Bishops

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Since Rev. Frank Madison Reid, III has thrown his name into running for Bishop -- do we now see some true front runners? If Rev. Reid is elected (most likely) how will effect Bethel Baltimore or will it -- have we entered into a new twist in the AME Church -- "Local Bishops?"

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

Answers

Bethel, Baltimore has a long history of producing Bishops in our Church. So, I suspect that the election of one more of its pastors will have little or no impact at all in the continuing life of that church, because of the impact this church has made on the history of the A.M.E. Church.

Its first pastor, Daniel Coker, was elected Bishop at the same time as Richard Allen, but resigned in favor of Allen and was never consecrated to the office of the bishopric and thus never servewd in that capacity.

Among the many pastors of Bethel who were consecrated bishop was Bishop Edward Waters, who relinquished his duties as Bishop and returned to pastor Bethel Church; Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, the first President and founding father of Wilberforce; Bishop Benjamin Tanner, the father of the world renown artist, Henry Tanner; Bishop Levi Coppin, the husband of the famous educator, Fanny Coppin; Bishop William Sampson Brooks; Bishop Harrison J. Bryant, the father of Bishop John R. Bryant who was also pastor of Bethel as well; and Bishop Frank Madison Reid II, the father of Reverend Frank Madison Reid III. Perhaps I have even missed a few names in this long and fruitful list.

As you can see from the list above, if Reverend Reid is elect Bishop, Bethel and we will witness history being made again. Both his father and grandfather were Bishops in our church. The only time this was repeated was with the election and consecration of Bishop John R. Bryant who presently serves as Bishop in our Church.

Thus, if Reverend Reid is elected he will become the first Bishop whose father and grandfather were Bishops as well. In addition to this he even bears their name, and he will continue the long history of Bishops elected from Bethel A.M.E. Church.

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003


Robert, that was an excellent summary of Bethel Baltimore. You called out seven of the fifteen pastors who have been consecrated bishop and have served Bethel. James A. Handy is another on the list. I believe Bishop Wayman was also from Maryland, and may have pastored Bethel. Don't recall the rest right now.

Bethel's hitory may be found at http://www.bethel1.org/ history.htm.

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003


F.M. Reid III is a competent and formidable candidate for the Bishoprick in 2004. His ministry and pedigree speake volumnes. I would like to see is an opportunity for ALL members of the AMEC, not just the elected delegates, know what each candidate stands for and represents. Currently, campaigns for Bishop are tantamount to 'beauty contests', devoid of the candidate engaging in meaningful dialouge with constituents about theology, economics and science. A Candidate's Forum, with a live webcast for those not attending, would be invaluable to help everyone know the candidate BEFORE the vote takes place. A forum of this type would satisfy two desirable objectives: 1. People become familiar with the issues and visions for each candidate thru Q&A. 2. Candidates have a chance to distance and distinguish themselves from their rivals. We need a frank and honest debate about our future as a church and how we intend to get there. I would recommend that PBS correspondent Gwen Ifill, twin sister of an AME Presiding Elder in GA, serve as moderator. My second choice would be Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree. If neither of the above are available, I would humbly advance the name of an iconoclastic thinker who resides somewhere between Pensacola, FL and Jacksonville, FL :-) QED

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

WEll, I s'pose it's appropriate to say that anything (almost) can happen at GenCon. In 2000, we were expecting to elect two, but ended up electing four (4). In 2004, we're expecting to elect seven as nine bishops are scheduled to retire...but will we elect seven? Or will the powers that be exercise some sense adn take advantage of this opportunity to do some streamlining and/or realignment of the districts.

Two scenarios that I have heard have us either combining some of the smaller districts, thus reducing the total from 19 to an unspecified (so far as I know) smaller number OR keeping 19 districts, but assigning some bishops to administrate more than one district.

