Africa Jurisdiction : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I was recently, I guess the best word is disturbed when I logged on to a South African A.M.E site and found that many of our brothers and sisters in Africa feel that we as American AME's have an imperalist and opressive attitude towards them. They feel that we are purposely resisting and actively preventing them from establishing indigenous leadership.

Are we? Can anyone give me any insight?

I have included the address of the Bill that will be presented by the people of Africa in 2004.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2003


Parson Colvin: The African Jurisdiction Council has put forth an important platform for the AMEC. My interpretation of the AJC platform is rather simple - Respect, Realignment and Redistribution of Power. No sincere Christian can disagree with these three basic points. I believe indigenous Africans criticize mainland AME attitudes as neo- colonial (imperialist) due largely to the way WE disrespected Bishop Senatle when he was on the Bench. It was recently brought to my attention that during Senatle's tenure as Bishop he never presided over a mainland AME District. He only presided over the overseas Districts. If this was indeed true this decision to deny Senatle an opportunity to preside in the US was degrading, unprofessional and unChristian. He was treated only as a token and not as an equal. This is fundamentally disrespectful and disgraceful. We do not need this form of perverse "Affirmative Action" on the Bench. Since "African" is a part of our name it clearly behooves us to be sensitive to the AJC's reform platform. While I do not necessarily think the demands for 4 indigenous Bishops will be met in Gen Con 2004 (I favor 2 indigenous Bishops & 1 General Officer headquarterd in SA), the redistricting proposals within the 17th & 18th Districts should be adopted immediately. Finally, redistribution of wealth is a paramount issue. Many of our AME churches in Africa are unable to meet their Connectional obligations due to poverty, drought, war and famine. Many of our African AME clergy are woefully underpaid and under supported. This must change!! When I look at how much money we mainland AME churches waste through our profligate lifestyles and simultaneously witness the bleak economic realities for many poor and starving children abroad, it simply sickens me about our twisted priorities. We are planning lavish programs to celebrate the Episcopal service of a retiring Bishop in my District yet the needs of our African brethern and even many of our rural US churches go unmet. I will state without equivocation that this form of pious celebrations resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in expenses is not what Richard Allen had in mind when he founded this great Zion. The Church School lesson from Haggai last week should be taught and re-taught throughout this Summer about the importance of focusing on the right set of priorities. QED

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2003

I must say Dr. Dickens you have blown me away with information that I did not have. I and my husband CHOOSE this great AMEC about 4 years ago & I wonder how many of our long/life-time AMEC members are ignorant of or have simply disregarded this issue as unimportant. For all our AMEC members who have access to this site, let us not be as the oppressors have been to us! This type of illicit behavior further widens the gap between Africans and African Americans. Not only is the gap widened, but we are also accountable to Almighty God for the deeds or misdeeds we do on this earth. This most certainly appears to be a misdeed. (which is an understatement)Dr.Dickens, what can we do in the states to address this issue(s)?

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2003

Let's face it. We, the AMEC is the last great colonial power. Britian, France, Spain and all the nations of Europe have released thier hold on the colonies but we maintain our colonies. In time, due to the abundance of natural resources, our African churches will become more affluent than our American churches thereby becoming the ruling power. Needless to say it will be payback time. I use the term "American" rather than "mainland" because that in itself seems a bit colonial.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2003

Parson Colvin -

Just call me Bill or "Shaft" :-) We can only correct the issues in your topic when African American AMEs acknowledge we are guilty of exploitation in our interpersonal relations with African AMEs. Denial will only exacerbate the degree of estrangement between African AMEs and AA AMEs. Denial will only delay meaningful restoration. Denial will only accelerate discord.

The AMEC needs to adopt something along the lines of South Africa's recent Truth & Reconciliation Committee. That committee recognized that in order for the country to move forward it was necessary to acknowledge historic injustices. We need to first confess our past transgressions before God and the AMEC about this issue. Next the Bishops Council should issue a public apology about the fundamental mistreatment of Bishop Senatle during his tenure. Finally, we as American (Paris is correct about this term) AMEs should adopt an AME Church in Africa. As Superintendent of the Church School at Bethel AME I made this a priority item in our foreign mission activity. We have resources and WE MUST SHARE!! This mandate comes from the Bible.

