Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Duhart appointed interim technology leader at University of Puget Sound Theresa Duhart, chair of the CIT Ministry and Webmaster for the official CME Website, , was recently appointed the interim leader of the Office of Information Services at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
The University of Puget Sound is a nationally ranked, liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest with a strong commitment to teaching excellence, scholarly engagement and fruitful student-faculty interaction. The University is an independent, predominantly residential, undergraduate college with selected graduate programs building on a liberal arts foundation. Students come from 46 states and 13 countries with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,576 and 209 graduate students, and there are 960 faculty and staff members.
The primary mission of the Office of Information Services is to help faculty, students and staff use information technology to achieve their goals at the University. The chief technology officer leads the department which is comprised of 101 persons and 31 full-time staff members, and five teams - Technical Support Services, Network & Server Services, Database Services, Instructional Technology, and Operations & Administration.
Ms. Duhart has been on staff with the University of Puget Sound for 11 years serving as the director of Technical Support Services for the past eight years. Her new position will provide her with an opportunity to work on short and long-term strategic technology plans for the campus with other constituent groups, along with the daunting task of overseeing information services and administering the IT budget. Additionally, Ms. Duhart will serve as the University’s liaison to several area and regional higher education technology organizations. She will be supported by a team of consultants to assist her during the transitional period. Ms. Duhart is passionate about technology, and has worked in technology for over 25 years in the municipal government, K-12, and higher education fields. She is a part-time faculty member at Tacoma Community College. Ms. Duhart is a Microsoft Certified Professional and has numerous professional certifications in management, training and information technology. She has had several papers published through the premiere computing organization, the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and its Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services (SIGUCCS). Recently, Ms. Duhart and a colleague, Heidi Wasem, wrote and presented an intricate technical paper that documented a three-year project to migrate to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 at the ACM’s SIGUCCS Conference in Edmonton (Alberta), Canada. The paper was one of six selected for a first-ever Web cast and video production. Additionally, the University of Puget Sound, through the Duhart-Wasem team and the efforts of others, won a highly-touted second place communication award in the quick reference category; the first place winner was Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).
Ms. Duhart is active in all levels of the church. She is a member of Greater Love CME Church in Lakewood, WA and serves as the director of Christian Education, president of the Women’s Missionary Society, and a steward. Ms. Duhart is the director of young adult ministries for the Oregon-Washington District, under the leadership of the presiding elder, Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. Under the leadership of Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr., presiding prelate of the Ninth Episcopal District, Ms. Duhart serves as the Alaska-Pacific Region’s treasurer and director of One Church One School, and is a member of the General Connectional Board. Additionally, Ms. Duhart serves as the Webmaster for the Ninth Episcopal District and the Women’s Missionary Council, and is a volunteer with several non-profit organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
A third generation member of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Ms. Duhart hails from Cincinnati, Ohio and Metropolitan CME Church. She has two children, Andrea Lewis, a King County (WA) Housing professional, Kendall Lewis, a Lane College student, and a 10-year old grandson, Arris.
Submitted by Dr. Victor Taylor, General Secretary of the Department of Lay Ministry.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Glory to God!

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:11-14)

May the peace of Christmas be yours today and throughout the new year.
Merry Christmas from The Christian Index.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Christmas Gift to God
By Rev. Dr. Leroy Johnson, 9th Episcopal District (This article will appear in an upcoming Christian Index.)
Christmas is the most popular and best known of all national and international holidays. It began as the time of year that heathens paid homage to their gods. In this vein, many, many years ago, the Christian Church decided to say a mass in recognition of their God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and they called it a ‘Christ Mass.’ This ‘Christ Mass’ subsequently overshadowed all of the heathen’s celebrations and grew into the major international Christmas recognition that we know today.
Without question, Jesus is God’s greatest gift to the world. Brother John nailed it in the third chapter, and the sixteenth and seventeenth verses of his Gospel when he said: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
In as much as God so loved us that He gave to us (the world) His greatest gift, shouldn’t we likewise so love God that we give to Him our greatest gift? Remember, God’s gift of Jesus is a tangible expression of His love for us. We, then, must FIRST learn to love God, in order to express our love for Him! Accordingly, our first gift to God at Christmas should be our love!
Brother Moses expresses it so well in his closing commands to Israel in chapter six of Deuteronomy, verses four through seven, when he said: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” What a beautiful and reverent way to learn to develop a genuine, lasting love for God.
But, let’s not stop with just one gift; we should be generous in our giving to God. Hasn’t He abundantly provided for us, more than we can ever ask or need? Our second gift to God at Christmas should be our service. Our service to God is basically, but not limited to, our time, talent and treasury. It takes time to grow and develop in the Lord: which is why Brother Peter said (II Peter 3:18) “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Failure to give God our due treasury is detrimental to both God and our selves. Why? Thanks for asking! The answer is clearly stated by Brother Malachi in chapter three of his book, verses eighth through tenth. He says: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” The meaning is that when individuals or nations fail to honor God with their tithes and offerings, they rob God of the opportunity to give them the blessings that He has in store for them. Tithes and offerings are like a combination lock: they open God’s storehouse as nothing else can. That is why verse ten directs: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Our third gift to God should be our witness. In spite of circumstances, whether good, bad or indifferent, we should give God a positive witness. Nothing should stop us from sharing with everyone we meet the good news about our God, and what He’s done for each of us. When Job was at his lowest level, he had a high level witness for God. In chapter nineteen, verses 25-27, Job said: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” That Christian of Christians, Brother Paul, gave one of the most powerful witnesses to the Philippian Church in chapter three, verses 13 and 14, when he said: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Won’t you let your witness be one of your gifts to God.
Henceforth, may your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be while.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arrangements for Mrs. Madeline Porter. Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Madeline Porter, a past president - the second president of the Carolina Region Missionary Society, are as follows. Family Visitation at Parkwood CME Church - Thursday, December 14th from 5pm-7pm. Funeral Services at Parkwood CME Church, Tom Hunter Road, Charlotte, NC on Thursday, December 14th at 7pm. Please pray for the family of Mrs. Porter during this time. Submitted by Faye Crowder Phillips, Carolina Region Missionary President

