THE A.M.E. ZION STRUCTURE of Our *CONNECTION*
The A.M.E. Zion Church is guided and governed by the Holy Bible and it's rules and regulations outlined in The Book of Discipline. In the Book of Discipline are the Doctrines of The A.M.E. Zion Church.
LOCAL CHURCHES - The Local Churches are the cornerstones of The A.M.E. Zion Connection. The Pastor is ordained and appointed by the Bishop to a Local Church. Pastors are to preach/teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ by knowing both Old and New Testaments and continue in Kingdom Building. Pastors are to also pursue education and be trained in administration.
Quarterly Conferences - which meet 4 times a year.
This Conference is unique in that it is a local barometer reflecting the conditions existent in the local church. Members of this conference, which meets every three months, consist of traveling ministers Local Elders, Deacons, Preachers, Exhorters, Class Leaders, Trustees, Stewards, Stewardess, Deaconess, all Missionary Departments. Superintendents of Church School, presidents of clubs, Secretary and Treasurer of Christian endeavor. All General Officers and ministers are amenable to the Quarterly Conference within whose bounds they reside. The Presiding Elder appoints time and place of the Quarterly Conference. The Quarterly Conference is quite important as it is a law making body. Its duties Include:
Examining the officers of our fellowship.
Granting or withholding approval of the character of the members of the Quarterly Conference.
Examination of Exhorters and Local Preachers, renew or revoke license and makes recommendation to the District Conference.
Recommendation of suitable candidates to the Annual Conference for ordination.
Hearing appeals and determining appropriate redress.
Election of delegates to the Annual and District Conferences.
Class Leaders' Meeting - usually meet once a month as a group. Individual Class Leader meets with their members once a week to see how their soul is fairing, via seeing class member at church, phone call, email, etc.
Whenever there is any business to be attended to by the local Church not otherwise vested in the Steward’s meeting, Board of Trustees, Leaders Meeting or Quarterly Conference, the members in Full Connection shall be called together in a Member’s Conference to consider the matter. The Pastor in charge shall have the sole right to make the call for and preside over the Member’s Conference.
The agenda of a member’s conference may include the following:
Development Plans (update Budget)
Other Ideas, Plans, Discussions that shall promote the general good of the fellowship.
DISTRICT CONFERENCES - Which meet once a year and is presided over by a Presiding Elder, who is appointed by the Bishop. The District Conference is a division of the Annual Conference. It is composed of all the traveling ministers, superannuated supernumerary, local Elders, Deacons, Local Preachers, Exhorters and all officers in the Missionary and Christian Education Department, Laymen Council Pres. etc. The District Conference duties include looking into the spiritual and temporal affairs of churches, schools and benevolent societies within its bounds; to inquire into the recommendation of the quarterly conference, grant new or renew local preacher’s licenses. The District Conference also examines preachers who are studying to be admitted to the Annual Conference.The District Sunday School Convention is the name of the meeting where the church school’s organizations are separate from the District Conference. The District Directors of Christian Education Preside alternately under the leadership of the Presiding Elder.
ANNUAL CONFERENCES - The Annual Conference is composed of a Bishop, all traveling ministers, preachers in full connection, lay delegates duly elected from the various churches within its bounds, the missionary and education officers. The Bishop is the presiding officer. The Annual Conference has power to make laws for its operation as long as those laws are not in conflict with the laws of the Connection. It can make other annual conferences with limitations, examine the domestic affairs of its missions, hear complaints against any of its members and dispose of them according to law. Support for the general church commitments comes from the Annual Conference. It is divided into a convenient number of Presiding Elder Districts. It hears reports from Presiding Elders, Pastors, Delegates, District Officers of Missionary and Christian Education Departments, committee on audit and treasures. It receives the prorata for General Claims and the attendant levies. The Annual Conference admits ministers and assigns them, according to law, to their respective churches. The Annual Conference can drop Ministers that has not answered roll call. This body also elects Delegates to the General Conference.
