Friday, July 9, 2021

Recommended Reading: AME General Conference

The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is currently meeting for its 51st Quadrennial General Conference. Like The United Methodist Church, the AME had to postpone its regularly scheduled General Conference from 2020. Unlike the UMC, the AME has gone forward with its meeting this year, despite the ongoing pandemic.

However, there is a twist: the AME General Conference will be a conference in two locations: Orlando, Florida and Cape Town, South Africa. Like the UMC, the AME is an international denomination. It has branches in the United States, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and India. The six (out of 20) African districts of the church will meet in Cape Town. The other districts will meet in Orlando.

It is not clear to me (David) whether all delegates of the AME are participating in this year's General Conference. (For instance, I don't know whether delegates from the 16th district, which covers Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe, have all actually been able to travel to Orlando.) But by having a conference in two locations, it allows much more participation than a single location would.

The conference will include a mix of live and recorded material. The live material allows the church to deliberate together, while the recorded material allows the church to conduct celebratory and ceremonial aspects of the conference on a schedule that works for local time zones.

If the AME General Conference is generally successful, it could serve as a model for other denominations to adopt in terms of distributed church meetings.

For those interested in following along, visit The Christian Recorder or follow the hashtags #IamAME and #AMECGC2021 on social media.

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