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Update and Correction on the Passing of Mrs. Pearlie Mae Cross. We regret the loss Saturday, December 9th, of Mrs. Pearlie Mae Cross, mother of Connectional Ministers' Spouses, Widows and Widowers President Mrs. Maggie C. Banks. Arrangements for Mrs. Cross are being handled through the Lakeover Memorial Funeral Home, 1525 Beasley Road, Jackson, MS 39206. Phone: 601-362-0162. The funeral service will be held Saturday, December 16, at 11:00 a.m., at the Baker's Grove Church, Pocahontas, Ms (The church may also be listed as located in Clinton, MS). Mrs. Banks can be reached at 337-785-1883. Her email address is

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Saint John, Washington, DC Beyond the Walls

By Rodney Hudson, Associate Minister at Saint John. In a time when many churches in the District of Columbia are withdrawing from the crowded inner-city to the proverbial greener pastures of Maryland and Virginia suburbs, Saint John Christian Methodist Episcopal Church has been standing tall for over 131 years as one of the pillars of the Stanton Road community. It has ignored the courting of developers who have pocketed millions of dollars from the sale of plush condominiums on once owned church property. For many African Americans, this land symbolized more than the resourcefulness of sainted church mothers and fathers, but it was a vital life-link to lost time and a recreated cultural identity that united African and American cultures into one distinct ethnicity. Saint John is one of six CME Churches in the District of Columbia fighting on the frontlines of a societal battlefield where African American youth are seemingly hypnotized by the violence and sexual-laden beats of Gangster Rap. Many of our young have simply followed these gangster moguls of hip-hop down a destructive path of violence and drug-addiction.
Drs. Wardell and Bester Bonner, pastor and first lady of the Saint John CME Church, have been laboring together in the pastorate for over 30 years with six of those years in service at the friendly Stanton Road congregation. Pastor Bonner, himself serving in the preaching ministry for over 49 years, knows all too well the moral destruction that follows when congregations detach themselves from their local school systems and city councils. Pastor Bonner believes that the true battle lines in the Stanton Road community are not drawn across multi-million dollar places of worship or colorful stained glass windows. The true war is raging deep in the hearts of suffering people whose children are enlisted by drug kingpins to sell crack-cocaine. The battle is raging in the hearts and minds of people who are growing weary of the failing social services programs that leave the homeless outside to die in cardboard boxes.
If Saint John was going to be an agent of change in the community, it needed a place of convergence where residents could learn important life skills and hear the Gospel message in a non-confrontational way. This meant that Saint John would have to think “outside-of-the box” to win over some of her hip-hop obsessed youth. These young people lived just doorstops away from their middle class neighbors who reside in the newly constructed condominiums across the street from the church.
God knew exactly what Saint John needed. On Sunday October 16, 2005, Dr. H. Patricia Jones, Presiding Elder of the Washington-Virginia District, along with the Saint John’s Boys and Girls Scouts led a processional of worshippers to the church’s newly acquired community center for a dedication ceremony. The center is adjacent to the church’s educational complex. Soon after renovations were completed, the church commissioned a study to examine the demographics, educational levels, and needs of the residence of the Stanton Road community. The study identified strategic areas of need for which committees were organized to address. Dr. Bester Bonner, who recently retired as the Director of Library Media Services for the District of Columbia Public Schools, graciously accepted the challenge of serving as the Director of the community center. Dr. Bonner wasted no time in using her professional training in education and her skills as an educational administrator in public schools and institutions of higher education environments to prepare a yearlong evangelism curriculum. The curriculum focuses on providing clergy and laypersons alike with cutting edge evangelistic strategies. Many of the volunteers working in the various committees at the community center are social workers, teachers, and lawyers who employ the same skills that they use on their secular jobs to assist those who come to the center for help.
During the summer months of June through September, six African American teens had been murdered in the community. The escalating murder rate in the District led the City government to declare a crime emergency. Enough was enough. Pastor Bonner began to cry out even louder and preach against the murders, prostitution, and illegal drug deals that were taking place in the neighborhood. One could sense the righteous indignation that was tempered with Christian love from each word that spoke truth to power. In the mist of a heat advisory and a crime emergency, Reverend Bonner charged the members of the church with the awesome responsibility of being God’s agents of change. Through the sermon, “Being at the Right Place at the Right Time,” He shared the vision that it was time to march around the community as a symbol of God’s conquest in the community. He challenged the church to consider and meditate on the meaning of the Quadrennial Theme, From Good to Great: The Jesus challenge. He preached, “If the drug dealers and prostitutes won’t come to us, then we’ll take the gospel to them.” Reverend Bonner selected a team of local preachers and laypersons to organize an effort that would be evangelistic, inform the community about the Fall Revival, and offer information on the activities at the new Community Center. These volunteers embraced the pastor’s vision and organized the Jericho March and Parade. The Jericho March would take place on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 and the Jericho parade was scheduled for Saturday, September 9, 2006.
(See the November issue of The Christian Index for the completion of this ariticle.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”- Colossians 3:15
During this period of war and strife in distant lands, whose devastating effects can be felt daily right here at home, it seems peace is hard to find. Yet Paul reminds us in these verses that, as members of the Body of Christ, we have the responsibility to bring peace into the world. We are to be brokers of peace! "And be thankful," Paul says. Peace coupled with thanksgiving. What a wonderful combination for times such as these! Happy Thanksgiving. - KEJones

