Our mission is the Great Commission Matthew 28: 19 & 20
Our motivation is the Great Commandment Matthew 22: 37 - 39

Save the Date:
March 17 - 19, 2016
for the

Connectional Lay Council

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SAVE THE DATE'S Connectional Lay Convocation Flyer

AME Zion 2015 Preaching Institute
includes 2014 Library

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Open Letter from the Board of Bishops of The AME Zion Church

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NKJV)

A series of recent events have punctured the myth purported by some that we are living in a "post-racial" America. The statements by Cliven Bundy, questioning whether "negroes" were better off during slavery, coupled with the publicly released tape recordings of vial, racist comments by Donald Sterling have offended the majority of Americans regardless of ethnicity, race, or religious affiliation.

As reprehensible as these blatantly offensive remarks are, we must not become so obsessed by these aberrations that we ignore the insidious, yet subtle ways that racial discrimination remains intricately woven throughout much of our society impacting our people on a daily basis. Most in our communities are not wealthy or famous so their struggles against racially biased attitudes and actions fail to garner the outrage of the broader society and the resultant universal condemnation like these recent events.

So, while we join the myriad of voices which strongly condemn the racists rants of Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and we applaud the sanctions imposed upon him by the NBA; our concern is a much deeper one. Our country must acknowledge that racial discrimination remains systemic and pernicious. The racial impact of such policies as voter suppression, mass incarceration, the stubbornly segregated public and private educational systems, the housing discrimination in communities across the country, and the remaining disparities in employment opportunities and quality healthcare all impact our people far more than ignorant statements by those who get caught saying what some others may only think, but would never say in public.

In her blistering dissent in the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court that upheld a ban on affirmative action in university admissions by the State of Michigan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor writes; "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination." We wholeheartedly agree.

The Board of Bishops of African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, known as "The Freedom Church", calls upon all Christians to break the appalling silence surrounding the issue of race. In an effort to begin this extended conversation and strategic actions, we propose the following:

1. A session be held during our July 2014 Connectional Council that will include a multiracial panel of scholars and community leaders to discuss the issues of race and reconciliation. This presentation should be open to the public.
2. We encourage our pastors, lay leaders, and Christian Education leaders to organize special Bible Studies and Adult Sunday School Classes inviting participation of persons of all races to foster deeper conversations and nurture Christian relationships. Our Christian Education Department will be tasked with identifying appropriate resources.
3. We recommit ourselves, clergy and laity, to work vigorously in all our communities against voter suppression efforts, partnering with the NAACP to push back against any legislation that creates obstacles to the fundamental right of every citizen to vote.
4. Every congregation is encouraged to appoint a coordinator of voter registration and education to train and mobilize our members.

Your Chief Pastors,

The Right Reverend Seth O. Lartey, President of the Board of Bishops
The Right Reverend George E. Battle, Jr., Senior Bishop
The Right Reverend Richard K. Thompson
The Right Reverend Louis Hunter, Sr.
The Right Reverend Kenneth Monroe
The Right Reverend Darryl B. Starnes
The Right Reverend Dennis V. Proctor
The Right Reverend Mildred B. Hines
The Right Reverend W. Darin Moore
The Right Reverend Michael A. Frencher, Sr.
The Right Reverend George W. C. Walker, Sr.
The Right Reverend S. Chuka Ekemam, Sr.
The Right Reverend Joseph Johnson
The Right Reverend Marshall H. Strickland III
The Right Reverend Nathaniel Jarrett
The Right Reverend Warren M. Brown

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