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Wednesday, September 2, 2015                                            View online

 

 

 
 
Appreciation
 
by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 

       Over the weekend, our communications team helped me get to you my request for your prayers during the September 1-2 gathering of the Black Methodists Coalition in Washington, D.C.  I’m writing now to say a word to you about it, and to thank you for praying.
 
        As I write this on September 2, we intend to go to the National Press Club this morning, and, later in the day, participate in a White House briefing regarding our concerns.  The concerns we are placing before the Press Club and before the White House regard these subjects:
·         criminal justice reform
·         educational reform
·         economic justice
·         gun safety reform
·         voting rights legislation
The faithfulness of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church family was obvious during last night’s service.  Your bishops have remarked many times in our conversations that the CME Church always represents well in our support for those groups we commit to.  Last night was no exception, both in your resident cities and in Washington, D.C.  The CMEs present on last night represented all of the episcopal districts within the United States, as well as the Eleventh Episcopal District. 
 
Those who missed last night’s service might be able to get parts of it today at http://livestream.com/accounts/7389290/events/4312322?t=1441040109548 .
 
Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for your support.
 
+Lawrence L. Reddick III
 

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Saturday, August 29, 2015                                            View online

 

 

 

Dear CME Members and Friends,
 
The Fourth Annual CME Unity Summit will be held Monday, September 28, 2015 through Friday, October 2, 2015 at the Rosen Centre Hotel located at 9840 International Drive in Orlando, Florida.
 
Our room block is sold out at the Rosen Centre Hotel.  The overflow hotel is the Westin Orlando Universal Boulevard located at 9501 Universal Boulevard in Orlando. The room rate is $119 per night plus tax and all rooms must be secured with a two-night deposit at time of reservation. The group rate is available through September 11, 2015 (based on availability).  The parking rate is $10 per day.  A hotel shuttle will be available between the Westin Orlando Universal Boulevard and the Rosen Centre Hotel and run once in the morning and once at the end of the day.  The Host Committee will run shuttles during the day.
 
This message will provide you with information on how to make your reservation at the Westin Orlando Universal Boulevard.  
 
All persons who have registered for the CME Unity Summit and need a hotel room, including members of the General Connectional Board, are expected to register for the Unity Summit and make their hotel accommodations.  If you have not registered for the CME Unity Summit, please do so as soon as possible by visiting: www.thecmechurch.org/UnitySummit
 
How to Make Reservations at the Westin Orlando Universal Boulevard 
The room rate is $119 per night plus tax. The group rate is available through September 11, 2015 (based on availability).
1.  Online and telephone reservations will be accepted.  Only one hotel reservation is allowed per name. Multiple reservations will be cancelled. 
2.  Online reservations may be made at our dedicated Web site:  https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/cmeunitysummit2015
You may be able to make, modify and cancel your hotel reservation online.
3.  You may also make reservations by telephone.  Please call the Westin Orlando Universal Boulevard at 1-888-627-7815 and ask for the CME Unity Summit group rate All rooms must be secured with a two-night deposit at time of reservation.
 
 
We appreciate your patience throughout this process.  We apologize for any inconveniences. 
 
For registration and additional information about the CME Unity Summit, visit www.thecmechurch.org/UnitySummit, e-mail unitysummit@thecmechurch.org, or telephone 1-855-263-1870. 
 
 
 
In His Service,
 
 
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, Chair 

 

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You are Invited  to Gather for:
 
"Liberty and Justice For All" 
September 2-6, 2015      Washington, DC

 

 
Dear CME Members,
 
The leadership of the AME, AME Zion and CME churches is calling our clergy and laity to join us in Washington, DC on September 2 through 6, 2015 as we call our nation to action against racism.
 
On September 2nd the AME, AME Zion and CME churches will hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC at 10AM to call upon the nation’s elected political leadership, citizens, and people of good will across the nation to confront and take action to end racism. Joining in solidarity will be the National Council of Churches and other faith communions, who following the Charleston tragedy reached out to African Methodism to offer their support. 
 
This announcement will provide additional information regarding the schedule of events and the official headquarters hotel.  If you plan to attend the events and require lodging, please make your room reservation at the Westin Washington City Center by Monday, August 24 at the group rate provided for this event. 

 

OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS HOTEL
Westin Washington City Center
1400 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 429-1700
Rate $139.00 per night (Group rate is available through August 24)
Code: Black Methodist Coalition or copy and paste the following link into a web browser
https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/events/start.action?id=1508190115&key=1FE45DC6
 
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
 
Worship Services – 7:00 PM
John Wesley AME Zion Church
1515 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-667-3824
Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, Senior Bishop of the CME Church, will be the preacher
Parking:  Complimentary Valet
(Hosted by the AME Zion Churches)
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
 
Press Conference – 10:00 – 11:15 AM
National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045
202-662-7500
Hosted by the AME, AMEZ, and CME Churches.   Supporters are the United Methodist and UAME Churches, the National Council of Churches and representatives from communions which comprise the NCC, and the Conference of National Black Churches.
 
