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Why Sunday School?


The 2-day Wilmington District Sunday School Convention convened at St. Phillip A.M.E. Zion Church, Wilmington, NC, pastored by Reverend Bettijean Payton on Saturday, June 9, 2024. This convention was a visit to the past and a prayer for a great future for the 2024 graduates. St. Phillip A.M.E. Zion Church was the space where Mrs. Katie Goode, Mrs. Alice Spicer, Mrs. Posey Johnson, and members of the Cape Fear Conference Christian Education Board would meet to plan the Sunday School Convention and the Vacation Bible School for the Wilmington District as well as the Cape Fear Conference.

The harmony of the congregational singing of “My Hope Is Built” for the opening worship service brought memories of bygone days. Reverend Dr. Clifford Barnett, Sr., pastor of Warner Temple, Wilmington, NC, and Cape Fear Conference Chair of the Christian Education Board, brought the message, Why Sunday School? The message was based on the scripture John 8. The focus of the message was that Sunday School was organized so that everybody could learn about the love of Jesus Christ. It is the duty of every Christian to tell the story of the love of Jesus to those who think themselves unworthy of the love of Christ and to those who think themselves worthy of judging others, whether there is only one student or one hundred students. Sunday School should be energized and made real to all students. Christ wanted all to be saved! The congregation with great harmony sang “Come to Jesus” as the invitation was extended.

The business session was called to order by Wilmington District Director of Christian of Education, Mrs. Cassandra Crumdy. Each church’s delegate, some timidly, told of the events and progress their Christian Education Department had made during the conference year. These reports reflected a combination of in-person and long-distance Biblical learning.

There were three breakout sessions: Crafts for Christ for those under 12, conducted by Ms. Ruth Ward, and Get Ready to Go! Planning for your future for those 13 to 21, conducted by Mrs. Onya Gardner, Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development of Brunswick Community College, Bolivia, NC, and Dr. Chrysta Holland conducted the workshop, The Community Resilience Model for those over twenty-one.

The Wilmington District Varick International Christian Youth Council elected Dinari Stanley, President (St. Mark); Marjorie Brown, Vice President (Bowen Chapel); Zariyah Freeman, Recording Secretary (Evergreen); Kaleb Jones, Parliamentarian (St. Luke); Chris Ripley Jr., Chaplain (Lees Chapel); Amiya Libingi, Director of Public Relations (Warner Temple); and Amari Libingi, Treasurer (Warner Temple) to the leadership posts for the 2024-2026 conference years. Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Alexander Jones, Sr. congratulated the incoming officers and hoped all the officers would attend the Connectional VICYC Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Dr. Jones offered a prayer of protection, promise, and progress for the newly elected officers.

Brion Smith, Wilmington District CED Director of Youth thanked all participants for the thunderous response to the Blanket and Teddies Rally. The donations of blankets and teddy bears will be given to the Brunswick and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Departments to be used to comfort children who are involved in incidents wherein the Sherriff’s Department is called. Following the Benediction, all attendees were treated to a lunch by the St. Phillip Hospitality Staff reflective of the lunches Mrs. Goode, Mrs. Spicer, and Mrs. Johnson would have served – from chicken to fish, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and all accompanying sides.

Day 2 The Baccalaureate Service
At 3 pm, the procession of graduates of the Wilmington District, pastors, and Christian Education Officers, to the accompaniment of Pomp and Circumstance by Elgar, marched proudly into St. Phillip A.M.E. Zion Church to be honored in a Christian celebration of their accomplishments. The Wilmington District celebrated nine high school graduates, six college graduates, and four post-college graduates. The Youth Department of the WDCED conducted the devotion. The music for the celebration was provided by the Wilmington District Youth Choir under the direction of Rev. Celeste Navarro and assisted by Juanita James. The 47-harmonizing voice choir is composed of members from across the district, ages 4 to 19. Their contribution to the celebration was stellar. They began with an introductory selection prior to the service of “We Have Come to Lift Him Up”. Their rendition of “I Will Sing of the Goodness of God” brought the convention to its feet as the featured soloists led the choir.

The speaker for this occasion was Ms. Portia Jacobs, Cape Fear Conference and Eastern North Carolina Episcopal Director of Christian Education. From the scriptures Matthew 6:36, Ms. Jacobs gave advice and inspiration from the topic of The Path to Success. She told the graduates that the time has come that what they have learned, prepared for, been sheltered from, and been introduced to “In Here” is now awaiting them “Out There.” “You will be able to handle all that will confront you if you approach it by putting God first. I leave with you the advice of Jim Gentil of Quest Transformative Coaching: Care more than others think is wise; Dream more than others think is practical; Give more than others think is obtainable; and Expect more than others think is possible. As you step toward your future, your path will be successful.

The 2024 Wilmington District high school graduates are Jermaine E Armour (St. Luke), Willie Freeman (Evergreen), Makayla Grice (Warner Temple), Natalia Mason (Christian Chapel), Taivon Miller (Warner Temple), Ayden Nixon (Warner Temple), Jade Payton (Price Cathedral), Avonda Tindall (Johnson Chapel), Semaj Rattley (St. James, Leland).

The 2024 Wilmington District college graduates are Carlton Emerson (St. Luke), Jasmine Grice (Warner Temple), Kyla Reed (St. Luke), Aniyah Ray (Browns Chapel), Camille Sykes (Warner Temple), Shamika Kelly (St. Phillip).

The Wilmington District 2024 post-college graduates are Helen Barnett (Warner Temple), Aviqon Graham (Price Cathedral), Dania Josey (Warner Temple), Kisha Williams (Warner Temple)

The TD Robinson Scholarship was awarded to Jermaine Elijah Armour of St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church, Wilmington, NC. Elijah will enter North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC in the fall majoring in Psychology.

Wilmington District Sunday School Convention, Cape Fear Conference Christian Education Board, TD Robinson Scholarship


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