The witty and wise Texan, Parson Paris, is correct - The AMEC is one of the last remining colonial powers. We as AMEs are fond of criticizing Republicans and conservatives as exploiters and mean- spirited folks yet our actions directed at African AMEs reeks of discrimination, exploitation and condescending and patronizing speech. If a white church was behaving this way towards our African brethren we would all be deaf from the clarion calls by Revs. Sharpton, Jackson,, to take "creative action against the oppressors". Black on black exploitation......., well that's another chapter in legitimized double-standards. The pot can't call the kettle black. QED

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2003

I am moved to do something about this! Pray for me.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2003

I am moved to do something about this! Please pray for me.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2003

Rev Nicole Colvin

I am from the 17th here in Zamnia, Africa adding value to your item dealing with the AJC.In your e-mail you stated that we ( Africans) feel that you ( African- Americans ) are purposely resisting and actively preventing us from establishing indigenous leadership.

It is saddening if that is the impression which Rev Clive Pillay's website has created. I feel that at the moment, we here in overseas districtc have no excuse for failing to take advantage of the enabling environment that the year 2000, 46th session of the General conference held in Cincinati Ohio created for us.What i know is that there is no back peddling in the matter of us getting indigenous leadership and i have every reason to beleive that at the close of business of the 47th General conference sesion ALL overseas districts ( districts 14,15,16,17,18 & 19 ) will have indigenous Presiding Bishiops.I hope you all agree with me that ALL overseas districts will have indigenous leadership.

Let me make a comment on the AJC and the problems it has created in my country right now.It has been widely percieved by most of us that the AJC was to take the firmat of constituent assembly where all the members of the AME Church right from the local church were going to have some input in rasing some resolutions on the whole process of indigenisation of Episcopal Office.

What has happened is that the few privileged persons who have seats on the AJC and aspiring for Episcopal office went ahead and submitted discriminatory and biased clauses which are barring indigenous AMES who are currently in the US from coming home to contest as candidates from there home districts. This has angered the whole 17th except for the supporters of these few privileged AJC officials.

There is also no meaningful justification for redistricting the 17th.Beleive you me, there is no AME Church in Congo Brazaville, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.Non of the Bishops assigned to the 17th has ever been there to verify the correctness of the hear say that the AME Church does exist there.So if the redistricting of the 17th goes ahead the AME Church will end up having "ghost" districts.The only countries where the current Bishop Preston Warren Williams has been are Congo Dr and Tanzania where the church is not firmed up yet.Take it from me when we talk about the 17th, we only refer to three counties proper.These are Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi period.Zimbabwe cannot be paired with Malawi because of the Geographical situation.It will mean that Zimbabweans and Malawian's will have to pass through Zambia whenever they have there joint convocations which to me does not make any sense.It is unfortunate that the AJC has gone ahead to adopt this unsound motion without due consideration to the Geography.Malawi and Zimbabwe and not neibouring countries. Zambia is in between Malawi and Zimbabwe, understand what i am saying?

Tell me something is it in order for a campaign Manager and her candidate to seat on the AJC board.Don't you see a situation where the two will push for proposals that are tailor made to suit their team? This is what is happening with the AJC matter.The well intended motion has been contaminated with personal interests rather than church interests.In my opinion a candidate and her campaign manager are supposed to declare interest and leave the AJC seats to non commital persons.What do you think?

God bless you

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2003


Help, I am seeking to understand this more! It appears that Rev.Royd Mwandu has put another spin on this most pressing issue.