Forum & Briefing – Now To Action!  1:00 – 3:00 PM (Tentative)
The White House – Eisenhower House Office Building
Washington, DC
The focus will be on the role of race in……
1.   Criminal Justice Reform
2.   Education
3.   Economic Justice
4.   Gun Reform
5.   Voting Rights
“The Male Investment Plan”, a toolkit developed at The Great Gathering will be discussed and distributed.  It is designed to effectively position African American males ages 5-25 through a rigorous and dedicated Saturday Academy mentoring program with tools to equip them academically, while also teaching them civil responsibility and spiritual enlightenment. “The Male Investment Plan” is a ready-made tool to be implemented in churches and organizations everywhere.  The only requirement is committed leadership of implementation through successful effectiveness.
 
Sunday, September 6, 2015
 
Worship to be celebrated in Local Congregations and Communities Worldwide:
SPECIAL FOCUS:  “Confession, Repentance and Commitment to End Racism Sunday”
Racism will not end with the passage of legislation alone; it will also require a change of heart and thinking. This is an effort which the faith community must lead and be the conscience of the nation.  We will call upon every church, temple, mosque and faith communion to make their worship service on this Sunday a time to confess and repent for the sin and evil of racism.  This includes ignoring, tolerating and accepting racism and making a commitment to end racism by the example of our lives and actions.  Every faith leader is asked to preach about racism and our responsibility as people of faith to end racism.
 
Worship Tools will be available including:
  • A powerful and moving litany by Bishop Adam J. Richardson
  • Toolkit rollout – “The Male Investment Plan”
 
Please be in prayer as we begin this effort, asking God to guide and empower us for such a time as this!
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:
 
Jeanette L. Bouknight – 313-433-7207;  jlbouknight@sbcglobal.net
 
Jacquelyn “Jackie” Dupont-Walker  213-494-9493;  jdupontw@aol.com or jdupontwalker@gmail.com
 
Terry Spicer – 919-830-9049; terrywspicer@gmail.com
 
Aundreia Alexander – 202-481-6928; aundreia.alexander@nationalcouncilofchurches.us
Please let us know that you will participate with an RSVP. 
Check all that apply:
____   Worship, September 1
____   Press Conference, September 2
____   White House Forum and Briefing (Will be required to provide personal information for entry)
 
NAME: ________________________________________________
 
CHURCH AFFILIATION/ROLE: ________________________________________________
 
CONTACT:  Phone: _____________ Cell:  ___________
Tweet: ___________Instagram ___________________
 
Plan to provide your Social Security # - ONLY if you plan to go to the White House.  Please contact me at  ____­_________________
 
In His Service,
 
Senior Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
 
Dr. Jeanette L. Bouknight
Executive Secretary
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
"The Investment Factor: A Changed People, Changing the World"

 

 

 

 

    Saturday, July 4, 2015                                                           View online

 

 

A Statement of The College of Bishops
of
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 
 
July 2, 2015

 

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that nothing in the Constitution of the United States forbids same sex marriages.  It has opened the door officially to same sex marriages all across the United States.
 
The Supreme Court has issued a judicial decision.  However, as the College of Bishops, we remind you that the Constitution provides for a separation of Church and State.
 
The official stance of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on same sex marriage is stated in the Social Creed, adopted by the General Conference:
Marriage shall be defined as a union between a man and a
woman and under no circumstances shall the Christian
Methodist Episcopal Church either perform same sex
marriages or bless same sex unions [The book of discipline, Revised 2010, page 38].
 
Specifically, we believe that same sex marriages are contrary to biblical teaching and the CME Church’s Discipline.  Therefore, our clergy are not only admonished against performing or blessing same sex unions, but a CME minister who performs a same sex marriage or blesses a same sex union is in violation of the Discipline of the Church and subject to disciplinary action.  Furthermore, no property of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church can be used for any same sex marriage or celebration.
 
We recognize that the above conclusions are heavily weighted on the legal side, but these statements must be made for clarity.  However, as pastors ordained and sent by God, we also recognize that we must continue to prayerfully consider the issues of human sexuality, human marriages and unions, the theology of grace, the theology of love, and what it means for the Church to embody and express God’s grace and to be the active symbol of God’s continuing love in the world. 
 
We must continue to explore what it means to be proactive Christians, demonstrating love for all people and extending the same grace that God has extended to us.
 

