Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr.
Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., concluded the largest regional gathering of its kind on October 28 with more than 5,000 African Methodists in attendance.
Declaring the 90th Session of the Southern California Annual Conference (SCC) and the Fifth Episcopal District Planning Meeting an “incredible spiritual and informational event,” he said, “This is the highest attended conference we have had in many years!
“Every worship service, business session and component meeting was filled to capacity and the high level of spirit reflected the people’s commitment to Christ, church and community.”
As part of the church’s legacy of social justice and equality for all, Bishop Kirkland recognized the long-standing collaboration of the church’s outreach and educational efforts by local community leaders and elected officials.
Honorary membership in the A.M.E. Church was awarded to Sentinel Executive Publisher Danny Bakewell, Sr., Congresswoman Maxine Waters, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and LAUSD Board Member George McKenna.
“These individuals continuously support the faith-based community through their words and actions,” said Bishop Kirkland. “The AME Church considers them as valuable partners in the campaign to ensure human dignity for all people.
“We can count on their assistance as the church increases its involvement in every aspect of the life of our communities.”
During his six-year tenure as presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District, Bishop Kirkland has encouraged local A.M.E. congregations to sponsor activities that advocate for economic parity, eliminating mass incarceration, improving health and nutrition, and increasing voter registration and participation.
Episcopal Supervisor Mary L. Kirkland, an ed-ucator for more than 40 years, has devoted her efforts to provide financial resources to students. She established the Kirkland Academy for Excellence (KAE), which has awarded more than $52,400 in scholarships over the last five years. Also, 16 parishes operate KAE tutorial programs offering mathematics, science, reading, writing, english, computer science, test taking/study skills and job preparation instruction for K-12 students.
During his remarks, the Bishop commended the Rev. Taurus and First Lady Denise Myhand and the members of Ward A.M.E. Church for hosting a “successful and well-organized conference and planning meeting.”
Highlights included powerful messages by Bishop Preston W. Williams, presiding prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District; Bishop Clement Fugh, presiding prelate of the 16th Episcopal District; the Rev. Dr. Charolyn J. Jones, associate minister at Brookins Community A.M.E.; Pastor Leslie R. White of Bethel Memorial A.M.E., Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. and Professor Kareem Crayton of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
In addition, the District’s six candidates for bishop in 2016 preached – the Reverends Timothy Tyler of Shorter A.M.E. – Denver, CO; James Rumph of Grant A.M.E. – LA, Kelvin Calloway of Bethel A.M.E. – LA, Francine Brookins of Bethel A.M.E. – Fontana, Allen Williams of First A.M.E. – Pasadena, and Gordon Glenn of St. John A.M.E. – Topeka, KS.
Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., announced new pastoral appointments at the close of the gathering. The new assignments included the realignment and renaming of the SCC Presiding Elder Districts.
The SCC is now comprised of the Los Angeles North District with the Rev. Allen Williams as presiding elder and the Los Angeles South Las Vegas District under Presiding Elder Roosevelt Lindsey.
Among the new appointments were the Reverends Larry Campbell to First – Pasadena, Norman Copeland to St. Paul – San Bernardino, Betty Hanna-Witherspoon to Primm Tabernacle – Pomona, Julliette Hemphill to First – Indio, Benjamin Hollins to Price Chapel, Delman Howard to Johnson Chapel – Santa Ana, William Shepherd to Brown Memorial – Pasadena, and Charles Wright to Holy Trinity – Las Vegas.
Also, the Reverends Cedric Alexander was named presiding elder of the San Francisco/Sacramento District, Donnell Miles named pastor of Ebenezer – Stockton and LeSean Tarkington appointed pastor of Walker Temple –Seattle.
The reappointments were the Reverends J. Edgar Boyd to First – LA, Francine Brookins to Bethel – Fontana, Rosalynn Brookins to Walker Temple, John Cager to Second, Kelvin Calloway to Bethel A.M.E. – LA, Timothy Coston, Jr., to Cain Memorial – Bakersfield, Antonio Dupree to Grace-Temecula, Michael Eagle to Grant-Long Beach, Dwain Jackson to St. James, Melanie Mays to Bethel–Monrovia, Gregory McLeod to Brookins Community, Taurus Myhand to Ward, Clyde Oden to Bryant Temple, Harrison Ridgeway to Bethel – Barstow, Darryl Walker to New Philadelphia, Leslie White to Bethel Memorial-San Diego and Mark Whitlock to Christ Our Redeemer – Irvine.