Districts showing support for more than one or just one candidate for higher elected office

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Hello guys,

I know that the next General Conference is four years away; however, I ran across this article while surfing the internet "Six South Carolina Candidates for Bishop positions in the AME church defeated". I was just curious to know your opinion about the issue of multiple people from a district running for Bishop/Connectional office. I know that we live in a democratic society, and I know that our ancestors fought, bled and died for us to have the right to run for any elected office that we are qualified. My question is do you feel that this district should have decided prior to the General Conference on one candidate and supported that one candidate or do you think that trying to support multiple candidates was fair? In my district we had three candidates running for Bishop and one for a connectional office. The one running for connectional office won; however, none of the candidates running for Bishop won. Some said that was because our district should have rallied behind only one candidate instead of three. After reading this article, what are your thoughts. God bless. 6 S.C. candidates for bishop positions in AME Church defeated (The Charleston, SC Post and Courier, 07/07/04)

BY MICHAEL GARTLAND Of The Post and Courier Staff

Six South Carolina candidates who ran for bishop posts in the African Methodist Episcopal Church learned of their defeat early Tuesday morning when church officials announced the election results on the second-to-last day of the denomination's 47th conference. Eight bishop spots were open going into this year's conference in Indianapolis, and three of those went to Africans. Their ascendancy signals a small but significant power shift in the church's main decision-making body, as does the official naming of Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie to president of the Council of Bishops.

Today, the conference's last day, AME pastors and elders decide where the newly minted bishops will be assigned. South Carolina will have a new bishop, though state church leaders were not certain Tuesday who that would be.

The Rev. Robert Stokes is senior pastor at Greater Trinity AME Church in Charleston, and though he described the move to create separate African jurisdictions as significant, he said it wouldn't affect American AME church members very much.

"The major change that's facing us is who will be our bishop," Stokes said.

Bishop Henry Allen Belin, who has served in South Carolina for the past four years and has reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops, will no longer serve the 7th Episcopal District, which encompasses the entire state. His replacement will be chosen today.

On a global level, the decision to separately elect three Africans as bishops and the continuing rise of women in the church ranked as major developments.

For more than two centuries, the denomination's bishoprics have been dominated by American men.

McKenzie's rise to president of the Council of Bishops is the first time in the church's 217-year history that a woman has held that position, which traditionally is filled by bishops on a rotating basis. McKenzie became the church's first female bishop four years ago at the last AME general conference.

Two new women bishops, the Rev. Sarah Davis of San Antonio and the Rev. Carolyn Tyler Guidry of California, also were elected this year. The AME church has 20 bishop positions overall.

Dorothy Richardson, of Huger and a member of Friendship AME Church in Mount Pleasant, had been rooting for Guidry.

"I'm glad she made it," Richardson said. "I always root for my females. I'm very happy to hear about the two females."African church leaders moved to center stage this year, as well. With the church growing most quickly in southern and western Africa, church leaders around the world began to regard such a shift as inevitable and necessary. AME numbers are swelling so fast in Africa the church had to create its 20th district at this year's conference.

Now, Africans will be guaranteed three bishoprics within the at-large system of elections, which traditionally has not guaranteed representation to any one region. Over the years, bishops typically have come from America because it has held a majority. It boasts about two-thirds of the church's 3 million members.

The decision to guarantee the African continent three spots came early in the conference, which began June 29.

The Rev. Wilfred Messiah of the 19th Episcopal District in Southern Africa, the Rev. Paul Kawimbe of the 17th Episcopal District in Southwest Africa, and the Rev. David Daniels of the 14th Episcopal District in Liberia all will serve as bishops in Africa. Daniels, an African native, previously served as pastor at the Turner Memorial AME Church in West Columbia.

The Rev. Joseph Darby is pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston. He predicted Africa could receive yet one more guaranteed bishopric four years from now when the AME general conference meets again. He also said the guarantee of three seats now could cause more turnover among American bishops, but "the total impact will probably be negligible."

He expects the conference will vote today to make definitive declarations on matters that have been discussed throughout this conference, such as a formal prohibition on same-sex marriage, support of congressional representation for Washington, D.C., and a formal declaration to the U.S. and United Nations to act more decisively to stop the mass deaths now occurring in Sudan.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004


I think it would a grand idea if each supported one candidate and not have 80 people from all the united states running and no one know them . It is moneie that can used for good christian missionary work. I wonder how many of the delegates even knew any of the candidates. I look at the list and some of these people i have never heard of . And i have been in ame church all of my life . I am sure some other people have said the same things. I would think it help get us back to being about the lord business instead bishops candiates .

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004

An interesting article, in spite of its slight inaccuracies.

A similar fragmentation also doomed the 9 candidates from the 1st district, while the unification of the 10th probably helped Bishop Sarah Davis.

I agree with Rev. Darby, we should see 4 Africans by 2008, and 5 by 2012. Perhaps by then the church will become serious about the "Dickens Mission" to South America, at which point we may see additional growth.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004

Why is the SC Conference concerning itself with political matters which it has no impact, e.g. DC Statehood/Congressional Representation or the 10 year Civil War in Sudan? These issues were around in the Clinton Administratation yet the SC Conference didn't seek political action at that time. In fact the Clinton-Gore 1992 Campaign plank endorsed DC Statehood but the issue quickly faded and was forgotten after settling in the White House from 1992-2000. I would think focusing on making Allen University a top university or addressing poverty and rural economic development in SC are far more important. QED

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004

Bill I don't think the article was referring to the 7th District, addressing D.C. statehood etc; rather the General Conference codifying it's position on those issues.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004

Bill, I don't have any male children but I am concerned for black males in our society because I believe in 6 degrees of seperation and that the world effects my person. Surely you're not stating that we should only be concerned with things that only have immediate impact upon ourselves?

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Actually Bishop Daniels was elected from the 7th District. He was Pastoring in the 7th.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2004

While I would not necessarily limit ourselves to only one candidate for the bishopric from each district as this matter should be impacted by the number to be elected; I think some sort of primary election in the districts to "winnow out" or narrow the field by the time we reach General Conference.

Futher, I still think it would be a good idea that any candidate not garnering a set percentage of the total vote should be automatically dropped from the ballot rather than waiting for each to formally withdraw.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2004

Bishop David Daniels was and is pastoring in the 7th Wpiscopal District but he was elected for African servicein their special election so he was running from the 14th Episcopal District and from the Liberian Annual Conference.

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2004

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