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

St. John CME, Akron, Ohio Kicks Off Ministry to Men
(This article will appear in an upcoming issue of The Christian Index.) “One Hundred Men in Black” was the theme on Black Male Awareness Day on Sunday October 29th at St. John CME, where Rev. Arthur S. Green is the pastor. The worship service was inspiring, and over 100 men were in attendance.
Mr. Robert Jones, Jr., lay leader of the church, served as the worship leader, with many of the men participating in leading the worship. The music was rendered by the St. John Male Chorus, and the Arlington Church of God Male Choir.
Pastor Green spoke from the subject, "A Hair Cut at the Wrong Barbershop." His message was centered on the life of Samson and he stressed how important it is for men to be the wonderful men that God created. Pastor Green said, "When there are more women than men in worship on Sunday, we are getting our hair cut at the wrong barber shop. When the emergency cards at our schools list the mother and say 'father unknown,' it is a hair cut at the wrong barber shop." He encouraged the men to be proud of who they are, to cherish their heritage and trust God in all things.
Mr. Russell Neal, Ronald Shaw and Alexander Cagle, outstanding men in the Akron community, were honored during the service. Over a period of 12 years, some 100 men in the Akron community have been honored by the church for their dedication and commitment. Mr. Anthony Corbin, who is the director of the Ministry to Men at St. John, said, "It is our goal to meet the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of our men so we can serve God, our families and the community in a more excellent and powerful way." It was a powerful day and a wonderful way to kick off our ministry to men.

Reported by Thelma Bronner

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The funeral arrangement for Rev. Dr. L.L. Barnes is scheduled for Monday, November 13th at 11 AM at Martin Temple Memorial CME Church, 65 South Parkway, West, Memphis, TN 38109 (901) 946-0097. Reverend Louis T. Purham is the pastor. Viewing is at 10 AM.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Passing of Rev. L.L. Barnes We are saddened to learn of the home going this morning of Rev. L. L. Barnes of Memphis, TN (former pastor of Mt. Pisgah CME, Memphis and Carter Temple CME Chicago). He was 93. Mrs. Lucille Barnes may be reached at 1488 Kansas Street, Memphis, TN 38109-1619 (901) 948-8543.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shots from the 5th Episcopal District Ministers and Spouses Retreat, Panama City (Laguna Beach), Florida, Oct. 27-29, 2006

Rev. Oscar Massey, Rev. Mildred Mitchell and
Rev. and Mrs. Bernard Johnson.

Mrs. Frances Jones and Rev. and Mrs. Ore
Spragin enjoy chilly walk on the beach.

Mrs. Wendy Reddick and Rev. John Walker
celebrate dual birthdays.

Rev. and Mrs. Richard McDuffie relax with
a game of Spades.

Editor Jones turns the camera on himself.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bishop Carter makes his first triumphant Missionary entry into the 10th Episcopal District By Rev. Adlai Lawson (This article appears in the October 2006 issue of The Christian Index.) It was joy, happiness and high hopes written in the faces of Ghanaians and Liberians when His Excellency, Bishop Kenneth Wayne Carter made his first entry to Africa through Ghana on the 24th August, 2006.
In Ghana he was met on arrival by Rev. J.A.A Solomon, the mission supervisor and Rev. Adjei K. Lawson, the presiding elder of the North- west district in Ghana region annual conference. He was driven with His entourage to the hotel arranged for his stay while in Ghana. Among the Bishop’s entourage from USA were, Rev. Mary McKinney and Rev. Leon Moore. As young as Bishop Carter is, he was full of energy and not showing any sign of tiredness after the long flight but rather went straight into meeting with his cabinet in connection with the accounting convocation scheduled the next day.
The Ghana Region Annual Conference Accounting Convocation was held at Beulah Temple CME on the 25th August, 2006. In attendance were Pastors, Lay, Missionary, Youth and CYF leaders. A short devotional service was led by the Presiding Elder of South-East district Rev. Albert K. Boateng. The devotional sermon was delivered by Rev. Adjei K. Lawson. The message rooted from Gen. 11:1-10, the theme was "United We Stand, Divided We Fall". Two principles were drawn from the text and these include:
1. Having common goals.
2. Having Effective communication
The Presiding Prelate at this juncture took over affairs and brought greetings to the delegates from the USA on behalf of himself, family, College of Bishops and his entourage. Bishop Carter expressed his profound joy of being elected and appointed to the 10th. He looked very poised and constructive about his resolves for the tenth Episcopal district, while asking them to bear him up in prayer. One of his highlight and prayer for each region in the tenth is to plant 10 new churches in a year. The quadrennial theme "From Good to Great, the Jesus Challenge" was emphasized.
The Presiding Elders of the two districts in Ghana region that is South-East and North-West district were called upon to give the financial stewards of their respective district. Rev. Mary McKinney also gave a very good paper on principles of church planting.
The accounting convocation was adjourned while the Bishop gave the closing prayer and Benediction. The Bishop and his entourage, now including this writer, were driven straight to the Airport in order to catch a flight to Liberia. Indeed we were given a rousing welcome at the Robertson International Airport in Liberia. The Bishop and his team were driven straight from the airport to Mary Sharp CME Church for an evening praise and worship program. The next day, which was the 26th of August, Bishop Carter spent sometime with his Liberian Cabinet and visits to churches around Monrovia and Kakata districts. It was another experience for the Bishop as he was exposed to the form, shape and physical structure of the churches in Liberia. On the contrary, it was an inspirational and spiritual upliftment for the pastors as the Bishop spent sometime in prayer and encouraged them to be firmed and resolute while performing their ministerial duties.
The third day which was Sunday, Bishop Carter after a short fellowship with Mary Sharp CME flew back to Ghana. On arrival he and his entourage went straight to visiting some of the churches and schools in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Two other days of August 28th and 29th, were used to visit the churches outside Accra.
Lastly, the Bishop and his entourage were seen off at the airport on the 30th of August to continue their fact finding mission to Nigeria.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2006 Annual CME Convocation
Houston, Texas

