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Overview of the Connectional Departments
The structure of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church includes general or connectional ministries and operations to promote the needs and interests of the denomination. These ministries and operations are known as Departments and are headed by General Secretaries.
During the interim of the General Conference, each department reports annually to the General Connectional Board regarding the conduct and administration of their respective offices.
Each connectional department is designed to administer to local congregations and the church and has a standing committee which consists of both lay and clergy representatives from the respective Episcopal Districts.
The departments are divided into Connectional Ministries and Connectional Operations. Connectional Ministries are those departments that are designed to minister directly to the local congregations, district conferences, and annual conferences. Thus, these ministries exist on all levels of the Church. The Connectional Ministries Programmatic Departments are Christian Education, Lay, Evangelism, Mission and human Concerns.
The Connectional Operations departments are designed to serve the Church at the Connectional level and keep the denomination operational. These departments are Finance, Publications and Personnel Services.
Department of Christian Education
The Department of Christian Education provides “cradle to the grave” nurture in the Christian faith for the members of the CME Church. In addition to those activities normally associated with Christian, this department prepares, selects and recommends all literature and materials to be used in CME churches especially for Sunday Church schools, membership training classes and children, youth and young adults.
The Department also prepares, selects and recommends leadership training and promotional literature for ALL the areas of the life and witness of the CME Church. It promotes programs of Christian nurture by keeping the CME Church informed about such activities as Christian Education Week and National Youth and Young Adult Week.
The Department promotes Sunday Schools, Christian Youth and Young Adult Fellowships, Vacation Bible Schools, adult education courses, Bible Study Courses, and so forth.
Through the General Secretary, Dr. Carmichael Crutchfield, it serves as the official liaison between the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the colleges and the theological school which are under the auspices of the CME Church.
Department of Lay Ministry
The Department of Lay Ministry, one of ten (10) General Departments within the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, is led by General Secretary, Dr. Clifford L. Harris.
The Department aids the CME Church in equipping and enabling her members to engage in effective ministry in the Name of Jesus Christ by focusing on The Laos (the whole people of God). The Department, thus, develops information and promotes initiatives that will strengthen and empower “God’s People” to provide meaningful and effective ministry, particularly at the local level of the church. By promoting the Lay Ministry Beliefs of Studying, Seeking, Sharing, and Serving, the Department of Lay Ministry seeks to live out its mission to “Reach, Teach, and Minister to All of God's People, - Equipping Them For Greater Works and Service For Him.”
The Department utilizes the efforts of the Connectional Lay Ministry Council, Connectional Stewards, Connectional Stewardesses, and Connectional Ushers to further assist God’s people enhance and develop their service capacities. The General Secretary provides oversight and leadership for the President of the: Connectional Lay Ministry Council; Connectional Steward Ministry; Connectional Stewardess Ministry; and Connectional Usher Ministry.
Department of Ministry to Men
The Department of Ministry to Men is responsible for developing and promoting throughout the church an effective Christian ministry to by men. The General Secretary is Dr. Leo Pinkett. The purpose of this department to the following:
§1. In the name of Jesus Christ help the C.M.E. Church minister to the needs and concerns of men in the church and communities in which the church is located.
§2. In wholistic ways address the chronic and systemic problems perpetrated upon African American men by unjust, racist and unequal social, economic and political conditions.
§3. In light of the Bible as God’s Word, provide guidance, hope and inspiration to men to become more sensitive to God’s will for their lives, better members of the church, and more responsible fathers, husbands and participants in the life of the community.
The Department of Ministry of Men shall provide programs, strategies, curricula and resource that shall include emphases such as the following:
§1. Systematic study of the Bible as the inspired Word of God.
§2. Effective worship through participation and study.
§3. Opportunities of Christian fellowship of men with other men.
§4. Service projects within the church and community.
§5. Bonding with other men in Jesus Christ.
§6. Mutual support groups to meet the varied challenges of life.
§7. Developing leadership potential.
§8. Facing issues of male health and wholeness.
§9. Responsible stewardship, personal finances and use of credit.
§10. Community and political involvement and participation.
§11. Mentoring & tutoring boys.
§12. Transitioning boys to men.
§13. Legacy and heritage appreciation.
§14. Growth in understanding and appreciation for CME church.
§15. Discovering and utilizing spiritual gifts.
Department of Evangelism and Missions
The Department of Evangelism and Missions develops and promotes programs that help local congregations become more aware of and involved in evangelism and social issues. The General Secretary is Rev. Dr. Faith Allen.
The department directs workshops, seminars, and conferences, at annual, district and local congregational levels on the meaning of and strategies for evangelism and the social ministry of the church. It also prepares position papers and statements on vital social, political and moral issues before the church and the world and represents the CME Church, when necessary, at conferences and seminars when these issues are being debated.
This department serves as the focal point of the ecumenical witness and involvement of the CME Church on evangelistic and social concerns.
Department of Finance
The Department of Finance of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is headed by a General Secretary who administers the General Funds of the Church in accordance with the Connectional Budget approved by the General Conference and the provisions of The Book of Discipline. The General Secretary is Dr. Victor Taylor.
