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Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District; Dr. Paul Brown, President-Dean of Phillips School of Theology; Dr. Charley Hames, Jr., DMin in evangelism, noted author, and Senior Pastor of Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland, California; and Dr. Elnora P. Hamb, Immediate Past President of the Women's Missionary Council and Balm in Gilead Board Member are scheduled to serve as major presenters at the 2018 Balm in Gilead Healthy Churches 2020 Conference. The conference will be held November 13-16 at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama. For registration and more information visit: https://www.healthychurches2020conference.org/2018/
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(Prepared by the Rev. Dr. Ore Spragin,
Editor of the Christian Index)
THE CONFERENCE OF NATIONAL BLACK CHURCHES
2018 NATIONAL CONSULTATION
December 11-13, 2018 Orlando, Florida
“UNEARTHING THE EFFECTS OF RACISM: A PATHWAY TO HOPE IN A TIME OF HATE
VOTE on November 6, 2018
Informative messages from Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton and Bishop Marvin Frank Thomas, Sr. encouraging everyone to vote on November 6th. #CMESVOTE
If You're Thinking of NOT Voting, Please Read This Before You Decide
By Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick
Dear C.M.E. Family,
As many of us go to the polls this Tuesday (or have gone in early voting opportunities), many persons who are eligible to vote will not be voting. For some of us, that’s an outrage; however, I’m writing – with respect – to ask those people who may choose to NOT vote to think it about one more time.
First, I agree that every potential voter has the right to NOT vote.
My constituency may not want me to say that, but it’s true. A person has the right to NOT vote. Some who, like me, grew up in the 1960s believe that everybody wants to vote, but that’s not true. And, in this country, nobody is forced to vote. (So … if you want to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t want to vote, respect that man or woman enough to not yell at them or denounce them if their answer is “No.”)
Second, I know you may not think your vote makes a difference.
BUT … I want you to hear my personal experience in two elections – one church election of only 643 votes and one city-wide election of about 250,000 votes … where every vote was important!
Here’s the church election story: I was elected a bishop in our denomination in1998 with 334 votes. (If you’re not a CME Church member you may not understand … but that means I became one of only 51 people – at that time – elected in the church’s 128 years of existence! To me, that’s significant.) Out of 643 certified votes cast that day, 322 were required to be elected (two persons were to be elected.) I was elected on the second ballot (after Bishop Paul Stewart) with 334 votes – 12 more than I needed. That means, had 13 people changed their minds, I would not have been elected, I would not have become one of the 10 bishops directing the denomination, and I certainly would not be writing through this forum! Just 13 people! (Humor me: I’m fairly sure you can find 13 of those delegates who might vote differently today!)
Here’s the larger election story: I lived in Memphis when we elected our first African American mayor – Dr. Willie W. Herenton. He beat a formidable incumbent by only 172 votes of about 250,000 votes cast! Dr. Herenton received 122,585 votes. Mayor Hackett received 122,413 votes! Count – only 172 votes separated them! I don’t know the number of voting precincts in Memphis in 1991, but based on the 2015 numbers, that would have require just 2 votes per precinct to change the election!
Your vote doesn’t count? I think it does! I think those two elections say it does, and I think the generally unexpected election of President Trump in 2016 said it does, and I think this Tuesday’s results in many, many razor-close elections, will prove it so!
Third, I know you may not like your choices.
Nope! You’re not on the ballot – and nobody who thinks exactly like you is on the ballot! And those on the ballot may not think far from the way you do. But who is the lesser evil of the two? Or who is more likely to think like you or to care for people like you? Sometimes you have to take your fingers, close your nose, and move through the stink! Consider: if you don’t choose for you, others will be doing your choosing for you!
Fourth, people who don’t vote don’t are counted out when it matters!
You probably don’t want to hear anybody say that, but people who vote have some clout, but people who don’t vote are often counted out!.
If you could travel to Puerto Rico today just to visit, you would find a U.S. Territory where people are, by law, American citizens. But the Puerto Ricans (who have no vote in U.S. elections) are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Maria, more than a year later!
But during that same 2017 hurricane season, Hurricane Harvey seriously devastated parts of Texas in August and Hurricane Irma also hammered the Florida Keys while hammering Puerto Rico. Both were Category 4 Hurricanes, like Hurricane Maria! But you don’t hear the citizens of the Florida Keys or southeastern Texas up in arms about the government’s inefficiency in servicing them in the way the Puerto Ricans are. Why not? I believe it is partially because people of Texas and Florida can vote, and all the politicians know it … so political leaders see that they get aid as quickly as possible.
So: … you don’t have to vote,
… and you may not feel like voting,
… but if you don’t want to be ignored,
… and if you want your community respected,
… before you sit this election out,… please, please think again!
+ Lawrence L. Reddick III