Episcopal District and Totals
First 405
Second 56
Third 153
Fourth 253
Fifth 111
Sixth 94
Seventh 116
Eighth 420
Ninth 83
Tenth 3

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Partial Liturgical Calendar for 2006-07 (Dec. 3, 2006-February 4, 2007)
Liturgical Date - Old Testament - Psalm - Epistle Lection - Gospel Lection
First Sunday of Advent (Purple)
December 3, 2006 Jeremiah 33:14-16 Psalm 25:1-10 Thess.3:9-13 Luke 21:25-36
Second Sunday of Advent (Purple)
December 10, 2006 Malachi 3:1-4 Luke 1:68-79 Phillippians 1:3-11 Luke 3:1-6
Third Sunday of Advent (Purple)
December 17, 2006 Zephaniah 3:14-20 Isaiah 12:2-6 Phillippians 4:4-7 Luke 3:7-18
Fourth Sunday of Advent (Purple)
December 24, 2006 Micah 5:2-5a Luke 1:46b-55 Hebrews 10:5-10 Luke 1:39-45
Christmas Eve and Day (White)
December 24/25, 2006 Isaiah 9:2-7 Psalm 96 Titus 2:11-14 Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)
Christmas Eve and Day (White)
December 24/25, 2006 Isaiah 62:6-12 Psalm 97 Titus 3:4-7 Luke 2:(1-7) 8-20
Christmas Eve and Day (White)
December 24/25, 2006 Isaiah 52:7-10 Psalm 98 Hebrews 1:1-4, John 1:1-14
First Sunday after Christmas (White)
December 31, 2006 1 Samuel 2:18-20 Psalm 148 Colossians 3:12-17 Luke 2:41-52
New Year’s Day (White)
January 1, 2007 Eccleasiastes 3:1-13 Psalm 8 Revelation 21:1-6a Matt. 25:31-46
First Sunday of Epiphany (White)
January 6, 2007 Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 Matt. 1:1-12
Baptism of the Lord
January 7, 2007 Isaiah 43:1-7 Psalm 29 Acts 8:14-17 Luke 3:15-17,21-22
Second Sunday after Epiphany (Green)
January 14, 2007 Isaiah 62-1-5 Psalm 36:5-10 I Cor. 12:1-11 John 2:1-11

Third Sunday after Epiphany (Green)
January 21, 2007 Neh. 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 Psalm 19 I Cor. 12:12-31a Luke 4:14-21
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany (Green)
January 28, 2007 Jeremiah 1:4-10 Psalm 71:1-6 I Cor. 13:1-13 Luke 4:21-30
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany (Green)
February 4, 2007 Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13) Psalm 138 I Cor. 15:1-11 Luke 5:1-11

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Liturgical Calendar in the October Issue. The 2005-06 liturgical year is quickly coming to a close, and CMEs are already looking ahead. The printing of the 2006-07 Liturgical Calendar will be in the October issue of The Christian Index. Although it likely will be early November when that issue reaches your mailbox, there still will be time to prepare for Advent, which begins on Sunday, December 3rd.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Funeral of Darius Helton Set. Bishop Charles L. Helton's son, Mr. Darius Helton, passed away on Tuesday morning, October 3rd, at approximately 4 0.clock a.m.
The funeral service has been set for Saturday, October 7th, 12 noon at the Logan Chapel CME Church, 9505 Parkton Road, Charlotte, NC 28215. Bishop and Mrs. Helton can be reached at 4719 Lawrence Orr RoadCharlotte, NC 28212; (704) 567-6092.

