Church delegates to visit Philadelphia
Delegates from a Bermuda church will visit Philadelphia next summer for a 200th anniversary celebration.
Zane DeSilva, the Progressive Labour Party MP, and his wife Joanne donated $5,000 to the African Methodist Episcopal church and are now encouraging others to do the same.
Reverends Leonard Santucci and Betty Furbert-Woolridge, together with other episcopal districts from around the world, will attend the AME Church's general conference, a nine-day forum which takes place every four years.
Next July, they will unveil a statue of AME founder Richard Allen. Mr Allen was born a slave in Delaware in February 1760; he founded the AME, the first independent black denomination in the United States, opening his first church in Philadelphia in 1794.
Elected the first bishop of the AME Church in 1816, Mr Allen focused on organising a denomination where free blacks could worship without racial oppression and where slaves could worship freely. Under the leadership of the first episcopal district of the AME church, of which Bermuda is a part, the Island's delegates will be participating in every aspect of the conference, from electing bishops and officers of the church to approving amendments to the book of doctorate and discipline, a constitutional document.
“It is a key component of the lifeblood of the ministry of the church,” Rev Santucci said.
Mr DeSilva, a member of Rev Santucci's church Vernon Temple, said: “I would certainly encourage all of our corporate friends in Bermuda to give this some serious consideration because the AME churches in Bermuda play a very large part in our community and to the wellbeing of our people and it's a really worthy cause.
“The more people we have participating, the more money we raise and the more people we can help.”
Presiding elder of the Bermuda conference, Rev Furbert-Woolridge, said: “Thank you to Mr and Mrs DeSilva for the very generous donation in assisting us in hosting our general conference.”