Travis McGuire receives one of 30 EUTHU (Empowering Us To Help Us) college scholarships from Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. at the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference of the North-East Mississippi Region at the Ramada Inn Convention Center in Tupelo.
Antonio Pickens receives one of 30 EUTHU (Empowering Us To Help Us) college scholarships from Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. at the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference of the North-East Mississippi Region at the Ramada Inn Convention Center in Tupelo.
By Jennifer Farish
Urging the United States government to provide relief to war-torn Liberia was the primary social concern presented at the closing service for nearly 1,000 people from Christian Methodist Episcopal churches across North Mississippi.
The service ended four days of annual business meetings and worship services for ministers, lay people and delegates from 111 churches in the fourth Episcopal district for C.M.E. churches.
Dr. Paul A. Freeman, chairman of the C.M.E. regional committee of social concerns, quoted a U.N. official who said the lack of water, shelter and food in Liberia will lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe" if the fighting in Liberia continues.
"Because of this, our church, therefore, asks the United States ... to address the key issues of security, reconciliation, resettlement and the holding of elections in keeping with constitutional provisions," Freeman said, in reading a resolution adopted unanimously by the attending ministers and delegates.
Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, president of the conference administration, echoed the committee's concerns saying the U.S. has already made overtures implying it would help the people of Liberia, and it is time for the church to urge President Bush to take action.
"We want reconciliation. We want peace, and we want to take action about the violence that is going on," Hoyt said, adding just this week more than 600 people in Liberia were killed in less than two hours.
Calling Liberia the "motherland," Hoyt added the church did not feel the U.S. should go into Liberia alone, but it should lead other countries in restoring security and creating an atmosphere of national reform in Liberia.
Freeman said the church asked the United States government to lend full support and financial assistance in a multi-national peace-building force for Liberia and to work for disarmament of the feuding tribes in that country.
"Finally, this committee calls for the United States' swift reaction in leading the way," Freeman concluded.
The urging for U.S. action in Liberia came at the end of a regional conference that tackled everything from hearing annual reports from each church to presenting the annual ministerial appointments for the coming year, said Dr. Eddie Jumper, pastor of the Hurtz Chapel C.M.E. Church in Olive Branch.
Jumper, who will also serve as president of a new C.M.E. theological school set to open in August, said the conference provides a time for the North Mississippi C.M.E. churches to worship together and to present annual reports on finances, new members, baptisms and every other facet of the churches' annual history.
The Rev. Charles Lesure, pastor of the Union Hill C.M.E. Church in Water Valley, added the conference provides a "refocusing period" for the church to reestablish its focus for the coming year and to discuss how the body wants to move the church forward.
The conference was the 85th session for C.M.E. churches in East Mississippi and the 129th session for C.M.E. churches in North Mississippi, said the Rev. Mary Robinson, pastor of the C.M.E. church in Iuka.