Washington, DC – Thousands gathered December 27-30, 2016 at the Marriott WardmanPark Hotel for the 50th Winter Meeting of the Christian Education Department of the A.M.E. Zion Church. The great people of the Mid Atlantic Episcopal District under the leadership of Bishop W. Darin Moore and Missionary Supervisor Devita Moore hosted with the warmest Christian hospitality. A friendly environment coupled with the excellent programming of the Christian Education Leadership Team proved to be the best recipe for an impactful meeting. Everything centered around the theme” SHIFT” In discussing its meaning, General Secretary of Christian Education, Rev. Kathryn Brown stated, “Our phenomenal design teams have developed an experience that will help successfully navigate spiritual, interpersonal, and societal changes.”
The pre-conference activities began with various rehearsals and orientations, but the highlight was the Freedom Film Festival Movie Premier, a joint effort of Mrs. Dana M. Radcliffe and Mr. Darin Kent. Activities on the 27th began with the daily SHIFT prayer walk and “Zion Prays” an Intergenerational Prayer Gathering led by International Prayer Coordinator Dr. Eric Leake. The day was filled with SHIFT classes for every demographic, and ended with the dynamic Opening Worship Service “Get in Gear.” Christian Education Board Chair, Bishop Dennis V. Proctor, introduced the preachers that would shift us through the gears Rev. Sharon Cheek (Park), Rev. Carolyn Bratton (Reverse), Rev. Eldren Morrison (Neutral), and finally Rev. Julian Pridgen (Drive). The music for the evening was given by the Mid Atlantic Choir and Psalmist Nicole Phifer.
The highlight of the 28th was indeed the College Rally Luncheon. The atmosphere resembled that of a college homecoming. Hundreds of cheerleaders from Varick’s Children took to the stage and energized the crowd. The Assembly of Christian Educators Scholarship Committee under the leadership of Mr. Eric Smith awarded three scholarships; Quinta Ellis and Breanna Probasco-Canda both received the James W. Eichelberger Scholarship and Rev. Kristen Berry received the George L. Blackwell Scholarship. The Varick International Christian Youth Council annually awards scholarships to High School and College students. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, place prizes in the High School division went to Lydia Jordan, Kenashia Thompson, and Imani Harper respectively. The 2016 Roosevelt L. Thompson Scholar and recipient of the grand prize is none other than Rev. Austin Young, a Sophomore at Morehouse College, and member of the St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church in Grand Rapids, MI. The day was also filled with many informative classes led by Bishops, General Officers, and other top officials in the church.
The 29th continued with more screenings at the Freedom Film Festival and more classes to aide one in developing ministries to revolutionize the Body of Christ, one of which included a field trip to Greater Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Maryland which is a very thriving ministry.
There were workshops on evangelism, training classes for Presiding Elders and Zumba fit Classes to name a few. The tradition of Victory Night is one looked forward to every year by all attendees. Worshipers are always confident they will experience an awesome service and receive a great word, and this year was no different as one of Zion’s friends, Bishop Brian Moore from Charleston, SC, preached from Matthew 14:25 a sermon entitled, “All I Do Is Win.”
Conference goers were blessed tremendously with a concert by Gospel Recording Artist Kierra “KiKi” Sheard. The meeting closed on the 30th with Regional Sendoffs and all roads leading to Atlanta, GA for December 27-30, 2017!