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Sunday, January 18, 2015

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The Ferguson / Normandy Experience

 
By Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 


Dear CME Family:
 
          Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus! 
 
High school seniors from Ferguson and Normandy, Missouri, heard on Monday, January 12th, from the three presidents of the CME, AME Zion and AME young adult organizations, as scholarships to affiliated Colleges were announced at the Normandy High School by them.
 
For the CME Church, the Rev. Keenan Klein-Winters, Young Adult President, announced the scholarships being offered by CME-affiliated colleges:  full tuition scholarships from Lane College (1), Miles College (2) and Texas College (2).  He also announced a full tuition scholarship to Fort Valley State College.  (The Fort Valley offering, however, may be affected by the high school’s accreditation status.)  
 
The Miles College President, the Rev. Dr. George T. French, Jr., was also present, and gave inspiring remarks to the student body. 
 
For the AME Zion Church, Mr. Brandon Smith announced two full-tuition scholarships to Livingstone College.  And for the AME Church, Mr. Jon Ingraham announced full tuition scholarships to Allen University, Edward Waters College, and Morris Brown College. 
 
While some news reports have stated that these were scholarships given by the “Black Methodist leaders,” it is more proper to say that that the scholarships were announced by us, but offered by the Colleges.  The Presidents of the various Colleges and their Boards of Trustees have full authority over their scholarship offerings and stipulations.  In our case, your Senior Bishop wrote the four CME-affiliated Colleges’ Presidents, informed them that the three Senior Bishops of the CME, AME Zion and AME Churches wanted to be able to announce scholarships for Ferguson students, and asked if they desired to and would be able to participate.  I tell you that I was awed when what was a goal of one scholarship became an offering of six scholarships from CME-affiliated and otherwise related institutions.    
 
(Parenthetically, let me say that that our Interim President at Paine College, Dr. Samuel Sullivan, responded immediately to my communication but informed me, very graciously, that Paine College could not make an offering at this time.  I thank Dr. Sullivan for his call and conversation.  However, CMEs who know the Administration of the Fort Valley State College intervened so that Georgia would be represented, and Fort Valley State gladly made an offering.  It’s good to build relationships!) 
 
The school assembly on January 12 was called by the Principal, Mr. Derrick Mitchell, after our pastor in St. Louis, Rev. Vincent Andujo (Jamison Memorial) contacted him with the information that the three Senior Bishops were interested in making the presentations.
 
Senior Bishop George E. Battle of the AME Zion Church had to cancel his trip to St. Louis on that day due to an emergency; he was represented by Dr. Staccato Powell.   Senior Bishop John R. Bryant of the AME Church was not present because of flight delays that morning; he was represented by Dr. Jamal Bryant.  However, your Senior Bishop was present, along with Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr., the presiding bishop of the Third Episcopal District and resident bishop of that area.
 
In fact, because of Bishop Williams’ graciousness, the Third Episcopal District Headquarters was the site that morning for a meeting between several Ferguson community leaders and the church representatives.  That meeting included Bishop Derrick Robinson (Kingdom Destiny Fellowship International), Rev. Renita Lamkin (St John AME Church), Ms. Cathy Daniels (“Mama Cat”), Rika Tyler, and rapper T-Dubb-O for the community representatives; as well as Senior Bishop Reddick, Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr., Rev. Dr. Staccato Powell (Grace AME Zion, Raleigh, N.C), Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant (Empowerment Temple AME, Baltimore, Md.); Rev. Vincent Andujo (Jamison Memorial CME, St. Louis), Rev. Clarence Witherspoon (Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church, St. Louis), Rev. Staccato Powell II; and the Young Adult representatives in Rev. Keenan Winters (Birmingham, Ala.), Mr. Brandon Smith (Charlotte, N.C.), and Mr. Jon Ingraham (Miami, Fla.). 
 
Suffice it to say that some of the concerns of the community leaders sounded like the concerns in most of our cities – how to open up school buildings that are no longer being used for other projects, how to organize to develop and train community leaders, etc., and how to improve our schools. 
 
