From left: Rev. Felicia Bagneris, Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, and Rev. Mark Whitlock.
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
New ministries, established congregations and those planning to start a church were on hand for the ‘Birthing New Beginnings' workshop on May 10 at the USC Murray Center.
The half-day session, sponsored by Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church (COR) and the Southern California Conference (SCC) of the A.M.E. Church, attracted 75 people comprising bishops, presiding elders, pastors, clergy and laypersons.
"Church planting is extremely important for the growth and development of our churches. Our existing churches are fine, but we need other churches in places where the population is growing. This program offers information, tools and resources to ensure success as we follow the people," said Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District and president of the General Board of the A.M.E. Church.
The Rev. Dr. Cecil ‘Chip' Murray said, "It's not only about starting a new church, but starting a new mentality, a new frame of reference, a new frame of mind. We are here to renovate the mentality of faith-based African Americans. Our people need the church and the church must reach beyond its walls."
Agenda topics featured presentations on opening a church in particular markets, multi-cultural evangelism, financing considerations, and managing the music ministry.
The speakers included the Rev. Mark Whitlock, COR pastor; the Rev. Dr. James Wade, executive director of the A.M.E. Department of Church Growth and Development; the Rev. Felicia Bagneris, SCC WIM coordinator; and the Rev. John Cager, SCC Alliance president.
"This was an awesome event. We're very excited and hope to plant our first church in 2012. COR has already planted three new churches that we operate. Now, we're looking to plant 10 more in five years," said the Rev. Whitlock.