time will not permit us to wait for the change.

The A.M.E. Church is not in this alone. Others also realize the impact that losing Morris Brown would have. Atlanta businessman, retired physician and Morehouse graduate, Dr. Clinton E. Warner, is making an appeal in the newspaper, "Atlanta Inquirer." He is asking the NAACP, social groups and fraternal clubs, The Methodist Church, local politicians, the UNCF and the public at large to assist in this appeal. Howard University is also making an appeal.

Howard University - Save Morris Brown

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2003

Yes it is not sufficient. This is a typical AME method of dealing with issues.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2003

Yes it is not sufficient. This is a typical AME method of dealing with issues. Instead of analising the detailed situation we AME's always want to raise money whenever we have financial problems.

We forget that the people giving this money are those that are already over strained. The people in the middle are the ministers at the charges who at times had to give answers to often difficult members and peculiar questions. I for one says, let there be a proper assesment of waht caused this unwanted situation. Let there be investigations; Let us draw up plans based on the experience and let us have experts going in to make the requisite projections of the financial position of the institution and what percentage of growth is expected in the future.

Also let those involved at the institution lift themselves from their comfortable chairs and start to launch income generating programs at the institution, for in my opinion they are the one's benefitting the most from the institution.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2003

I find it quite disturbing when I hear the phase the "A.M.E. Way" used as a put down, as though it were a negative or improper way. Since I am A.M.E., the A.M.E. way is my way. For the majority on this discussion board it is your way as well.

I do not take lightly to folk who put me down and I hope you too feel the same as I. So why do we engage in rhetoric of tearing ourselves apart? I chose freely and with out threat or gunpoint to become A.M.E. So, A.M.E. I am proud to be.

I also tire of hearing that we are overtaxed. If this is true, it is certainly not the A.M.E. Church General Budget that causes this to be. A review of the Discipline will give us a rude awakening that our total church budget is something less than $12, 000, 000 a year. Obviously Morris Brown or any of our other institutions could have used this amount alone. We may also safely assume that any five of our largest churches could consume this amount as well.

We can accurately count 2.5 million A.M.Es. $12,000,000 is less than $5.00 per member per year. If we simply increased it to $50 per member per year--a sum which equals only 96 cents per week--we would begin to have a real budget of $125,000,000 a year or half a billion dollars per quadrennial instead. Until we do as much we need to stop whining and complaining about what our church does or does not do or even, with the little we give what it can afford to do.

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2003

Robert: You appear quite confident that the current AME membership is 2.5 million. How long have we been using this figure? My concern is we as AMEs are falling into the same trap which ensnarled National Baptist USA concerning over-inflated membership numbers. Assuming this total is accurate (personally, I have my doubts) do you believe our records management database is capable of reaching this population? I have expressed before that our denomination would benefit by having a census coinciding with each General Conference. I of course support your recommendation and would personally be satisfied if we could get 1 million members to committ $100 annually for our Connectional budget. QED

-- Anonymous, February 01, 2003


The inflated figure that I usually find recorded in the majority of publications is 3.5 million. But I am almost certain that a hands on count would accurately produce 2.5 million full members--e.g. not preparatory or affiliate. I believe that Dr. McKinney, based on his management of our funds, also felt that 2.5 million was an accurate count.

The legislation, which I have written and submitted to the Lay, includes a mandate that the Local Steward Boards make and accurate count within 45 days of the close of the next General Conference; and that a new budget assessment be made within 90 days based on this count. I have also suggested that a penalty of suspension for tow years be imposed on any person who pads the accuracy of this count.

We simply must start some place and the change is needed now. We also have to stop talking about being over taxed. To my knowledge none of us, as individuals, pay and appreciable amount into the budget of our church. And this has contributed to the fate of our schools.

