SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE LAY ORGANIZATION
The Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is commissioned to teach, train and empower its members for lay ministry, global leadership and service following the tenets of Jesus Christ
The purpose of this organization shall be to organize and train the lay persons of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, so that each lay person may utilize, to the maximum, the abilities and skills granted by God, in assisting with the improvement and extension of God’s Kingdom, and creating happiness, peace and harmony among its members.
Building a healthy and strong lay organization takes commitment from the local church. Your local lay organization is not built overnight. It will take time to develop. Organizing the lay in your church takes a group of individuals who are willing to devote time, and have a thirst and willingness to learn thoroughly the connectional church.
The following practices have been tried and tested and are being shared on the basis that if implemented and practiced regularly, they will help your lay organization to function effectively and efficiently.
On Page 420 of the Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is found the Connectional Lay Organization Constitution and By Laws. One should be familiar with this document before organizing on the local level.
To create a love and appreciation of the History and Principles of African Methodism.
Keep the memory of Richard Allen alive.
Respect Constituted Authority.
Stimulate and Educate the Laity in the Total Program of the Church.
Study the Discipline and learn the laws of the Church.
Encourage Financial Support of the Church’s Program.
Teach and Practice Stewardship and work with the Youth to teach them Methodism.
These objectives can best be met when one works to understand the program of the church and relate the church to the World around us
. Become involved in Social Action such that the church is then our Community – our Job – Our School, and everywhere that many assembles he carries the church with him.
In 1928, legislation giving laymen equal representation in the General Conference was enacted by the General Conference which met at Chicago, Illinois. Up to that time, lay representation was confined to three (3) laymen from each Annual Conference. In 1932, at the General Conference held in Cleveland, Ohio, laymen were granted the right to serve on the Episcopal Committee. However, Bishop Flipper ruled at the succeeding General Conference in 1936 in New York City that the right to serve on the Episcopal Committee by the laity was an act passed by the General Conference of 1932 and applied only to that General Conference, so that in 1936 we had to renew the fight previously made in Cleveland to establish the right of laymen to serve permanently in equal numbers on the Episcopal Committee. The General Conference of 1936 definitely and permanently established the right of laymen to serve in equal numbers on the Episcopal Committee. In 1940, in Detroit, Michigan, legislation gave the laymen equal representation in the Annual Conference. In 1944, the laymen sough t equal representation on all Departmental Boards. The most significant achievement at the 1944 General Conference was the weight and influence thrown by the Lay Organization behind the legislation which created a Pension Department in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
We find Episcopal District Lay Organizations organized in every Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the Continental United States from the first Episcopal District down through and including the Thirteenth Episcopal District.
Our organized lay movement has, therefore, had three (3) significant stages of growth and development. First, the early formative years under the Laymen’s Missionary League organized in 1912 by Professor Charles H. Johnson, Wilberforce University; second, Connectional Lay College, organized in 1916 under the leadership of Dr. Carl V. Roman of Fisk University; and finally in 1946 in Connectional Laymen’s Organization organized by the delegates from the Lay College who were meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1946. Today, the organized lay movement in the African Methodist Episcopal Church operates as a vital force for good because it is free, independent and unmotivated by any desire, motive or purpose other than the general welfare of African Methodism.