Protocol and the Worship Experience : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I know that I am close to getting myself booted from this discussion because I fail to reverence practices or garments or traditions that are in my opinion, obsolete, inappropriate and unnecessary. Well after attending the recent Annual Conference and Planning Meeting in my Episcopal District, I want to do away with that dastardly deed of protocol in the worship service. What a monumental waste of time. Calling this church leader and that church leader in a worship service. A worship service where we proclaim a Christ who is no respecter of person. Aworship service where we profess to serve a God who requires us to put no other gods before Him. I have heard many people criticize wonderful worship services by saying so and so's name wasn't called. Well, when I go to church, the only name I want to hear is the name that which is above every name, that name at which where every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.

If I get banned, know that I love our zion but most of all I love the Lord.

Be blessed.

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003


The worship leader should establish "recite" the protocol including God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, and Man our Brother. Others on the program should do whatever they are assigned; for example if you are scheduled to read the Old Testament Scripture, do that and shut up. If they must say something, a simple "Praise the Lord, protocol having established, etc." At a recent meeting, the preacher's message (Bishop Grady)led naturally to the Cross and the following Call for Discipleship. The "preacher" scheduled to make the "Call" took a totally unrelated (to the message) text and 15 minutes later made the A Call for Discipleship. It is about self-grandisement, that's all.

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Well Harold as that comic duo Laurel & Hardy were often fond of saying, "What a great mess you've gotten yourself in". Questioning established AME protocol and refusal to recognize "whose in 'da house" will lead you straight to the gallows :-) The problem with these "ecclesiatical roll calls" is that they project a false impression about who is important to be recognized and who isn't. There is NO Biblical basis for protocol. It is merely an idiosyncracy firmly rooted in our church culture. I once attended a Lay Meeting in the 2nd District and the female presiding officer effortlessly recognized all "dignitaries" without the help of notes or a teleprompter. She didn't mis-pronounce a name or misidentify a title. She was equally impressive in appearance and speech yet she overlooked a rather dapper visitor from Florida:-) Now that I think about it I have never been recognized from the pulpit. I suppose there is some redeeming value in maintaining anonymity (LOL). QED

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

This is why you are taught to "never say never". Upon reflection, I have been recognized from the pulpit at least on one occassion when I was working on the Richard Allen Commemorative Stamp Project. Bishop Vinton Anderson did the "honors". Funny, I don't recall Bishop Anderson closing his remarks after making reference to my work with the familiar phrase "protocol now being established........." QED

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

The kick is up, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand.......

It's blocked!

Brother Gibson,

We have iconoclasts on this board. We have mavericks on this board. We have syncophants on this board. We have demagogues on this board.

You are a gadfly.

You talk about those things which rub you the wrong way.

I suspect that, after reading these posts and others, that many of the others feel the same way, but don't want to say it.

Unless your comments are blasphemous, slanderous, libelous, or defamatory, I don't have a problem with them or you.

It's like having Booker T. and W.E.B. in 2003....

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Parson Harper opines -

"It's like having Booker T. and W.E.B. in 2003...."

I suppose being a preacher the urge to rap is practically a prerequisite :-) By the way, where do I fit in the BTW-WEB equation? QED

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Brother Gibson:

I pray the church, as a whole, will do away with that protocol nonsense as well. It is not of God and it is definitely time consuming. Watch someone's face when their name isn't called. It is time to do away with some of these silly self-agrandizing practices, and this is definitely one.

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003


I cast my vote for W. E. B., who was once on the staff at Wilberforce and twice on the staff as a professor at Atlanta U.

I am also in support of Brother Gibson for having the courage to speak what he believes to be the truth. I, for one, am in total agreement with all that he has posted to this point.

There must be something in the name Harold since I can't recall one who had the courage to so boldly speak what he felt, since my friend Bishop Harold I. Bearden joined the Church Triumphant above. The Bible indicates that our names define who we are. So I guess this is an example of the verification of it.

In last Sunday's Gospel for "Christ the King," Pilate asked Jesus, "What is Truth?" Despite Jesus' answer they crucified Him. Jesus said on another occasion, "I AM the Truth," and in still yet another "The Truth will make you free." So I find it quite interesting, indeed, how we still hem, haw and squirt around the truth. I never cease to be amazed that even in the Church of Christ when one boldly speaks the truth, as nearly as one believes it to be, We cover our ears, say VAH and yell CRUCIFY HIM!!

Although I did not post a response to any question Brother Gibson raised before, I think I should do so now, so that He and others may know. I hope that all who read it will take it in the spirit it is being said--as it is not directed to anyone and I mean absolutely no offense to anyone by it.