Respectfully and Prayerfully,

 

THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

     
+ Lawrence L. Reddick III, Senior Bishop     +Marvin Frank Thomas, Sr.
+ Henry M. Williamson, Sr.       +C. James King, Jr.

+ Thomas L. Brown, Sr.

  +Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr., Retired
+ Kenneth W. Carter     +E. Lynn Brown, Retired
+ James B. Walker     +Ronald M. Cunningham, Retired           
+ Sylvester Williams, Sr.     +Othal H. Lakey, Retired
+ Teresa E. Snorton, Secretary    +William H. Graves, Sr., Retired
+ Godwin T. Umoette, Chair   +Marshall Gilmore, Retired
+ Bobby R. Best    
                                          
                                              

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Thursday, June 18, 2015                                                                  View online

 
 
CMEs Standing with Our AME Family
 
by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 

Dear CME Family:
 
A calamity born in depravity hit at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church on the evening of June 17, 2015, when a gunman took the lives of persons at the church in prayer meeting.
 
As a CME Church Family, let us join with the AMEs in prayer for the healing of the families touched by this tragedy – the families of the victims and the family of the perpetrator. 
 
As your Senior Bishop, I’ve shared on the phone with Senior Bishop Bryant of the AME Church on our behalf, sharing the spirit of unity and mutual mourning as a CME family.  Several of us who are in Dallas, Texas, joined with Bishop Vashti McKenzie and other AME leaders at their Episcopal District Headquarters in a prayer meeting and press conference.  “[We] sat where they sat.”  I hope others of us share in their gatherings and prayer vigils.
 
Violence knows no respect  of persons.  This violent act could have happened – and can happen – within any one of our congregations.  As I said to someone else, “It could have been Vanderhorst (our CME Church in Charleston).”
 
As we gather this Sunday in our churches, let us be sure to lift the AME Church as a family in prayer.  Pray specifically for the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Senior Bishop John Bryant, Resident Bishop Richard Norris, and the people of Mother Emmanuel AME Church of Charleston.  They are in mourning.  Our prayerful support can be strengthening.
 
Moreover, let us espouse the hope that is ours as believers – that hope that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1); the hope that is rooted in the fact that nothing separates us from the love of God.  We are prayerful, yes … but we also will be courageous and forward looking and determined as we preach, teach, and stand for what is right.  For the kingdom, and the power, and the glory – even through these circumstances – belong to God.
 
                        + Lawrence L. Reddick III
 

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    Sunday, May 24, 2015                                                           View online

 
 
Pentecost as Expectancy:
 
Wanting, Waiting and Watching 
 
by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 

 
Dear CME Family,
 
The red of Pentecost attracts me.  Of all the colors of the liturgical seasons, the red impacts me most.  It symbolizes the fire of God and the fire aglow in the people of God.
 
Three verbs pose a trilogy in the titlewanting, waiting, and watching.  There is actually a fourth verb to be mentioned and pondered, but for now let it be three.
 
The Day of Pentecost came when the disciples were responding to the promise and the request of Jesus:  “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49, NIV).  The fact of their prayerful gathering in one place in Jerusalem shows their faithfulness to His request and their desire to see the fulfillment of His promise.  “They all met together continually for prayer,” says Acts 1:14 (NLT), “along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” 
 
They wanted the promise.
 
They waited for the fulfillment of the promise.  The angel had said to them, as they gazed up while Jesus ascended into heaven, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky?  Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven.  And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!”  (Acts 1:11, NLT).  The New Living Translation (NLT) makes the succession of events sound immediate:  “The apostles were at the Mount of Olives when this happened, so they walked the half mile back to Jerusalem.  Then they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying” (Acts 1:12-13).
 
They wanted the promise, and so they waited for its fulfillment.
 
And as they waited, they watched in expectancy.  They waited, and, while waiting, they gathered continually for prayer.  Then, several days later, the Holy Spirit came when there was a rushing wind from heaven, and “what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them” (Acts 2:3, NLT).  They saw … and then heard … what they had been watching for … the evidence of “being clothed with power from on high” as tongues of fire appeared and the disciples began to witness to the works of God in languages (tongues) they had not learned.  “How is it that we hear them in our own language to which we were born?” (Acts 2:8, NASB) asked those from other nations who had come to Jerusalem! 
 
The disciples watched for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise, and God delivered!
 
They wanted, they waited and they watched.  Do we want (more of God)? or wait (for the promise of God)? or watch (in expectancy)?
 
Let me ask about the third of these:  watching.  I believe we want, and that we often are found faithful in waiting, but are we still watching?  Are we watching for God to act?  Are we expecting God to act?
 
