Without a doubt, the African Methodist Episcopal Church has weathered many storms. From the realities of systemic and institutional racism, to being on the front lines of the Yellow Fever epidemic, to navigating the current COVID-19 pandemic: through these varied generational challenges, the AME Church has survived. The survival, in many instances, is based on innovative and strategic thinking. The AME Church has played a critically important historical and contemporary role in cultivating the spiritual and social lives of people and communities of African descent in and beyond the United States. Consequently, beyond the ongoing global challenges of racism, the AME Church also faces the dilemmas of other mainline Protestant denominations: pastors trained solely for traditional congregational pastoral leadership. The Fifth Episcopal District has seized opportunities to fortify the District by implementing the following that are addressing the need to:
- establish intentional “cross generational” mentoring opportunities,
- create cohorts/covenantal learning groups that will meet monthly to discuss challenges and best practices, and for the ultimate purpose of offering collegial support,
- require coaches for clergy and offer talk therapeutic opportunities, and
- engage retired pastors as necessary support/supply for sabbaticals, educational or vacation needs.