NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The 51st Quadrennial Session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church will meet July 6-10, 2021 at the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The AME Church is the world’s oldest Protestant denomination established by persons of African descent. Since 1816, the AME Church has convened every four years to review and change the denomination’s laws and policies, receive reports from its agencies, and elect denominational leadership.
The guiding theme and scripture for the General Conference is “From Legacy to Mission: A Call to Prophetic, Educational, and Social Engagement” based on Matthew 25:34-40. The meeting will be a hybrid with registered delegates, alternates, and a limited number of observers will be onsite due to COVID-19 health precautions and virtual access enabled for international delegates. Several of the events and all worship services will be available for streaming on multiple platforms including the AME Church YouTube Channel, Facebook page, and website. An open press conference will take place on July 6 at 12 PM EDT.
Key events include a Gala Scholarship Banquet on July 5 and an AME HBCU Night on July 6th celebrating 13 AME-affiliated institutions of higher learning with a concert by gospel artist J. J. Hairston. The Episcopal Address outlining the denomination’s priorities will be given by Bishop Gregory Ingram, Presiding Prelate of the 1st Episcopal District on July 6. The election for Bishops, General Officers, and Judicial Council will occur on July 10.
“The AME General Conference has always been an exciting time for the life of the church. It is a time for the global connectional church to meet, worship, and do the work of administration. The Pandemic greatly impacted our ability to meet in the ways to which we have been accustomed. We have grieved the deaths in our community and limitation of our contact,” stated Bishop Anne Henning Byfield, President of the Council of Bishops and Presiding Prelate of the 16th Episcopal District, “Yet in our grief, we are experiencing technology and God’s favor brings us together to serve God, serve our Church and our community. Technology will bring President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to us, celebrate HBCUs, address the issues of xenophobia, racism, and sexism, and allow members from around the world access and voice.”
Preachers for the worship services include Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Presiding Prelate of the 10th Episcopal District (July 6—Opening Worship); Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr., Presiding Prelate of the 7th Episcopal District (July 8—Communion Service) and Senior and Host Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Presiding Prelate of the 11th Episcopal District (Closing Worship). A daily “Morning Manna” service will feature preachers from across the Connectional Church. A full listing of all worship opportunities and preachers is available on the AME Church website.
“Hosting the General Conference during ordinary times is a challenge; even more so with the ordeal of a pandemic, while attempting to exceed the safety protocols of agencies concerned with public health,” stated Senior Bishop Richardson, “Even so, we accept the challenge and welcome conferees from every quarter of our church and guests who are curious about who we are and what we do. We are a Matthew 25 church, called to a ministry of ‘Prophetic, Educational and Social Engagement.’”
For more information about the 2021 AME Church General Conference: https://www.ame-church.com/preparing-for-the-2021-general-conference/ (AME Church website) www.ame2020.org (11th Episcopal District hosting website).
John Thomas III
African Methodist Episcopal Church
615 601 0450
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.