A serious point that came out of that meeting – a matter that makes the offering of scholarships even more poignant and time sensitive – is that fact that the Normandy Schools Collaborative is fighting to regain its accreditation.  That is to say, Normandy High School, which is the high school that Ferguson students and Normandy students predominantly attend, is not accredited at this time.  Thankfully, President French was with us to help us understand what that means.  And what that means is that they, as students from an unaccredited high school, will probably not be able to qualify for federal financial aid when they are in college.  Can you imagine graduating … but not being able to qualify for federal financial aid (Pell Grants and the like)?   This fact, I believe, makes our offerings on January 12 more important.   (By the way, Normandy is where our Murchison Tabernacle CME Church is located.) 
 
Let me strike another note here:  the Colleges have offered the scholarships, and the information we delivered about scholarships was printed on the Colleges’ letterhead, signed by the Presidents, and stipulating the requirements, so that there would be little question about what is being offered and what is required.   However, these scholarships do not offer room and board – which can amount to as much as $8,000 - $15,000 at these institutions.  There may be some persons reading this note who would be willing to invest in these students by sending amounts to aid with room and board at these Colleges.  Many if not all of these students will be hard pressed to make it without additional aid.   
 
I express appreciation to the Principal, Mr. Derrick Mitchell, for his cooperation and for the manner in which he lifted to the students the importance of what we were doing.  I was grateful and impressed that the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tyrone (“Ty”) McNichols, was present.  And I was grateful to meet at that gathering the President of the School Board, Dr. Charles Pearson.  Their presence made a great statement to me of their resolves for progress in the Normandy Schools.
 
In keeping with our previously planned schedule, the three Senior Bishops intend to come together March 20th to consider other responses we can collaborate on.
 
Thank you for reading and listening!
 
 
                                                       + Lawrence L. Reddick III
 
   

        

 
 

 

 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

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Marching Out …
Marching in Collaboration …
and Creative Ministry
 
By Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 


 
Dear CME Family:
 
I had intended this note earlier in the week, but did not finish in time.
 
Sunday, January 18th, is the day we asked you to “march out” of your various churches into the community.  Some of you are planning to walk in your neighborhoods today, and some of you are doing other creative things.  If you have pictures of your "walking out" activities today, please send them to CME Communications.
 
One of our pastors on the West Coast spoke to me two weeks ago to let me know that “walking out” into the community was just not so relevant where he was.  But as he began to talk about the nature of the church he pastors as an already actively involved, community-oriented church, he talked about how he and that church would be going out to meet with another congregation (I believe he said Lutheran) and have a period for prayer in the streets on Sunday.
 
Then I learned of a church in my own area – Texas – where the pastor and lay leaders organized a forum for this weekend to include civic leaders and law enforcement officials coming to speak to that congregation and others in the community.  
 
What I’m thankful for is the creative mindset in these two pastors … and for that the reminder that “one size” does not always “fit all.” 
 
Thankfully, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is a diverse church.  We are a church of more than one race, of more than one geographical dimension, of more than one national group, and of more than one culture within nations and groups.  (Yes, I remember preaching in Liberia, when the sermon had to be translated into Bassa, and Kpelle, and Kru!  And I had to preach a shorter sermon, too!  But the church in Liberia reminded me of what it meant to be intercultural.)
 
The person who called me from the West Coast was Dr. David Isom … and he helped me think.  (Somehow I believe he won’t mind me calling his name.)  But I raise his name also to say that if you have responses to anything that I write, I welcome your response.  My email address is llreddick3@yahoo.com (those are the letters “ll” as in my name – not the number.)  All I ask is … please give your name and contact information.
 
Thank you!
 
 

                                                       + Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

        

 
 

 

 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

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Epiphany:  His Appearing and Our Presenting
 
“Sirs, we would see Jesus ….”

 


Dear CME Family:
 
          Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!
 
