Board of Bishops

STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD OF BISHOPS OF
THE AME ZION CHURCH

“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” - Zechariah 7:9 (NIV)

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church has been known for more than 219 years as “The Freedom Church.” As such, our members, clergy and laity alike have a powerful legacy of advocacy and action for social justice and the liberation of oppressed peoples. We are heirs of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Bishop Jermain Loguen, Bishop James Walker Hood, and Bishop Alexander Walters, all great members of the AME Zion Church who refused to remain silent and idle in the face of injustice. We dare not betray this weighty and rich legacy with either inaction or muted voices in the face of the continuing tragedy unfolding in Chicago.

The recently released videotape of the murder of Laquan McDonald, that had been withheld from public scrutiny for thirteen months, has ripped a scab off a deep, festering problem within the Chicago Police Department and contributes to the enormous distrust of law enforcement agencies existing in communities of color throughout this country. While we acknowledge and support the vast majority of police who are men and women of honor, some of whom are members of our congregations, we must demand greater accountability and transparency from those who are vested with lethal authority to “protect and serve.” The scriptures instruct us that “to whom much is given, much is required.”

Although an individual police officer fired the bullets that killed Laquan McDonald, we condemn not only that officer, but the co-conspirators manifested in the systemic devaluing of the lives of those who are young, black and brown, the culture of corruption and code of silence that demands the protection of officers who commit criminal acts, and the political dysfunction that either fosters or ignores such a toxic climate. Change can no longer be denied nor delayed. Blue ribbon panels conducting further research, politicians offering empty platitudes, and religious and civic leaders becoming apathetic are unacceptable. How many more senseless losses of life to violence, whether by troubled youth or by improperly trained and supervised police must we mourn? How many more mothers and fathers will have to bury their children and then be forced to take to the streets demanding justice for their loved ones? We’ve heard the refrain; “All lives matter” but the reality is that all lives will only truly matter when Black lives fully matter.

We are praying for healing in our land, but our prayers and faith must be accompanied with collective, sustained action. The AME Zion Church endorses the demands for action outlined by the Pan Methodist Coalition of Chicago and applauds their continuing leadership in this effort. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of all faiths, ethnicities, and political affiliations who are striving for justice, community transformation, and a righteous peace. Lord, have mercy upon us! Christ, have mercy upon us!

Your Servants in Christ;

The Board of Bishops of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
The Right Reverend Richard K. Thompson - President
The Right Reverend George E. Battle, Jr. - Senior Bishop
The Right Reverend Roy A. Holmes (Deceased)
The Right Reverend Louis Hunter, Sr.
The Right Reverend James E. McCoy (Deceased)
The Right Reverend Kenneth Monroe
The Right Reverend Darryl B. Starnes, Sr.
The Right Reverend Dennis V. Proctor
The Right Reverend Mildred B. Hines
The Right Reverend W. Darin Moore
The Right Reverend Seth O. Lartey
The Right Reverend Michael A. Frencher
The Right Reverend Joseph Johnson (Retired)
The Right Reverend Marshall H. Strickland (Retired)
The Right Reverend Nathaniel Jarrett (Retired)
The Right Reverend George W. C. Walker, Sr. (Retired)
The Right Reverend S. Chuka Ekemam (Retired)
The Right Reverend Warren M. Brown (Retired)

 

  • February 12-16, 2018
    Board of Bishops' and International Ministers & Lay Association Meeting
    Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel
    235 East Main Street
    Norfolk, VA
    Register by February 5, 2018!
  • February 14, 2018
    Ash Wednesday
    Ash Wednesday is always celebrated on a Wednesday seven weeks prior to Easter Sunday. For Christians, the day marks the first day of Lent and the starting of 6 weeks of fasting and penance.
  • February 14-March 29, 2018
    Lent
    Lent begins on Ash Wednesday each year and for Christians starts the 40 day period of fasting. The day represents the 40 days Jesus spend fasting in the wilderness.
  • February 14, 2018
    Valentine's Day
    We love because he first loved us 1 John 4:19
  • March 11, 2018
    Daylight Savings Time
    Spring forward - Turn your clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. local standard time (At 2 a.m. on March 11th, the clocks after they are moved forward an hour, will read 3 a.m. local daylight time).

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