Did I Make Myself Clear?

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A few days ago, I asked a question about the process of doing an Every-Member-Canvass, which, according to the Discipline,is one of the responsibilities of the Steward Board of each A.M.E. Church.

To date, not one person has responded. Duh... Did I make myself clear? Or are there other reasons for the lack of response.

Thank you.

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004


Barbara -

Is this the same as taking a census of the membership? QED

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

Please forgive me but I sort of waited for someone else to answer the question. Yes, you are correct that it is the responsibility of the Steward Board to canvass and report to the pastor the current membership of the church. That is part of the process of establishing the Operating Budget for the church. This requirement in the Discipline has been retained from our past. No, we consider it routine to keep an account of all members of the church. Yes, it is much like a census.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

Every third quarter in a church conference year.

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2004

I got the impression that Barbara's questions was more about method.

Several things go into the third quarterly canvas. One is the recollection of the board itself: has it seen some people throughout the year, and are they close enough to them to know that they aren't going anywhere. That kind of speeds up the canvassing process (works well in our smaller and family churches, a little harder to execute in our large churches.).

Another mtehod is to divide the mebmership up by classes, and have a steward assigned to work with a number of class leaders to verify the count. This was the approach of St. Paul Cambidge (MA) when it had 100 classes and 19 stewards. Each steward was supposed to get with 5 class leaders, and verifiy the membership in each.

The telephone is an important tool for verification. Nothing beats accurate data like asking the question and hearing the response "from the horse's mouth".

It is always good to capture the revised role, and to assure that all members are assigned an active class leader, who can follow up with the mmember on a weekly basis.

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2004

Thank you Bro. Payne.

That's exactly what I was asking for... process. The method you described sounds very workable.

You are an excellent teacher!

-- Anonymous, January 18, 2004

J. Payne is indeed an exceptional teacher! Anyone who was taught by the brilliant MIT particle physicist, Shirley Ann Jackson, served under Bishop Bryant when Bryant was pastoring in Cambridge, Mass. and worked with the late musical phenom Donald Vails is by definition a member of DuBois' Talented Tenth. It also helps that he is married to my DC cousin :-) QED

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2004

You are both most kind. Thank you.

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2004

I have not read that part of the Discipline recently, but in other churhes of which I am aware (not AME), the every member canvass is much more than a census. It's used as a time to collect pledges for the next year's budget.

I might also add that in all cases, these are predominantly white congregations. Pledging is something that is still somewhat foreign for many, if not most, black congregations.

Also, it seems that congregations using pledging tend to have less emphases on fund raisers.

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2004

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