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  Saturday, September 30, 2017                                                  View online
 
 
 
 
Hello to all and may the joy of the Lord be yours!  By the time you read this Update, it will have been a month since we begin and completed the 16th Quadrennial Session of the Connectional Lay Ministry Institute.   Allow me to thank all who registered and were in attendance.  I am grateful for the way everyone, both lay and clergy supported the Lay Ministry Institute and the entire Unity Summit.  Special thanks to:  Bishop Kenneth W. Carter and Mrs. Rose Carter and the Sixth Episcopal District for your warm and accommodating spirit; Dr. Barbara Campbell for assistance in planning the program and for an efficient job in presiding during the Connectional Lay Ministry Institute business sessions; the Connectional Ministry Presidents for being in place and providing excellent reports; the Episcopal District Vice Presidents, Region and District Lay Leaders for your participation in the conference calls that were held during the months leading up to the Connectional Lay Ministry Institute . . .   In addition, thank you is extended to Bishop Marvin Frank Thomas, Sr. for support and encouragement throughout the week.  Last, it is with special regard that I note the support and assistance of Mrs. Johnetta Harris (my wife) and Ms. Avis Hill, Administrative Assistant for the work that they did prior to and during the Institute and the entire week of the CME Unity Summit. 
 
As our members and others in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida work to recover from Hurricane Harvey and Irma, I pray that as lay men and women, we will continue to be responsive to the information and direction that has been and continues to be shared by our Episcopal Leaders.
 
Connectional Lay Day (October 8, 2017) is approaching . . .  1) Our theme for this year’s Lay Ministry Day celebration and observance is, Laity Impacting the World: “Defending the Cross, Reaching the Lost, and Equipping the Saved.”  2) As we did last year, I am asking once again that special effort be made by our Lay Ministry Councils to be part of “Outreach and In-Reach” efforts leading up to Connectional Lay Ministry Day.  3) When sending contributions received for the Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship, please make checks payable to Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship.  Mail contributions to:   Dr. Clifford L. Harris, General Secretary, Department of Lay Ministry - 15485 Prairie Bell Rd. - Okmulgee, OK 74447-8690.   
 
Objective # 13 of the 15 Department of Lay Ministry Objectives, is To Seek and Maintain a Good Working Relationship Between Pastors and Laity. . .  To that end, the 2nd Sunday in October is also Clergy Appreciation Day, so intentionally incorporate into your Connectional Lay Ministry Day activities a time to show gratitude to your pastor and the other clergy who serve with them.  
 
PLEASE GO TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LAY MINISTRY WEB PAGE FOR ACCESS TO AND VIEWING OF THE FOLLOWING: www.thecmechurch.org/layministry Note: The Lay Ministry Web page is now featured on the menu of every page on our official CME Web site.
  • 2017-2018 GRAHAM/WEBB/KENNEDY AWARDEES & COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY CHOICES

  • GRAHAM/WEBB/KENNEDY SCHOLARSHIP CONTRIBUTION FORM
  • HISTORY OF CME LAY MINISTRY (Can be used as part of October 8th Lay Day Program).
  • CONNECTIONAL LAY MINISTRY DAY LITANY
  • LAY MEMBERSHIP CARD TEMPLATE
  • CLERGY APPRECIATION INFORMATION (Courtesy of Dr. Barbara Campbell)
 
Special Note:  1) The videos that were shared during the Connectional Lay Ministry Institute in Atlanta will be posted on the Lay Ministry Web page after some necessary edits.  2)  Information about lay ministry apparel will be shared on the Lay Ministry Web Site as well.
 
 
 
 
CONNECT WITH THE CHRISTIAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL (C.M.E.) CHURCH
 
 

Dr. Clifford Harris

General Secretary, Lay Ministry

15485 Prairie Bell Road

Okmulgee, OK  74447-8690

Voice: 918-519-4233  Home: 918-304-1999

Email

Bio


Bishop Marvin F. Thomas, Sr.
Chair


Thursday, December 21, 2017   
                                            
 
 

 

CONNECT WITH THE CHRISTIAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL (C.M.E.) CHURCH
 
 

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Lay Ministry Banner 2018

Well, the Annual Conference Season has ended. . . Congratulations to those who continue to serve in roles that you held previously and blessings to those who have or will transition into new positions and/or places of responsibility. . . My prayer, for both laity and clergy, is that God will meet you where you are and that the joy of the Lord will continuously be yours! 

The deadline for 2018 Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship Applications was July 31st. Applications will be evaluated and awardees notified during the Month of August. 

In my last communication I asked that our laity stay poised to help bring life to the 2018-2022 Quadrennial ThemeGetting Back to Basics As We Envision Our Way Forward In Taking Care of God's Business:  

1)     Our initial efforts will center around Sunday School. To this end, I have provided four one-page articles, for the months of August, September, October and November to the Editor of the Christian Index. Each writing carries the overall title, “Living Life Through Sunday School". In addition, to the opportunity to read and digest what you receive through the Christian Index, I will provide video and audio conference call opportunities to help make the articles come alive across our Connectional Church. 

