Will there ever be a General Conference in...???

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Has there ever been a General Conference, in the history of African Methodism, anywhere other than the USA? If so, where? Will there ever be a General Conference held on the continent of Africa? If so, when?

Thanks, Sis. Augusta Jackson

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2003


It wil be held in Indianapolis, Indiana July 2004.

-- Anonymous, October 20, 2003

AJ -

The short answer - No. The politics and money associated with hosting a General Conference preclude it being held anyhwhere except the US. This is the reality. Even if we all had the right technology for video conferencing (which renders location moot) it would still be unlikely that a future General Conference would have an African venue. QED

-- Anonymous, October 20, 2003

Can someone explain this to me, If developing countries like the Republic of South Africa can host some of the major World Conventions, what is it that can make it not possible to host the General Conference. If there is no hope that General Conference can one quadrennium be held in Africa, then honestly, AME is an American Church and not Connectional Church.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

I do believe the general conference will be hosted on the continent of Africa. And it is we can get group rates from the airlines to fly from certain destinations in America. I am excited! Delegates in Africa make a tremendous sacrifice to fly to the US and somehow they figure out a way to do it. We certainly can do the same.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

I would like Bill Dickens to decode his language. What politics are involved here? I appreciate the money matters for now, considering the numbers of the delegates who would be expected to travel. Are politics totally discounting Africa?

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Of course not, It's to expensive to take the wheeling and dealings to another country.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Parson Klaas asks -

"I would like Bill Dickens to decode his language. What politics are involved here? I appreciate the money matters for now, considering the numbers of the delegates who would be expected to travel. Are politics totally discounting Africa?"

Thanks for raising this important issue. The politics which I refer to is nothing more than the preferences articulated by a silent but influential majority of AME members. The simple truth is that American AME churches significantly subsidize our African delegation so that many can attend the Gen Con in the US. American delegates appear to prefer mainland destinations in the US. It is highly unlikely that a similar subsidy could be extended to an American delegation if the Gen Con was held in Jo-berg, Cape Town, or Pretoria. These are great cities but please do not hold your breath in hopes of this tradition being changed. Now understand, I believe that globalizing the Gen Con is a good thing. However, I know that the influence of "1st Churches" renders such an idea DOA (dead on arrival). QED

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Allow me to shed some light on what Bill has said. All Conferences in our Church, including the General Conference are by invitation of the host district. Along with this goes the supposition that some things will be provided by that District. Among these are adequate housing, venues, transportation and accessibility to a major airport.

Additionally, the General Church Budget and Episcopal Districts must subsidize transportation and sustentation of the Bishops, General Officers and Delegates who attend. The greatest number these persons come from the thirteen (13) Episcopal Districts within the Continental USA. With this in mind, our present Budget of less than Twelve Million Dollars ($12,000,000) Dollars a year simply will not support a General Conference outside the USA, from which a much smaller number of persons come. It is easier and considerably cheaper to fly and sustain persons from the remaining six (6) Districts to the USA, than to send those from the thirteen (13) US Districts to nations abroad. When we add to the need and cost of acquiring immunizations, passports and visas the problem is confounded and gets really involved.

The General Conference is legislative and gives representation to all. If we think of it this way we would not wish in any way to jeopardize it, just so it could be held in our hometown or Episcopal District. We would not think of flying our representatives from the District of Columbia to Honolulu. We may even be horrified and outraged by the cost of it.

The General Conference is also a summer event. There is also an economic reason for this. It cuts expense in clothing and other necessary biological needs. Should it be decided to hold the General in Cape Town or Johannesburg, in the Southern Hemisphere, we would reverse the seasons and add an additional expense.

While other events have been held on the Continent of Africa, the Caribbean and Canada as well, this is not immediately a possibility for the General due to reasons I have stated above. Only by passing legislation for a much larger budget as the one which I have written to be presented at General Conference 2004, might we be ever be able to consider the possibility of it.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Thank you Brother Matthews for the clarification. I just learned something. As always, beautifully and elegantly stated. Perhaps, one day we will be at the point of having the GCON on African soil.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Robert, thank you for your explanation and the financial basis for it. I know the 2008 Gen. Con will be in the fifth district, L.A. but how far in advace are they planned.

I would also like to hear from our african delegates to know if they are getting any financial support from american churches.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

Bob - I would go even further and state with a larger budget the likelihood of the General Conference being hosted on African soil is still slim to none. The silent majority I referred to earlier will veto any such venue proposal. Your thorough response is a great contribution in understanding this issue. Yet another reason why more folks should be active members of their local, District and Conference Lay organizations. On a related matter, I chatted with my PE today and he shared with me some interesitng historical information about why the Ecumenical Officer was made law. QED

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

"A" General Conference will be held on the soil of our motherland. At my age, I don't expect to see it in this body, but rest assured it will happen. At present, the AME Church is controlled by Americans, thus all General Conferences are on American soil. But at sonn point in time the number of Africans in the church will exceed the number of African-Americans and control of the church will shift to Africa. Remember the fear of the Egyptian slavemasters; how they feared the sheer numbers of Israelites would cause them to eventually take control away from them? At some point in time, we will have to give our African brothers and sisters true equality in the affairs of the church or they will take it by sheer force of numbers.

