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    Sunday, March 27, 2016                                        View online
 
 
 
 
The Easter Faith is Both
 
Personal and Universal
 
by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 

 

Dear CME Family:

                The “ifast, ipray, we grow” emphasis of the Lenten Season asserts that what one does individually affects all.  As I pray and as I fast, we grow … as a congregation, as a denomination, as a universal church; in verbal confessions and statements, as well as in professions of our beliefs through actions that serve and service God’s people across the world.  I was made more aware of the universality of our personal faith expressions this past Holy Week.
 
                In the Scriptures before us this week, John 19:39, more than any other, highlighted the importance of personal faith for me.  I say that because it is this passage that gives me some sense that the Nicodemus who came to Jesus “by night” became an open disciple who, after the crucifixion, joined Joseph of Arimathea to petition for and receive the body of Jesus in order bury Him.    The growth of Nicodemus – from the Nicodemus of John 3 who seems “curious” … to the Nicodemus of John 7:50-51 who seems “cautious” … to the Nicodemus of John 19:39 who is “confessional” in his actions as a disciple – is an example to me of the development of one’s personal faith.
 
                But the Easter message that tells us that the women who went to the tomb to anoint a dead body were then commissioned to “go quickly and tell his disciples” that Jesus is alive and goes ahead of them into Galilee culminates in the larger message called the Great Commission (by Matthew 28) to “go … and teach all nations ….”  This faith that may begin personally is applied and effective universally.
 
                This year’s Holy Week was, for me, a time of seeing the importance of the universal faith – the faith that we express by what we do together, or collectively; or collaboratively … or connectionally.  Let me share with you some of what I experienced.
 
                Because of a 2014 commitment of the College of Bishops to a grouping called the Western West Africa Methodist Collaborative, I have been a part of bishops from four Methodist denominations who have agreed to work together for effective and meaningful ministries in western West Africa (particularly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria).  We made steps together in 2014 and 2015 to fight the Ebola virus in Liberia.  CMEs in Liberia were blessed because we were able to purchase the anti-Ebola “clean up kits” being used in the churches of Liberia during that time through our affiliation in this Collaborative with the AMEs and the AME clinic in Monrovia.
 
                And because of our continued collaboration, I traveled to Liberia (through Ghana) in order to represent the CME family as we joined with AME, AME Zion and United Methodist leaders in strategizing ways to approach both governmental and non-governmental agencies for effective new services in Liberia.
 
                The journey, though, carried me through Accra, Ghana, and carried me to Monrovia and Paynesville, Liberia, where I also shared with CME leaders who were actively engaged in worshipping during Holy Week and seeking God’s direction for meaningful ministries where their congregations are planted.  After talking with Bishop Godwin T. Umoette about the proposed trip, your Senior Bishop contacted the Mission Supervisor in Ghana, Rev. Lawson Adjei, and one of the Presiding Elders in Liberia, Rev. Christian Keller; contacting them opened the door to sharing and to seeing more of the universal significance of our personal and universal faith.
 
                In Ghana, I was able first to see a building that has been erected to house a Bible college for the training of our ministers in Ghana and to meet two prospective students.  Then, I was able to set foot on the 5-acres campus of the CME Secondary School in Accra, where 1,732 students are enrolled and are being challenged and prepared for lifetime learning and serving with the help of more than 70 teachers and administrators.  (Can you imagine?  1,743 students?  Several buildings?  New construction going on?  It sounded and looked more like a young college to me!)
 
                In Liberia, I was able to share on Wednesday afternoon in Holy Week services with the Potters House CME Church (pastored by Rev. Keller); but I was also very, very impressed with how Pastor/Presiding Elder Keller kept his local congregation apprised of connectional events through the use of the internet.  For instance, I heard him broadcasting the podcast message of Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr.  (And I believe they were glad that one of their Bishops came and worshipped with them during their one-hour service on Wednesday of Holy Week.  And as they prayed in that service for me, they prayed for their bishop and for the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church leaders in other lands.)      
 
                In addition, I was able to share with Bishop Clement W. Fugh of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Central Liberia Annual Conference, which was convening the same week as our focused meetings as the Collaborative.
 
