Fifth Episcopal District Newsletter
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
  Bishop Teresa E. Snorton, Presiding 
November-December, 2015


A fire set by an apparent intruder (who is believed to be homeless) damaged the fellowship hall and sanctuary of the Greater St. Paul CME Church in Bessemer early Sunday morning, November 29th.  Stunned, but with faith and perseverance, the congregation gathered on the lawn later that morning and held its worship service.  Under the leadership of the pastor, Rev. Leon Parker, the congregation is looking for a temporary place of worship until repairs are made.  A special fund "GSP REBUILD" has been set up and anyone desiring to contribute should mail their donation to the church at 2630 10th Ave, N, Bessemer, AL 35020 or online on their website at Please keep this congregation in prayer.

Click this link for a video update from the pastor.

Visit Greater St. Paul on Facebook at Greater Saint Paul CME Church - Bessemer


We are in the Season of Advent 2015 ... the beginning of the Christian Year.   As this new Christian Year begins, many are afraid to travel as freely as they have in the past, corporate boards are wrestling and negotiating issues of profits versus earnings of those in their employ, people are protesting violence in the streets and in the courts, racism has shown itself as deeply entrenched in America as it was a century ago, refugees are fleeing their homes and countries in the name of "something better," there are still hungry people in the world ... and many of God's churches are yet silent as if blinded from seeing the world's blighted plight.
Advent 2015 ... the season of hope, of expectancy, of waiting and watching ... but the season that reminds us that those who received the good news of the birth of Jesus did not simply hope or expect or wait or watch idly ... they moved toward Bethlehem to take part in what God was doing in the world.  "Let us go even unto Bethlehem ...."
John the Baptist moved the world from "the wilderness" toward Bethlehem ... not physically, but prophetically, as he pointed those who came to the Jordan River for baptism to the fact that One was coming after Him, and as he said to his disciples as Jesus approached, "Behold, the Lamb of God ...."  John moved his own disciples toward the advent of what God was doing in the world through Christ ... for John saw God using him to move the world beyond him to Christ.
Will we move toward Bethlehem this Advent, toward God's involvement in the world, toward God's decisions and actions that birthed the God-child into the midst of poverty and the oppression of Herod's genocide?  Will we move toward Bethlehem by joining protest marches ... or by joining ministries that serve people (and not just our church's people!) ... or by supporting or linking with organizations that are serving people across the world such as Doctors Without Borders or Bread for the World or St. Jude Hospital?  Will we witness to the miracle of Bethlehem's call by our individual and local church participations in ministries? 
God calls us at Advent 2015 to be "church" for more than Sunday worship within contained walls and for more than raising monies to operate locally and connectionally.  God calls us to be "church" in order to act on God's behalf in the world.  Some of us are doing just that ... but more of us need to step up and do more.   
As our connectional mission statement says, we are called "to serve the present age as a sign and instrument of God's saving grace, making disciples for Christ, nurturing them through preaching and teaching the Word of God, through Christ centered worship, prophetic witness and effective service."  The key words emphasize preaching and teaching and worshipping, but they also call us to prophetic witness and effective service.  Yes, because we are "a sign of instrument of God's grace" in the world.
May God bless us this Advent to be new witnesses serving the world.  Serving.  Not just organizing or electing or structuring or posturing.  Serving.  If you have not done it before, make some steps to do it now.  Even small steps ... like volunteering for a couple of hours a week ... can lead to great blessings for those who receive and those who give. 
 ... and then bear witness to how God has appeared!
(Edited from  Click here to read full article)


MR. J. B. TURNER. , a member of Turner Chapel CME Church in Toney, AL, will go to Washington, DC in early December to receive an award for being named the 2016 National Small Farmer of the Year y the US Department of Agriculture.  He was previously named Alabama's Small Farmer of the Year (Click here to read article) and was selected from among all the state winners as the national winner.  Mr. Turner became a full-time farmer (cattle, vegetables and hay) after he retired from teaching at Alabama A & M University in Huntsville.

, Fifth District Mission Coordinator, and REV. ELAINE CRITTENDEN (Stewart Memorial, Mobile) traveled to Jamaica in August to deliver the washable feminine hygiene kits made by the Third and Fifth Episcopal Districts.  They showed girls (and adult women) how to use the kits as well as how to make their own at the Garland Hall Memorial Children's Home in Anchovy, Jamaica and at the Good News CME Church in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. They also carried donated school supplies to the Mae C. Linsey Basic School. A similar mission trip to Haiti in November gave out pads and taught classes at the W. Edward Lockett CME Compound and at the Generations of Hope Orphanage in Habarre, Haiti.