Know that I have nothing but love and respect for each of you. Clones I do not like. but I sincerely love those who think and I value your ideas and opinions even when I don't agree with you.

At least in the city in which I live, we are breaking down some of these walls. Robes, cords, stoles, and clerical collars are coming off pastors, bishops and candidates to the bishopric except for the most ceremonial events. These are being replaced by suits, dresses, skits and blouses, sweaters and even pants suits. This I witnessed only yesterday at the Thanksgiving Service between two of the oldest and largest churches in the city where I live, one of which was A. M. E. Nine members of the ordained clergy participated in the event. They were recognized only by the fact that they sat in the pulpit and were listed in the service bulletin.

Protocol is also being left to the conclusion of the service when worship is over and done. In many instances now I have seen, the only person who might be recognized during the service is a bishop or a bishop's guests and the person who is delivering the sermon or address.

So, Harold give us time we are making progress and getting there. We know what you say is true but it will take some time to correct habits formed over many years and doing it differently.

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

First, Brother Bill called me an iconoclast, now Rev. Harper has called me a gadfly. Just like being called an iconoclast, I was going to object but after doing a little, I can live with the second definition of gadfly. Just for the record a gadfly is 1. a persistent irritating critic a nuisance 2. a provocative stimulus a goad (I like this one). 3. An annoying fly that bites livestock or other animals ( I do not do this!!!)

Thanks for not kicking me out.


-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

First, Brother Bill called me an iconoclast, now Rev. Harper has called me a gadfly. Just like being called an iconoclast, I was going to object but after doing a little, I can live with the second definition of gadfly. Just for the record a gadfly is 1. a persistent irritating critic a nuisance 2. a provocative stimulus a goad (I like this one). 3. An annoying fly that bites livestock or other animals ( I do not do this!!!)

Thanks for not kicking me out. But most importantly thanks for keeping this venue of critical analysis and discussion up and running.

Be Blessed. Harold

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Harold -

Iconoclast, gadfly, maverick. Keeping in line with Bob Matthews reference to the British Parliament in another thread, who knows perhaps the Queen of England might bestow you with an honorary knightship? All I ask is when I visit your church and I have to step out to get a drink of water and hold up that right index finger signaling "pardon my walking" you won't laugh :-) Why do we hold up that right index finger? QED

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Brother Harold: Thank ou for your refreshing and appreciated insights.

All: thank you for providing a framework of discussion thatg allows us to see different perspectives while not losing our love for one another. The board has beeen rather refreshing, and at the same time, respectful. Keep up the good work.

Recommendation for acknowledgement: "To Bishop , and to all the protocol I don't know to call..."

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Bill-- You really don't want me to answer that question about the index finger. From what I hear, it is rooted in slavery. It seems that when the slaves would have to answer nature's call they would signal to the overseer with their fingers. One finger meaning Number One and Two fingers meaning number two. You will not see any such signal in another church setting except for the Black church. I don't know whether this is true but it makes sense. So being the gadflay iconoclast that I am, you know that if you were to do this in my church I would fall out.


-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Dear Brother Harold

I pray you are never removed from this board or our zion (common letter for protocol in my opinion). I thank God for our differences but that we still love a great God. I thank God for Rev. John Fisher who thought it not robbery to develop this site that we might for the first time have dialogue around the world.It is good to see the dapper and distinguished Prof.QED is stil cooking up a good comentary.

Harold I too get extremely tired at times when protocol seems to be a prototype for a new lectur series. However we like to be recognized when elected or selected so I guess this is the price for transitioning from obscurity to relevance. Blessings to you all especially both Bro. Jerryl and Prof.QED

Best Wishes from Bermuda

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

Bro. Gibson, Amen and Hallelujah on that! I've been in AME meetings in which protocol was "articulated" at least three times and then it was "established" five times after that. To be fair, many people do it because they truly don't want anyone to feel slighted (because some folk will feel slighted if their name and title are not mentioned). But leadership has got to say Enough! We know who we are and if we've done anything, you know who we are. A refreshing example of this was when one of our Bishops was filling in for an ill brother Bishop at an annual conference, before the pastors started with their annual reports (which is another subject in an of itself) he set the ground rules. He instructed pastors not to start off their reports acknowledging him and wasting time. He explained that he took it as a given that they were not being disrespectful by not acknowledging his name before every report. Ah so refreshing. (It was Bishop Anderson filling in for Bishop Ming). Thanks for raising this topic and letting me vent on a pet peeve.

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2003

I know what you mean. While celebrating our church anniversary, some obscure Episcopal District Official came to the church. I saw him and did not know him, much less who he was or thought he was. Oh what a time.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2003

Moderation questions? read the FAQ