Monday, October 02, 2006

REFLECTIONS: Convocation didn’t suffer from General Conference hangover
Okay. In an earlier article on this web blog, I suggested that perhaps holding the CME Convocation in the General Conference year might serve as a burden on the Church, especially the average member in attendance. But after witnessing the recently concluded Convocation in Houston, TX, it seems there was no discernible hangover from the General Conference at all. I haven’t seen the official numbers yet, but attendance appeared to be good. The Communion Service on Wednesday night was especially packed, practically to overflowing in the Westin Galleria Ballroom. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the overall gestalt of the Convocation, I do have a few points of vew. (1) The preaching was outstanding. If their words are reflective of the hearts of our CME leaders, then it is clear that a new day is on the horizon in the CME Church. The preached word came with power and vision. The preachers challenged the Church at every level to be more accountable, respectful, responsible, compassionate, and longsuffering of others. (2) Although evidently fewer than usual, the Convocation seminar topics appeared relevant and timely. They were defintely related to our new "Good to Great" theme for this new quadrennium. (I think CMEs really like this new theme.) (3) I wonder if holding the meeting in a mall negatively impacted the success of the paying exhibitors and vendors. After laying out the usual nominal fee to set up and take advantage of Convocation traffic, I wonder if they got what they deserved. Locating the vendors and exhibitors on the fourth floor of the main hotel may have been the best location available given the logistical parameters. But from what I could tell, people were really hitting the mall! (4) At the end of the week, there was a lot of mumbling and grumbling about the fact that there was no Convocation transportation for persons needing to get back to the airports. More than a few people were not happy. I don’t know exactly what happened to create the transportation problem, but I do hope it will be fixed by the time we get to Las Vegas next year. (5) And speaking of Las Vegas, boy that was a surprise! When the announcement came during the Convocation Luncheon on Thursday that we are going to Las Vegas for the Convocation in 2007, the audience let out a huge roar. It was like someone had kicked a field goal and won the CME football game! I don’t recall ever hearing a roar like that before when other Convocation sites were announced—not Louisville, not Knoxville, not Nashville, or any other location. I really pray that the Church is making the right decision by taking our annual meeting to “Sin City.” Surely, Las Vegas will be the better for us being there. I just hope we will have more of an impact on the city than the city will have on us. (Photo above is the Ministers' Spouses, Widows/Widowers Department and Episcopal Advisors (Bishops' Wives) at the CME Convocation.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bishop Williamson says we must "go a little farther" to go from Good to Great
If there was any doubt that Houston, TX CMEs were ready to provide a dynamic atmosphere for worship, it was dispelled last night at the Service of Holy Communion for the 20th CME Convocation. The Galleria Ballroom was jam packed as well over 2,000 in attendance participated in this anniversary service of the celebration of the sacrament during this annual event. Senior Bishop William H. Graves, who processed into the service carrying his recently obtained African staff of shepherd leadership, served as liturgist for the evening. Other members of the College of Bishops who assisted were Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr., Bishop E. Lynn Brown, Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, Bishop L.L. Reddick III, Bishop Dotcy I. Isom (retired), and Bishop Paul A.G. Stewart, Sr. Bringing greetings and welcoming remarks was host Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham. Music was provided by the 8th Episcopal District Choir.
In his role as Secretary of the College of Bishops, Bishop L.L. Reddick III introduced the leaders of the Church. In doing so, he made note of the fact that the College of Bishops had been in meetings since Saturday planning the programs that will define the Church in this new quadrennium. One new approach in which the College will engage are new administrative roles being played by the retired bishops. In announcing the committees and commissions over which members of the College serve, several positions were held by our retired leaders. Bishop Reddick said it is important that the Church continue to take advantage of their wisdom and wealth of knowledge.
The speaker for the Holy Communion Service was Bishop Henry M. Williamson, prelate of the 9th Episcopal District. Following an introduction of the speaker by Senior Bishop Graves, Bishop Williamson rose for his sermon. He began by thanking members of the College, especially those who had significant impact on his life and ministry. He included thanks to Chairman of the College of Bishops, Bishop Paul A.G. Stewart, Sr., who would have been the speaker for the evening, but who deferred to Bishop Williamson. Bishop Williamson used as his scriptural text Matthew 26:36-39. Here we see Jesus, who went to a place called Gethsemane along with Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, beginning to be troubled about what was to come. After Jesus informed his followers, he commanded them to remain there and keep watch over him. In verse 39, the writer says "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed for God’s will to be done." The title of Bishop Williamson’s sermon was "He Went a Little Farther," and it was in keeping with our focus on the Convocation theme, "From Good to Great: Developing Effective Servant Leaders." Bishop Williamson began by noting that the 26th chapter of Matthew is full of very important events, including the plot to kill Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, the Lord’s Supper, and Jesus’ agonizing over the things he must face. But the scripture helps us understand that if we are going to go from good to great, we must go a little farther. If we are to develop effective servant leaders, we must go a little farther like Jesus. We must go from membership to relationship with Christ. We must train persons who look to us for leadership to become disciples of Christ, to grow into maturity in the faith. We must give them the knowledge to share their faith with others; to train them to become compassionate servant leaders who care and who are not afraid to name Jesus at work, in the stores, or everywhere. We must equip these servant leaders to bring new souls into the CME Church.
Bishop Williamson said we must get others to "C-ME" for justice; "C-ME" for civil rights, etc. He said that, in the words of a young man he spoke to at Carter Metropolitan in Ft. Worth, TX, "CME" stands for "Christ Means Everything." And Christ should mean everything to us. He is our light, our way out of no way. He is everything.
Bishop Williamson then told the story about growing up in Mercer, TN. When District or Annual Conference time came around, the people would scrape up money for someone to go because everyone could not go. The idea was that if one person went they would bring back information for the church. He said the people would eagerly await the return of their members from conference to share information. As such, those who are in attendance this week should see themselves as ambassadors. "Take back information to your local church. Get with your pastor and ask for a time you will be able to report the news." Take this good news back to your local church—the DVDs, the CDs, and other materials.
"Be able to show that there really were 2,000 people in the Westin Galleria giving praises. As we used to say a long time ago, ‘Who would’ve thunk it?’ A good God has brought us a mighty long way. We’ve come a little farther. So tonight, we need to go a little farther—from good to great!"
Bishop Williamson said that in considering the life of Jesus in the text, we recognize the good job done by Bishop Hoyt on Monday evening in his message. Bishop Williamson said Bishop Hoyt’s message on compassion gave him confirmation that he was on the right track. Bishop Williamson had three points.
First, he said Jesus went a little farther in compassion. Jesus demonstrated this by healing the leper, bringing healing to cripple folk. Bishop Williamson said that, as a church, we go a little farther with education. But we must send more of our young people to our CME campuses. We must have a leadership development process that sends young people to Lane, Miles, Paine, and Texas College. And we must send more to the Phillips School of Theology, our seminary. He said that we take the position that everything is "just grown folks’ business. No! Jesus said suffer little children…also, except you develop a spirit like these children…" So, we must have a similar spirit as the little children, said Bishop Williamson. He said grown folk hold grudges, but children get mad at each other and in the next moment they’re playing again. He said all of us have hurt someone, but we must move on.