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2003

Hi Rev. Nicole I am an African. Firstly, I want to say that yes I believe that we should be acknowledged and many things said is true but not all. The "draft Legislation" is a one sided opinion. In south Africa that is a new democracy. Participation, consultation is extremely important. This has not taked place. The people have not spoken .Few individuals who have a self interest writes these kind of legislation. Yes, we need to change, but it has to be done strategically and well planned. It is easy to sit and write legislation without taking into consideration the majority and researching what whould really benefit the church in the long term. All this shout is good but i support a 8 year development period where specific outcomes are identified. We have to look at what the political as well aseconomic climate is and draft a plan for Africa to thrive and grow when the AJC is implemented. We are busy discussing the Development of Africa and I want to say that it is true that Pastors are suffering because of economics .Congregations are in poverty. I believe that the progress of the AME Church in Africa is more about persons but should focus on programs to uplift the people.

Also a Bill that you are referring to is not the official response of the church in Africa,especiallu not in CApe Town ,South Africa. We want people from Africa to participate on all levels of the church yes , not bounded to the continent, Bishops elected to serve in Africa only. I hope more discussion will take place.


-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

Rev. Colvin -

Rev. Mwandu & Rev. Higgins make a compelling counter-argument. Debate is always good because it can aid in the discovery of truth. The dissenting opinions provided by our respected African AME clergy illustrates that the old proverb is still true, "there are two sides to every issue".

I don't think neither Parsons Mwandu or Higgins would disagree with my interpretation of respect, redistribution and realignment as the three cornerstones of the AJC platform. Differences may arise as to how best to achieve these goals. Let's continue to move forward. QED

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

Thank you for a very stimulating debate. I think I have learned a great deal and have more to learn. From this debate I must return to my initial thought when it come to my brothers and sisters in Africa. The most pressing issue is need. Need for resources and the African American has resources. Not just for the church, but the people from whom I descend needs me! This is the focus. I have returned as a result of this debate to reality the core of the AME church. We must love one for another. Love is an ACTION word.

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

Rev. Colvin,

After a while not participating in the Forum, I was excited by the topic you have raised. I trust that al my Christian friends, brothers and sister are still finding strength and health in the Lord.

First of all, let us talk facts. I am very suspicious of the intentions of the website that you refer us to. I say so because what is purported to be the bill of the AJA is rather the initial document that emerged from the 1996 Pan-African African Methodist Episcopal Church Summit, in Johannesburg. It is not the AJC bill that finally emerged as the 1999 draft bill from the Summit that was held in Mafeking and was presented to the Revisions Committee of the 46th Session of the General Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio (2000), therafter passed to what we have in the current edition of the Book of Discipline .

Underline this difference: What appears there is the "Africa Jurisdictional Authority" and what is in the 2000 edition of the Book of Doctrine and Discipline is the "Africa Jurisdictional Council."

The dates provided in the website are not factual also.

I have been informed that after the General Board, currently in session, there will be a Convo at which a day thereof will be dedicated for briefings on the developments of AJC. The draft bill for the 2004 will be presented over there also and it is not at all AJC, nor AJA. In addition, as part of sharing with the connectional church, I trust that the initial feelings about the reconfiguration of the episcopal districts will also be shared (no conclusions yet on all this matters).

I need to say that in 1996, in Johannesburg, the first time I ever witnessed districts on the continent meeting over church matters, there was anger, frustration and one also heard cessationist voices. It helped indeed for people to vent out their displeasure but I also witnessed members of the church gradually moving from extremes and radical positions which brought about AJC in 2000. To define the outcome of the process that began from 1996, culminating in 1999, one would best define it as a "consensus" reached.

Rev. Mwandu raises difficult issues pertaining to the developments around AJC. Surely, it was never going to be the manner in which he perceives the process would be undertaken because the AJC legislation was clear that there would be an Executive Committee (not all but few) and a Council of representatives from all annual conferences in all episcopal districts. However, that was not meant to exclude but it was only a reasonable way to manage the process.

I agree with him when it comes to what we often call "grassroots members" not participating in the AJC processes because of the lack of accountability from those delegated to represent members of the conferences. They should not be excused for that. It is unacceptable that people would claim to represent others when they do not account to them for what they represent them for. It is absolutely unacceptable that this process has been left to a few to drive at the expense of the rest.

