By Michelle Porchia
There are some topics that people are uncomfortable discussing. One of them is getting your “affairs” in order. People see it as talking about death or as a “dark” subject. Having gone through and still going through trying to handle the affairs of my parents, my hope is that this gentle urging will help you and/or your family members to have a less stressful journey if you ever have to deal with illness. If you are over 18, you need to have your papers in order. As you continue your journey in life, you will need to add or update your documents.
I have had many people respond, “I have a will.” That is good and everyone needs a will. Wills are for after the person passes on. I’m talking about making sure you are taken care of while you are alive and that your loved ones have an easier time.
Please understand, I am not a legal expert. Full disclosure: I am a daughter that has had to deal with illness of parents and having to handle their affairs. It was easy with my mother because she had everything in order. It has not been easy with my dad. I don’t want my daughters/granddaughters to have to stress or struggle if I become ill or incapacitated.
Documents You Will Need At Some Point in Your Life:
by Carole Copeland Thomas
Sometimes you just need a little inspiration. Described as a blue eyed soul sister, Rev. Katherine Brooks, a Harvard educated pastor and theologian of the African Methodist Episcopal Church delivered a spellbinding message entitled "Shine" at the Missionary Annual Day Service at Grant AME Church in Boston. Trained by Rev. Alvan Johnson (in the background of the video clip), she masterfully weaves the purpose of a lighthouse into the duties of missionaries, with rousing choruses of "Amen" shouted by the congregation.
Enjoy this short clip...and Let The Church Say Amen!!
How AME India Was Founded
by Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP
by Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP
The adventure of traveling to India as an exchange student would have been enough excitement for most seminary students. However, for (now) Rev. Karla Cooper it became a door-opener to a much larger launch into AME history. The African Methodist Episcopal Church (www.ame-church.com) founded in 1787 by freed slaves, has always been a global outreach denomination. With churches in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Central/South America, Europe and Africa its membership of 2.5 million represents one of the oldest historically Black denominations in the United States.
Asia, however, was always a distant outpost with few opportunities to save souls in that region of the world until 2003 when the door opened even wider for this mainstream church organization. That was the year seminary exchange student Karla Cooper met and formed a friendship with another student at Gurukul Theological Seminary in Chennai: Indian born Rev. Minnie Sarah (Peddiny). Rev. Cooper shared church history with Rev. Sarah and told of the visionary leadership of the church’s co-founder, ex-slave and first elected and consecrated bishop Richard Allen. It was a match made in Heaven.
At that time Rev. Sarah and her husband, Rev. Abraham Peddiny, were shepherding a dozen or more independent “family churches” in India, especially Southern India. Many of the members were Dalits, one of the lowest categories in India’s long history of the caste system. Many were also dark skinned Indians, making it difficult to advance the socio-economic ladder in an ancient and complex social system. When the Richard Allen story was shared with Rev. Sarah, her husband and others, the similarities were too remarkable to ignore. Slaves purchasing their freedom to become entrepreneurs, business leaders, abolitionists and church leaders in an independent Christian denomination. Marginalized dark skinned Indians looking for respect and dignity in a nation that systematically overlooked their humanity.
From 2003-2007 the idea was floated to invite the Indian churches into the fold of the AME Church. By 2008 when the AME General Conference was held, the church voted to accept the 20 Indian churches into the AME Church. Originally a part of the Fifth Episcopal District “AME India” was shifted to the Fourth Episcopal District at the 2012 General Conference under the guidance of their original executive sponsors and advocates Bishop John and Rev. Cecilia Bryant. Rev Sarah and her husband were to become the AME Church’s first Presiding Elder couple.
In less than seven years AME-India has grown from 20 to 105 churches located across India. Their commitment to Christ is unwavering and their devotion to their brothers and sisters throughout the denomination is unquestionable. AME India is one of the fastest growing regions in the entire denomination. The combined cultures, traditions and vision form one of the most unique collaborations in modern church history.
Gratitude is paid to two classmates from different parts of the world who were nurtured and supported by a Bishop and his wife who valued and respected the global outreach of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In May 2014 a group of 40 AMEs from US, Canada and South Africa attended the Fifth Anniversary of AME India. The week long trip included the Annual Conference attended by more than 200 members of AME India from around the country, a visit to one of the AME India churches and a mission visit to an orphanage in Channai, Tamilnadu. This all took place during the conclusion of the India national elections, the largest democratically held election in world history.
I will have complete photos and details from the 2014 AME-India Annual Conference in the coming days at www.tellcarole.com.
Serving In The Faith Based World: Debra Gould Facilitates Staff Retreat at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
By Debra W. Gould, MS
(Left) Debra with Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. (Right) Debra with Minister of Music Ellis Lindsey
(Left) Debra with Church Administrator Larry Johnson (Right) Joe Gould, Jr. with Minister of Music Ellis Lindsay
Ebony Speaker Debra Gould enjoyed serving as the lead facilitator during a recent staff retreat at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Here are Debra's reflections:
Just sharing this great news that Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. contacted Debra W.Gould a member of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church to conduct two training
sessions for the 2013 Church Retreat on Friday, September 13, 2013. It was an honor and privilege to serve and present for my church members at
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church. I'm still blown away to receive a personal phone call from Pastor Luter to make this request. Talk about a WOW moment
to have the Southern Baptist Convention's first African American President and Pastor of your own church with approximately 5000 members to make a
request of Debra Gould availability on September 13, 2013. GOD IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!
About Rev. Fred Luter, Jr.
Senior Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. was elected the Southern Baptist Convention's first African American Vice President in 2011. He made history again
when he became SBC's first ever African American President at the annual meeting held in his hometown of New Orleans on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.
In 2013, Pastor Luter was re-elected at the annual meeting in Houston, Texas.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
Your comments are welcome below.
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.