We must disciple our children, not discourage them. To often we discourage children when they want to be saved, which is a different response for when there are other things they want to do. If they want to become a doctor or lawyer, we rightly encourage them. But when they want to be saved, or be baptized, or go to Sunday school, we find ways to discourage them. Children may know more about what they want to do than we realize.
With One Church One School, we want every church to partner with a school. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the rural or urban community. Every church is close to one school. As One Church One School Director Mrs. Phedonia Johnson says, "Just go down to the street to the school and introduce yourselves." Who is in greater danger than African American children? One Church, One School says we can go a little farther.
Second, Jesus went a little farther not only in compassion, but in commitment. He says, "Deny yourselves. Take up the cross and follow me." We need people to be like a candle, have a steady light. He asks us as he asked the rich man, "Are you willing to give up all of your riches?" The rich man could only drop his head and walk away sorrowful. We must sell out to smallness, sell out to negative things. Sell out to the "grass hopper" complex—small mindedness—green with envy, jumping to conclusions, and spitting out (negatives).
Don’t castigate your own church. He said this is the same church that calls you by the many titles a person can hold in the church. God wants us to make a great commitment. He said we should be committed to tithes as well as offering. We must go a little farther. We can’t let our church down. Jesus said, "Not my will, but thy will be done." It’s going to take prayer and fasting.
Third, Jesus went a little farther in courage. Jesus had the courage that, given his impending circumstances, he went on to face the Cross alone. Like Jesus, we must have the courage sometimes to fight all by ourselves. He went on and prayed, "Let this bitter cup pass from me, but nevertheless, I have the courage to face what I’m going to face. He had told the disciples, "This is my blood. This is my body." He had told them a new Passover is coming into being. He told them that in a few days, no longer will they need the sacrifice of animals. "I am the sacrificial lamb." Jesus was courageous and willing to go all the way to face his detractors. But he didn’t blame Pontius Pilate. He didn’t blame Judas. Be willing to go a little farther, to go all the way.
Courage kept Jesus on the cross. But he went a little farther and died. He descended into hell. But he went a little farther. He rose from the dead. For 40 days, he walked on earth. Then he ascended into heaven. But he went a little farther. He said, "Go ye, to all of the earth…" If you have compassion, commitment, and have the courage, you can always go a little farther for Christ. Because he is coming back again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bishop Hoyt speaks frankly on Convocation theme: 'Good to Great' leadership must be Compassionate
By Dr. Kenneth E. Jones for The Daily Index, Sept. 27, 2006
Close to 2,000 worshippers crowded the Galleria Ballroom at the Westin Galleria Hotel Tuesday evening for the Keynote Assembly officially opening the 20th Anniversary Annual CME Convocation, Houston TX. Led by Executive Secretary Attorney Juanita Bryant as worship leader, the program seemed to be bursting open with excitement as the first connectional meeting of the 2006-10 quadrennium. The theme for this year’s Convocation is "From Good to Great: Developing Effective Servant Leaders." And the Convocation, whose training and workshops start today, is set to begin laying the foundation of how our churches can effectuate this new thrust.
Music and praise for the evening included the Convocation Praise team, youth dancers from Houston-area churches and the 8th Episcopal District; the 8th Episcopal District Mass Choir, consisting of men from throughout the District; and the Texas College Choir, which traveled from Tyler, TX at the request of host Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham. Participating on the program were General Officers Dr. Willie C. Champion, Dr. Elnora P. Hamb, Dr. Kenneth E. Jones, Dr. Joseph C. Neal, Jr., and Dr. Carmicheal Crutchfield. Bishops participating in the program were host Bishop Cunningham and Bishop E. Lynn Brown. Senior Bishop William H. Graves was presented a specially made African staff by Bishop Kenneth W. Carter as a gift recognizing being recently confirmed a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority. In addition to Bishop Brown, greetings were brought by Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Dist. 13). A reception, hosted by Bishop and Mrs. Cunningham, followed the evening service.
When Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr. stepped to the podium after his introduction by Senior Bishop Graves, it is doubtful that many had any inkling of the type of message they would receive. "I’m going to give a frank talk," said Bishop Hoyt. "I want to speak on our theme ‘From Good to Great’ in terms of a compassionate ministry. But in essence, the focus of the message was that of a model of leadership in the CME Church—going from good to great. The Bishop used as scriptural context John 21:18, in which Jesus admonished Peter that there will come a time when he would stretch out his hands and someone else would take hold of him and carry him where he did not want to go. He said that this background of scripture offered a compassionate viewpoint for ministry. A compassionate form of leadership is one indeed where we must go into places we otherwise might not go—often places of danger. He gave the example of his trips to places such as Columbia, South America, which was a dangerous place. It was a place known as the drug capitol of the world. Under normal circumstances, he would not go there. But he had to go—even knowing of the danger. Yet, there is danger everywhere else.
He talked about human nature and how there are some things that cause us to slip. "We’re all in the need of God’s grace." This set the tone for the Bishop’s exhortation that we must know the nature of the church before we go from good to great.
Bishop Hoyt said first, we are a legal entity. We must observe both ecclesiastical law and secular laws. He said we have liabilities. We accept the requirements of legal corporations. There are things that the government says we must do and we have to do them. But the bishop said that we also reap the benefits of observing secular laws. For example, we don’t have to pay taxes (as a tax exempt entity). Bishop Hoyt said that because we have secular responsibilities, we must negotiate the trappings of a secular world. We must do more than just "pray and sing." We must take care of business. He said trustees, for example, must look after the property of the churches, not transfer church property to themselves. Those on the local church level must understand that sometimes they most receive permission from the larger church first before conducting business on their own. "You are holding in trust the property we have," said Bishop Hoyt. "As a leader, you must operate in the world of civil and ecclesiastical law." If you don’t know the answers to important questions or how to perform certain tasks, go to those who do know, the bishop said. He said there are people in your churches who can do if you ask them. Further, officials in the local church must be trained in their areas of responsibility.
Bishop Hoyt said bishops should act as colleagues—working together for the common good of the Church. Every bishop is equal, including those who are retired, and ministry on the Episcopal level of the Church is a shared ministry. In going from good to great, bishops have to operate with honesty and integrity. He said every person has a right to his or her opinion. He said that in a world of good to great, we need everyone talking to each other. We must be honest with each other about what we see that needs to be done in the church. It’s not about the (individual Episcopal Districts), but everyone.