We are in the season of Epiphany – from January 6 until the day before Ash Wednesday (February 17, 2015).  I’ve long been taught that epiphany means appearing, and we remember this as the Season of lifting up the appearing of God incarnate – God in the flesh, as Jesus Christ, walking among  and talking among human beings, showing by His love and grace the picture of the truth and goodness and grace of a loving God.  “God was in Christ,” Paul says, “reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
 
And while it is true that the Season of Epiphany is about the appearing of Christ – the miracles, the wonders, the profound teachings with ordinary words and ordinary pictures that came from His lips – the Season of Epiphany is also about our presenting, our showing, our acts of witnessing this Jesus as God’s Christ (God’s Anointed One) to the world!
 
The text quoted in the sub-title of this letter is a text that always comes to mind when I think of Epiphany.  It is from John 12 – “Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.  They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request.  “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:20-21, NIV).
 
We are reminded during these days of Epiphany that some people want, and all people need, to see Jesus.  We are reminded that this is a time to spread the knowledge of Jesus as we present Him to the world, generally in our worship services using the green paraments to symbolize the life and growth of the incarnate God among us (we generally use the green except for Epiphany Day [January 6] and the Sunday of the Baptism [the first Sunday after Epiphany Day] and the Sunday of the Transfiguration [the Sunday before Ash Wednesday], which are white).
 
A favorite at the piano during my Epiphany meditation periods has often been this:
 
          We would see Jesus, Mary’s Son most holy,
          Light of the village life from day to day;
          Shining revealed through every task most lowly,
          The Christ of God, the Life, the Truth, the Way.
 
And when these words were sung, those words pointed to a portrait of Jesus in my mind.
 
          But before the hymn was finished, these words also appeared, which pointed me to a portrait of what Jesus calls me to do to follow:
 
                   We would see Jesus, in the early morning,
                   Still as of old He calleth, “Follow me!”
                   Let us arise, all meaner service scorning;
                   Lord, we are Thine, we give ourselves to Thee.
                                                                 [Words by J. Edgar Park]
 
          So, then, Epiphany highlights both His appearing and our service of showing.  How, then, do we show His presence?  How, then, are we still presenting Him?
 
          We generally believe are presenting Him in our preaching, in our teaching, in our missions.  But we are also presenting Him in our healing, in our relieving the wounds of the sick, as we minister to the grieving, in our lobbying for an end to hunger, in our participation to build up our communities and their institutions, in our acts of protests for justice, in our ministries of gifting students with scholarships and aids to help them build themselves up … and in all of these acts done in His name, we are presenting Jesus. 
 
Brothers and Sisters, let us this Epiphany Season show Jesus with acts that present God’s mercy continuing to be seen in the world!

 

 
                                                           + Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

 

        

 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

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Moving Forward to Show
“Black Life Matters” … and More
 
A Report to the CME Church
on Subsequent Requests from Three Senior Bishops
 
By Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 


Updated message:  If you have pictures of your "walking out" activities today, please send them to CME Communications.
 
 
Dear CME Family:
 
          Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!
 
The three Senior Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) and Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Churches met with others on December 19th in Charlotte to confer on strategies for what we emphasized to you in December as a “Black Life Matters” campaign.
 
You symbolically proved forceful in the various congregations of these and other denominations, and our worship services showed our solidarity and solemnity toward this campaign to show the importance of Black American life.  Along the way, many of you expanded our thoughts, emphasizing that our need to pray should include women as well as men and persons of other races and colors who had also been subjected to profiling and disparate treatment in American history. 
 
Dr. Sam Rodriguez, a national Hispanic evangelical leader, was also quoted in our message in December when he emphasized the importance of the roles of police officers in and to our nation.  He wrote:
Eric Garner should be alive today. His death can only be described as tragic. The silencing of his voice and termination of life must be addressed with conviction and compassion.
But then, Dr. Rodriguez added:
Law enforcement officers place their lives on the line
daily and for that we stand with gratitude. 
Nevertheless, as Christians we must repudiate any
and all abuses engagement of excessive force and
actions that harm rather than "serve and protect."
May the "shalom" of God rest upon all of our
communities as we address these issues with truth
and love.
 
 Little did we know at the time that a lone, Black gunman would take the lives of Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos, and claim that their killings were avenge for the death of Eric Garner.  It is important to say that we decry the murder of these officers as we decry and denounce the murders of any persons.  It is because we believe persons have unnecessarily died that have asked your participation in this visible campaign for life. 
 
