The Africa Jurisdiction & AME's at large : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I believe from a response from my good friend the Rev. Paris regarding the state of Bishops ordained from Africa, in which he states that this will be a "token" post, and stresses that it should be as per discipline.

I get the feeling that the "ordinary" men and women in America abosolutely have no clue as to developments in this regard. I there would urge all those interested to visit the site below for some first hand information by the Rev. Daniel J. Jacobs.

Rev. Jacobs made it his business to attend the AJC meetings, most of the time at great cost to himself, to ensure that information is spread as it should. No-one can doubt the enthusiasm and seriousness with which Rev. Jacobs goes about to ensure that our Zion, expecially here in Africa, is not left behind. This information should give all an idea of the direction we are heading in. The site has a link to information regarding the AJC.

Much love

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2004


Have you read Bishop Richardson's report? It is on http://www.ame-, the Official AME Church Website.

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2004

I still do not understand this paragraph from Bishop Richardson's report. Someone, please explain in more detail. Thanks.

"Chief among the issues discussed was the election of Bishops. It is proposed that four persons be elected who live and work in Africa, that they be elected during the election of bishops at the site of the General Conference, and that they be regarded as General Superintendents."

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2004

I think that means they will be elected "during" the election of bishops, but will not be bishops. Instead they will be "General Superintendents". They will not be paid the same salary and benefits as bishops. Personally, I think it is a mistake to "elect" Africans but not consecrate them full bishops with all pay and benefits the same including assignments to any episcopal district in the AME Church. It seems as if we think they are not qualified to be bishops.

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2004

Seven posts ago Rev. PIllay i too touched on the point that we cannot throw birdseed at the challenge in developing Africa. The American side of our Church has been seen to be arrogant and thoughtless in its views of Ministry and growth in Africa. Africa must be given more respect and more investment, not lip service. A General superintendant would have to be re-defined in our Discipline as it now refers to our Bishops. What are we really doing with our own family.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2004

Going by the definition of the Church, provided in the book of doctrine and discipline (unfortunately not in the immediate position to provide specific references), Bishops are defined as General Superintendents - among others. Going with that, I see not problem in any reference of elected African Bishops as General Superintendent.

Since recommendation is to elect African Bishops at the General Conference, it would mean that the Connectional Church would have elected the candidates. I guess the report assumed that their election by the Genearal Conference also implied consecration at/by the same body. When we agreed to this recommendation, even when the elected Africans would be remunerated according to the economic conditions of the continent, we were never suggesting, nor implied, thatthey would be less than any bishop of the connection.

We arrived at the issue remuneration based on the conditions relating to both the economies in Africa, as well as the economic condition of the Church. Perhaps, it is part of lack of knowledge about Africa. In most African countries, the clergy is not taxed, as an example (this is not meant to mislead by saying all countries do the same. But "most."). But, we know that African-Americans Bishops have to pay taxes - I'm told, they are heavy taxes. If this is about comparison between the two, for us, this proposition is not about fairness as it is mostly about justice.

Part of agreeing to this proposition also related to the matter of income gaps between those at the helm of institutions (bishops) and those in the trenches(clergy). With the dollar being extremely strong, elected Bishops, as African, means that a person is instantly turned into being a millionaire.

Because indigenous leadership is the crucial concern of the continent, in a context of financial constraints faced by the denomination and a smultaneous challenge of ensuring representation in the bench of Bishops, it would pay to have this kind remuneration proposotion.

I wish I had the best of ways to communicate this conclusion we took at the AJC final meeting. By the way, it was not a matter one meeting that this conclusion was reached. We debated this matter over several meetings, beginning with the Exec. Committee meeting and the Council- cum-workshop, in Gaborone.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2004

At the risk of jeopardizing any chance of ever getting an appointment, I offer the following opinion:

According to verbage used, it sounds like the 4 seats requested by our African brethren and sisthren (Smile) will be filled by non- Bishops.

Even though Bishops are regarded as General Superintendents, and Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, if you are not giving someone the official tile of Bishop (and their spouse the offical title of Episcopal Supervisor), you are merely creating an "underclass" of leadership, plain and simple.

That being said, it's time for the A.M.E. leadership to stop fearing change. Their predecessors feared what would happen if a woman were "allowed" to be ordained as a preacher.

Jarenna Lee showed them that their fears were foolish.

Their colleagues feared what would happen if a woman were elected Bishop.

Vashti McKenzie showed them that their fears were foolish.

NOW they fear what will happen if we allow Africans to enter the Bishopric.

Do you see a pattern? What is the fear THIS time? Is it:

Fear that an African Bishop can show us how to manage financial resources (A skilled worker in the 17th district (Zambia) makes about $270 per year)?

Fear that they can show us to how to preach the gospel and grow a church in the middle of a war zone (Physically and Spiritually)?

Fear that with 4 seats and some new ideas, that their power bases will be eroded?

I think I know what the fear is, but I will not even speak it into existence. My prayer is that calmer, cooler, holy, and righteous heads prevail at GC2004. I pray that we get it together in 2004, and get on with the business of Christ, and not the business of the Church. Ya heard?

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2004


-- Anonymous, June 11, 2004

If the bishops in Africa are to be paid based on the economic conditions in Africa, then the US Bishops must be paid according to the economic conditions of the district. Shades of separate but equal. I guess this proves that discrimination is not about color but about power.

-- Anonymous, June 11, 2004

Rev. Paris, you took the words right out of my mouth. AME pastors are paid based on the economic condition and financial "ability" of the local church. I wonder what would happen if Bishops were paid, based on the economic condition and "ability" of the local district? The list of potential candidates would probably drop from 100 to 10- 15 overnight.

-- Anonymous, June 12, 2004

Rev. Harper, thank you very much for yours. I prayer that fear are replaced by faith in the Church. Surely, fear is lethal and destructive compared to faith which takes one to untested terrains to set a trend and make history.

At the previous General Conference, there were proposals which were particularly driven by the Lay Organisation to the effect that the Church should have a "Chief Executive Officer." The deliberations of the General Conference were point to acceptance of this idea. Consequently, something called institutional development (not so sure what was ultimately reach) dominated the deliberations instead. What could have been the cause of not outrightly adopting the proposition of a CEO?

My take in that regard, is that, Bishops had already been defined as CEOs. Does it mean, unless you are titled Bishop, you are inferior?

One thing certain, whether General Superindent, COE, Chief Administrator or Chief Pastor, or not, Africa is saying the time has come not only for African representation but for African participation also - not just at one level of the body but in the total body itself. Whatsover it is, what we feel should be, should not be less than what pertains. That should be so in the context of reality also taken seriously.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2004

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