Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Pentecost Project

Bishops Richard Allen, Daniel Payne, Paul Quinn and Henry McNeal Turner are revered by some as The Four Horsemen of African Methodism. A believer’s review of their collective good works might identify these men of fairer clay as the ones whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth" causing it to rest quietly— countermeasures to "sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague." 
By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired 

AMWS, May 31, 2020, Atlanta  Today, some 2.4 billion kindred spirits can celebrate victory over generations of exclusion.  Way too many have succumbed to fear, whether threatened by the latest global health crisis or leadership’s incapacity to access and deploy historically proven remedies. 

COVID-19 got a little too close over the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost.  But this week, grievers found comfort in the timely transition of their loved ones.  Ascension Day is observed on the 40th day of Easter,” posted Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor IIIIt commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven.”   

The occasion found the former Army chaplain ministering comfort through his own grief. “The Sydnor family has lost its matriarch, Harriett Elizabeth Gaymon Sydnor who was born March 13, 1922 in Sumter, South Carolina…”  At the same time, the colonel chaplain ministered power to grieving members of the Reverend James and Alma Stradford clan in the peaceful transition of their beloved sister Ida Mae Stradford Cain of Columbus, OH. 

Chaplains all around the world are poised for dunimis miracles through their fervent prayers for one another and for the special believers they serve.  “Praying for Bishop William DeVeaux and the DeVeaux family in the loss of the family matriarch, Dr. “Pam” DeVeaux.    

Commander Glenda Jennings Harrison, CHC, U.S. Navy, retired, serves as Vice-President of the Henry McNeal Turner Chaplains Association.  Like many others, she has stepped up to a legacy of uniquely endowed chaplains dating back to 1863.   The Pentecost Project is well underway as chaplains prepare for service in today’s vision of the future. 

During the American Civil War, Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915) served as the first Black chaplain of Colored Troops in the U.S He played a role in Republican Party politics and was later appointed to the Freedmen's Bureau in Georgia. He was elected to the state legislature in 1868 during Reconstruction and planted many AME churches in Post-Civil War Georgia. 

In 1880, Turner was elected as the first southern bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church after a fierce battle within the denomination. The church’s 12th elected and consecrated bishop is revered as one of the four horsemen of African Methodism.   

Turner was born free in Newberry, South Carolina, to Sarah Greer and Hardy Turner, both of African and European ancestry. He grew up under the protection of Partus sequitur ventrem,” a legal doctrine concerning the slave or free status of children born in the English royal colonies. Turner’s paternal grandparents were a white woman planter and a black man. 

Some Black chaplains today still struggle to subdue an inherited warrior spirit, perhaps evident in Turner’s DNA.  According to the family's oral tradition, his maternal grandfather, renamed David Greer, had been enslaved in Africa and imported to South Carolina.  Traders subsequently noticed that Greer had royal Mandinka tribal marksso they released him from slavery. According to the same family lore, Greer then began to work for a Quaker family.  

The Spirit of the Original Free African Society (FAS), sustained through Black chaplains, serves as a reminder that the best is yet to come. They represent a unique history.  The birth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church protested racial discrimination and slavery.   

Pentecost Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ.  In lessons learned during the formation of the Christian church, apostles had returned to Jerusalem for the Hebrew Festival of Weeks, also known as Shavot. This historically unique “Festival of Reaping” or Day of the First Fruits” would usher in a new era for believers—an era when the modern church of the time received Holy Ghost Power. 

Any scholar worth their credentials can tell you, “dunamis is not just any power. The word often refers to miraculous power or marvelous works.  Dunamis can also refer to “moral power and excellence of soul.  Dunamis power is one under-utilized asset available to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines served by a uniquely endowed corps of chaplains. 

One might ask, “What exactly are you expecting for the year 2021?”  Perhaps a prayer, a prayer for “inherent power, residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.  Up to now, your Mandinka warrior nature has been festering like a sore.  When the power comes, will if find you ready, or distracted by the problems of the day? 

Pentecost Sunday (May 31, 2020 to May 31, 2021 – The Pentecost Project is a one-year planning project for a “Learning Journey” to Black Wall Street.  On Pentecost Sunday, 2021, the 21st Century Church of Jesus The Christ, through whom ALL THINGS are possible, shall decree and declare healing, IN THE NAME OF JESUS.  A LEARNING process is proposed for sustaining this decree and declaration.