AME COUNCIL OF BISHOPS ISSUE “A Call to Conscience”
This is a challenging and difficult time in the life of our nation and the world. It is a time which demands the church of Jesus Christ, to live up to what it is called to do, to represent Jesus Christ in His world, to be about the work of His kingdom on earth. Historically, the Black Church has been “the conscience of the nation.” During the Civil Rights Movement, it was the Black Church, which called and moved the nation to live up to its words and its creeds, to genuinely seek, “to be one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
Today the Black Church is called again, “to be the conscience of the nation.” The conscience is an inner voice that speaks to the rightness or wrongness of a person, group, or nation’s behavior. The Council of Bishops of the AME Church believe we have no choice but to speak to the conscience of the nation regarding its behavior, policies and issues. We believe the future of the nation, as well as Black and Brown citizens is at risk. Somebody not only needs to say something, somebody needs to do something. The church has a moral obligation to lead the charge for prophetic action in times like these.
Therefore, we are issuing a “Call to Conscience: Forward to Action” Rally to be held on Thursday, September 6that 9 AM in Washington, DC., We are seeking to secure Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. On Wednesday, September 5thwe invite denominational and judicatory leaders, clergy and laity to join us for a strategy and briefing session. In the afternoon we will meet with Congressional leaders, and visit the offices of our Senators and Representatives. While the call is being issued by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, it is our hope and prayer, that other faith communions will join us, in addition to leading Civil Rights and justice organizations, as well as citizens who are guided by their conscience to seek justice, and promote God’s kingdom on earth.
In a word, we are at war, “against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We are at war against racism, we are at war against immigration efforts which deliberately seek to prevent immigrants of color from entering the country, in- order to maintain the status quo and maintain white privilege, while separating children from parents, deporting “Dreamers”, and accusing immigrants of color of being terrorist, murderers, rapists, evil people. We are at war against gun violence which is increasing across the nation, as the political leadership bows to the demands and threats of the gun lobby, leaving no place safe from the sorrow and consequence of gun violence. We are against economic injustice which is exacerbated by laws and policies which benefit the wealthiest 10% while burdening and stagnating 90% of the population. We are at war against deliberate efforts to undermine our democracy by distorting the integrity and independence of the Justice Department, and freedom of the press, and we fight against the policies and actions of this administration and Congress which seek to turn back time and contradict God’s Word.
We hear a lot about “Evangelical Christians”, 75% of whom support the policies of this administration, and turn a blind eye to the unrighteous, immoral and sinful behavior, which contradicts what they say they believe. We call for “Conscientious Christians”, who let God’s Word, and our conscience be our guide as we “fight the good fight” of faith.
It is our hope and expectation that connectional leaders, pastors, laity, missionaries, millennials, and others who can attend will come to Washington, DC, the nation’s capital in response to this “Call to Conscience.” We are in a war, and the soldiers of the Lord are being called to active duty:
“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before Christ the royal Master, leads against the foe, forward into battle, see His banners go Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before!
Onward then ye people, join our happy throng, blend with us your voices, in the triumph song, glory, laud and honor, unto Christ the King; this through countless ages, men and angels sing, Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!”
The tentative schedule is as follows:
Sunday, September 2nd – Social Justice Sunday
Ministers across the nation are asked to preach sermons related to social justice and the “Call to Conscience” (suggested music, scriptures, litany’s will be provided). Press Release will go out announcing “Social Justice Sunday
Every Sunday from September 9th to November 4th, ministers, lay leaders will provide for voter registration, and remind of upcoming election. Dependent upon each state, churches will organize for early voting, particularly for seniors.
Wednesday, September 5th (Reid Temple AME Church, Glenn Dale, MD)
9AM – 12Noon – Briefing for Bishops, Pastors, Attendees
a. Evangelical Christians – Conscientious Christians
b. Mid- Term Election – Importance – National and State Implication, Registration, Education, Mobilization, Early Voting, Organization
c. Explication of Issues
12:30PM – 2PM – Lunch
2PM – 4PM – Leaders meet with Congressional Leadership (U S Capital)
Pastors, laity and attendees visit their Congressional members (Senators and Representatives) offices
7PM – Worship – Reid Temple AME Church, Glenn Dale, MD.
Thursday, September 6th
9AM – Assemble Lafayette Park
10AM – Call to Conscience Vigil – Lafayette Park
12:30PM – Lunch – Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
2PM – Press Conference – Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
Sunday, November 4th– Voters to the Polls Sunday
Ministers will preach or urge their congregants to vote on November 6th
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, President of the Council of Bishops
Bishop Gregory Ingram, President of the General Board
Bishop McKinley Young, Senior Bishop