Let me say, according to legislation, the next and final seating of the Council meeting of AJC will be in December 2003 or early January 2004. Preceding the Council meeting will be the last Executive Committee towards the end of August 2003 (in Lusaka but I heard that it is no longer so). These two meetings should finally propose how African AMEs would like the connection to have matters affecting the continent be dealt with permanently.

My counsel to my sisters and brothers on the continent is never to agree to have Annual Conferences be "business as usual" without the discussions about what will be issues at the Council meeting. Where there is discontent about related matters such should be ironed out immediately.

Indeed, like any other new process with its objectives, AJC may have failed in some respects. As for me, I think that AJC was a useful vehicle in that it provided us an opportunity to discuss some of the pertinent issues affecting the church on the continent. As an example, in the past, delegates only came to know about redistricting when they reached the general conference. No time, if any, was given for them to discuss how they would like to have them configured. Yet, we have an opportunity now to discuss these matters before they hit us in the face and find us unprepared to deal with them.

Finally, we are proud of being organs of this body, AME Church. Hence, we only seek to fully participate in it and to take responsibilities in and for it. Certainly, we are not looking at our sisters and brothers across the Atlantic seas as enemies. What we do not want is to be judged on the conditions we live in but on the character in us. We too are able to lead, not just ourselves but anyone else. We too have best qualified leaders to can serve in all capacities in the church. Where the church is today has not come from uninspired leaders, and it is not because others did make us. It is simply because the same God professed in elsewhere his also professed on this continent and has among us some who have been anointed to be leaders.

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

Rev. Klaas,

Thank you for sharing a summarized account of the history of the AJC in dealing with this matter of indigenous Episcopacy as well as indiginous leadership in other areas. You have most definitely enlightened me and have confirmed the fire I have to reach beyond myself and become more educated in all areas of our great Zion. I refuse to be ignorant and complacent when it comes to my people.

I have heard a resounding voice of concern for self-determination from you and other South African brothers and sisters. What I mean by this is that I hear you saying that while it is a definite issue that the AJC should not be treated as "junior" members by Americans; responsibility must be taken on the part of the AJC to have open, honest, forums as well as leadership who will display integrity in pushing the AJC issues. This is extremely important.

I would also like to share this with all of my brothers and sisters in the AJC. Many of the congregations here in the United States, lay persons and some clergy just don't know what's going on. These items such as indigenous leadership or Economical climates are not major topics or action items during conferences and coventions and they should be. The need there in South Africa is great, however there is no real communication on how to help, therefore, I will not wait for those who have traveled to my motherland to tell me the need. I need presiding elders, pastors, lay... to communicate how we can PARTNER with our churches in the AJC. Presiding Elder Tzmane has connected with my home church St. Paul in Cleveland Ohio, Rev. Gena Thornton is the Pastor. I came out of that church before my husband & I began Pastoring. He was able to take aide with him and has be consistently in touch as St. Paul has begun to sponsor his churches.

We need better communication to know what we can do.

May God richly bless all of you, We will be Strengthened! Together we will succeed!

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

Dear Reverend,

Thank you so much for yours. Among the list of persons copied in this email are leaders of church organisations as well as Pastors of Churches in the 15th, 17th and 19th Episcopal District. They heard you very well and I hope they will seize the opportunity to connect in that endeavour.

Certainly, there is a need to ensure that clear and free flowing strategy of communication is developed, especially in regard to the developments around AJC. Both for the current process and the process beyond the AJC (after 2004) a communication facility would be needed. The problem of communications does not only affect you across the seas but also us here on the continent. At the moment as you may see in the connectional budget, no allocation has been made for the AJC. That means whatever has been done has been done through direct funding by Episcopal Districts on the African Continent and contributions raised by Bishops in the US-based Districts.

I believe that it may work out to support the communication infrastructure for the AJC and any process beyond. This for me would entail among others a (hardcopy) newsletter and a website. Bishop Richardson, as chairperson, was requested by the Executive Committee of AJC to facilitate a newsletter that would communicate the developments in the AJC. I suppose that opening communication with him in this regard would be useful. His email address is

In the meantime, God bless.

Kind regards.

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

Praise the Lord everybody! I am so lifted up to see how well this topic raised by Rev Nicole Colvin on June 21,2003 is unfolding and am so impressed with the growing tally of participation.

Yes,there is an urgent need for us to handle this transition and the indigenisation of leadership in overseas district with care.You may wish to know that most the membership of the AME Church at large,Presiding Elders, and clergy in Zambia up to now do not know anything about the AJC.While a lot of mileage has been covered all of what the Zambia repreentatives on the AJC discussed and presented has no blessings of the PEOPLE and this is my greatest worry.We have not been consulted and someone wants to manipulate us through redistricting inorder to reduce competition on candidates running for episcopal office.While we the people of God can be manipulated, God will not be manipulated.There are also plans for AJC Board members to come up with sole candidates in each Episcopal District.What does the law of the church say? May i at this point in time appeal to serving Bishops in overseas district to take keen interest and meet the ordinary members of the church to get aquainted with peoples sentiments.What the people who move the corridors of power and share the same platform with the Bishops purport to speak on behalf of the people is 99% not coming from the so called people.

Those on this discussion forum who may wish t receive a speech that i presented when i addressed 110 people on the Copperbelt who are not happy with the way Zambian representatives have handled the AJC can ask me for one.We are sitting on a time bomb and we better diffuse it now.Lets talk about this matter more and more.God bless you

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

Rev. Mwandu, please, enlist me among persons requesting your speech to people at the Copperbelt.

What must be stated unashamedly is that there are problems in Zambia, and we have come to learn about the problems when we were in Harare, Zimbabwe. This is besides the radical articulation made by the delegation from Zambia at the Summit of 1996.

I am raising this, not as a disinterested person about the situation there but because something has to be done and the members of the Annual Conferences in Zambia have to play their role.

Rev. Mwandu, if it is true that the Bishop of the 17th Episcopal District is not welcomed there, and that even courts have decided against him presiding over Annual Conferences in Zambia, how is it possible that he could speak to ordinary people of Zambia? Please, do understand, this is not meant to demean your contribution but I think that some declaration of what is going on in Zambia has to be laid bare to all people to engage with you on an informed basis.

That there are decisions from the AJC about how elections have to be undertaken, especially on primary elections for Bishops and the redistricting, there is no decision I know about and I will not support that kind of decision. In fact, the delegation of the 19th District objected to primary elections in Gaborone and subsequent meetings. The issue of redistricting is a subject of discussion until the Council meeting late in December or early January 2004. In fact, it is the first time that there has ever been an open moment of discussion about this in Africa. All the redistricting processes that ever happened before were never done in consultation, debated and discussed by the people. After all, there was a proposed legislation at the past General Conference which was aborted precisely because it failed the element of consultation and we were suprised to learn about it only when we were at the General Conference, in Cincinnati.

In meantime, God bless.

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2003

I wish to acknwoledge with thanks,receipt of open requests from mebers of this forum who wish to have a copy of my Speech to the members of our great church who gathered at MUZ conference hall on 21/06/2003 where an expression of the AJC was strongly made.You will have it before Friday. God bless

-- Anonymous, July 01, 2003

I hope to meet all of you My bro. & Sisters from the African Jurisdiction who plan to attend the General Conference. My church is already gathering a committee to see how we connect with the churches there!

Rev. Nicole

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2003

Look out for me Rev Nicole Colvin at the forth coming General Conference. I am fundraising for my air ticket right now and have so far managed to cross "many rivers". If i do not raise enough money for the round trip, i will start walking to Indianapolis three months earlier. I will also walk across the ocean God beeing my helper.I will be so happy to meet all of you my brothers and sisters in person after all of this online interaction.What a day of rejoicing that will be when all meet together in the State of Indiana. Pray for me as i am also praying for you.

-- Anonymous, July 04, 2003

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