The Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph is among the candidates seeking the office of bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
With 36 years in the pastoral ministry, he believes his experience and qualifications have prepared him to serve effectively at the episcopal level.
His efforts will culminate in July when tens of thousands of AMEs gather in Philadelphia, PA for the 50th Session of the General Conference and elect six people as bishop.
Explaining why he wants the position, Rumph shared, “I want to spend the next twenty years as a bishop in the AME Church leading local congregations to upgrade, that is to perform at significantly higher levels,” said Dr. Rumph.
Rumph currently serves as pastor of Grant AME in South L.A., and previously led nine parishes in Alabama and Missouri. He also possesses a wide-ranging background in administrative fiscal management, developmental planning, public relations, policy formation and community involvement.
In addition, Rumph is active with the Southern California AME Ministerial Alliance and the Watts Area Ministers, and he plays a hands-on role in the Grant’s Housing Economic Development, Inc. (GHED).
“GHED serves to launch initiatives that help Grant to perpetuate community involvement and to meet the needs of the less fortunate. Helping people represents a fundamental principle in the heritage and legacy of the AME Church. The perpetuation of meeting peoples’ needs assures that the AME Church will exist and strive without end,” he said.
Another area Dr. Rumph wants to advance as bishop is the use of technology to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“In these changing times, the AME Church is constantly reinventing itself in terms of discovering relevant ways of maintaining our identity and reaching people. The world will always need the good news offered by the AME Church,” noted Rumph.
“We believe our brand of Methodism is well suited for seekers because of the simple gospel for African descendants and the world. So, we push to get our message out with no need to compete with other Christians who wear a different name. The world needs all Christian faith communities to win souls for God’s kingdom,” he said.
Rumph outlined his platform as emphasizing the discipline, itinerancy, connectionism, catholicity, and history of the AME Church.
“The first mark of a Methodist is discipline. No motif in the Wesleyan tradition has been more constant than the link between Christian doctrine and Christian living,” explained Dr. Rumph.
“Itinerancy is characterized by the practice of bishops in the first century church sending forth ministers to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world. The Episcopacy is the guiding force behind the itinerancy.”
He added that connectionism represents the global nature of the church, catholicity affirms that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic; and the AME history was founded on social activism and resistance to religious oppression.
As he offers himself as a bishop, Rumph observed, “The third century of the AME Church requires strong, sound, sterling leadership that will guide our denomination to maintain our identity in fresh creative ways.”