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Sunday, April 5, 2015

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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.
Lawrence L. Reddick III,
Senior Bishop





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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Download the Brochure





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 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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