This brings me to the fourth verb that has been silent up to now:  working.  And I raise it because I want to say that while we are wanting and waiting and watching, we must remember that God is working.  And because the working is God’s – the One whose ways are infinitely beyond our own – God’s working is beyond our capacity to fully define, or delineate, or box in. 
 
Yes, the red of Pentecost attracts me.  I believe it attracts me because it symbolizes to me the fire of God that is burning within the people of God.  And when that fire is burning within us, we live in the expectancy that God can and will use us as partners in God’s working in the world.  Partners like Peter and John with the lame man at the Temple; partners like Paul and Silas, called out by the Holy Spirit for a special work; partners like Dorcas, a fresh sign of resurrection; or partners like Stephen, called to wear the red of martyr – partners because the fire of God was aglow in each of them, empowering them to do God’s work.
 
Pentecost – wanting and waiting because we have been promised; watching in expectancy because God is still working.  
 

+ Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

 

Sunday, May 3, 2015                                                                  View online

 
 
“Broken windows are not broken spines.”
 
Listening to and Observing Baltimore
 
by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 

 
Dear CME Family:  
 
     Some of us will not forget the pictures of looting in Baltimore … the pictures televised and emailed over and over again to the point of being “unforgettable.” 
 
     But here is the tragedy:  we may forget Freddie Gray, arrested for reasons we do not know and dead after riding in the paddy wagon.
 
     Community leaders in Baltimore and community leaders from other cities who went to Baltimore for the days following last week’s funeral of Freddie Gray did the world many services.  And I believe we can learn from them as we note several things they did.
 
     Leaders in Baltimore showed courage.  If you saw a news clip of the Rev. Jamal Bryant walking the street a few hours after the funeral, when crowds were gathering in the streets and the looting had begun, you saw a pastor who understood that his place was with the people he was called to serve.  His actions matched his talk.  While “the ninety-and-nine” were safely in the fold, he went out to the one (and, statistically, those who looted were less than 1% of those who have been actively calling for justice for months in many cities, though they were the ones who got the major press).
 
     Reverend Jamal Bryant is pastor of Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church in Baltimore.  He is one of the persons who met with the AME, AME Zion and CME Senior Bishops when we came together in response to Ferguson and was with us when we later presented scholarships at the Normandy High School.  He stood with the people in Ferguson, and we saw him standing in Ferguson.
 
     Leaders in Baltimore created relationships and collaborated.  As Reverend Bryant walked the streets and the microphones were placed before him, he acknowledged that the men of the Church had agreed to walk the streets, along with the men of the Nation of Islam.  People of two different spectra of faith (Christians and Muslims) linked together to bring order in their city.
 
     Relationships are not developed in times of crisis alone.  In fact, crises point to the relationships that were already nurtured before crisis began.  Don’t wait for the crisis to build relationships in your church community. 
 
     The Mount Pisgah C.M.E. Church in Baltimore opened its doors, offering not only snacks and refreshments, but a place that became a place of prayer and creative arts to engage the children who were out of school.  Because of its proximity to the Police Station, it became a place of prayer for protesters and police alike.  (The Reverend Joann Jackson is pastor; she was appointed pastor after the passing of the Reverend Lynwood H. Leverette a few months ago.  The Reverend Eric Waddell, Mt. Pisgah’s musician, has also been a part of leadership.)
 
     And there was yet another dynamic to collaboration – rival gangs came together with each other and, also, gang leaders met with church and politicians and other community leaders in Baltimore, agreeing on a common good.   
 
     Leaders in Baltimore crystallized their message.  The church and community leaders in Baltimore who rose to leadership were courageous, collaborated, and they also crystallized their message.  They met, strategized, and one could hear, as they were interviewed, that they were “on point” with their message.
 
     “Broken windows are not broken spines” – while that is the title of this missive, those are not my words.  They were, in fact, the words of Deray McKesson, the community leader from Ferguson who was interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer.  In that interview, Mr. McKesson was pushed more than once; it appeared he was being drawn by the interviewer into the “mis-focus mode” of focusing on the looting.  But Mr. McKesson was clear and clever, moving the message from the broken panes to the death of Freddie Gray:  “I also know that Freddie Gray will never be back, and those windows will be.”  He added, “You are suggesting that broken windows are worse than broken spines.”
 
     (If you haven’t seen the short clip of that interview, you can see it at http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/activist-smacks-down-wolf-blitzer-you-are-suggesting-broken-windows-are-worse-than-broken-spines/.)
 
     Leaders in Baltimore challenge us to step up.  This is, in particular, a message to our clergy.  The “professionalism” of being clergy has moved some of us into cloisters when we are needed on street corners.  It is no longer an “either/or”; it is a “both/and.”  We are needed in our prayer closets and needed on the street corners.  
 
