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Black Methodist Churches Moving toward Union

Article excerpt

Two historically black Methodist denominations are looking toward a possible marriage, after an on-again, off-again courtship that has spanned more than a century. If a plan of union is approved by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) and the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) churches' general conferences, a new Christian Methodist Episcopal Zion Church with a membership of more than 2 million members could become a reality as early as 2004.

Bishops and representatives of both churches formally approved a plan of union in Louisville, Kentucky, April 11. AMEZ delegates will be the first to consider the plan during their General Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, July, 26-August 4. If adopted there and ratified by a two-thirds majority of the denomination's annual conferences, the plan will go to the CME General Conference in Atlanta in 2002.

If ratified by a two-thirds votes of the CME annual conferences, the denomination will have a called session overlapping the last three days of the 2004 AMEZ General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. At their special session, the CME delegates would elect two additional bishops, increasing their church's number of active bishops to 12 to match the total of bishops in the AMEZ church. The senior bishops of both denominations would then convene the inaugural General Conference of the new church. …