CHEROKEE C.M.E. CHURCH - In an effort to support and reach out to the local school system and the community, made a financial contribution and purchased a banner to be displayed at the Cherokee High School Football Stadium.  Rev Zethelyn Johnson is the pastor.

PHILLIPS TEMPLE CME CHURCH joined in the celebration of the "National Back to Church Sunday" on Sunday, September 20th under the leadership of Pastor, Lawrence M. Jefferson.  This was the first year celebrating the program which was designed to encourage churches to reach out to everyone and invite them to try church again.  Fishing poles for all of our guests and members were distributed and included a fish, with messages like the "Fruits of the Spirit" and other acts of kindness.  Next year we plan to make this an even bigger success by designing programs for the entire weekend leading up to the Sunday celebration.  We thank God for sending us eight new souls within the last two months.

ST PAUL CME in Jacksonville, AL.  (Rev. Stephen Davis, pastor) reports the following good news: Since the annual conference:  6 new members, 5 rededications, 3 youth candidates for baptism. They have also purchased s new sign (please see photo).  The Musician's Appreciation at the Jacksonville Community Center on Sunday, September 6th over 300 people attended. They have partnered with Restoration Church from Huntsville, AL to teach Bible Study at Jacksonville University and to start a city wide Bible Study. The first Bible Study was held on Saturday, September 19th.  
POWERS CHAPEL CME  (Rev. Jermaine Woods) held its "Church Without Walls" event on Sept 27th at Moundville State Park.  There were over 80 in attendance, 3 were baptized (1 more elected immersion and will be baptized at the church), and members from the Hale County School system made presentations on Federal Programs available to our community.

STAR OF BETHLEHEM'Kirsten Smith, daughter of pastor, Rev. Kenneth Smith, wins Alabama Power award:

HUNTSVILLE DISTRICT held its first MINISTRY TO MEN retreat!  Over 70 men were in attendance!

The children of WESLEY CHAPEL CME (Century, FL,  Rev. Kent Cottrell) were featured in an advertisment for Escambia County.

The Blessed Hands Ministry at MT. OLIVE CME Church (Orlando, Rev. Jermaine Marshall) is self-taught group begun this year for persons who endeavor to learn the art of crocheting, knitting, and sewing.  Scarves, hats and lap afghans have been made to give to the homeless and nursing homes.  They meet every Wednesday at Mt. Olive CME Church, 745 Woods Ave, Orlando, FL at 6 PM.  All materials are donated by the members and others. New members and  donations are welcome. The Craft Teacher is Rev. Diane Hinton.

We also had good news from:
PORTER ST PAUL CME (Northport, Rev. James Copeland),  Dr. W. Clyde Jones, guest preacher

VERNON CHAPEL CME (Vernon, Rev. W. C. McGown) - Laity Day and Missionary True Blue Sunday

GREENFIELD CME (Pell City, Rev. Valentino Hall) - Women's Day

BEEBE CHAPEL CME (Carrollton, Rev. William Miles)  -Worship in Pink Sunday and Missionary True Blue Sunday

Bishop Snorton has set up a special email address where you may send your 
"GOOD NEWS": (not case sensitive).  
Please send in your good news reports!


Fall Accounting Meetings
Sat, December 5th Florida Region at Peaceful Valley CME, Hobe Sound, FL
Sat, December 12th Alabama Regions at Southside CME, Birmingham, AL
Get registration information at

PST Pastors' Conference and Founders Day
Sheraton Gateway Atlanta Airport
January 11-14, 2016

Bishop's Training Day (9 am - 12 n) & Fellowship Luncheon (12 n- 2 pm)
Sat, February 13th Miami-Tampa District at Bethany-Clearwater, FL
Sat, February 20th Jacksonville-Orlando District at Allen Temple, Tallahassee

Women's Missionary Council Executive Board
Biloxi, MS
February 28-March 3, 2016

Alabama Regions Spring Convocation @ Miles College
March 18-19, 2016

Florida Region Spring Convocation @ Carter Tabernacle CME Church
April 1-2, 2016

Connectional Youth and Young Adult Conference in Memphis, TN
July 11-15, 2016

Alabama Regions Annual Conference
Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel, Hoover, AL
Hosted by the Birmingham Region
Coordinators: Rev. Lamont Johnson (Bham Dist)  Rev. Leon Parker (Annis Dist)
July 27-29, 2016

Florida Region Annual Conference
Doubletree by Hilton, Sunrise-Sawgrass Mills, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Host Church: Williams Memorial CME Church, Rev. Cal Hopkins
August 3-5, 2016

The 5th Annual Unity Summit
Union Station Doubletree Hotel, St. Louis, MO
September 19-23, 2016

A full calendar of events is on the website at 

All CME pastors who are members of the Annual Conference in the Fifth District and enrolled in an accredited seminary (other than those at Phillips School of Theology at the ITC) should be sure to complete a scholarship application form available from the Bishop's Office.

The CCTaylor Foundation provides scholarships and stipends for ministers to attend school. For more information visit or email

PASTORS AND REGIONAL LEADERS, If your address has changed since last year, please email Rev. Gloria Longstreet your new contact information for the Directory at


Homegoing Services for Rev. Dr. W. Clinton Haynes, retired pastor on the Anniston District, were held on November 28th.  Please keep his widow, Rev. Dr. Gloria Haynes, in prayer.

Rev. Imogene Heathington, pastor of St. Paul, Gainesville, FL, lost her mother, Mrs. Carolyn 
Danzler Walker of Paterson, New Jersey.

Rev. Belinda Parham, pastor of Welch Chapel , Brighton, AL lost her mother,  Mrs. Rosa Russell, a member of Southside CME in Birmingham.  Mrs. Russell was also the grandmother of Rev. Chris Parham, pastor of St. John, Ensley, AL

Rev. Tommie Jones, pastor of New Hope, Bynum, AL , lost his daughter, Mrs. Allison Young in Ohio.

Rev. Colin Grey, pastor of St. Paul, Sayreton, AL, lost his mother, Mrs. Dorotheda Turk Grey.

Rev. Geraldine McDaniel, Florida Region, lost her mother, Mrs. Hattie Mayhue McKinney in Maryland.

Rev. Ed Martin, pastor of Curry Chapel, Valhermosa Springs, lost his sister, Mrs.  Johhnie Mae Wallace.

Rev. Debra Thomas, pastor of Mt. Calvary, Lake Wales, FL , lost her brother, Mr. James Kelvin Ponds.

Mrs. Regina Hall, first lady of Greenfield CME, Pell City , lost her father, Mr. Willie D. "Sonny" Gamble.

Mr. Nathan Love, well known layman at Central Metropolitan, Jacksonville, lost his wife, Rosemary.

  • Rev. Dr. W. Clyde Jones, retired Tuscaloosa District, had emergency surgery a month ago and continues to be hospitalized at Druid City Regional Medical Center-The Noland Hospital wing.
  • Rev. Willie Nell Johnson, pastor of St. Paul, Kennedy and Oak Grove-Gordo, AL , had a stroke.
  • Rev. Marvin C. Lue, pastor of Stewart Memorial, Mobile, AL, had emergency surgery.
  • Rev. Percy Jackson, retired, Huntsville District, had a stroke.
  • Rev. Eddie Richardson, pastor of Pine Grove CME, Boligee, AL  was hospitalized.
  • Rev. Janice Smith, Pastor Taylor Chapel, Pritchard, AL, had knee surgery.
  • Rev. James Campbell, pastor of Union Chapel, Ward, AL, had surgery.
  • Rev. Terrance Blackful, pastor of Slater CME, Butler, AL, had knee surgery.
  • Rev. Benjamin McMillan, pastor of St. James  and New Hope CME (Tallahassee, FL), was hospitalized.
  • Rev. Leon Parker, pastor of Greater St. Paul, Bessemer, AL was hospitalized.
  • Mrs. Ethel Monroe, widow of Rev. Wilford Monroe (Florida Region), was hospitalized.
  • Mrs. Joyce Johnson, wife of retired pastor Rev. Joe Johnson (Florida Region), was hospitalized.
  • Ms. Jalessa Hall, daughter of Rev. Valentino Hall, (Greenfield, Pell City, AL) had knee surgery.
  • Ms. Kaitlyn Graves, daughter of Rev. Anderson Graves (Miles Chapel, Fairfield, AL) had knee surgery. 

The Fifth Episcopal District office will be closed for the holidays from December 18th through January 4th.



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