The Pan-Methodist Commission held its final meeting of the 2008-2012 quadrennium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The meeting was led by Bishop Alfred L. Norris, chairperson. Hosted locally by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the meeting began Friday, March 23 and ended on Saturday, March 24.
In addition to the usual business sessions, the Commission visited a community agency which supports families, men, women and children. On the afternoon of March 23, the Commission visited the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, Inc. (BPHI), “a nonprofit organization committed to reducing homelessness by promoting independence and self worth through advocacy, housing, and comprehensive services.” As is the Commission’s custom, a donation for assisting the on-going work in the war against poverty was presented to BPHI.
Following the tour of BPHI, the Commission members were transported to the Mt. Hermon AME Church for the enjoyment of gracious hospitality and a delicious meal served banquet-style in the fellowship hall completed during the 7-year tenure of Bishop John White, ecumenical officer of the AME Church. Bishop White was elected to the episcopacy just after the completion of that modern facility.
An inspirational and exciting worship and communion service was held in the sanctuary with representatives in attendance from most of the Pan-Methodist member churches. Bishop McKinley Young, once chair of the Commission, delivered a dynamic, soul-stirring message using John 17:11-21 which had been read by Dr. Stephen Sidorak, General Secretary of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Young reminded an enthralled congregation of what it means to be sent and how both clergy and laity are compelled to respond to the call.
On Saturday morning, March 24, continuing business included the finalization and adoption of the 2012-2016 budget, and the composition of a letter to the Attorney General of the State of Florida and to the Attorney General of the United States. The letter expresses the collective disdain and outrage at the murder of Trayvon Martin and the seeming lack of concern of law enforcement officials for the apprehension and retention of George Zimmerman. The Commission also discussed the mounting conflict surrounding voter registration. Several members of the Social Concerns Committee are developing a statement of concern about that issue, as well.
To mark the conclusion of the quadrennium, Bishop Alfred Norris presented certificates of appreciation to the Commission members.
Bishops attending the meeting were:
Bishop Violet Fisher (UMC) Bishop Kenneth Monroe (AMEZ) Bishop Alfred L. Norris (UMC) Bishop Sharon Rader, Ecumenical Officer, (UMC) Bishop Teresa Snorton (CME) Bishop John White, Ecumenical Officer, (AME) Bishop McKinley Young (AME) Bishop George W. Carver Walker, Sr., Senior Bishop (AMEZ).
The Pan-Methodist Commission has as its purpose “to work to define, plan, and in cooperation with established agencies, execute activities that foster meaningful cooperation.” The member denominations are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the African Union Methodist Protestant Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Union American Methodist Episcopal Church, and The United Methodist Church. The Commission’s administrative secretary, Dr. Mary Love, has forwarded a comprehensive report to each of the general conferences of the member denominations. The report reflects the work of the Commission spanning the last four years.
The 11th Consultation of Methodist Bishops has been set for March 10-12, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. More details are forthcoming. Every Pan-Methodist bishop will receive notification of the meeting.
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