AME’s hail successful 128th Annual Conference
Mixed emotions were much in evidence Sunday when the Rt Rev Gregory GM Ingram, with his wife Dr Jessica Kendall Ingram at his side, brought to a close the 128th Session of the Bermuda Annual Conference of the African Methodist Church.
The weeklong Conference at Fairmont Southampton Princess Resort had been marked by some soul stirring preaching, singing and dynamic workshops involving the pastors and delegates from the nine local AME Churches as well as visiting clergy and their spouses from overseas.
Bishop Ingram is prelate of the First Episcopal District of the denomination and its 118th consecrated Bishop.
He had brought the session to its most dramatic high point, which was the Commissioning of officials and his reading of appointments for the new year ahead.
There were no radical changes, with the Rev Mrs Betty L Furbert-Woolridge, returned as Presiding Elder; and the Rev Nicholas Genevieve Tweed, back pastoring St Paul Church in Hamilton considered the cathedral of African Methodism in Bermuda.
Rev Betty had earlier been commended by the Resolutions Committee of the Conference for her “untiring diligence as the Bermuda Presiding Elder”.
The Resolutions Committee also went on record lauding Bishop Ingram for instituting changes from the beginning to end, with the result the 128th Session would be remembered as the tipping point toward growth of the AME Church in Bermuda.
Bermuda is the launching pad for the First District Prelate.
From here he will preside over six other annual conferences comprising Delaware, New England, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
He regarded as “most elevating” the singing of the Bermuda Conference Choir, led by the Conference Director of Music, Sis Malinda Jennings; also the ministry of the Bermuda Conference Christian Arts Ministry's Liturgical dancers and the hearing-impaired ministry of the Hands of Faith.
While there were no topmost changes of pastorates, there was however, some shuffling around and across pulpits of many of the churches.
Much was consequential to former Presiding Elder Conway Simmons, having reached the retirement age.
Rev Simmons was pastor of Richard Allen Church in the World Heritage Site of St George's.
The evidently mightily esteemed pastor of historic Bethel AME Church, the Rev Lorne Bean was named to fill the void at Richard Allen.
Rev Mrs Ruth D Vanlowe Smith has gone from St John to Bethel.
At the other end of the Island, the Rev Howard HL Dill was returned as Pastor of Allen Temple, along with his wife Rev Dr Emligail Dill, as Associate and reappointed leader of First District Missionary Societies.
Back as Pastor of Mt Zion is the Rev Jahkimmo Franklyn Smith.
And the Rev Dr Leonard Santucci, a former Senator, is returned as Pastor of Vernon Temple.
Bright Temple's former Pastor Rev VA Deyone Douglas moves to St John in Bailey's Bay.
New Pastor of Bright Temple is the Rev Clinton A Smith. He moves from Heard Chapel at North Shore, Pembroke, with the void at Heard being filled by the Rev Terry Hassel, formerly an Associate at Allen Temple.
At the far eastern end of Bermuda, the Rev Dr. Milton Burgess is back as Pastor of St Luke AME Church.