                But all of these experiences – in a highly motivating week – pointed to the fact that faith may have its beginnings (like that of Nicodemus) in personal ways, but it eventually stretches beyond the personal to impact the world universally.  The Nicodemus of John 3 stole away to meet Jesus “by night,” but the Nicodemus of John 19 put himself “on the line” to identify with Jesus and His disciples.  Yes, faith is personal … but the collective personal witnesses of all of us impact the world universally and powerfully.  I pray we will not underestimate the impact of our individual and collective faith. 
 
 
+ Lawrence L. Reddick III

 

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    Tuesday, March 22, 2016                                        View online
 
Official Notice
General Connectional Board
 
    
          Pursuant to ¶1000.6 of The Book of Discipline, Revised, 2014, the General Connectional Board of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is called to meet at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday, September 22, 2016, at the Union Station Doubletree Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri.  The anticipated time for the close of General Connectional Board business is Friday afternoon, September 23, 2016, by 3 P.M.
 
Very truly yours, 
 
Lawrence L. Reddick III,
Senior Bishop
 
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    Saturday, February 20, 2016                                        View online

 
 
Bishop Teresa E. Snorton is the
Newly Elected President of
Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC)

 

 
Dear CME Members and Friends,

 

Congratulations to Bishop Teresa E. Snorton, the 59th bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District, on being the newly elected president of Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC). 
 
CUIC member churches are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a partner in mission and dialogue.
 
CUIC kicked off its January 28–30 plenary with opening worship and a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Symbolic of their common work toward unity and reconciliation, representatives from the six Christian denominations jointly served Holy Communion to a congregation filled with worshippers from a diverse body of Christian communities in St. Louis, MO. Held at St. Peter African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the host church, the worship service accentuated the group’s historic and ongoing commitment to work together to be change agents in the world.

“Regardless of how we name ourselves denominationally, we all claim a common brotherhood and sisterhood through Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Teresa Snorton.  
 
“It’s very important that an organization like CUIC be ready to lead the way in helping the faith community express a message that offers hope, a message that continues to do as scripture says: be an advocate for justice and be ones that work until righteousness rolls down.”  
 
Read more here.
 
 
In the Lord’s Service,
 
Senior Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick III
 
Dr. Jeanette L. Bouknight
Executive Secretary
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
"The Investment Factor: A Changed People, Changing the World"

 

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Light and Purpose
 
“This is my Son ….”
 
by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

 

Dear CME Family:
 
                Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!
 
                My disciplined writing days have been limited this past month, but my thoughts have been fluid about the Epiphany Season which is ending.  And I am reminded that while Epiphany is ending this week, it ends in intense brilliance, not in obscurity.  This last Sunday of Epiphany (February 7) is called Transfiguration Sunday, and on this Sunday the Scripture readings lead us to the display of the splendor of Jesus on the mount in the presence of Peter, James and John, and in conversation with Moses and Elijah.
 
… he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.  Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.  [Luke 9:28b-30a, NIV]
….
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.  As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what he was saying.)  [Luke 9:32-33, NIV]
 
                During the earlier days of my ministry, I highlighted the importance of the splendor – the dazzling light, the testimony of a physical aura glowing around and radiating from the person of Jesus.  But somewhere a shift in my emphasis occurred … moving me from a concentration on the dazzling light and Peter’s response in exclamation to the significance of a cloud which covers them all, and the thrust of verse 35:  “A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”  That’s the emphasis on what God does and what God says.     
 
                Now when I hear this passage and get to verse 35, I hear God’s clarifying declaration, as if to alert the drowsy disciples (whose drowsiness may have been as much theological as it was physical), “Moses was great; Elijah was great … but this one is my Son … listen to Him!”  And Luke says, “When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.”  God communicates – clearly – to these select disciples that no one else ranks with Jesus!
 
                In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), this passage is pivotal to the movement of Jesus and the movement of drama of the writers; in other words, while acts of healing and other miracles will still be seen, the physical and theological movement of the Story now heads toward what Jesus alone can and must do … go to the cross, where God in Christ acts sacrificially for humanity’s redemption.
 
                The dazzling light of Epiphany points to purpose:  (1) divine purpose in introducing the light of Jesus into the world, not just as one who is a lawgiver or a prophet or a sage, but as the One who among all humanity has status and authority as God’s Son; (2) divine purpose in the disciples’ witnesses, as they now must reflect upon the significance(s) of what they have seen, what they have heard, and what they will begin to witness in the even more unfolding “rest of the Story”; and (3) God’s purposes for those of each generation (that means you and I) who read and/or hear and then believe the story of Jesus as God’s Son, God’s Light, God’s Love displayed in dazzling ways to the world and who then keep telling that story of our own ways.
 