Second, we are a voluntary organization. Leadership on the Bishops’ level is a microcosm of local leadership. "What gnaws at our integrity is we can’t differentiate between friendship and leadership responsibility," Bishop Hoyt said. He said sometimes (in meetings) we want to vote another way, but then we look over to see friends or relatives and vote in ways that preserve those relationships. We must distinguish from friendship and what is right. Ultimately what goes on in the organizational structure of the church is based on volunteerism. By this we mean that nothing done by members of the group is mandatory or required. He said church is based on "whomever will let them come." But Bishop Hoyt said that too often we turn these words around to say, "Whosoever we want, let them come. No general funds? Don’t come. Wrong clothes? Don’t come. We love (people), but from afar. We must remember that people are volunteering. They can’t be driven to conform. People don’t have to do anything. They don’t have to come to church on Sunday. They don’t have to sing in the choir. Threats don’t help members. Bishop Hoyt said that good leadership doesn’t drive members away. Don’t use the pulpit to embarrass people. He said you can do more with honey.
Bishop Hoyt urged pastors/leaders to motivate people. Don’t chastise all of the time. Standards of affiliation and association with the church organization are affirmed at the local church. After an individual takes his or her vows, they are then able to participate meaningfully. He said membership in the organization—the church—places the individual within the Priesthood of all Believers. But the Priesthood of all Believers includes people who will shout and cuss—perhaps shout then cuss you out. Hesaid these often are hurting people, people who have endured much, gone through sickness… He said stop putting devils everyone. When people act out, that could be their way of crying out for help, saying, "I need someone to care about me."
He equated turmoil with "participatory democracy." We don’t like disturbance, he said, "But I get scared if it’s too quiet." He said there are those who, even faced with the authoritative word of the bishop, will not change. And sometimes those persons don’t change until it’s too late. Yet, there are those who can and have changed. Therefore, "we must still have hope for those who can be saved." He said that regardless, the church will stand. He said given this hope for the believer, the preacher must guard his own soul. "Let not the preacher preach to everyone else, but lose his own soul. We must find a way to help preachers … and lay people who lose their way."
Bishop Hoyt said that we must observe the behavior of others and be able to help boys and girls. Leaders must have training in people skills and people relationship with respect to church structure, including the Discipline.
Bishop Hoyt said leadership is diplomatic. When something is said, there is no turning back. The truth is good, but often the truth hurts. We must learn how to tell the truth without harming others. "Tell the truth but try to build people up." He said leaders must think of the entire process—not only their initial acts, but the consequences. He gave the example of when pastors contemplate moving members from office. "Ask questions before you move someone. A wise leader looks down the road and sees the end before it happens," said the bishop. In this vein, bishops have the responsibility to provide both the negative and positive of given situations such as when considering preachers for transfer. He said that perhaps there should be a ministerial profile on each pastor.
We must be careful not to create a leadership of cultism, to the detriment of the organization. People must be allowed to have a say. In the long run, it will be a better church. Good leadership encourages open dialogue. "There should be no meeting before the real meeting," he said. A them-and-us attitude kills the group, resulting in a demonizing of human beings. We must be issue oriented, not human being oriented. We must have compassion. We must rule with compassion. We must talk with Jesus and walk with Jesus.
We must be conferred with the D.D. degree—"drunk and disorderly;" that is, "drunk and disorderly" with the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Day One – 20th CME Convocation
Yesterday, Monday, Sept. 25th, was the day before the first day of the CME Convocation. The Westin Galleria and Westin Oak Hotels in Houston, TX, were relatively quiet as early arrivers over the weekend included the Bishops, General Officers, host committee members, members of the entourages of the bishops, and others who wanted to avoid the press of the first day. Today will be another story altogether as the full throng of attendees will make their way to Houston for the 20th CME Convocation. The Keynote Assembly is tonight, featuring speaker Bishop Thomas Lanier Hoyt, Jr., presiding prelate of the 7th Episcopal District. The day itself will be highlighted mostly by departmental meetings and registration. Although yesterday was relatively quiet, there were some activities of note. The College of Bishops stayed in private session practically all day. Several of the general officers had scheduled meetings with them, including this editor. My meeting went well, as I shared with the bishops concerns about the need to increase new subscriptions as well as renewals to The Christian Index. My concerns were based on conversations I have had with CME Publisher Dr. William E. George. The Bishops were very empathetic toward my concerns and shared several suggestions on how we might improve subscription levels. Monday evening ended with a VIP dinner hosted by the Convocation Committee. Bishop E. Lynn Brown, 2nd Episcopal District and Convocation Committee chair, was very affable as usual in his introduction of the leaders of the Church. Convocation Director Dr. Tyrone T. Davis ensured that all guests were made comfortable and enjoyed the fellowship and meal. As I said, today is another day. It will begin in earnest my busyness the rest of the week producing The Daily Index. I will try to keep you in touch as much as possible.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do we need the Convocation in the
General Conference year?
Starting Tuesday, September 26, 2006, the CME Church will convene its 20th Convocation in
Houston, TX. It promises to be another great meeting of the Church. In fact, in recent years, the Convocation has become one of the largest
CME gatherings in terms of number of persons who attend. Each year, members from throughout the Church assemble in an appointed place for training in the various departmental ministries and preaching, teaching, and fellowship. This year we return to Houston, a second visit to Texas in the last few years. So you know that everything is going to be BIG!
But the location itself is really not important. What distinguishes this year from other years in which we hold the Convocation is this year is a General Conference year in the CME Church. Why is that important? It is important because a great deal of expense and energy go into preparation for and attendance at the General Conference. Many lay and some clergy take days off from work (vacation or leave) in order to attend our CME meetings. More than a few persons who will show up at the Convocation were also at the General Conference, a 10-day event that takes you out of your normal routine of day-to-day activities. So, to add the Convocation to the days set aside for the General Conference in the same year appears a bit much and a strain on some CMEs. Add to that the additional expenses the Convocation will bring and it makes me wonder if the year in which the General Conference is held should not be a year of hiatus for the CME Convocation. After all, throw in the winter and spring meetings along with the annual conferences and you have a year full of long, expensive meetings. While we love the Convocation, with its great fellowship and training, we might also consider a quadrennial break in the years in which the General Conference is held.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Missing Mae Howard!I can't say exactly when I actually met Mae Howard. It had to be some 20 years ago in the early part of my ministry in the Washington-Virginia District, New York-Washington Conference. There was this lady who always raised her hand during the annual conferences and meetings and had something to say. To say that Mae was "fiesty" is an understatement. Some people thought she was really "over the top." But for me, Mae was just a really good friend. I was her "little brother." When I became editor in 1998, Mae taught me a lot about conducting the business of the Index. She had worked with Bishop Reddick when he was editor, and she brought that knowledge and experience with her in working with me. For several CME Convocations and the 2002 General Conference, Mae was the business manager for the Daily Index. She was very tough, to say the least. Some of the team members would come to me and say, "Dr. Jones," do we have to answer to Mae or can we answer to just you?" I would say, "Go to Mae!" Most of us still laugh about that to this day. I loved Mae Howard. She spoke her mind and didn't care who didn't like it. Of course sometimes that got her in trouble a bit, but she could handle it. She is truly being missed.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A few photos from the General Conference

