The CME Church was organized December 16, 1870 in Jackson, Tennessee by forty-one delegates from eight Colored Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. this conference to establish a new church had been authorized by the General Conference of the M.E. Church, South, meeting in New Orleans, Louisana in 1866 in response to the expressed desires and wishes of black constituents to have their own separate and independent organization. Having devoted the previous day in prayer, the delegates chose a name for their new church, and, together with the organizational structure and ordination requirements of American Methodism, adopted the "Articles of Religion." With the election of two bishops and the doctrines and polity of the new church frimly established, a new branch of Methodist was born among the followers of John Wesley and in the Church of Jesus Christ. Fully independent, yet amicable in ecumenical relations, the C.M.E. Church went forth to preach good news, teach divine truth and heal the brokeness of life by the power of God in our Risen Savior.
Through the years our church has shown a remarkable sensitivity to the spirit of changing times. Although founded and continued as a predominantly African American Church, it was at no time exclusively so. Membership in our church has always been open to any person "desiring to flee from the wrath to come." In 1954, a resolution was approved by the General Conference stating: "Aware of the inconsistency of having a racial designation in the name of our church. . .and without implying our disloyalty to, or disrespect for, the founding fathers. . .we recommend that, in harmony with Christian principles, in keeping with the times, and in accordance with the recommendations of the Bishops of the General Conference, proper steps be taken to change the name of our church from Colored Methodist Episcopal to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church or some other suitable name that retains the initials as a symbol of our founding and continuing witness." Ratification was repored by the College of Bishops in Detroit, Michigan, January 19, 1956.
The evangelistic fervor and missionary zeal of our early fathers and mothers and succeeding generations expanded the denomination from the Southeast to the Northwest, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Caribbean to West Africa. Education has ever been a strong denominational priority, extending from the efforts of our first generation pioneers to develop an educated clergy and meet the challenge of widespread illiteracy to the passionate desire of succeeding generations to provide opportunities for higher education for those for whom such opportunities were limited.
With departmentalized programmatic thrusts covering every phase of our mission and every part of our constituency, the denomination has sought to be true to our Lord from its founding and in every place where its influence could be felt. Understanding our mandate to include the salvation of sinners and the liberation of the oppressed from all forms of human bondage, we have sought to discern the work of Jesus Christ in human affairs and join Him in proclamation and deed for the fulfillment of that work that makes the kingdoms of this world the Kingdom of our Lord.
The Deparment of Christian Education provides opportunities for educational ministry to the various agencies, boards, departments, and age groupings of the Church, to promote Christian nurture, growth, and development at all levels.
The Department of Christian Education, through the Church School Department, promotes programs in church school administration, curriculum development, and other needed subjects which the age groupings of Local Church Scho0ls can provide for adequate Christian growth.
The Department determines the curriculum which is used in all Vacation Bible Schools and other weekday schools in our churches.
The Department promotes, supervises, and provides suggestions for programs on the District, Annual Conference, Regional and Connectional levels for youth conferences, assemblies, Jubilees, and conventions.
The Department promotes the Scouting Ministries and recommends the agencies for boys and girls as youth in ministry. The Department is responsible for the content of the "God and Country" award.
The Department of Christian Education focuses on the following educational ministries:
a. Children's Ministry b. Youth Ministry c. Young Adult Ministry d. Adult Ministry e. Family Ministry f. Leadership Education g. Literature and Audio-Visuals h. Scouting Ministry
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