     There was a time I thought my task as pastor was to lead the church’s members into being the greater activists.  However, Baltimore challenged me to think differently because I doubt if the lay leadership of any congregation would have had the same charismatic appeal to collaborative action than a courageous pastor who had built relationships with other Christian pastors, other faith leaders and the city’s gang leaders.  That is not a negative about lay leadership – that is an shout-out-loud appeal for a renewed kind of clergy leadership.
 
     As I have been reminded by a courageous CME clergy woman:  in the present age, community involvement is not an option; it is a requirement for leadership. 

 

                                                       + Lawrence L. Reddick III

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

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Eastertide:

Holiday to Holy Days 

by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick


 
 
Dear CME Family:  
 
          One Easter Sunday in Aberdeen, Mississippi, I heard Rev. Rufus Hill tell the story of the little boy who forgot his Easter speech.  His part was to play the angel and announce, “He is not here!  He is risen!”  That was the only speaking part he had in the play.
 
But, surrounded by the people who had come to see the play, he was overwhelmed and forgot his part.  He started, “He … He … He ….”  Then he spurted out quickly, “He ain’t here!  He done gone!”
 
Easter celebrates the empty tomb (“He done gone!”).  Easter celebrates the triumphant victory of God’s righteousness over the evils of the unjust events that resulted in the cruel crucifixion of Jesus.  But more, it celebrates the victory of God’s eternal purposes over all sin, death and the power that death has held over humankind.  Because of Easter, those who still grieve over life “without husband” or “without wife” or “without Mama [or Daddy]” or someone else deeply loved believe the promise that those who have died in Jesus will rise from the grave as Jesus has risen.  Because of Easter, those who fight the powers of sin – whether sin as oppression or terror or preponderant evil – know that God’s way is the way of victory.   Thus Paul’s words are so poignant:  “O death, where is thy sting?”
 
There are many foundational truths which center us as Christians:  the resurrection is among the most important of them.  As I thought about writing that last line, I wanted to say that the resurrection is “at the center” of our faith.  But how dare I put in tension whether the resurrection is greater than the incarnation? or more important than the Pentecostal promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit?  Since these are all God given and mysterious to our human logic, I trust God will reveal the relevant significance of each one in God’s time and in God’s place.  In the meantime, I shall remember that there is no Apostles Creed without the words, “… crucified, dead, and buried.  But on the third day, He rose from the dead.” 
 
And while Easter Day is a “big day” on the Church’s calendar, the Scriptures do not stop with the one day celebration of “He ain’t here!  He done gone!”  No, the Scriptures celebrate that He, being alive, kept coming back again and again to show Himself alive to His disciples and to others – with, as the Scripture says, “many infallible proofs.”
 
One of the reasons I enjoy the celebrations of each season of the Christian Year (Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, Pentecost, Kingdomtide) is because each season focuses me on God’s continuing eternal acts and God’s persistent seasonal activity in our lives.  Each season is another celebration that God never stops revealing God’s own self to us.  The revelations are “fresh every morning” – “morning by morning, new mercies I see!”
 
For each year of the three-year cycle of selected readings for Eastertide, the lessons focus on Acts.  But in addition, this year’s Scripture lections (selected readings) focus also on John’s Gospel and the epistle of I John.  (For several years the editors of The Christian Index have printed the lections for the seasons of the Christian Year each year just before Advent, but you probably can find them if you search for New Revised Common Lectionary with your search engine).
  
I hope that this Easter Day and Easter Season will be more than holiday for us.  Instead, I pray that this Eastertide Season (“tide” not “time”, like the ever continuing water activity) will become a continuing flood of many holy days – celebrating how God, through the resurrection of Jesus and the continuing appearances of Jesus after the resurrection, floods our lives with various kaleidoscope-like pictures of God’s triumphant victory over injustice, evil, terror and death.

 

                                                       + Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

 

        

 
 

 

 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

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Good Fridays/Black Fridays: 
A Call to Economic, Institutional, and Personal Action
 
Dear CME Family:
 
The Senior Bishops of the AME, AME Zion, and CME Churches, meeting with other representatives of the three denominations on Friday, March 20th, agreed on three major calls to action.
 
The first action is a call to build the concept of “Black Life Matters” by celebrating – with our purchasing power – the entrepreneur spirits and endeavors of Black businesspersons. 
 
The primary way to economically emphasize that “Black Life Matters” is by buying Black – by supporting Black businesses.  We are calling this the “Black Friday Campaign,” and asking for your cooperation with it from Good Friday, April 3rd, at least through Memorial Day, May 25th.
 
A need for an economic component of the “Black Life Matters” talks that began last November among the three Senior Bishops was highlighted during the subsequent meeting in December in Charlotte, N.C.  The suggestion, according to my limited memory, came from the Rev. James Bailey, an AME representative from Chicago.  More than once he emphasized the importance of an economic response that will show the significance of the African American presence to the United States.
 