                One of the songs of the Season that has been in my spirit in recent weeks is this one (from the pen of H. Ernest Nichol):
We've a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright;
and Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light. 
 
                God bless us, Family, to be purposeful witnesses … witnesses who are convinced, focused, persistent, and dedicated to communicating the same message we have read and heard and subsequently believe for ourselves:  “This One is God’s Son!  Listen to Him!”
 
                                                                                                 
+ Lawrence L. Reddick III
 

    Friday, February 5, 2016                                        View online

 
Dear CME Members, 
 
In keeping with our theme: “The Investment Factor” and with our historic commitment to education and the schools founded by our CME forefathers and mothers, the College of Bishops declared the month of February 2016 as “Love Paine College” month. (See the Statement on Social Concerns Issues issued in January 2016). 
 
We ask every local church to take a special offering for the school during the month of February.  Offerings should be made payable to the Department of Finance and submitted to your Presiding Bishop by the end of February. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $100,000 for the school this year. Your support is appreciated!
 
 
In the Lord’s Service,
 
The College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, Senior Bishop
Bishop Bobby R. Best, Chair
Bishop Teresa E. Snorton, Secretary
 
Bishop Henry M. Williamson
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr.
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter
Bishop James B. Walker
Bishop Sylvester Williams
Bishop Godwin Umoette
Bishop Marvin Thomas
Bishop C. James King
Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, retired
Bishop E. Lynn Brown, retired
Bishop Ron Cunningham, retired
Bishop Othal Lakey, retired
Bishop William Graves, retired
Bishop Marshall Gilmore, retired
 

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Attention all Local CME Churches
 
The College of Bishops adopted the following policy on Guns/Weapons on CME Church Property:

 

 
NO WEAPONS OR FIREARMS ALLOWED UPON THE PREMISES OF THIS FACILITY EXCEPT BY AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL AS DIRECTED BY AUTHORIZED CHURCH OFFICIALS FOR SECURITY PURPOSES
Local churches are asked to post this notice on all houses of worship and other church-owned facilities that are open to the public, following any local and state ordinances or laws pertaining to the notice and posting regarding weapons.
 
Additional information at:
www.thecmechurch.org/Announcements/Statement_SocialConcernsIssues2016.htm

 

 

        

Thursday, January 13, 2016                                           View Online

 

 

STATEMENT ON SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES
BY THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS
Presented at the Phillips School of Theology Pastor’s Conference
JANUARY 2016
During this new year season, The College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church continues to be concerned about the various social calamities and tragedies that we hear about in our nation and world daily.
We urge the church to continue to use the powerful vehicle of prayer as a collective expression of hope and faith that God’s presence will be felt even in the midst of trial, tribulation, injustice, oppression, natural disaster and chaos created by human depravity.
We are blessed to be able to make our commitments to these issues real and to assist in the relief of persons affected directly and indirectly by them, not only through prayer, but also by providing donations that resource the relief work and ongoing efforts to alleviate social ill and distress. To that end, we want the Church to know that:
1.  In response to recent weather events, including tornados and floods, disaster relief checks have been distributed to the:
·         4th Episcopal District, North Mississippi Region $1500
·         8th Episcopal District Churches in Texas -Mims Chapel, North Park, Mt. Pleasant CME Churches ($250 each)
·         9th Episcopal District, Oklahoma Region $1500
·         American Red Cross ($250)
·         To be given to the Carolinas Region - $8000
 
2.  In covenant and commitment to advocacy for justice and ecumenical collaboration, other contributions and dues payments made include:
·         Bread for the World $2500
·         American Bible Society $2500
·         Churches United in Christ $5,500
·         Pan-Methodist Commission on Cooperation and Union $4,250
·         Urban League $1,000
·         National Civil Rights Museum $25,000 
 
3.  Last year, in response to the Ebola Crises, we made donations of $6,000 to the Western West Africa Methodist Collaborative: Plan for Working together as the Methodist Family to Enhance Human, Economic, Evangelistic and Healthy Living and $6,000 to the 10th Episcopal District.
The General Funds that the Regions of the Church submit on behalf of the local churches enables the Connectional Church to make these expressions of care to those in need and to those caring for them. We are grateful for your faithfulness in stewardship and giving to make this possible.
 
