Convocation on the Black Church: A POWER Message


By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Sr. Communications Specialist for the Mississippi Annual Conference

Prayers for a successful gathering were well in the works before 
L to R: Presenters the Rev. Dr. Fred A. Allen, Pastor Junius Boyd Dotson, Dr. Cathy Grace (red dress) were presented with a gift from the Rev. Kathy Price with the MS Conference.
nearly 300 people registered to attend the Mississippi Annual Conference 2013 Convocation on the Black Church, during October 26-27.  Events took place at Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson and at Hinds Community College in Pearl.  Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr., wrote in a welcome message to the attendees:
"We have made every effort to make this a powerful, meaningful time for you--to challenge and empower you in your ministries. I believe the Lord is anointing this conference and through the POWER we will become the church that God desires us to be."
Keith Carpenter shared his creative art and Christian ministry during the convocation.
Those words proved true for the Rev. Emma Ward who travelled from Marks for the convocation.  Ward and her husband are co-pastors of Trinity UMC.  She shared that people in her community sometimes speak negatively about her congregation and that was disappointing, "They'll say we accept anybody in our church--those on drugs and those living in poverty and that is hurtful to hear another clergy person say that."
Ward said that this time of study and worship with fellow United Methodists was strengthening and reason to do even more ministry.
"I am glad that we (Trinity UMC) are that church because that is what Jesus did and he can use anyone, so people in the streets,  I see them as ministers and evangelists...The excitement from what all the presenters are telling us makes me just want to go and run for the Lord," said Ward.
The youth track for the convocation occurred simultaneously with young people of all ages meeting in a different area.  Their main goal was to enhance the youth ministry of local churches by building a stronger relationship with God and new relationships with other youth who desire to serve God. One way of carrying out this challenge was discussed in a
Young people pictured with their youth leaders ham it up for the camera.  
presentation on social media. 
"We are encouraging our youth to use their social media network not just for gabbing but for spreading the word of God on facebook, twitter and whatever they are into," said Brenda Sykes, a youth coordinator for the convocation who happens to be a member of Trinity UMC in Marks. 
A 17 year-old participant named D.J. said that he often tweets religious messaging and even told friends about the 
The youth were entertained by two students from Tougaloo College dancing to Byron Cage's, "Broken But I'm Healed."
convocation through social media.  "This event has been really great. We've been talking about respecting each other and we are having a lot a fun doing that and getting it turned-up for the Lord," he said cheerfully.
On hand to keep the youth excited was Christian rapper, Like Paul (LP); Mike Howington, the youth and families coordinator for the Mississippi Annual Conference; the Rev. Kordell Sims, who is the Wesley Foundation director and campus minister at Jackson State University and John Kountz, a former district youth coordinator.  Erma Cook and the Rev. Marjorie Walker talked to the kids about managing money. Organizers reported 70 kids attending and that at least 30 were members of Trinity UMC. 

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