Bishop T. Larry Kirkland Sr.
Thousands of congregants from 16 states to attend
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
Thousands of people will assemble in Los Angeles when Bishop T. Larry Kirkland Sr. convenes the Mid-Year Convocation of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The annual gathering begins Tuesday, March 1, and continues to Friday, March 4, at the Airport Hilton Hotel, 5711 W. Century Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, is the host pastor.
The conference agenda, which features worship, training workshops and business sessions, also reflects Bishop Kirkland’s continuing tradition of reaching across denominational lines to impart the Gospel. Among the guests are Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake of the Church of God in Christ, Inc., and Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick III of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
“We are coming together for such a time as this, not only to conduct the business of the church, but to also strengthen, encourage and equip our members for effective service and discipleship,” said Bishop Kirkland.
“Our program will cover a wide range of topics to assist pastors and laity in meeting the needs of their respective congregations and surrounding communities. In these difficult economic and spiritually-lax times, the church must not lose its focus, but be energized, enthusiastic and wholly committed to its supreme mission of spreading the Gospel and bringing the message of salvation to the lost,” he said.
Opening the four-day meeting is the 3rd Annual Bishop T. Larry Kirkland Golf Tournament/Scholarship Fundraiser and Awards Benefit at the Royal Vista Golf Course in Walnut. Proceeds from the event will go to the Bishop T. Larry Kirkland Scholarship of Excellence. The scholarship, established by the Fifth District Lay Organization, is awarded to students in pursuit of a college education. For eligibility criteria, visit www.amec5th.net/scholarship of excellence.aspx.
On Wednesday, the agenda includes District Bible Study led by the Rev. Dr. Allen Williams of First A.M.E. Church – Pasadena at 8:30 a.m., and a General Plenary Session on ‘Rebuilding, Reclaiming, Recruiting, Retaining Membership for the 21st Century’ at 9:30 a.m.
Mrs. Mary L. Kirkland, Episcopal Supervisor, will meet with the Women’s Missionary Society at 10:45 a.m., and other organizations will hold summits including the Clergy, Committee on Christian Social Action, Lay Organization, and Women in Ministry. At 12:15 p.m., Rev. Leslie R. White, pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Berkley, will deliver the message at the Hour of Power service.
“Bishop Reddick, the presiding prelate of the First Episcopal District of the C.M.E. Church, will instruct our afternoon session as well as preach at the Opening Worship Service at 7 p.m. We invite all believers to attend and hear the powerful word of God,” said Bishop Kirkland. Following the service, a Calloway for Bishop Reception will be held.
Among the highlights on Thursday will be preaching and teaching by Rev. Isaiah L. Waddy, pastor of St. Peter A.M.E. Church in Jonesboro, GA. In addition, the 2nd Annual District Lay Scholarship and Recognition Reception takes place at 5 p.m. The celebrity guest will be George Huff, a third season American Idol contestant. The donation is $60.
The guest preacher for the evening worship at 7 p.m. is the Right Reverend Charles E. Blake, the presiding bishop of the COGIC denomination and pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
The convocation concludes on Friday with the closing plenary session, reports from the Presiding Elders and District Treasurer, and the Hour of Power service. Rev. Fran T. Cary, pastor of Trinity A.M.E. Church in Kansas City, KS, will preach.
For information on the Mid-Year Convocation, visit www.amec5th.net.