All connectional funds, including the apportionments to the several Annual Conferences, approved by the General Conference, are forwarded to the General Secretary of the Department of Finance with the exception of the 12% Pastor’s Salaries and funds derived from the CME Fire and Casualty Program, the income of the Department of Publications, and subscriptions income from The Christian Index and The Missionary Messenger.
The General Secretary of Finance expends the connectional funds in accordance with the Connectional Budget. The schedule for expenditures is established by the General Connectional Board based on the budgetary needs and expected schedule of income.
The Department of Finance, in consultation with the College of Bishops, explores alternate sources of revenue to aid in underwriting the operational costs of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and presents these costs annually to the General Connectional Board for action.
Department of Publications Services
The General Department of Publications comprises the publishing interests of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. It operates the Miles Bookstore, publishes Sunday School literature, The Christian Index, and other specialty items. The General Secretary is Rev. Dr. Roderick Lewis.
Department of Personnel Services
The Department known as the General Board of Personnel Services was formerly known as the General Board of Pensions of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The Department addresses the general welfare and needs of ministers and full-time lay personnel of the CME Church, covering such areas as retirement benefits, ministerial care and insurance (life, health, fire and casualty, homeowners, auto and business). The General Secretary is Dr. Tyrone Davis.
This Department has developed an expanded program which included concerns of and for the ministry in terms of support and maintenance, counseling, welfare relief, pre-retirement assistance, retirement and survivors benefits of CME ministers.
In addition to the aforementioned concerns, this department oversees and coordinates all pension funds, insurance programs, health services, retirement plans and other related personnel services for ordained ministers in full connection and lay personnel working full-time for the Church. It keeps records and vital statistics of all clerical personnel in full connection.
The department administers those programs of the CME Church that are related to the Department of Superannuated Preachers, Widows and Orphans (SPWO), Department of Personnel Services, the Ministerial Salary Supplement Program, the CME Fire and Casualty Program and any other programs of pensions and insurance that may be established by the Church.
The Christian Index
The Christian Index is the official publication of the CME Church which publishes all official announcements, notices, communications and decisions of the church as directed by the General Connectional Board and/or College of Bishops. The Editor is Dr. Ore L. Spragin.
Although The Christian Index is published on a regular schedule, special publications may be authorized, as the General Connectional Board deems advisable. The edition and publication of The Christian Index is under the supervision of the General Connectional Board’s Standing Committee on The Christian Index and is constituted as provided by the Discipline of the CME Church.
The preparation, edition, promotion and publication of The Christian Index is the responsibility of the Editor who: prepares the manuscripts for publications, including format, selection of materials and editing of materials; manages the circulation of the paper, including promotion, securing and processing subscriptions; supervises all details related to the publication, including printing and mailing as directed by the Standing Committee on The Christian Index; distributes news and informational public relations materials to promote The Christian Index and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
Office of The Executive Secretary
The office of the Executive Secretary serves as the conduit of the CME Church by providing centralized and efficient execution, coordination and follow up of denominational programs. It also handles correspondence, questions and concerns either for referral or for action. The Executive Secretary is Dr. Jeanette L. Bouknight.
Women's Missionary Council
Historically, women had been denied leadership roles in the church – they sang, prayed, shouted and raised money. Mrs. Carolyn Poe, President of the Women’s Missionary South of the East Texas Conference, started a movement toward a larger and official role for women in 1882. In 1890, the Women’s Missionary Society became official.
The Connectional Woman’s Society was formally organized on September 3, 1918 at Capers Memorial Church in Nashville. Dr. Mattie E. Coleman was its first president. This organization is known as the Women’s Missionary Council. It is a Connectional Ministry. Thus, Missionary Societies are a part of all local congregations, District Conference, and Annual Conferences. Dr. Princess A. Rogers Pegues is the International President of the Women's Missionary Council.
The Missionary Messenger is a monthly publication by and for missionaries. White and royal blue are the missionary colors.
…In the Ministry:
In 1918, the General Conference gave authority to license women as local preachers. Today, women serve as pastors, associate pastors, presiding elders and exhorters.
…In the Church:
Women hold various positions in the CME Church among which are stewardesses, trustees, ushers, Sunday School superintendents, Directors of Board of Christian Education and musicians, just to name a few.
The 1930 General Conference granted women the right to be delegates, though they did not have full rights equal to those of men. Today, women comprise an apportionate share of the delegates to the General Conference.
Four Connectional Commissions are responsible for projecting and evaluating the total program of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. These Commissions are as follows:
The Commission on Faith and Order sustains the biblical, theological and historical heritage of the CME Church. It also informs the church of any theological concerns that may be referred to it by either the church or one of its agencies.
The Commission on Life and Witness monitors the denominational life of the church and determines the extent to which the connectional administration of the church is in keeping with its established missions, goals and purpose. It also plans for the future of the church in every area of its life and witness.
The Commission on Social Justice and Human Concerns determines the witness of the CME Church in terms of the social, economic and political issues of the day.
The Commission on Ecumenicity evaluates the nature of the relationship the CME Church should have with other Christian denominations and religious organizations.