2)     If you are not already doing so, please support Rev. Leon Moore, General Secretary of Evangelism and Missions, during his Monday – Friday Prayer Conference Calls (6:30 a.m. in your time zone - Dial in number: 515-604-9706 - Access Code: 133038).   

3)     In the spirit of what Rev. Moore has put before us, continue your prayer focus with me during the month of September by taking time to pray individually on your own or with others at 12 noon each day. . . Pray for our church, particularly our local churches, and our leadership at every level. 

Our 2018 Connectional Lay Ministry Day is, as always, the second Sunday in October; this year that date is October 14th. In your preparation, I encourage you to celebrate the work of the laity in your church, district, and region in a big way. 

  • CLICK HERE for helpful resources. 
  • CLICK HERE for the 2018 Connectional Lay Ministry Day Litany.  

4)  2018 Connectional Lay Ministry Day Theme:Getting Back to Basics In Studying God’s Word and Serving His People.

As you look to have special Connectional Lay Ministry Day speakers and receive a free will offering for the Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship, think on this: (a) Leading up to October 14th, consider some form of inreach and/or outreach that will minister to individuals or groups inside or outside of your church building; (b) During this time of challenge in our communities and in our world, let us not forget or forsake our right to vote!  In the spirit of collaboration, Lay Ministry Councils should partner with other church organizations in getting individuals registered and to the polls during primary elections and again in November. Take it a step further and coordinate rides to the polls for those who do not have transportation. . . We must stand our ground at the polls and not give in to complacency in our thoughts and/or our actions. We must continue to prove that we are a people and a church that seeks to make a difference in this unpredictable world that we live in!  Let’s get back to the basics of practicing and teaching that voting is a right and to not exercise that right, gives one little or no right to complain!


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Lay Ministry Banner 2018

As I write this Update, I am thanking God for my Christian Faith, which allows me to have hope beyond the present day in and day out controversies that seem to permeate our world. Through it all, I continue to find joy in the Lord; and I pray the same for you.  

Notice has been sent by the Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship Chair, Ms. Yvonne Peters to the 2018 scholarship awardees; please Click Here to view the list of awardees. We extend congratulations to each of them

REMINDER FOR CONNECTIONAL LAY MINISTRY DAY – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2018: 

a.      Go to the Lay Ministry Web Site and download the Connectional Lay Ministry Day Litany along with other resources that you may need. 

b.     Click Here for the form that you will need when sending your Graham-Webb-Kennedy offering/contribution and mail to the address listed below.  

c.      As you consider who will participate in the Lay Ministry Day service, be intentional and include all generations. 

d.     Leading up to October 14th, consider some form of inreach and/or outreach that will minister to individuals or groups inside or outside of your church building; voter registration on would be a great thing to do!  

As Lay Ministry continues to help bring life to the 2018-2022 Quadrennial Theme: “Getting Back to Basics As We Envision Our Way Forward In Taking Care of God's Business” we are still centering our current efforts around Sunday School. To this end, please read and digest the one-page articles that appear in the August and September issues of the Christian Index. Each writing carries the overall title, “Getting Back to Basics: Learning To Serve And Live Life Through Sunday School.”  If you wish to have the power point presentations that have been prepared to accompany each article, please advise by utilizing my contact information below.

On October 1st, the Church, through CME Communications, a message from Senior Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick III that, among other things, introduced the new mission and vision statements for our Zion. I urge you to read, discuss, and embrace all of what Senior Bishop Reddick shared and stay prepared for further information:  

The mission of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is to be disciples of Jesus the Christ by serving individuals, communities and the world as the representative, loving presence of God and as witnesses to God’s salvation and grace.  

The vision of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is to be a transforming church for Jesus the Christ within a changing world.


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Each day, through happiness and challenges, I continue to experience the joy of the Lord . . . My prayer for you (laity and clergy) is that you are experiencing the same.  Thank you again, for your support during the General Conference and allowing me another opportunity to serve you for another four years, as the General Secretary of Lay Ministry.     

As I did during 2010-2014 and during 2014-2018, I will be working to help bring life to the 2018-2022 Quadrennial Theme.  The theme, embedded in the Episcopal Address, delivered by Bishop Bobby R. Best, compels us to focus on “Getting Back to Basics.” As we communicate through writings, presentations and results from consultation with our Episcopal Leaders, please stay poised, as Laity (particularly Local, District, & Region Lay Leaders and Episcopal District Vice Presidents) to join with us in bringing the theme alive. 

The deadline for 2018 Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship Application is quickly approaching. . . Even with Annual Conference season in full swing, 2018 Graduating Seniors still have time to meet the deadline date of July 31st to have their postmarked application in the mail. . .  Leaders, as of this Update, there are some Episcopal Districts that are not represented in applications that have been received, thus far, by Scholarship Chair, Ms. Yvonne Peters.  Don’t be guilty of not making the application available to potential applicants; the application package is on the Lay Ministry Web Site at thecmechurch.org/layministry and in the June Issue of the Christian Index. 

