Faith and Family: AME Church conference starts Monday

Published 1:02 am Friday, September 7, 2018


NATCHEZ — Some 60 pastors and delegates from throughout south Mississippi are expected to attend an African Methodist Episcopal Church conference slated for Monday through Sept. 14 at Zion Chapel AME church at Martin Luther King and Jefferson streets in Natchez.

The Rev. Birdon Mitchell Jr., Zion Chapel pastor and host pastor for the conference, said the AME South Mississippi Annual Conference of the 8th district consists of AME churches from the Alabama state line near Meridian, west across the state to Sidon, which is south of Greenwood, and south to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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The AME church grew out of the Free African Society, which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones and others established in Philadelphia in 1787, according to the church’s history. The AME is doctrinally Methodist, “which provides an orderly system of rules and regulations and places emphasis on a plain and simple gospel. Episcopal refers to the form of government under which the church operates.”

Mitchell said the conference will kickoff at 9 a.m. Monday with a Women’s Mission Society with missionaries from all the churches to elect delegates for the AME’s 51st Quadrennial session in Orlando, Florida, in 2020.

Mitchell said pastors would give reports of stewardship from their churches.

“We foster churches and grow ministries, and advance the kingdom of God here on Earth,” Mitchell said of the churches’ missions. “We give reports on the number of conversions, financial accounts, members of the church and things the church has accomplished in the year.”

Mitchell said priorities for the district’s churches this year are to focus on voter registration and education and social action programs in the communities the churches serve.

“We are getting our people prepared to go and out to vote,” Mitchell said, “making sure our people know the proper things to do to get registered, get ID cards with addresses up to date so when you go to the polls your name is on the book and cast your ballot in every election. On social action, being aware of the things that are happening in Washington.”

The conference runs Monday through Sept. 14 and begins with a 7:30 a.m. breakfast every day except Monday, which will have no breakfast, and Tuesday, which will have breakfast at 6:45 a.m. Sessions last into the evening each day with the final sessions starting at 7 p.m.

Session topics throughout the week include worship, devotions, breakout sessions for leadership and business.

Friday will wrap up the conference with a business session beginning at 7 p.m. including a statistics report, financial report, a special resolution, a commissioning service, a certificates presentation and appointments.

The events are open to the public.

For more information, contact the church at 601-442-1396.