-- Anonymous, February 01, 2003

When I said typical AME way, I meant the way we as AME's deals with issues of significance. That was not meant to put it down, but rather to remind us of the sermon preached at the 2000 General Conference, under the theme awakened to serve Christ, Church and Community. The theme simply suggest that we have been asleep, and that it is high time to wake up and seek amicable solutions for our problems.

I am appreciative of the financial breakdown that you just gave and I agree fully with you. That is the type of solutions that I am referring to. Not these haphazard Sunday "bandage the wound" type of solutions. That is cheap is outdated and it is not working anymore. We as AME's are so tradition conscious that any one deviation already raise concern in your mind and have redlights flickering left, right and center. But I pass by to tell you that even Jesus broke traditions at the well of Samaria, and surely we can do that if it meant embetterment of our situation.

In my opinion, If AME Bishops were realy serious with that insitution, we would have received a better solution than a mere Sunday offering.

-- Anonymous, February 03, 2003

Amen Rev. Biwa. I am of the belief that a Sunday offering without an explanation of how Morris Brown College got into its current jam and even worse without an explanation of how our funding will allievate the current situation is the worst example of the AME way in action.

This crisis response mode is not edifying to the body of Christ. We must encourage our Bishops to do a better job of management. We try to elect intelligent capable individuals who have exhibited the ability to multi-task.

Let's see some of this with regard to Morris Brown College. I for one do not want to see this school fail. But at the same time I do not want to contribute to a pipe dream and not a plan.

We say give God the best that we have and the best will come back to you well give us some concrete information so we can use our creativity to find the funding the College needs.

Harold Gibson

-- Anonymous, February 03, 2003

The situation at Morris Brown College represents a classic dilemma for AME members. Many I talk to are willing to give contingent upon full disclosure about the causes of the crisis. Harold Gibson & Parson Biwa best articulate this line of thinking in their provocative posts. The leadership structure of the AME Church is fully aware that full disclosure will result in the possibility of certain ranking officials being implicated in the investigation which will certainly reduce the probability of members "cheerfully" giving. The rational response for the leadership then is to engage in obfuscation, delay and denial about full disclosure and restrict information. Unfortunately, the outcome of this game-model (See the movie A Brilliant Mind) is a solution in which giving will be far less than expectations and little to no chance of full disclosure. In the end it's a lose-lose outcome for MBC. QED

-- Anonymous, February 03, 2003

When I started college I knew I was going to be a minister and that I would need to get a degree in counseling before seminary. But I did not know what degree, psychology, sociology, etc. I spoke to several admission directors of seminaries and they suggested a social work degree. I am a social worker. As a social worker we provide concrete services to our clients. If they need food for their children we do not say "well let's look at why this happened and go over your budget for the last year" we provide food with the understanding that once we deal with the immediate crisis we can deal with other issues such as abuse, low self esteem, high school drop out. My hope with Morris Brown Sunday is that we will use a CHRISTIAN MODEL! We are not economists, we are a church who has a member of our family that is hurting. When Jesus is asked how many do we forgive we are told 70 x 7. Yes there were mistakes made. But I believe God is calling us as his children to help the least of thee, and we are talking about the students of Morris Brown. There is a new president and a new staff and they are working on the situation. We are christians we do not have to trust economic models or other earthly things. All we have to do is pray and go to God he will reveal his will. If anyone has any doubts about supporting Morris Brown. Ask the one who knows all and that is God. I have prayed about Morris Brown and as a pastor I am told to help and I have asked my poor congregation to give up something this week, soda, movies etc. to give to Morris Brown. Do not judge Morris Brown by worldly standards but let God judge tham and help them for we are helping ourselves. Please show the face of Christ and have compassion and support OUR SCHOOL.