Senior Bishop John Bryant and Senior Bishop Reddick, less than a week after our March 20th meeting, shared this economic interest with other Methodist bishops during the Consultation of Methodist Bishops in Atlanta, Georgia.  That gathering called together AME, AME Zion, CME, UAME (Union American Methodist Episcopal), and United Methodist bishops in a conclave which meets biennially.  Senior Bishop Bryant spoke of how the dollar goes around in other ethnic communities many, many times before it leaves that ethnic community and goes into the general marketplace, stressing that Black Americans spend too little money in their (our) own ethnic community.
 
As we celebrate Good Friday and move into Eastertide, let us respond to the needs of the communities we serve, which in most parts of the United States are predominantly Black.  Let us celebrate with a focus to build the African American community and ethnic people economically.  Every Friday – Buy Black/Wear Black.  (Note:  an app for Black businesses in the nation is available – usbc.)
 
The call to action in the AME Christian Recorder read:  “If blacks in the United States were a nation we would rank twelfth in the world in Gross National Product, with revenues over one trillion dollars.  … Currently black dollars stay in our community two hours and [are] gone.  In other communities money stays days before it leaves, creating jobs and strengthening those communities.  This Black Friday Campaign will also demonstrate that ‘Black Dollars’ matter.” 
 
The second action agreed upon in the March 20th meeting was to focus on long term development of our youth, especially the African American males, with the type of program envisioned but not implemented by the “Great Gathering” of the AME, AME Zion and CME Churches in Columbia, South Carolina, in the Spring of 2010.
 
We want to implement the plan we envisioned in 2010.  The Rev. Staccato Powell, pastor of Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, who was present on March 20th, has repeatedly stated that these three historic Black Methodist bodies were prophetic in 2010 when they proposed a program for weekly mentoring of Black youths.  At that time it was fostered as a “Save Our Sons” program.  This program, Dr. Powell argued, is a program that builds our youth in strategic, systemic and sustainable ways.  At the request of the gathered bishops and other denominational leaders, he agreed to refine the proposal for presentation to a subsequent May meeting and for “rolling out” by June 2015.
 
A third action is to request members of our churches to respond to the highly politicized delay of the U.S. Senate in its refusal to call forward the confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination for Attorney General. 
 
As Dr. Paulette C. Walker, National President of Delta Sigma Theta has written, “… Ms. Lynch’s nomination has become hostage to issues not germane to her or to how she would run the Department of Justice.”  Those of us who have lived through the tricks and ploys of the “anti-Civil Rightists” know well the ruses and deceits that have kept and still keep Black Americans from prominent places.  Therefore, we agreed to ask people who believe this Attorney General nomination is being mishandled to contact the Office of Senator Mitch McConnell to express that view, using https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/general/one_item_and_teasers/contacting.htm or by calling the switchboard number (202) 224.3121. 
 
This latest meeting on March 20th was hosted by the CMEs in Dallas, and was attended by AME, AME Zion and CME representatives.  The CME Church should be proud of its representatives – the Rev. Vincent Andujo (St.Louis, Mo.), the Rev. Gregory King (Alexandria, Va.), and the Rev. Shazetta Thompson-Hill (Jackson, Tenn.).  Christian Chapel Temple of Faith was the venue, and Host Pastor Vanessee J. Burns was invited by Senior Bishop John Bryant to sit with the group, and then invited by the Senior Bishops Bryant and Reddick to become a part of the regular meetings.  Senior Bishop Battle was not able to make the meeting. 
                                                                                               
 
                  + Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

 

 

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

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The "iFast, iPray, We Grow"
Connectional Fast  
 
Announcements and Resources

 

 

Dear Connectional Members and Friends, 

The iFast, iPray, We Grow Prayer Conference Call
Tuesday, March 17th, 2015   7:00 PM CST, EST, MST, PST
 
Call in number: 712-775-7031  Pin Number 414144088#
 
The conference call line has a capacity of 1,000 callers. In the event that we have an excess of 1,000 callers, an overflow line will be made active. 
 
The Overflow Conference Call in number is (605) 562-0020.  The Pin Number is 169113916#  
 
Your Bishops, General Officers and connectional family will be on the call, so please join us on March 17th, at 7:00 PM!
 
 
iFast, iPray, We Grow Lenten Meditations Available Now on YouTube! 
Several members of the College of Bishops as well as General Officers have produced and posted meditations on YouTube. During this Lenten Season, we will witness to those who are unchurched, for when the Kingdom grows, “We Grow.” These meditations are geared towards our outreach to the unchurched. Please view us on the CME Church Channel  on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/CMEChurch and spread the word. 
 
