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By Debra Chappelle-Polk, Zion Spotlight Editor


February 2024

Rock Hill SC - The Board of Bishops and International Ministers & Lay Association met for their annual meeting from February 20-23, 2024, in Rock Hill, SC, at the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center.  During its opening legislative session on Wednesday, the Board of Bishops elected Bishop George Dwayne Crenshaw (Presiding Prelate, Alabama-Florida Episcopal District) to serve as President.  

Before the office of the presidency’s medallion was bestowed upon the new president, Bishop Darryl B. Starnes, Sr. (Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District) thanked outgoing President Bishop Michael Angelo Frencher, Sr. (Presiding Prelate, Midwest Episcopal District) for his outstanding leadership.

After much applause and a standing ovation, members from the Alabama-Florida Episcopal District congratulated Bishop Crenshaw on his new appointment.  They thanked him and expressed their gratitude for his many years of leadership.  They also thanked Mrs. Laurenna Crenshaw “for being the woman beside the man” and gave her a beautiful bouquet.

Newly elected President Crenshaw thanked the Board for their confidence and everyone for their love and support. He said the night before, he had prepared an excellent 40-minute speech.  “Last night, I asked my wife to look it over...” She did, gave it back to him this morning, and told him if he read it slowly, “it would take about 7 minutes.” Everyone laughed when Bishop Crenshaw smiled and said, “So here’s my best 7 minutes.”  He recalled that in 1979, the singing group Shalamar recorded a hit song, “The Second Time Around.”  The song's message was that the second time around was better than the first time. Paraphrasing the theme, he announced that Project 100 would be a top priority during his tenure as president. The organization he birthed into existence was instrumental in defeating Donald Trump in 2020 and would be needed a second time to combat Trump's Presidential campaign during this upcoming election season.

He continued to outline his two initiatives in his speech, where he challenged each Episcopal District to register a minimum of one thousand first-time voters. “Our goal is to register a minimum of 10,000 first-time voters in the 2024 presidential election.”  As a kickoff to this voter registration drive, he asked the world to tune into an upcoming Star of Zion broadcast with Bishop William Barber entitled “Voices from the Margins” on February 26, 2024, @ 8 PM. The event will be streamed on AMEZ.TV for free and available on all Star of Zion social media platforms.

Bishop Crenshaw unveiled his second initiative, “to support our Zion Communications’ Department.”  In short, to provide professional AV and Technology services to our departments, districts, and local churches, the church needs capital investment to purchase high-value equipment. Bishop requested a $50,000 goal for our capital investment to reach this goal. He said, “the Communications Department has stated, and I quote, ‘with the growing demand for immersive and engaging worship experiences, investing in audio/visual technology is paramount.”  Bishop Crenshaw then asked other departments and members to pledge to help us meet our $50,000 goal, allowing our Communications Department to work optimally. He told the church that “in the spirit of unity, cooperation, and a tremendous amount of generosity, our General Officers, who we call the ‘Dream Team,’ have, with the support of their board chairs and departments, already pledged $18,000 of the $50,00 for this significant upgrade.”

Wednesday evening worship service opened with singing, followed by the Call to Worship led by Bishop Eric L. Leake (Southwestern Delta Episcopal District), who read the scripture lesson from 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, beginning at verse 13. Bishop Darryl B. Starnes, Sr. (Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District) delivered the prayer. “Lord, we were glad when they said let us go in the house of the Lord, for we can truly say that we’ve been blessed; I got a testimony.” Bishop Brian R. Thompson, Sr. (Presiding Prelate, Western Episcopal District) thanked The Hymn Choir: “We are blessed to have beautiful angelic voices all over the Zion denomination.” The offering was lifted by Bishop Kenneth Monroe (Presiding Prelate, Eastern South Carolina Episcopal District).  Bishop Hilliard Dogbe (Presiding Prelate, Western West Africa Episcopal District) introduced the preacher for the evening, the 97th Bishop in the line of succession, Bishop Dennis V. Proctor (Presiding Prelate, North Eastern Episcopal District). Bishop Dogbe spoke of Bishop Proctor’s many ministerial accomplishments within Zion and his activism for social justice within the Black Community.  Following a stirring rendition of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” the congregation rose as Bishop Proctor took the pulpit and offered a prayer.   “Oh God, you are not a mighty God; you are the mighty God.”

The following day, the church's business was conducted well with God's presence and provision. On Thursday evening's worship service, Bishop Crenshaw addressed the microphone to conclude worship before leaving to attend to the unfinished business from the previous day. After further discussions with his colleagues on the Board of Bishops, each board member was prepared to invest individually in the Communications Departments to purchase high-value equipment. In a tremendous move of the Holy Spirit, not only were pledges given from the Board of Bishops but also from other Zion Departments, including the Lay Council, a plethora of candidates for the episcopacy, various ministries, and organizations. That night, our largest donation was from the Women’s Home & Overseas Missions Society, for eight thousand dollars. The $50,000 goal was exceeded by approximately $15,000, bringing the total pledges to roughly $65,000. The unity expressed by Zion was indeed a historic moment. Bishop W. Darin Moore, who facilitated the pledge offering (Presiding Prelate, Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District), applauded Bishop Crenshaw’s initiative and stated, “We are investing in ourselves.”  Zion’s Chief Communications Officer, Mr. Darin Kent, thanked Bishop Crenshaw, the Board of Bishops, General Officers, and the various ministries for their support. He reiterated the need to invest in the Communications Department. He emphasized that the funds would be used appropriately and with the intent to spread the gospel within our denomination and throughout the world.

After the service concluded, we spoke with Bishop Crenshaw and asked him what this moment meant to him. He applauded his colleagues' support of this effort, stating, "Leadership displayed by the Board of Bishops has always been the catalyst for Zion's forward movement." When asked how this God moment will impact the church, he simply said, "God is encouraging Zion to dream again." 

If you would like to join us in our journey, send your pledge to the Communications Department; please send checks made payable to The A.M.E. Zion Church to 3225 West Sugar Creek Road, Charlotte, NC 28269. You can also send digital donations via CashApp to $TheStarOfZion with the note: “Communications Pledge.”

The Board of Bishops/IMLA Meeting concluded on February 23, 2024.

The Board of Bishops, Bishop George Dwayne Crenshaw, Star of Zion, $50, 000, Communications Department, Pledge, $65, 000


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