The Council of Bishops
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
Jamaica Pegasus Hotel
25 June 2013
Public Statement from the Council of Bishops
The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church convened its Annual Meeting in Jamaica, the 16th Episcopal District. For the first time since 1978, the Bishops of the Church have come to this nation to deliberate on various issues confronting the Church.
We congratulate Bishop Sarah Frances Taylor Davis on her Investiture as President of the Council of Bishops. We also acknowledge, with joy and prayer, Supervisor Claytie Davis on his election as the President of the Supervisors’ Council.
We are appreciative for the impeccable hospitality of the 16th Episcopal District in hosting the Council of Bishops and The General Board, along with other component meetings during this week. Friendly, helpful faces have greeted us from the time of arrival, and the flow of Christian love and kindness has not waned. The 16th District has hosted us in excellent form. The nation of Jamaica has extended extraordinary courtesy and encouragement through government officials, faithful AMEs and the host facility. On behalf of the AME Church, we say thanks to Bishop & Supervisor Davis, The 16th Episcopal District and Jamaica!
We acknowledge the excellent performance of the Finance Department and the Office of The General Secretary (Dr. Lewis, Dr. Cooper and their staffs). They, along with Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, President of the General Board, have created a wonderfully efficient meeting. Thanks to all!
The Council of Bishops asks the African Methodist Episcopal Church to note the following:
I. Legal Matters
The bishops recognize the concern of our church with various matters with legal ramifications. On the advice of legal counsel, we are not able to comment on the pending litigation which we face in various parts of the world. The Council would like the Church to know that we are pursuing situations with due diligence. We ask the church to pray for an outpouring of love and peace which will help us to focus on our true mission for Christ.
II. Bishops’ Vision Conference
Recognizing the depth of the issues confronting the church, the Bishops are planning to enter an extended season of assessment, reflection and visioning. This activity will be coupled with the annual Bishops’ Retreat in January 2014. The outcome of these discussions should be apparent in the coming months. We ask the church to keep our leadership in prayer during these conversations.
III. The Council Presidency Succession
Since the General Conference, it was agreed by the Council of Bishops that the nature of the location of Bishop McCloud should not deprive him of his place in the rotation for the presidency of The Council of Bishops. Preparations have begun for the investiture of Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr. next year in Atlanta, Georgia.
IV. Connectional Meetings
The Bishops urge our denominational family to give support to the various upcoming component meetings. Two which are on the immediate horizon are The MCAM (Music & Christian Arts Ministry) meeting in Chicago, Illinois (July 9-12, 2012), and the 33rd Lay Biennial (July 28- August 1) in Atlanta, Georgia.
V. Missions Concerns
We highlight and invite support for various mission concerns in our global ministry. The Council supports:
The establishment of a connectional AME-SADA Day in May 2014
Namibia Drought Relief (15th District)
We support a special appeal for aid donations in the easing of suffering and the preservation of life. We especially express concern for the plight of women and children, and we urge a response by the Church and other humanitarian entities.
The effort to reconstruct the Episcopal Residence in the 18th Episcopal District
The appropriation of Episcopal Housing funding for the 20th Episcopal District
VI. The Anvil
The Council is grateful for the support of the Connection of The Anvil. We are especially appreciative for the leadership of Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie in the quality and success of this publication. We urge the prompt ordering of paper and digital editions of the current Anvil.
The current beneficiary of this project is The 16th Episcopal District. A gift of $10,000 (USD) will be used for various activities in that district.
We further embrace the exposition of the Class Leader System in the 2014 edition as a part of our Discipleship focus.
The Council affirms the importance of our quadrennial themes around Discipleship. We encourage the emphasis of this important matter among district leaders and within the various components. We urge connectional cooperation as we rally on the Call to Discipleship.
VIII. The Voting Rights Act
Today, the US Supreme Court cast a shadow over the landscape that had been carefully groomed to protect the voting rights of every American and monitor any efforts to disenfranchise voters. The African Methodist Episcopal Church decries the action of the United States Supreme Court eliminating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
In those fifteen states that were being monitored, and others where new disenfranchising laws are being crafted, the AME Church will increase its efforts to register, mobilize and educate potential voters. We urge our membership to be vigilant in detecting violations to our basic right to vote under the guise of affirming the rights of the states.
The AME Church urges Congress to expedite the development of a new formula based on current documented acts of voter discrimination and suppression. Our commitment to justice will continue with greater urgency and vibrancy.
IX. President Nelson Mandela
We express love and concern on behalf of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for President Nelson Mandela. We urge the entire denomination to pray for President Mandela, his family, the people of the Republic of South Africa, and the many persons around the world who love and respect this dear leader and champion of freedom.
On Behalf of the Council,
The Public Statement Committee
Jeffrey N. Leath, Chair
Bishop Sarah F. Davis
Bishop Wilfred J. Messiah
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry