Fifth Episcopal District, CME Church Newsletter
Bishop Teresa E. Snorton
Presiding Bishop
December 2012
Advent is the Latin word meaning "to come". It is the period of the four weeks of thoughtful preparation for the coming of Christ.  In 2012, Advent began on Sunday, December 2nd.  The Advent wreath is a symbol used to observe advent.  The round wreath includes four candles on the ring and a white Christ candle in the center to represent the purity of Jesus.  Three of the other candles are purple or white and the fourth candle is pink. They symbolize:
HOPE - December 2
FAITH - December 9
LOVE - December 16
JOY (pink) - December 23
 Each Sunday a new candle is lit for that Sunday along with the ones from the previous Sunday.  Scripture, songs, poems or reflections on the theme may accompany the candle-lighting. 
The Christ Candle is lit on Christmas Day!


Meetings begin at 10 am on Friday and end by 1 pm on Saturday.  Presiding Elders, Joint Boards, Committee on Ministerial Examination and others meet on Thursday afternoon/evening.  
Nov 30 - Dec 1, 2012 
The Florida Region met in its Fall Accounting Meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.  The 5th District Presiding Elders and the Missionary Institute also met at the same time.  The entire weekend was quite spirit-filled.  Presiding Elder Oscar Massey preached a powerful word, "You Want Us to Do What?" reflecting on how Jesus calls us to do things we often think we cannot do! 

December 7 - 8, 2012
Alabama Regions Fall Accounting Meeting will be held at the Sheraton Hotel, Birmingham. Friday night Guest Preacher will be Rev. Dr. Percy Johnson of Beulah Heights University in Atlanta.

Don't forget your non-perishable food item along with your registration! See the list at the bottom of the Registration Form. Pre-Registration ended November 16th. Please register on-site.

Click here to get your registration form!



Mrs. Sarah Washington, wife of retired Florida Region pastor Rev. George Washington, died on December 4th. Check for funeral arrangements.


Mrs. Brenda Buie, Florida Region Missionary President, buried her brother on December 2nd.


Bishop James McCoy, the immediate past presiding Bishop for the AME Zion Church in Alabama was funeralized on November 17th.


Mrs. LaVerne Brown (wife of Rev. Henry Brown) buried her father on November 17th.


Presiding Elder K. Solomon Williams buried his aunt and uncle in November. They had been married over 50 years and died 8 days apart.


Please continue to pray for the following ministers and/or their family members who have been sick and/or hospitalized:


Dr. W. Clyde Jones

Dr. Yvonne Kennedy

Rev. Earlie Douthard

Rev. Margaret Boudreaux

Rev. Anthony Robinson's father, Arthur.

Dr. Vanessee Burns' brother, Michael.

Rev. Jeffrey Whitmore's mother.

Rev. Geraldine Daniels' mother.



Bits and Pieces


The CME Church has a new website -

Visit for instructions on how to keep the site updated by including adding your local church in the CME Church directory, submitting photos and videos of your local church, Region or Episcopal District special events (with the appropriate permissions), and providing feedback.


Offerings and Donations for the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund should be mailed to Bishop Snorton as soon as possible. Make checks payable to "CME Department of Finance" and put "Hurricane Sandy Relief" in the memo line. 


Registration for the 2013 Pastor's Conference and Founders' Day Celebration, sponsored by Phillips School of Theology, January 14-17, 2013 is now available at All pastors should register!


If you want to invite Bishop Snorton to preach or visit, you will find her schedule on the Fifth District website

to check her availability.


Upcoming Events


January 11-14   College of Bishops Meeting 


January 14-17 Pastor's Conference 


January 25-26 Jacksonville/Orlando District Children, Youth and Young Adult Retreat 


February 2   Miami/Tampa Day for Youth and Young Adults


Registration for the 2013 Spring Convocations will be available after January 4th.


Visit for details!




  Phen Women Summit logo


Registration for the Phenomenal Women's Summit will be available in February.  Save the Date--- August 29-30-31, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Birmingham.  Spread the word!! Click here for a flyer with details!



Contact Us:


Mailing Address:

P. O. Box 13383

Birmingham, AL 35202


Office Location:

4901 Lloyd Nolan Parkway

Fairfield, AL 35164






5th Episcopal District of Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME)







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CME Church Website:     


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The Limits of Labels


This past Sunday, the first Sunday in Advent, I attended two different churches - one was a CME Church and the other was a non-denominational church where I was the guest preacher.  The two churches were about the same size in terms of attendance.  Both services lasted just a little over an hour.  But there the similarities end.  One service was a traditional service with all the familiar elements - call to worship, affirmation of faith, hymns, and the communion ritual - all printed in the morning bulletin.  The pastor was wearing the traditional Sunday suit. The other service was quite non-traditional - no bulletin, an extended praise and worship period with all praise songs, a contemporary celebration of communion, and a very casually dressed pastor! 


I am sure you are thinking that the traditional church was the one that was a CME Church.  However, the opposite is true.  The CME Church was the one with the very NON-traditional service.  The non-denominational church was the one that most resembled the traditional worship service.  The CME Church has been labeled a "traditional" church, but that label limits how God is actively working in and through the church! You see, that is one of the limits of labels.  Once we have a label for something, it is hard not to impose that label on our future experiences. 

Labels are convenient.  Labels are easy.  Labels enable us to cast quick judgment on people and experiences.  But labels can also limit our ability to experience the fullness of God's presence in others and in our life experiences. 


This Christmas season try to avoid labels.  Jesus was born as an infant in a manger. But be careful of that simple label on Christmas because Mary's baby was destined to be the "Savior of the World".  Jesus was raised as the son of Joseph, the carpenter, but was destined to be the "Great Fisherman" calling men and women to salvation. 


During this season, we can be tempted to label our experiences as "good" or "bad".  We mentally sort the gifts received, the meals eaten, the events attended, the sermons heard into these categories.  But perhaps we miss out when we label them this way.  I would venture to say that God is at work in whatever we experience.  What are the divine messages that may be trying to get through to us in the forms of people and places this Christmas?  What are we missing if we are quick to label? 


Are we overlooking big blessings because they are in small packages?  A conversation with a friend, a song on the radio, an opportunity to smile and be friendly, a quiet evening meal with family, a simple worship service at a small church? 


Christmas is about losing the labels! Defying the expectations! Allowing God to move!  Isaiah 9:6 reminds us about the limitlessness of Christmas as God's blessing to humanity.  The shepherds and wise men saw a babe in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.  But oh, there was so much more!


"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  


Thank you to each one of you for your gifts, cards, greetings, cakes and other delicious treats and other expressions during this holiday season! 

I love the Fabulous, Flourishing Fifth!  

Bishop Teresa Snorton


Celebrate Kwanzaa!


The year 2012 will see the 46th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday celebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.


Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At this time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress.

The Principles of Kwanzaa
Umoja (oo-MOH-ja)
Meaning: unity
Action: building a community that holds together
Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)
Meaning: self-determination
Action: speaking for yourself and making choices that benefit the community
Ujima (oo-JEE-mah)
Meaning: collective work and responsibility
Action: helping others within the community
Ujamaa (oo-JAH-ma)
Meaning: cooperative economics
Action: supporting businesses that care about the community
Nia (nee-AH)
Meaning: a sense of purpose
Action: setting goals that benefit the community
Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)
Meaning: creativity
Action: making the community better and more beautiful
Imani (ee-MAH-nee)
Meaning: faith
Action: believing that a better world can be created for communities now and in the future
Read more:

The Symbols of Kwanzaa
  1. MKEKA (straw mat) - represents african tradition and history, the foundation of our being.
  2. KINARA (candle holder) - represents our ancestors, upon whose shoulders we stand.
  3. MSHUMAA SABA (seven candles) - represents the seven principles of the Nguzo Saba, and one is lit for each day of Kwanzaa.
  4. MUHINDI (ears of corn) - represents the precious gift of children. Each ear of corn is represents each child of the family or one ear of corn for children hoped for.
  5. ZAWADI (gift) - represents the rewards of right actions, cultural andeducational gifts to reinforce personal growth and achievement.
  6. MAZAO (crops, cornicopia of fruit) - represents the fruits of our collective and productive labors.
  7. KIKOMBE CHA UMOJA (unity cup) - represents oneness of purpose.