Look for information concerning Connectional Lay Ministry Day (October 14th) in the August Update. 

Please read and digest the following Assessment of Lay Ministry, which appears on page six (6) of our Lay Ministry Manual. . .  It was written by Deceased Senior Bishop, Thomas L. Hoyt, Sr., one of this Department’s former Chair Persons. As we embark on a new Quadrennial, I find the content of Deceased Senior Bishop Hoyt’s “Assessment” challenging, yet practical, as we evaluate our role as laity, in “Getting Back To Basics.”  

“The Lay Ministry Department of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the vital Departments of the Church. It had its beginning in Jesus Christ of Nazareth in that Jesus was not in the formal professional clerical ministry but was classified as a lay preacher and teacher. His ministry functioned in the reign of God. He was one who got his credentials as one who lived out of the context of Jewish Scripture and knew thoroughly the traditions of the Jewish people in which the Covenant between God and the people were extolled. 

Jesus knew the tradition of the Festivals including the sanctity of the Passover meal and the importance of Pentecost. All of the various Festivals were enactments and re-enactments of some major event in the life of the Jewish people, namely: the stories of creation; the exodus from slavery; the Day of atonement and the sacrificial system in worship celebrated in the priestly tradition; the wisdom traditions which lifted up experience, the mind, and thinking among people who trusted mind and spirit to solve and discuss everyday problems; the prophetic tradition, which contended for justice on behalf of the poor and spoke directly to those who oppressed the poor - calling for righteousness on behalf of those who oppressed the poor; the Apocalyptic tradition, which contended for poor people once the prophetic tradition had been frustrated and the poor were continually oppressed which led to the belief that God, God’s self would be the one who would do what the King or the oppressors would not do. Jesus knew that tradition which said, “Yahweh is King.” 

The Lay movement is chiefly about extolling the traditions of the ministry of Jesus, the Christ, through preaching the Kingdom of God and its inbreaking of that tradition which had broken into life and which will be completed in the future. That kingdom has already come and will be completed in the completed ministry of Jesus through God’s continued presence in the ministry among God’s people.

This Lay Manual is intended to be one which recognizes that the Lay people have a ministry and mission. In reminding the Church of the lay structure which is the strong point of this Manual, it at the same time reminds the Church that the structure must fulfill the first phase of its work; form follows function. The form of ministry must be consistent with its mission that is to always be consistent with the service and fulfillment of its mission. The revised Manual must illuminate and live out the mission of the Lay Ministry Department and their delegated roles as it shows not only the structure of the Lay Department but those actual parts in ministry.” 

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As we continue to experience the joy of the Lord, the time is upon us for the convening of the 2018 General Conference. I remain thankful to God for allowing me to serve you… Additionally, I once again express thanks for your support over the past forty-eight months and ask for your continued support for our work and the whole of Lay Ministry, during the General Conference. As we embark on Birmingham, I pray that you will come with your learning hats on, your eyes wide open, and prepared to stay up late and not abandon your delegate responsibilities before the closing session on June 29th.  

I stated in the April Update that contributions to the Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship Fund dated after March 31, 2018 would be credited to the 2018-2019 giving period (October 2018-March 2019)… One exception has been made due to a contribution that should have appeared in the April Update. See the Updated 2017-2018 contributors HEREThe amount of contributions received, thus, totaled $12,708.01.  

The 2018 Graham/Webb/Kennedy Scholarship Application is accessible on the Department of Lay Ministry Web Site; it also appears in the May Issue of the Christian Index. I, again, urge you, particularly Lay Leaders, to copy or download the complete application and distribute to your 2018 high school graduates. 

Please click Here to see the latest “Steward Moment” prepared by Mr. Freddie McKnight, President of the Connectional Steward Ministry.  

Another revision of the Stewardess Ministry Manual, “Preparers of the Lord’s Table” will go to print soon after the General Conference ends. Appreciation is extended to the Stewardess Ministry Episcopal District Vice Presidents for their input and contributions to the revisions and additions that were made. 

“CONSIDER THIS” - The well-being of a family, a society, an educational system, and yes, the church, lies within the active concern and ultimate actions of its members. Therefore, if we as lay men and women are to live out our purpose of studying, seeking, sharing, and serving, we must show concern and a willingness to be actively involved in the work of our local churches. Keep in mind that many of the most effective actions and ministry efforts are developed at the local church level, rather than the district, region, or connectional level. This means that a major portion of the responsibility for church growth and program effectiveness must be vested in the local church, more specifically the laity… It is no mystery that lay men and women most involved in the true service of the church are those who feel personally responsible and empowered to address important issues.  

Helping to solve problems, confronting tough issues, and being actively involved in and concerned about the stability, growth and overall spiritual welfare of the local church will promote individual and collective growth.  

Hence, instead of reading books and memorizing what other congregations (don’t get me wrong, it’s good to read) have said and done, create and add to your own local church history with positive actions!


Lay Ministry Updates