Bishop Reverend Reginald T. Jackson comes to Allen Chapel for 128th Conference

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Allen Chapel held the 128th Conference of the South Georgia Association of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was also the last conference in the 6th Episcopal District Bishop Reginal T. Jackson would attend before traveling to a different conference.

Yellow-shirted security guards were busy directing cars and pedestrians where they needed to go. The light blue fellowship hall was decorated with sprays of blue plastic flowers and balloons in anticipation of his arrival. Vendors had racks of colorful clothes in the back.

The Bishop arrived, wearing a purple tie, grey-purple suit, and holding a cane, his wife absent due to illness. He greeted those who had also gathered for the breakfast, including Sherrif Eric Bryant and Mayor Lee Kinnamon.

Host Pastor Jermain Harris also welcomed those who had gathered. Mayor Lee Kinnamon made an address and gave a proclamation. “It’s a great blessing to be with you this morning for the 128th conference.” Kinnamon spoke of the influence of the AME church over former President Jimmy Carter, specifically the influence of Bishop William Decker Johnson.

The church also was a major hub during the Civil Rights movement. Sherrif Bryant also spoke, stating that he hoped those gathered would not hesitate to reach out if there was anything they could do, but that they didn’t give get out of jail free cards.

Bobby Fuze, advocate in democratic politics, non-profits, and non-partisan politics, also welcomed the Biship and remarked on the fellowship. “Behold how pleasant it is for sisters and brothers to dwell together in unity.”

The Bishop stood amidst applause, telling of his delight in attending the breakfast, and to have the Sherrif and Mayor present. He referenced the church’s security, stating it brought to mind the hymn “Safe and Secure from All Alarm.”

The Bishop also told how he had met Carter in 1980 while he was campaigning in Newark New Jersey. The Bishop stated Carter had said he learned politics from the AME Bishop, which garnered laughter.

The 128th session began with the procession of reverends and elders through the Sanctuary Entrance. The doxology was sung, along with the hymn Who Shall I Fear. Scripture readings included the Book of Isaiah 40:28-31 and Corinthians 2, 4:7, the later speaking to the power of God made evident in the frailty of His human followers.
The Bishop was introduced by Presiding Elder Joseph Baker, who talked about how the Bishop was leading his people away from the color red, symbolizing anger and January 6th, and towards the color blue, symbolized by the waters.

All stood to receive the Bishop, who acknowledged the presiding elders and ministers, as well as the congregants. “I greet you in the matchless name of our risen, ruling, and reigning Christ. “I am absolutely delighted to see you this morning. I thank God for our journey. The gathering of the annual conference sends a very important message: the fact that God has brought us from one year to another year. Somebody ought to say, thank you Jesus!”
The crowd responded loudly in return “Thank you Jesus!”

He addressed the uniqueness of the conference. “This is an interesting conference. I say that because this conference has produced some of the most outstanding leaders we have in this district. The Southwest conference is also a training ground for developing ministers.”

He praised Reverend Jermaine and his wife to widespread applause. “I am proud of Allen Chapel. I am proud of this Southwest Conference.”

“It has been a wonderful time here in Americus, and I just want to thank you for all that you have done to make this conference get off to an absolutely outstanding start. Don’t ever take good fellowship for granted. Its my joy to be able to present the preacher for this annual sermon. The annual sermon is not like any other sermon during the annual conference, and I am always very careful when the recommendation is brought to me to preach the annual sermon. The preacher for the annual sermon doesn’t only preach for themselves.”

The Bishop told how the annual sermon tells the story of the congregants, and how they had faced and passed through the trails of another year. He stated that while many believed only a pastor from a major congregation should give the annual sermon, he had chosen one who had never pastored a large church.

The Bishop introduced the Reverend Mary Powell, who had pastored three churches in two different conferences, and was now retiring. The sermon was on Mark 15:18-20 and told about the aftermath of an exorcism that Jesus had performed. After the demons were driven out, people were amazed at the dramatic change in the man. Powell talked about how he was told to tell of the great things God had done for him. She drew parallels to the struggles of many believers, and how the trials they have been through are not evident. “I don’t look like what I’ve been through.”
Powell adopted a rhythmic style as she continued preaching. “He is our strength. He gives us more than we can bear so that we can rely on Him.”

She continued to tell of testimonies that leaved people in tears, of broken marriages and divorces. She ended by emphasizing God’s providence. “I don’t look like what I’ve been through.”


Correction: Bishop Reverend Reginald T. Jackson was introduced by Presiding Elder Joseph Baker, not Elder John Bass during the conference at Allen Chapel AME Church.