The latter scenario would be less disruptive to the structures that already in place for district offices in organizations such as the Lay and the WMS. It also keeps the geographic boundaries as they are, thereby not increasing travel within a district, while increasing travel primarily only for the bishops and episcopal supervisors serving multiple districts.

Something to think about.

[From a practical point of view, without some change, we will have to support 20 bishops at full salary (incl. the ecumenical officer who also serves as a "spare") and 7 newly retired bishops at half-salary.

Perhaps some additional offices and publications can be rolled into one, also.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003


One of the things I wanted to do when I started tracking the candidates on the web at Candidates' List was to have a column with a summary of their position or platform. What other information would be useful in providing a comparative look at the vast field?

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003


I say elect none and downsize the districts to fit the bench.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003

RE: L.W. Clark's response, there is no plan to fill the Ecumenical position at the next General Conference. That position is to rotate among the 19 active bishops.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003

I have two observations to make. One is directed at the original question. IF and when Rev. Reid is elected onto the Episcopacy there is no void left at Bethel, because he was appointed annually to that church and we will have just another seasoned elder appointed there. The danger is that when we pastor one particular church for a long period, familiarisation is the order of the day and pastors 'own' churches and churches 'own' pastors. It is my understanding that a pastor is left with a particular assignment as long as it benefits the bigger picture, but the contrary also happens. In a nutshell, Bethel baltimore has nothing to worry about, because I believe that by the capacity of programs it has, it also has the fulltime and parttime employees to further the Ministry. Number two on the number of bishops. In Africa we have big problems. On the one hand our national geographical areas are very vast and when you combine a number of annual conference across national borders you have a major problem. With the current arrangement it is very difficult for bishops to effectively administer their districts. But the costs is another problem: our currencies are very weak against the US Dollar and British Pound, and what may be acceptable to an African leader mau not necessarily be acceptable to an American leader mainly because of the difference in cost of living of our different continents. And it is no secret that we have so many candidates quadrennially taking a chance simply beause of the financial remuneration. In conclusion, the overall exercise should not start and finish with the downsizing of Episcopal Districts, but the system, values, relations and many aspects of our AME Connection stands in need of a complete overhaul. If only bishops would be more honourable, more dignified, more humble, more respectful towards our African way of life ... But today, it is my personal experience that the cultural gap between the USA and Africa will not be easily narrowed. In 12 months time, God willing, many African AME would arrive in the USA for the General Conference, and we will be entertained left, right and centre by many candidates, almost being carried around on the silver plates, simply because our minority votes matter to swing around the pattern. But the moment a person is elected, we loose all our dignity in the eyes of the person elected. Once the bishop has arrived he / she comes with predetermined agenda and mindset - and after so many decades bishops simply fail to understand why people do not support their programmes after the first year. It is simply because they loose respectability in our eyes. In the full view of the Conference floors, we hear and see how these American bishops addressed our elders without respect and dignity, as if they are ordering small boys. Where is't going to end? When we treat each other as equal human beings.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

You know Rev. Hanse, your entry has weighed very heavy on my heart. It saddens me to know that the American bishops address your elders without respect and dignity. That should never happen. I know it is not pleasing in God's eyes.

The sad point is the same thing happens in the United States. Sometimes, some (and remember I said some) of the bishops act like the hypocritical Pharisees and Saducees mentioned in the bible. Some are so pompous and arrogant that itís hard for me to look at them for fear my face should reveal my sad (and sometimes disrespectful) thoughts about them. What makes matters even worse, is to see some pastors bow so low and "kiss up" to these men so that they can get a better church, or remain where they are. The introduction of a bishop at a worship service can take so long that often time people fall asleep. I have often wondered if they know and understand how many in the congregation look upon these acts.

It is also good to know that all bishops and pastors don't act this way and have more of the good shepherd attitude. I know there are some good people on the way. Let's keep praying for strength, that God will lead us to a more excellent way. Let's pray for strength to fight the good fight! God bless you Rev. Hanse.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003


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