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Pastors to attend bicentenary celebrations

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Presiding elder Betty Furbert-Woolridge and a contingent of local pastors will travel to Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the AME Church next month.

The event coincides with the 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference, which opens on Sunday, July 3.

It is anticipated that 35,000 participants, including delegations headed by bishops, presiding elders, church officers and members from the 20 church districts from various countries around the world, shall congregate for this historic occasion.

The nine AME churches in Bermuda are part of the First District, headed by the Rt Rev Gregory Ingram, who is also the host bishop of the conference and bicentennial celebrations.

A host of meetings have been planned to pass legislation and to set the agenda for the operational and administrative protocols, and for the election of new bishops and other officers of the church.

In the past 50 years, there have been two Bermudians that were appointed bishops of the AME Church.

The late Rt Rev Vinton Randolph Anderson was elected the 92nd bishop of the AME Church in 1972, and later elected in Brisbane, Australia, to a seven-year term as president of the World Council of Churches, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WCC has offices in 100 countries. It represents 318 religious groups and 518 constituents, reaching out to Muslim and Jewish communities as well as the world's Christians.

The late Donald Ming was appointed a bishop in 1976, and subsequently became president of the Council of Bishops of the AME Church. Bishop Ming's first appointment was to the 15th District, which included South Africa.

It was in the midst of the turbulent period of racial tension under the system of apartheid led by South African President John Vorster.

The bicentennial theme is “An Extraordinary History — An Incredible Future”.

A host of activities have been scheduled over an 11-day period: the unveiling and dedication of the Richard Allen Statue and Memorial Courtyard; a gala banquet and an art exhibit in honour of the bicentennial.

The latter will pay tribute to the rich history of African Methodism through a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, photography and video.

The opening church service of the general conference will feature the First District's 500-voice choir and 100-member liturgical dance ministry.

As a passing note, and in memoriam, thousands of people around the world paid tribute to Muhammad Ali, who was laid to rest in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky, yesterday.

US President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were among those who expressed their sympathy. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the three-time world boxing champion while working as news director at Capital Broadcasting Company Ltd (ZFB) in 1965.

Great honour: Rev Vinton Anderson was elected the 92nd bishop of the AME Church in 1972
Joining the festivities: Presiding elder Betty Furbert-Woolridge and local pastors will travel to Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the AME Church
Historic occasion: Rev Gregory Ingram is the host bishop of the conference and bicentennial celebrations

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Published June 11, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 10, 2016 at 11:28 pm)

Pastors to attend bicentenary celebrations

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