On December 19th, the three Senior Bishops (Bishop John R. Bryant, AME; Bishop George E. Battle, Jr., AME Zion; and Bishop Lawrence Reddick, CME) were joined by these other representatives of our denominations:  Rev. Vincent Andujo, St. Louis, Mo. (CME); Rev. James Bailey, Chicago, Ill. (AME),  Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, Baltimore, Md. (AME); Mr. Kenneth Dunston, Raleigh, N.C. (AME Zion); Rev. Gregory King, Alexandria, Va. (CME); Rev. Dr. Staccato Powell, Raleigh, N.C.(AME Zion); Rev. Shazetta Thompson-Hill, Medon, Tenn. (CME); and Mr. Herb Watkins, Charlotte, N.C. (AME Zion).   Also present was Bishop Leonard Bolick, Bishop of North Carolina for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  We met in Charlotte at the AME Zion Church Headquarters.
 
      These are the actions we agreed to put forward to our three denominational groups:
 
1)  We as your Senior Bishops intend to make our presence felt in Ferguson, Missouri, and to do something specific while there to support the dreams of people like Michael Brown and his family.  To do so, these are the agreements we came to:
a.    We agreed to go as Senior Bishops to Normandy, Missouri (another St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown’s Ferguson neighbors go to public high school), on Monday, January 12, 2015. 
b.    We agreed to seek at least three scholarships – one representing each of our constituencies from one of the Colleges traditionally associated or affiliated with the AME, AME Zion, and CME Churches.  As your Senior Bishop, I have conferred or asked to confer with the chairs of the Boards of Trustees and the Presidents of these Colleges about ways we as CMEs can help to sponsor such scholarships.  We understand that if this College(s) agree to participate in this offering, the terms and guidelines of the scholarship offers shall be guided by the Colleges’ administrations. 
c.    We agreed to ask our Youth Presidents (in the CME case it will be our Young Adult President, Reverend Keenan Winters) to go with us to the Normandy school on January 12th with the request that they speak to the assembly with the announcement, while the three Senior Bishops stand in solidarity with our respective presidents.
d.   We also agreed to make ourselves available on that day to persons who wish to speak their concerns to us; and, furthermore, make ourselves available for future expressions to us through social media.

 

2)  Knowing that there is a need for authentic action beyond the symbolic witness we shared within the walls of our congregations on December 14th, we are asking our congregations to make our presence felt in the many communities where we are planted around the nation by moving out of the churches on the Sunday of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday – Sunday, January 18, 2015 – following morning worship.
a.    Thus, we are asking you to move beyond the “symbol of black” within the walls of our churches and do a “Walk Out” from all of our churches into our communities on Sunday, January 18, following the morning worship.  If you are located in a town or city where you count “blocks” – please walk at least six blocks in your neighborhood to show your care and concern.  If there are people in your neighborhood who do not know you, please introduce yourself and become acquainted along the way.   
b.    If you are located in a rural area where the next houses are a long way from your worship place, please be intentional about moving within a radius of 3 to 6 miles to show your concern for who is in your neighborhood and to let them know you are representatives of God’s Church in the community.  
c.    And remember:  our objective for the Walk Out is to make the presence of the churches known in every community around the nation, with the understanding that (as someone said), “there is a Ferguson in every community.”  Let us walk out to symbolize the unity of mutual support and strengthening that comes through building relationships and understanding.   
 
3)  Based upon our agreement in conversation on December 19th that one of the primary underpinnings of success in America is growth in economics, we agreed to work together for an economic impact day – specifically, April 4, 2015 (which is the anniversary of Dr. King’s death as well as the day before Easter) – and ask all of our people members to effectually show the impact of Black economics in our communities by buying nothing on that day – except with Black entrepreneurs.
 
We cannot let the serious needs and tragedies of the past months go by without our active involvement for justice.   We believe the three requests we are making are creative and helpful.  We will come together again in the near future, and we will continue to work together toward justice and healing in our nation.
 