-- Anonymous, February 03, 2003

Sister Dearest:

Why the "hating" on economic models? My formal training and expereince demands that I approach all topics the same - careful explanation combined with plausible predictions. Yes, I'm a product of my particular training but I'm also influenced by the likes of Woody Allen, Stanley Crouch, Samuel Dewitt Proctor and Richard Pryor. Yes, I am Christian. Yes, I am AME. Yes, I am a proponent of HBCUs. Bro. Gibson & Parson Biwa merely echo the concerns routinely expressed by AME members who I interact with on a regular basis. The simple game-theory model I sketch above is nothing more than an illustration of what happens when you have transparent incentives leading to a quarantining on information and a reluctance to give. Surely, a Princeton alum and protegee' of Cornel West like yourself can appreciate this mental exercise :-) QED

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2003

Bro. Bill I love you dearly and you know that. Hate is not apart of my vocabulary. Besides if I were upset with you I would have sent your beautiful Jenny a catalog of sapphires (which is her favorite stone).

Bill I have nothing against economics for economics is in the Bible. But we must be careful and not just lift up earthly models for God controls this world and he still performs miracles. How many of us on this board have had people write us off and then God comes to our rescue. We have to pray and seek God in all earthly situations. You are an economist. I am a Pastor my worldview is always seen through that perspective. Morris Brown is having a hard time and the students are scared yet they keep praying. I just want us to think about the students. And if we have any doubts about the strategic plans of Morris Brown to contact the university. And yes I am an alum of Princeton Seminary and I am proud of my edcation. But my education has one purpose that is to glorify God and his son. I will be judged by my actions on behalf of Christ and not Ivy League Credentials. I am first and formost a rural pastor it is my joy. I am also your biological sister Brother Bill and if I offended you in any way please accept my sincere apologies. Oh, if you get any bright ideas about throwing me out of the family, I am cutting off your food supply ;-) I love ya, Bill. You rock! P.S I am not a protege of Cornel West my specialty is Patristics and I am an egyptologist. His specialty is Public Theology.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2003

There is still hope! My congregation responded in such a positive manner to the appeal concerning MBC! While there is still much to do, let us use this positive energy to address, correct and rebuild what our forebearers left in our care.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2003

The crux of the matter is not whether we are willing or not to contribute in order to help MBC to rise from its current predicament. The issue that we are addressing is that the way we are dealing with this issue is not biblical. Jesus also in the gospels explain and give the procedure for forgiveness. Jesus just don't forgive for the sake of forgiveness, however the one in default first has to confess the wrong made, in detail. Then rest the onus on the other party to forgive and forget.

The unfortunate thing in this reagrd is that this procedure has not been followed, instead we are rushing for an instant solution, but I can guarantee you that time will come that this packed wound will burst and the dirt will come out and we will have too many issues to hot to handle. Common knowledge teaches us that for a wound to heal fast you need to clean it first before you put on balm and bandage.

I am just amazed to hear and sense that something big is wrong at the institution. Looks like a I scratch your back you scratch my back scenario. But in all we must know that God is sitting high and looking lowly, seeing what we are doing with His Zion. I am a very proud AME but equally so, one gets ashamed when thing like these happen with our reputable institutions.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2003

Sorry to come in so late to the debate!

If we add up the accumulated potential debt of Morris Brown, Wilberforce alone the figure could near $30 million. I agree with most sentiments on the issue. My concern is with the solution. Our denomination does not trust its officers, Bishops, Pastors, and Presiding Elders. To raise funds from a membership system can work well providing it is handled and audited by independant external sources. Sadly I believe this is the only way members will respond significantly.

As many of you well know I have posted for over a year on ideas and concerns of raising funds and the issues of financial leadership within our Church. My many travels throughout our Church shows there are many who agree with me but none seem to want to commit themselves to this purpose.

I pray we will find a way to establish a vehicle that will endear the trust of our members to support and that we will use it in accordance with the objectives of better managing our affairs.

We have a debt growing past our ability to repay. I pray we move soon. Now is getting a bit late to do nothing. I pray God's blessings upon you all.

Take Care

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2003

I totaly agree with my Bro. Nalton Brangman!!!

-- Anonymous, February 10, 2003

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