40 Days through Luke and Acts. During this time of abstinence, feast on God’s word every day. Find the 40 Day Journey at www.thecmechurch.org/2015LentCalendarCME.pdf . Post your insights on Facebook. 
 
The 40 Day Ecumenical Lenten Devotional Booklet can be found at here.
 

In His Service,   

Bishop Godwin T. Umoette
Chair of the College of Bishops
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 
 
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick  
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 
"The Investment Factor: A Changed People, Changing the World"

 

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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Lent:  Choosing What Is Worth More

 “Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless ….”


 
Dear CME Family:  
 
          Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!
 
          The late Bishop Joseph Coles impressed me during his episcopal ministry as one who could say a lot with a few words.  (I often wondered if his gift was related to the necessity of him to economize as he adjusted after a stroke early in his episcopal ministry.  Not having observed his preaching as much beforehand, I did not know.) 
 
          I believe it was a conference teaching session (I’m not sure; memory fails me!) when I heard him say, “Discipline is choosing the greater over the lesser.  That’ what it is:  choosing the greater over the lesser.”
 
          One day in devotional time, I heard that theme anew when I read Psalm 119, verse 37, in the Revised Standard Version:
Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless;
give me life in your ways.
 
          I don’t exactly remember why the verse stopped me that day … but it did.  It stopped me and moved me from being “in devotional time” to being “in study time.”  And I began to look up words in English and in Hebrew.  I heard the word “worthless” as two words – “worth less.”  And I heard Bishop Coles’ definition of discipline, and considered the question, “What is worth more?”  The result was that “study time” resulted in even greater devotional time … because I wanted to know and choose those things that were worth more.
 
          The word “choose” is important – at least, for a few moments.  It was important some days ago when I was challenged to find the right message for a worship service led by the East Texas Region ushers.  Of course, I looked at Psalms 84, which includes the words, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”  Yet, the psalm starts with words descriptive of the pull, the magnetism, the joy, and, yes, the fullness and the glory of getting into God’s house – “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord ….”  Amiable is from a Hebrew word that means “lovely, beloved, pleasant.”
 
          Then I saw that the words translated “I would rather be” (a doorkeeper …) in verse 10 of Psalm 84 are from the word, babar, which can mean, “choosing, distinguishing, proving, trying, selecting.”  Thus, the psalmist is saying, out of a culture where the “tent of God’s presence” existed among other “tents” in Israel’s camp:  “I choose to be in God’s tent rather that in the tents of wicked folk!”  The word “choose” is important; it is highlighted by our conscious actions.
 
          But those of us who have been disciples just a little while know that we don’t always choose what is good, or what is better, or what is worth more rather than what is worth less. And so, like the psalmist in Psalms 119:37, we pray for God’s help, asking God:
Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless;
give me life in your ways.
 
In this prayer, a key word is turn (rather than choose).    The Hebrew translated “turn” is abar, and it means, “to move beyond,” or “to move from here to there,” or “to transfer.”  And so the psalmist is praying (and when we recite the psalm, we can also be praying), “Move me, Lord; move me beyond this to that.  Move me beyond what is worth less to that which is worth more”:
·         -move me from focusing on things that are lesser;
·         -move me from focusing on things that have little value;
·         -set my sights on greater things,
·         -and give me life through your direction.
 
          Lent is an important personal time.  For some of us, it is “taking off”:  “What will you give up?” we ask.  But I am wondering if we might also learn to “take on.”  This becomes my new Lenten question:  “What will you … and what will I … take on for Christ?”  
 
          Yes, it is an important personal time.  But when we ask that question together (“What will you … and what will I … take on for Christ?”), Lent also becomes an important communal time – a time when God’s community is asking that question together and the community is strengthened by the honest asking.  And so it is not just you or I – but all of God’s Church … the Church that is God’s and is holy and is catholic … uses this time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday to pray that God will turn our eyes from things and thoughts that are worth less to things and thoughts that are worth more, and to act by choosing through discipline those that are greater over those that are lesser.
 
          Elsewhere in these web pages and announcements, The College of Bishops calls the CME Church to “corporate prayer and fasting.”  It is a call to discipline.  As you read the call, think about things that are worth more.  The call is about becoming a CME Church that is focused on being available to God as God makes us better disciples.  We want those things that are worth more … for all of us.  The theme, borrowing from the ipads and iphones world and yet moving beyond it, is, iFast, iPray, WeGrow.” 
 
Those who have followed the past Winter Quarter’s series of Sunday School lessons have a head start for this Season – because worshipping, praying, fasting, and living in greater stewardship were our themes for December and January and February.  Now, during this Lenten Season, let us join together as a Church in choosing the greater over the lesser, in praying and fasting that God will do what we and the Psalmist ask:
Turn our eyes from watching what is worth less;
give us life in Your ways.
 