GENERAL CONFERENCE - Meets every four (4) years, Makes laws, church policy; approves budget. Our supreme body also elects both:
The General Conference. The church denomination you have joined is unique in its connection. Its affiliation is Methodist made possible by John Wesley and retained by our protesting and founding fathers. It has twelve Bishops. The General Conference is the major gathering of the denomination which meets every four years beginning the first Wednesday in July (date subject to change) and lasting for two weeks at a place designated by a commission which sets the place two years before the sessions begin. It is the law making body of the church which is empowered with the responsibility of making and changing or amending the laws that are changeable with special exceptions alluding to our articles of faith, doctrine and existing standards. The episcopacy shall not be done away with nor the plan of itinerancy. Laws granting trials to ministers and appeals shall remain intact. The same applies to our laity. Our general rules shall not be destroyed. The General Conference elects bishops and assigns them to their Districts. It tries, expels, impeaches or disrobes Bishops, elects General officers, guards the destiny of the Connection, hears and receives reports of departments and regulates the work, discipline and polity of each. There is no appeal from the General Conference. In the interim of the General Conference, the Bishops govern the church and interpret its laws and mandate.
THE CONNECTION IS DIVIDED INTO:
EPISCOPAL DISTRICTS - There are twelve (12); They are sometimes called 'Episcopal Areas'. Each presided over by a Bishop. We have twelve (12) active Bishops. We have over 6,600 churches worldwide. We are located on 5 continents, i.e., North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
BOARD OF BISHOPS - Meets twice a year; oversees the general supervision of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which also includes hearing the reports of our General Officers and the report from each President our six (6) Church supported schools (seminaries/universities/colleges).
GENERAL OFFICERS - Who oversee the operation of the Departments of the Connection. There are 13 General Officers and the general church pays their salaries. Each post is elected every 4 years.
CONNECTIONAL COUNCIL - Which meets once a year, and these Administrative Boards make recommendations to the Board of Bishops and the General Conference.
Each member of the local church is called on to pay money set aside for our support of the CONNECTION.
Class or Quarterly Dues - paid to your Class Leader for the Quarterly Conference. This money helps pay the Presiding Elder's salary on a quarterly basis)
General Claims - paid to your Class Leader. Each dollar is broken down in this manner: 44 cents to educational institutions; 15 cents to operate departments of the Connection; 13 cents for the Pension Fund and death benefits; 4 cents for widows and rural ministers; 4 cents pays our General Officers and operates their offices; 4 cents pays for our Bishops and their office needs; 3 cents operates our Publishing House; 2 cents for Harriet Tubman House and camps, and 1 cent reserve. These figures are not exact, but are very close.
District Askings – Helps with the general expense of the District office.
The Methodist tradition requires that the local church (the roots), support the CONNECTION. The Connection, at the General Conference, determines what amount each conference must pay and, in turn, the conference determines what each local church must pay. These amounts are determined by the number of persons on the rolls of each church. If each member does not carry his or her own weight, other members are burdened with a heavier load. This is why it is so very important that every member of the local church help by carrying his/her own share of the responsibility to support the local church and, in turn, support the worldwide CONNECTION of ZION
There are two (2) classes of Membership in ZION:
Probationer - each new member is received on probation unless that person has a 'letter of transfer' from another recognized Christian Church. That person is not required to wait for the full six (6) months probationary period.
The Probationer is admitted to the next step after spending a period of study with the pastor and when they have given satisfactory evidence of a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Member in Full Connection - a person who has completed the study for probation and is enrolled as a member of the Connection as well as the local Church.
1. Participation in local church boards and auxiliaries.
2. Voting in local church meetings.
3. Can represent the local church as a delegate to a District, Annual or General Conference
4. Can become involved with the worldwide program of the Connection
Regular attendance at Sunday Worship.
Daily Prayer and Bible Reading
Receiving Holy Communion - first Sunday of each month.
Giving: a. Tithes - one-tenth of your income, b. General Offering - regular amount weekly, or c. as God hath prospered you (I Cor. 16:2)
Paying Class Dues and General Claims.
Support of Church Rally Days.
Membership in at least one church ministry.
Attendance, when possible, of weekly church meetings, Bible Study, Prayer Service. Officers are strongly encouraged by the Pastor to attend.
Baptism - One must be Baptized before becoming a full member. (Para. 91 - A.M.E. Zion Discipline) - There are 3 modes of Baptism, ie; Sprinkling, Pouring and Immersion. If you were baptized as a child or as an adult, that's fine. We discourage being baptized more than once, but if you insist, we will honor your request.
Our order of worship may have variations in what is done, how it is done and what position it is done. This is largely because of the degree of freedom given in the A.M.E. Zion Church. It does not matter what is done or how it is done, everyone should know its meaning and should have a reasonable understanding of Our Order of Worship.
A.M.E. Zion Churches are located on these continents of Africa, South America, North America, Asia, Europe
Namibia, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Togo, Liberia, Ghana
Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Trinidad-Tobago, Barbados, Canada, United States
Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela