AME Church Elects New Leadership and Begins LGBTQ + Discernment Process at 2021 General Conference

Bishop Anne Henning Byfield, President of the Council of Bishops

The 51st The quadrennial session of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) General Conference met July 6-10 at the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. More than 1,600 delegates have come together as the church’s supreme governing body to review and change denomination laws and policies, receive reports from its agencies, and elect denomination leaders.

Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 200 delegates representing countries on the African continent were unable to travel to the United States and were expected to participate via a satellite site in Cape Town, South Africa. After the South African government restricted in-person gatherings due to public health concerns, a virtual platform was created to allow these delegates to participate virtually in the deliberations.

“The 2021 General Conference was truly a test of the denomination’s resilience and adaptability,” said Dr. Jeffery B. Cooper, general secretary of the AME Church. “Despite the last minute hardships, we were able to ensure that all of our family could share in this important aspect of our church life. I am proud of our planning team and grateful to the leadership and delegates of AME Church for their patience and understanding as we made this change.

Bishop Marvin C. Zanders II

In addition to General Conference business, greetings were received from the President and Vice President of the United States. AME Church Member, Congressman Val Demings of Florida also delivered a keynote address to the assembly. Demings said the role of the church is to ensure that no one is left behind and that the most vulnerable among us are protected. Representative Demings called on the church for collective action: “The emergency is now.

Bishop Frederick A. Wright

Among the laws approved by the AME Church General Conference was an “AME Sexual Ethics Discernment Committee” designed to initiate a three-year process to bring recommendations back to General Conference in 2024. The committee is designed to “develop and propose legislation that underpins the evangelical responsibility of the church” to serve the social, spiritual and physical development of all people, “including those with sexual orientations and identities. kind”.

At the General Conference, new bishops, general officers (directors of departments) and members of the Judicial Council were elected. The five titular general officers were selected. New people elected to the leadership of AME Church include:

* The Right Reverend Silvester Beaman, 139e Bishop elect and consecrated (pastor of Bethel AME Church, Wilmington, Delaware)
* The Right Reverend Marvin C. Zanders, II, 140e Bishop elect and consecrated (pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Jacksonville, Florida)
* The Right Reverend Francine A. Brookins, 141st Bishop elect and consecrated (pastor of Bethel AME Church, Fontana, CA)
* The Right Reverend Frederick A. Wright, Sr., 142sd Bishop elect and consecrated (pastor of AME Quinn Chapel Church, Cincinnati, Ohio)

Bishop Silvester S. Beaman

General officers
* Marcus Henderson, Treasurer / Financial Director of AME Church
*Tower. Dr James Miller, Executive Director, Department of Retirement Services
*Tower. Dr. John Green, Executive Director, Global Witness and Ministry
*Tower. Dr. Marcellus A. Norris, Executive Director, Department of Church Growth and Development

Members of the Judicial Council
*Tower. Dr Jonathan C. Augustine, Judicial Council – Clergy
*Tower. Dr O. Jerome Green, Judicial Council – Clergy
* Lawyer Thabile Ngubeni, Judicial Council – lay
*Mrs. Monica Crawford – lay substitute

Bishop Francine A. Brookins

These elections marked several important milestones. As a South African, Advocate Ngubeni became the first African layman elected to the General Conference to serve in the AME Church in any capacity. Bishop Beaman delivered the investiture blessing of President Joseph Biden. Bishop Zanders is the first graduate of Morehouse College to be elected bishop in the AME Church. Bishop Francine A. Brookins is the fifth woman elected Bishop and the daughter of the late Bishop Hamel Hartford Brookins. Bishop Wright is the first elected bishop of Ohio since 1948 and the son of the first female AME, the Reverend Cornelia Wright.

The next AME church general conference will meet in July 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The 51st The General Conference session ended with its joys and sorrows, challenges and achievements and through it all we saw the hand of God. To God be the glory! ”Declared Bishop Anne Henning Byfield, President of the Council of Bishops.

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