          Please remember the dates and join us:  January 12th to Ferguson – pray for us on that day; January 18th – participate prayerfully in “walk out” into our communities; and on April 4th, join us in showing the financial influence of an economic “black-out.”
 
          The mantra began, “Black life matters.”  It is still true.  But as we witness the carelessness with which lives have been taken, the predominance of violence in our communities, and as we witness the precious little thought given to persons of all races when it comes to the callous ways lives are ended in violence, we have to remember that these statements are also true:   Brown life matters.  Yellow life matters.  Red life matters. White life matters.   Yes, ALL LIFE MATTERS, for God has made from one flesh all of the people of the world.   
 
                                                       + Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

 

        

 
 

 

 
   Liturgical Lectionary Calendar 2014-2015

 

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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Dear Connectional Members and Friends,
 
Regretfully we inform you of the passing of Mrs. Vernice Harris, mother of Dr. Clifford L. Harris, General Secretary of the Department of Lay Ministry.  We will inform you of the arrangements as soon as they are complete. 
 
Please keep Dr. Harris, his wife Johnetta and the Harris family in your prayers.
 
 
 
In His Service, 
 
 
Bishop Bobby R. Best
Presiding Prelate of the Ninth Episcopal District 
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 
 
Dr. Jeanette L. Bouknight
Executive Secretary
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
"The Investment Factor: A Changed People, Changing the World"
 
 
 

        

 
 

 

 

 

Phillips School of Theology 

 

"The Seminary of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church"

 
REGISTER TODAY FOR THE
19TH ANNUAL PASTORS' CONFERENCE &
71ST FOUNDERS' DAY CONVOCATION
 
January 12-15, 2015
 
Sheraton Gateway Hotel - College Park, GA
 

Register Online & Reserve a Hotel Room

Download a Registration Form
 
 

Sheraton Gateway Hotel – Atlanta Airport

1900 Sullivan Road

College Park, Georgia 30337

Hotel Reservation Deadline: December 15, 2014

 

  

 
 
 

 

Tuesday October 7, 2014

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Tenth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop Godwin T. Umoette, Presiding Prelate
 
 
The CME Church Observes
50 Years of Ministry in West Africa
 
 
 
Dear Connectional Members and Friends,
 
In the 2008 book, I Can Feel the Drums Beating in My Veins, Bishop Kenneth W. Carter paid homage to his predecessors and their fifty years of service to our CME brothers and sisters on the Motherland.
 
In that same tradition, Bishop Godwin T. Umoette, the first African–born Presiding Prelate of the Tenth Episcopal District/Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, expresses gratitude and deep appreciation for all whose footprints, labor, sacrifice, and strong shoulders upon which he now stands.
 
On December 4-7 2014, our Zion will commemorate 56 years of service in Africa. Bishop Umoette, Sister Elizabeth Umoette, and the Tenth Episcopal Districts invite our western hemisphere brothers and sisters to join in this historic observation of service to our Lord.
 
We are preparing a souvenir book for the occasion.  To that end, we are asking Episcopal Leaders, Connectional Officers, General Officers, Judicial Council, Presiding Elders, Pastors and congregations to send acknowledgments,  goodwill messages, or greetings as follows:

 1. Please e-mail your message (with copy-ready attachment) to
Godwin.umoette@yahoo.com

 2. Mail checks payable to The 10th Episcopal District/PO Box 15641/Fort Worth, TX 76119
 
Following are the prices for messages: Full page-$200.00; half page-$100.00; One fourth page-$50.00.
 
In order to efficiently facilitate the challenges inherent in our bi-continental endeavor, we ask that all messages, greetings, and acknowledgments be directly e-mailed to me no later than November 3, 2014.

If you need additional information, please contact Joyce Howard Johnson [817-832-9601], US Liaison/10th Episcopal District.
 
We look forward to this historic moment in the life and witness of our Zion’s international work, and ask that you pray for divine grace upon our gathering.  We hope to see you in December!

 
 
Your Brother in Service,

+ Godwin T. Umoette
Presiding Prelate
Tenth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Church
"The Investment Factor: A Changed People, Changing the World"

 

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01/18/2015