Posted on Thu, Jan 1, 2015
*shop T. Larry Kirkland, Chair, Commission on Publications
The Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
The Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
The Christian Recorder News Break – Christmastide 2014 – Council of Bishops’ Greetings to the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Council of Bishops
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Greetings to The African Methodist Episcopal Church:
The Council of Bishops extends Christmas and New Years greetings to the members and friends of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. We prepared for the Light in Advent and now celebrate the gift of the Light. In Epiphany, and beyond, we look to show we have received the Light with a new, stronger walk of faith. Otherwise, our Christmas praise is in vein.
We appreciate the faithful witness which you have displayed through ministry in your local communities and abroad. We are thankful for the loyal and respectful support given to both clergy and lay leaders. We are grateful for the sacrifices made to sustain the ministry of the denomination on both the connectional and the episcopal district levels. Thank you for your faithful response to the call of the gospel and the work of African Methodism.
The Bishops beckon continued diligence in the struggle for justice. Racism is just one of the demons we challenge. Our legacy presses for justice beyond race, class or gender. Our goal is to follow Jesus and be an advocate for all justice and truth. It is why we deplore the assassination of law enforcement officers even as we decry the arrogant abuse of power by those who hold the public trust. It is also the reason for us to take up the mantle to defend the poor and oppressed in other critical issues.
The Bishops encourage a greater witness of the love of God as we invite and nurture disciples. We must minimize our church politics as we maximize the sweet walk of love to which we have been called in Christ Jesus. We must allow the light of Christ to shine through ministry, teaching and the attitude of our lives in Christ.
The Bishops pray for your blessings. We pray for continued achievements in various arenas. We pray for the increasing love of God, family and church. We pray for those who allow compassion for humanity to be reflected in their kind generosity. We pray for the healing of disease affected bodies, broken hearts, troubled minds, lonely pilgrims and wounded spirits. We pray for understanding in homes and a holy commitment to the young, old and infirm. We pray for comfort for those who mourn.
We ask God for peace and justice in every land, and we seek strength as we act as instruments of peace and advocates for justice. We pray for food, shelter and fulfilling employment. We pray for help and hope for those in need.
We pray for the African Methodist Episcopal Church and all those who follow Jesus in ways inspired by Richard and Sarah Allen. We pray for effective ministry in every corner of the church. We pray for people of faith everywhere. We ask God for wisdom and a holy temperament as we lead the people of God. May God grant us courage for the facing of this time.
With Christmas Joy and the Light of Discipleship,
Jeffrey N. Leath
128th Bishop, President, The Council of Bishops
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