4.   We further want the Church to know that we continue to be engaged with cooperative efforts with the other Black Methodist Denominations (AME and AME Zion), with the Black Lives Matter movement, with the Freedom Sunday Initiative for Voter Empowerment and many other avenues to speak truth to power and to speak on behalf of the least and the lost.
 
Specifically, in response to the ever increasing number of incidents of police violence against unarmed black people and of gun violence in general:
We have signed the Conference of National Black Churches’ Statement to the United Nations on Police Violence, condemning recent acts that appear to target black people and other people of color;
We stand in support of President Barak Obama’s Executive Order regarding gun control; and
 
We adopt the following policy on Guns/Weapons on CME Church Property:
 
NO WEAPONS OR FIREARMS ALLOWED UPON THE PREMISES OF THIS FACILITY EXCEPT BY AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL AS DIRECTED BY AUTHORIZED CHURCH OFFICIALS FOR SECURITY PURPOSES
 

Local churches are asked to post this notice on all houses of worship and other church-owned facilities that are open to the public, following any local and state ordinances or laws pertaining to the notice and posting regarding weapons.

5. In keeping with our theme: “The Investment Factor” and with our historic commitment to education and the schools founded by our CME forefathers and mothers, we are declaring the month of February 2016 as “Love Paine College” month. We ask every local church to take a special offering for the school during the month of February.  Offerings should be made payable to the Department of Finance and submitted to your Presiding Bishop by the end of February. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $100,000 for the school this year.

 
In conclusion, we urge every local church and every pastor to be engaged in these kinds of ministries in their own community, town, city, county, and state as we recall and bring life to the words of the prophet Amos (5:24) to “let justice roll down like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
 
In the Lord’s Service,
 
The College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, Senior Bishop
Bishop Bobby R. Best, Chair
Bishop Teresa E. Snorton, Secretary
 
Bishop Henry M. Williamson
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr.
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter
Bishop James B. Walker
Bishop Sylvester Williams
Bishop Godwin Umoette
Bishop Marvin Thomas
Bishop C. James King
Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, retired
Bishop E. Lynn Brown, retired
Bishop Ron Cunningham, retired
Bishop Othal Lakey, retired
Bishop William Graves, retired
Bishop Marshall Gilmore, retired
 
 

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Thursday, December 31, 2015                                            View the video online

 

 

 
New Year's Video Greeting
from Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III
 
 
 

 

 

 

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015                                        View online

 

Dear Missionaries, CME Members and Friends, 
 
The Women's Missionary Council's 2016 Executive Board Meeting will convene February 28 through March 4, 2016 at the IP Casino Resort Spa located at 850 Bayview Avenue in Biloxi, MS.  Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr. and Dr. Louise Brown and the members of the Fourth Episcopal District will host Executive Board 2016. 
 
This message provides preliminary information regarding registration and hotel reservations for Executive Board 2016.  Additional information will be available at a later date concerning the tentative program schedule and travel discounts with major airlines.

 

Registration
The registration fees for Executive Board 2016 are as follows through January 30, 2016: 
  • Registration:  $150  (Late registration after January 30 is $180. On-site registration is $190)

  • Presidents' Luncheon:  $40

  • Executive Board Banquet: $50

  • Prayer Breakfast: $30

You may register online or download registration forms at www.womensmissionarycouncilcme.org/2016EB
 
Online registration:  After registering online for Executive Board 2016, you may reserve your room online. 
 
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. 
 
 
IP Casino Resort Spa ($95.20 per night)
Our special group rate of $76.00 plus a 12% tax and a $10.08 resort fee per night for a room total of $95.20.  Register early for Executive Board 2016 to reserve a hotel room!  
 
 
 
Additional information about Executive Board 2016 will be provided as it becomes available and posted to the Women's Missionary Council Web site at www.womensmissionarycouncilcme.org/2016EB, and sent via e-mail to our connectional missionaries, members and friends. 
 
Please pray for the planning and the success of Executive Board 2016. 
 
 
 
In His Service, 
 
 
Dr. Princess A. Rogers Pegues, International President 
Women's Missionary Council 
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
 

 

 
 
 THE 20TH ANNUAL
PASTORS' CONFERENCE
&
72ND FOUNDERS' CELEBRATION
 
January 11-14, 2016
 
Sheraton Gateway Hotel 
College Park, GA
 

       Friday, October 16, 2015                                   View online

 
Dear CME Members and Friends, 
 
The Phillips School of Theology announces its Twentieth Pastors' Conference & Seventy-Second Founders' Celebration.  The historical events will convene Monday, January 11 through Thursday, January 16, 2016 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel Atlanta Airport located at 1900 Sullivan Road in College Park, Georgia. 
 
Our guest speakers and presenters will include: 
 
Bishop W. Darrin Moore
Presiding Prelate of the
Western Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal
Zion Church
Dr. Charles G. Adams
Pastor, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church 
Detroit, MI
Dr. Mark Lomax
Assistant Professor Interdenominational
Theological Center
Atlanta, GA
 
Cheryl Kirk-Duggan
Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan 
Professor of Theology
and Ethics 
Shaw University
Divinity School
Raleigh, NC
Pastor Olu Brown 
Impact Church - Atlanta, GA

 

 
The registration fee for the Pastors' Conference & Founders' Celebration is $85.  Online registration is available here. (www.thecmechurch.org/PastorsConference2016). You may reserve your hotel room after registering online.  You may also  download a registration form at the Web site.  The deadline to reserve a hotel room at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel is December 9, 2015. 
 
We look forward to your presence at the Pastors' Conference and Founders' Day Celebration!  Please pray for the success of these events.  For additional information, please visit the Pastors' Conference and Founders' Celebration online, or call 404-527-7768.  
 
 
 
In His Service,
 
Dr. Paul L. Brown, Sr., President-Dean 
Phillips School of Theology at ITC

 

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    Wednesday, November 4, 2015                                                 View online

 
 
 
2016 CME Chaplains Breakfast and Quadrennial Retreat
 
The CME Board of Chaplains, under the leadership of Bishop Teresa Snorton (CME Endorsing Agent), will host its regular breakfast meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 6:30 am and its quadrennial retreat on Thursday-Friday, January 14-15, 2016 for all endorsed chaplains, chaplains/ ministers in specialized settings and any other interested persons.  These events are in conjunction with the Phillips School of Theology Pastors' Conference and Founder's Day Celebration and will be held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel-Atlanta Airport.  The Retreat begins on Thursday at 4 pm and ends on Friday at 2:30 pm.
 
Wednesday's Breakfast is free to all dues paying CME Chaplains, but open to others for a small donation. Retreat registration is $50 and includes resource materials and Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast and lunch. A registration form is available at  www.thecmechurch.org/2016CMEChaplaincyRetreatRegistration.pdf. The deadline for registration is December 31, 2015.
 
This is separate from the registration for the Pastor’s Conference.  You may secure your room at a special rate of $124 by registering for the PST Pastor’s Conference ($85) at www.thecmechurch.org/PastorsConference2016/ or call the Sheraton Gateway at: 800-784- 9400 or (770) 997 – 1100 (A one night’s deposit is required for hotel registration) Hotel reservation deadline is December 15th!
 
The facilitators for the Retreat will be Dr. Gerald Gray, St. and Dr. Kaye Smith. Dr. Gray  is a retired Navy Chaplain, the CEO/Founder of Aphorozein Global Enterprise LLC/A Counseling and Consulting agency and General Manager and Director of Human Services at Pinewood/GO2 Studios- a professional film, television production and distribution company in Fayetteville, Georgia. He has the D. Min. degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. Dr. Smith is the Founder and President of ReClaim Global, Inc., a non-profit, international agency whose mission is “No More Silent Crimes, Silent Victims.” She is an ordained minister with a Ph.D. in Clinical/Spiritual Counseling and is based in Jacksonville, Florida.
 
The dress for the Chaplains Retreat is business casual.  Email questions to Chaplain Johnny Poole, President of the CME Chaplains at cctfoundation@aol.com.
 
 
 
In His Service,
 
 
Bishop Teresa E. Snorton
Chair, CME Board of Chaplains
Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
 
 
 

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03/27/2016