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What's Inside the August issue (and a little of September)... By now, you should be receiving the July '06 issue of The Christian Index in the mail. Again, I apologize that it took so long for it to move from my computer to your home. With that said, I thought you'd like a heads up on some things to look forward to in the next couple of issues. (1) My editorial is going to take note of the growing popularity of CMEs Online, the alternative site for CME information and a very active "forum." (2) President Bush Names Senior Bishop Graves to TVA Board. (3) Hip Hop and Rap Worship in the CME Church (4) NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars Draft Post Oak CME (Longview, TX) member Clint Ingram (5) Nefertara Clark clercks at Supreme Court of Georgia (6) Douglas Memorial (Beaumont, TX) member becomes local NAACP leader (7) Miles Chapel CME (Houston, TX) invites everyone to a Golf Classic prior to the 20th CME Convocation - Call (713) 672-0619. (8) "The Life of a CME Preacher:" Rev. Calvin Edgerton Goes Home. (9) Rev. Vanessee Burns and Rev. Edward Thomas earn doctorate degrees. (10) Crowley District (Louisiana) Ministers' Spouses Experience New Challenges. Finally, in the September issue, look for a nice story on the resurrection of Katrina-devastated Calvary CME in New Orleans, LA. Happy reading!

Monday, August 28, 2006

We will Catch Up!
I know that some of you have complained about receiving The Christian Index late. We apologize. There are several reasons why The Christian Index does not instantly appear on your doorsteps in a more timely manner. The first reason is that the Department of Publications has undergone a significant physical transition over the past few months, moving part of its operations from its primary location on Elvis Presley Blvd. in Memphis, TN, to a location a few blocks away. This was a huge undertaking which, quite naturally, affected our print schedule. But in addition to that, Publications Services also was required to do a tremendous amount of print work in relation to the General Conference in June and July. A lot of the work came to the publisher late and was rushed to meet General Conference deadlines.
Speaking of the General Conference, being in attendance for that historical event and publishing The Daily Index placed on hold any work I could get done on The Christian Index. Following the General Conference, both the editor and publisher have been working diligently to get back up to our regular schedule. Also don't forget, our publishing department also produces The Missionary Messenger as well as our Sunday School quarterly. So all of us stay very, very busy (and with very small staffs). Our production schedule is going to get better. Just wait and see.
Finally, We're On our Own!
Welcome to the first posting of The Christian Index Online. For some time now, I have been thinking about how to increase the presence of The Christian Index, the official publication of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, on the World Wide Web. Although currently The Index's official site can be found on, there has remained a need for the Church's official organ to have a place where CME's and others can offer immediate feedback on matters that affect the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Moreover, from time-to-time, there will be news items of an immediate nature with respect to its importance in the life of the average CME. And another reason I wanted The Index to be more visible online was because I am very impressed with the progress of a blog site maintained by my counterpart and friend in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Calvin Sydnor, the editor of the AME Christian Recorder.
So here were are. The only thing I ask is that everyone please be patient as we start this new venture. I have no idea how much time and effort it will require to maintain the site, deliver the physical version of The Index, and meet other obligations. Your prayers and input are heavily solicited.