A.M.E. Church, Chicago Annual Conference Report
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Posted on Sun, Oct 15, 2006
October 11-15, 2006
A.M.E. Church Chicago Annual Conference Report-2006
Rev & Mrs. Senyah, pulpit attendees, Members of St James, Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to attend and represent St. James at the 4th Episcopal District’s 124th Session of the Chicago Annual Conference. The conference was chaired by the Rt. Rev. Philip R. Cousin, Presiding Prelate, 4th Episcopal District, Sr. Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church. Host Pastor was Rev. Jesse Hawkins Jr., St. John Aurora.
Delegate: Dr. W.E. Scott Alternate delegate: Mrs. Jarnett Dill
Conference dates attended were October 11-13, 2006
Highlights of the conference session include the following expectations from the Bishop for the next conference year:
- Reinforcement and understanding of the AME Church polity and doctrine
- When asked about “why you are an AME…know the answer….know what an AME is. Bigger (as in Mega Churches) isn’t always better.
- Every member is tasked to bring one new member to the Church in the next 12 months. Some of us can start at home.
- Every member of every official board should be a thither.
The Bishop emphasized that Religion is not democratic, it is autocratic. We shouldn’t vote on biblical principles. We should do it because it’s the right thing to do. If we don’t follow biblical principles we lose effectiveness. The goal of the A.M.E. Church is to change lives in the African-American, Black, Colored, Negro Community. No matter the size of the congregation all command value.
The A.M.E. church has the highest standards of all denominations requiring a Master’s of Divinity to be accepted and ordained into the itinerancy. Pastoral compensation should be appropriate. Where else do we find folks with masters degrees, running what is in effect a company working in some cases for less than $10,000?
An interesting and rather lengthy session centered on “making a joyful noise.” Some things we allow in the Church is just noise…and not biblically sound. We have to train our youth to know and understand the difference. Along with that comes training our youth to dress appropriately and how to praise.
The Bishop spoke of the “feminization of the A.M.E. Church”. While we have men in the ministry, many men outside of the ministry do not regularly attend or participate in key functions in the Church. In most churches it is really the women that do all of the work. (i.e. YPD director). Consequently, we lose opportunities to mentor to young men particularly ages 10-18. If men don’t show men how to be men, where will they get their training? On the street? In jail? What are the implications for the future?
Church growth is possible and the Bishop cited several examples of successful Churches. He said that Churches don’t grow when they:
- don’t evangelize
- don’t look good inside for visitors
- have pastors that rule with an iron fist
- when we don’t allow officers to retire. Clergy must retire at 75, why not officers?
There was a particularly interesting session on assessments. The Bishop explained the history of the assessments and said that it isn’t reasonable to expect reductions in the amount assessed. It is realistic to expect increases; however, a committee will be exploring the current assessments to determine the extent of disproportionment. In that light, a 3% Presiding Elder’s compensation increase will be effective immediately. We are also charged to ensure that each Pastor and salaried employee of the Church has Workers Compensation Coverage in their insurance and compensation package. The Pastor is the employee of the local Church and not of the Conference. We are doing them a disservice if we do not provide adequate coverage.
The Conference Trustee board reported on and approved repairs, renovations and expansion of several churches within the conference including a new roof and fellowship hall expansion for St. James, Elgin.
Finally, we welcome Rev & Mrs. Senyah & Joseph back to St. James for another year of Service to this Church and our community.
It is my hope that in future conference session, more members of St. James will attend to
support our Pastor, support Church growth and to fully capture and understand the mission of the Church, the A.M.E. doctrine and polity as well as other business aspects of the Church.
Dr. W.E. Scott & Mrs. Jarnett Dill
October 15, 2006
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