Bishop 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 – The Public Statement from the Council of Bishops – June 25, 2014
The Council of Bishops
The African Methodist Episcopal Church
June 25, 2014
The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was convened in the annual session on Monday, June 23, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee at the Sheraton Music City Hotel. The following statement is presented to the Church on the actions and concerns of the Council of Bishops.
We continue to be excited by, and committed to, our quadrennial focus on discipleship. The Council encourages continued prayer, study and practice. Let us be good disciples as we make disciples in every place.
GENERAL CONFERENCE FUNDING
The Council of Bishops concurs with the General Board in requesting the collection of additional funds to support the 2016 General Conference which equals a total of 4% of one year’s budget allocation for Districts 1-13.
We proudly present to the Church a new volume of The Anvil. We encourage support of the sale of The Anvil. We express appreciation to Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie for her creativity and tenacity in generating another marvelous publication. We are happy to share that the Irene B. Reid AME Church, in Monrovia, Liberia is the recipient of this year's grant from the proceeds of The Anvil sales.
There is a significant, inclusive plan to help us honor our 200 years of existence as a denomination. We thank Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram for his extensive planning and preparations. We urge the Church to support the ensuing months of remembering, envisioning and praising God for our heritage.
We applaud the dedicated efforts to respond to the goal of education taken by persons involved with institutions of higher education around the world. We are concerned and committed to the welfare of current students, and their families, in AME affiliated schools.
We celebrate with the various schools which have not only rendered innovative and quality services to students and communities, but we also applaud those which have been successful in garnering the support of philanthropic support of their mission.
In the case of Morris Brown College
We express our continued support for the ongoing mission in education of Morris Brown College. While there is no desire to abandon Morris Brown College in the journey of survival, we support the recovery of The AME Church funds invested under unusual circumstances to maintain a firm financial position for the denomination.
An Advisory Committee in Cooperation with Payne Theological Seminary
We agreed to form an Advisory Committee to address the topic of the financing of seminary education in connection with a Lily Endowment funded study through Payne Theological Seminary.
The Interdenominational Theological Center
We agreed to support the financial campaign of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in recognition of our vital link to the ITC for Turner Theological Seminary. Donors are invited to help us fulfill our pledge over the next 24 months.
We agreed to support the annual calendar of health concerns as developed by the AMEC Health Commission. We urge the Church to minister to congregants and the broader community in addressing those conditions which affect our communities in epidemic proportions.
We endorse the continued appeal for support of AME-SADA on the third Sunday of May in 2015 and 2016.
Partnership with the USDA
We acknowledge a cooperative relationship with the US Department of Agriculture especially in the area of feeding programs for children.
Through our Social Action Commission we:
*Reaffirm our support of the Affordable Care Act, and continue our efforts to ensure the uninsured in our families, congregations and communities.
*Call upon the US Congress to pass legislation extending unemployment benefits to millions who have been unemployed for more than a year.
*Call upon the US Congress and each of the states which have not yet done so, to increase the federal and state minimum wage, so that employees who work will be able to support themselves, and their families.
*Call upon the US Congress to pass the President’s legislation to address repayment of college loans.
*In light of increased gun violence and deaths, call upon the US Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks before gun purchases, and oppose recently passed legislation in Georgia, approving guns to be carried in public places, including churches.
*Call upon House Speaker John Boehner to post for a vote in the House, Immigration Reform legislation passed by the Senate.
*Reaffirm our opposition to “Stand Your Ground” laws and continue efforts to have them repealed and/or amended.
*With 20% or more than 46 million Americans in poverty, including one out of every five children, were affirm our opposition to federal and state budget cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutritious Assistance Program) known as food stamps, and urge funding be restored.
*We applaud our students at Payne and Turner Theological Seminaries, and join with them and others in supporting Prisoner Re-entry Programs and legislation at federal and state levels.
*We affirm our support of the administration’s efforts to address Global Warming, and environmental acts which are polluting our waters, air and food, damaging nature, causing sickness and death and undermining our planet.
*We applaud courts, in Wisconsin and Ohio, for ruling unconstitutional legislation which seeks to suppress votes of minorities; and, we urge courts in other states which have passed voter suppression measures to likewise rule them unconstitutional; we also call upon Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014.
We call upon and urge each of our pastors and churches to make September 15th, the kick-off of a campaign to increase voter turnout in our congregations and communities in the upcoming November elections.
*We congratulate the Rev. Cornell Brooks, Esquire, an itinerant elder in the AME Church, upon his election as the National President of the NAACP, and we ask all of us to lift him in prayer as he assumes leadership of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
*We continue to be in prayer and urge every effort be made to rescue and return to their homes and families the more than 200 girls kidnapped in Nigeria; moreover, we reaffirm our opposition to exploitation and human trafficking anywhere.
*We renew our concern about developers from outside Africa who exploit the wealth of Africa with no benefit to the people of the continent, especially Central and West Africa.
*We call upon the United States and European nations to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe which are crippling and harming the people and exacting no consequence upon the political leadership.
*We congratulate The Honorable Peter Mutharika, newly elected president of Malawi, and lift him in our prayers as he assumes leadership of one of the poorest countries in the world.
*The Council strongly renews our call for the nations of the world, and particularly the United Nations, to intervene to end the genocide and slaughter taking place in the Sudan where millions are dying and being tormented.
*We express our opposition to renewed US involvement in Iraq, which is engaged in a civil war and sectarian violence. We believe this matter must be resolved by the Iraqi people themselves, and we express our support for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.
With devotion to the call of Christ and the commitment to serve, we are
The Council of Bishops