Be Blessed.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

The GenCons locations are generally planned 8 years in advance. I knew (Because I am at FAME, you know one of those "first churches") that we (excuse me: The City of Los Angeles) were hosting the 2008 Session.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2003

What do you mean by "first church"?

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Robert, thank you very much for the reasonable contribution you made. We are not unreasonable about the issues you raise. In fact, it is just a matter of time. We are prisoners of hope. We know that numbers will make a difference in the years to come. But, we also know that it is not just numbers but the amounts of money involved.

Once again, thank you.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

What some of you are failing to grasp either through denial, naievete or Pollyandish optimism is the influence of the silent majority alluded to earlier. The venue of the General Conference signals major financial resposibility as Bob expertly outlined earlier. As long as the current maldistribution of wealth remains between the US and less-developed countries around the world, the international subsidy will remain and the General Conference will be hosted in the US. This is a joint political-economic reality. The number of AMEs in Africa might exceed the number in the US by 2020. However, even this important demographic change will not be sufficient to change the location off American soil. I might not know a lot about theology, history and international affairs but I have studied the economic incentives of organizations for a long time. The AME CHurch is no different. QED

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Just curious....

How many people do you estimate NEED to attend the General Conference. This would include delegates, bishops, etc. Please do not include observers.


-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

The greatest Event Planner in the world is God! We do not yet know what the future plans are from God regarding future general conferences. God always rewards the righteous and the faithful. He hears the petitions of the poor and he answers them.

I have no doubt in my mind that the General Conference will be held in Africa and I will see it in my lifetime and I am 51.

To Reb. Tebo stand on your faith and stand on the promises of God to take care of all of his children, not just his american children. Our denomination was born from racism and the rhetoric "they can't do it and it will never happen" God has broken into ame history time and time again to prove his power prevails over human power. We started in a livery stable with no hope for black people to own land. And God rewarded our faithfulness and we owned land, we built, universities, we went to school, all because God had/has a plan for the ame church. People are waiting to join our denomination in Rwanda are ame churches are growing in Africa. As Christians we must have discernment and see where God is working and join him in his great work. We then receive the blessings that he is pouring out on the area he is working in. God is doing a great and mighty work in Africa with the ame church and we in america must set our sights on joining him in that work and prepare for the day when the general conference will be held in Africa.

There is never any need to try to guess what God's will is for his people we must go to him and pray and if we do not receive an answer immediately we must trust.

In my prayers regarding the ame church, I see a vision of a mighty ame church being birthed and growing in Ghana, it will rival any of our mega churches in Africa.

Since there is so much spiritual pregnancy in africa and dynamic leaders in africa. I find myself as a pastor and theologian beginning the process of studying the works of African theologians.

God can and will do what he wants, let our prayers be united in being his servants in the US and Africa.

It is never naive to believe that God can do something that human beings say will never happen. It is called FAITH! And scripture is full of men and women who were laughed at put down or ignored because they believed in the power of God.

Remember Noah building the ark when there was no rain. To my sister and brothers in Africa, build your spiritual ark for God is in Africa and he will bring his american children to you. Amen

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

In the fifth paragraph of the above post it should read "Mega churches in America." thank you.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Thank you Rev. Denise and Rev. Klaas. Yes we are prisoners of hope. A couple of weeks ago I heard Rev. Dr. Ann Lightener Fuller of Calvary AME Church in MD preach a revival. During the revival she noted had God had brought her out "SOMEHOW." God's "SOMEHOW" can be our miracle and greatest joys. I look forward to meeting you at GCON on the mother continent "SOMEHOW" some day, still a prisoner of joy. God bless.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Mary - I don't know this number off the top of my head but I would guess it is ~ 2,500. The number of delegates at the General Conference is determined by the formula outlined in the Discipline. It will be a function of the number of annual conferences per District along with Bishops, General Officers, Presidents of AME Colleges, retired BIshops, Officers, etc. This is the number required to conduct the official business of the AMEC at the Gen Con. However, it is not the number who will actually be attending since spouses, friends and other relatives will be attending which will cause the earlier estimate to at least double.

Now I'm confused about this thread. Some one (AJ) raised a question about the likelihood of the AMEC hosting a Gen Con on the continent of Africa. I provide a reasoned response yet somehow there is an undercurrent which raises suspicions about my reply. Let me be perfectly clear, my analysis is not the problem or the obstacle to the Gen Con being hosted on the continent of Africa. I am well aware that God is ultimately in control of matters such as this but neither I nor anyone else on this BB can repeal the reality to which I refer. Eschatological metaphors like "prisoners of hope" or "hope springs eternal" may capture the suffering sentiment of the hopeful but in the end they are nothing more than charming rhetorical phrases unable to bring about change. I can't see any legislation passing the Gen Con which will bring a future Quadrennial to Africa. Sure it might happen but it is also possible for me to pitch a perfect game in the 7th game of the World Series. It ain't happening. Time to move on. I hope I'm wrong about my forecast on this issue so everyone can have the pleasure of pointing out my prediction error. However, I have learned and seen a lot to convince me that it (GEN CON in Africa) will not happen in my lifetime unless fundamental international economic conditions drastically change. I know it is difficult to accept but economic truth is economic truth. QED