                              + Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick
 
Download this Announcement                        
 
Download the "iFast, iPray, We Grow" Lent Calendar and Resources
 
 
 
 

 

 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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 Official Notice

General Connectional Board

Pursuant to ¶1000.6 of The Book of Discipline, Revised, 2010, the General Connectional Board of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is called to meet at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, September 28, 2015, at the Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, Florida.  The anticipated time for the close of General Connectional Board business is Tuesday afternoon, September 29, 2015.
 
Sincerely,
Lawrence L. Reddick III,
Senior Bishop
 

 

                                          
   

 

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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Friday, February 13, 2015

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Dear Connectional Members and Friends, 
 
The 18th Quadrennial Assembly of the Women's Missionary Council  will convene June 26 through July 3, 2015 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA.  Patron Bishop and Mrs. James B. Walker and the members of the Seventh Episcopal District will host the Quadrennial Assembly.  The theme is, Investing in the Future through Education and Service
 
The Quadrennial Assembly meets every four years between June 1st and July 15th for a total of five days. The purpose of the meeting is training, reporting of activities from past four years, Committee meetings; election of Quadrennial Officers, departmental secretaries and chairs of committees, and recommendations for the next quadrennial.  Pre-Conference meetings are held three days before the actual meeting.
 
This message provides information regarding arrival dates, registration, hotel reservations,  the tentative program schedule, and travel discounts with three major airlines for the Quadrennial Assembly. 
 
 
Arrival Dates for Officers, Staff, Delegates and Alternates 
The Executive Committee, officers and staff are expected to arrive by Friday, June 26, 2015.  Delegates and alternates are expected to arrive by 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 27, 2015. 
 
The Quadrennial Assembly officially opens on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 7:50 a.m. EST. 

 

Registration
Registration for the Quadrennial Assembly has been opened for several months.  The Registration fees are as follows: 
  • Registration:  $150

  • President's Luncheon:  $40

  • Quadrennial Banquet: $50

  • Prayer Breakfast: $30

You may register online or download registration forms at www.womensmissionarycouncilcme.org/2015QA
 
Online registration:  After registering for the Quadrennial Assembly online, you may reserve your room online with the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel. 
 
Mail-in registration:  You may download a registration form at the link above and mail-in your registration.  A hotel reservation form will be sent to you. 
 
 
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel
The room cost per night is $99.00 plus tax. Register early for the Quadrennial Assembly to reserve a hotel room! 
 
 
Tentative Program Schedule
The tentative program schedule for the Quadrennial Assembly is available here:  www.womensmissionarycouncilcme.org/2015QA
 
 
Discounted Rates for Air Travel
 
Delta Airlines
The Group Code for Delta Airlines is NML2K.  Reservations can be made at no charge at www.delta.com. When booking online, select Book A Trip, click on More Search Options and enter the meeting code (NML2K) in the box provided on the Search Flight page. Reservations made at Delta Meetings (1-800-328-1111) will incur a $25 service fee.
 
United Airlines 
Reservations can be made at no charge at www.united.com or call United Meetings Reservations Desk at 1-800-426-1122 and provide the Z Code ZUJD and Agreement Code 740469. For all tickets issued through United Meetings Reservations Desks, there will be a $25 per ticket service fee collected. 
 
American Airlines (Group travel for 10 or more persons)
American Airlines Group & Meeting Travel offers special fares for 10 or more passengers traveling to the Quadrennial Assembly.  Members of the group. traveling together or individually to an event, should contact American Airlines Meeting Services Desk at 1-800-433-1790 for assistance with reservations and ticket purchase.  A service charge, which is subject to change, will apply when ticketing through American Reservations: $25 USD per person for travel within the US 50, Canada, USVI and PR/$35 USD per person for all other itineraries. For US, Canada, USVI, and PR airport purchase the charge is $35 USD per person for travel within the US50, Canada, USVI and PR.
 
 
Additional information about the Quadrennial Assembly will be provided as it becomes available and posted to Women's Missionary Council Web site at www.womensmissionarycouncilcme.org/2015QA, and sent via e-mail to our connectional members and friends. 
 
Please pray for the planning and the success of the Quadrennial Assembly.  
 
 
 
In His Service, 
 
 
Dr. Princess A. Pegues, International President 
Women's Missionary Council
 
Join In!  
In Worship, in Fellowship,
in Study, and in Service 
 
Assembly Theme:
Investing In the Future through Education and Service

 

 

 
 
 

   Liturgical Lectionary Calendar 2014-2015

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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09/02/2015