The Opening Worship service was held on Sunday morning. The music was excellent. There is NOTHING and I do mean nothing like the singing of an opening Hymn at an AME conference. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name was sung with the spirit and the congregation was greatly moved. Sis. Jeanette Hite was among the choir members singing from across the Connectional.
Bishop Anne Henning Byfield preached an off the chain sermon in which she focused on the African American family and things we used to do around the meal table. She reminded us of our history and what we have come through and how we came through it.
During the Business Session, reports of the work of the Officers and Districts were given. I do remember that our District did not use my best photo in the slides when it focused on the work of the YPD.
We had a District breakfast. Candidates came by to share their platforms and solicit our support.
The President’s Luncheon focused on the work of Dr. Shirley Cason Reed. They had a two-page program and ran the ads on the screen. The program gave tributes to Dr. Reed and highlighted the outstanding work that was done under her administration.
The most riveting session for me was the Sunrise Worship Service on Tuesday morning. Bishop Frank Madison Reid gave the WMS a profound challenge and I truly hope the organization listens. He asked the question: “Is your missionary service molded or is it mobile?” In other words, are you stagnant and stuck in a rut or are you going where the need is identified. Then he asked, “Have our missionary societies become museums or mausoleums or are we about to become a 21st century movement?" He preached from Matthew 15: 35-38 and Matthew 10:1, and 5-8. – familiar Scripture passages about Jesus sending disciples to the lost sheep of Israel to heal the sick, feed the hungry, cast out demons, preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And how Jesus noted that the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers.” He titled his sermon, “Fulfilling God’s Purpose with Excellence.” He emphasized how we have to be on a kingdom mission; not on ego trips and a desire for titles, wealth, and riches. He challenged both pastors and lay with the question, “Are we called to be missionaries or have we just made a career out of it?”
He said Jesus gave His disciples spiritual formation and then he gave them spiritual focus. He taught them how to become missionaries. Jesus taught them, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, etc.," so that they wouldn’t just have the language to speak, but they would actually became disciples of Jesus Christ. He said we can’t just wear the white dresses because storms will come and we need to be able to deal with the storms. We have to be spiritually focused, and to stay focused, we have to be born again. Jesus put His teaching into practice. We can’t just have a clothes closet; we have to take the clothes to the street. Jesus did not ask folk to come to Him. He went to where they were. Missionaries have to pray, not just before surgery, or service, but be prayer warriors. We need to get our fight back in 2019. We need to pray for POWER and then use that power to serve God’s people. He said God’s mission is summed up in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done, on Earth as It is in Heaven.” We need to follow the model Jesus set for us. Then we can “Get Ready, Get Set, and Go!" It was truly a blessing and encouragement.
We reviewed and voted on the Constitution and Bylaws. It went smoothly and much faster than I imagined. Nothing earth shattering. Most provisions were voted down.
Wednesday, more reports, awards for PME and WMS magazine, President gave out “I See You Awards” that highlighted those that we may call unsung heroes – behind the scene folk who work and work and work with no thought of being rewarded for it.
Elections were held.
Thursday, we had Bible Study, Praise Break, and got out of there in an hour and a half.
To God be the Glory! I was honored to serve as a Delegate from the 2nd District representing the Washington Conference Branch Missionary Society. And I thank all who voted for me to serve in this capacity.