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Bill to talk about faith, hope and what God can do and will do is scriptural. There is no undercurrent in the above posts or slights towards you. We are to have faith when things are not yet manifest, we are to have blessed assurance that God will protect the righteous. It is our relationship with Christ that opens the doors for God to pour forth his blessings. How many of us are yet alive though the doctor gave up on us, told the family to preparer for the funeral, yet God intervined. I know somebody on this board knows what I am talking about, somebody say amen!

Some of us have children that were on drugs, in prison. We were told their lives were over forget about. And God intervened. Somebody on this board knows what I am talking about.

Someone was about lose their home and started to pack and God intervened and you have your house. Somebody knows what I am talking about.

They put Jesus on the cross crucified him buried him and walked away, thinking his power was gone and he was dead; that his followers would quit. Jesus was resurrected and now lives in us, and helped us. Somebody knows what I am talking about!

We have got to pray, we have got to have faith that God can do all things, a generald conference in Africa is nothing God. God made the world and everyone on it. He can handle this. I make no apologies for faith in the power of God.

My hope is that we start speaking out about his power, it gives hope and encouragement to others who read this board. We are not bound by ropes held together by human beings. Jesus has freed us and we need to think and pray big and act with expentancy.

It does not matter "this is the way it is always done" or there is an earthly formula what matters is that we are to look to the spiritual realm. And Bill if/when you are wrong we will not gloat or hold it over your head. For scripture tells us to love one another, to encourage one another to forgive one another. Every single human being has been wrong at some point in their lives, it is how we respond when we make mistakes that help us grow in Christ.

This board is not a place to tear down one another. But those of all who stand in faith and scripture embrace our brothers and sisters for God is never wrong. Let us look to the spiriitual realm where all things are possible.

We will have a general conference in Africa one day. And it will be a joyful reunion.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Rev. Rogers, Thank you. You said everything I wanted to say. AMEN, AMEN AND AMEN!!

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003


I was a delegate to the General Conference in 1996. This is the number of delegates that year. I have listed them by Episcopal District. I am sure there has been some increase in mumbers since that time. Also keep in mind that there are those who are always members of the General Conference and do not have to be elected to it. You will find their names and position in the Discipline. Some like the College Presidents are included in the numbers below. However, some others like the Chaplains are not and there are approximately 52 of them. Bishop's Wives, Spouses Widows active and retired, should be considered as well.

Additionally, for each elected delegate there is an alternate delegate, who must usually be present to take their place. There are presently 29 Bishops, active and retired, 29 General Officers, active and retired and 18 Connectional Officers--one of whom is a General Officer as well.

District 1 - 107 District 11 - 129 District 2 - 112 District 12 - 91 District 3 - 84 District 13 - 76 District 4 - 108 District 14 - 34 District 5 - 123 District 15 - 66 District 6 - 113 District 16 - 52 District 7 - 128 District 17 - 65 District 8 - 94 District 18 - 45 District 9 - 84 District 19 - 77 District 10 - 86

For the dreamers on the board allow me to say this. 1n 1948 the General Conference consisted of clergy only and they were all men,if I am correct. None of them were, Lay Persons, women or youths. Today that trend has been reversed. I too know about miracles and hope. For, God brought may back when Satan said I would die, but I tend to agree with Bill. God is Almighty and there is nothing God can't do. But God is also patient with both just and unjust men, with those who hope and those who doubt. He sends rains and sunshine to both thsoe who are evil and those who are good.

For the reasons that both Bill and I have already stated above, and given the circumstances now in effect, during the lifetime of most who post on this board, we can almost be certain that it ain't gonna to be so. The issue is basically economic rather than the US against the world. Like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and the dissolving of the USSR, I would love for my statement to be proven wrong.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Praise the Lord for youngsters like me in the church. (:-) Just kidding.) Brothers Matthews and Bill.....Thank you so much for the breakdown in numbers. I hope and pray in my lifetime that I get to a GCON in Africa. You know what Ephesians 3 says: Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that it at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 2003

Thanks so much for your responses to my little question. I appreciate the honesty of the responses. Thanks again.

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2003

The districts were in order from one to nineteen when I submitted the post on the number of General Confernce Delegates in 1996. I have no idea why the system scrambled them. So hopefully this one will be in the correct order as was my original intent.

District 1 - 107 District 2 - 112 District 3 - 84 District 4 - 108 District 5 - 123 District 6 - 113 District 7 - 128 District 8 - 94 District 9 - 84 District 10 - 86

District 11 - 129

District 12 - 91

District 13 - 76

District 14 - 34

District 15 - 66

District 16 - 52

District 17 - 65

District 18 - 45

District 19 - 77

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2003

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