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Bishop James Walker
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion EditorandRichard LeeContributing Religion Writer
Worship services, business sessions and pastoral appointments highlighted the 26th Session of the Southern California Region Annual Conference of the C.M.E. Church. Bishop James B. Walker, presiding prelate of the 9th Episcopal District, officiated during the convention held August 21 - 24 at the historic Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church in Los Angeles.
"Our clergy, laity, and friends were blessed with three days of powerful praise and worship, thorough training, celebration and sessions dedicated to the work of the church," said Bishop Walker, whose district encompasses congregations throughout the Western United States from Oklahoma to Alaska.
"Throughout the conference, dynamic preachers proclaimed the word from God, challenging and equipping participants to do the hard work of the Great Commission outlined in Matthew 28:16-20, where Jesus directs us to make disciples of all nations," he said.
The agenda included the Communion Service sermon delivered by the Right Rev. Teresa Snorton, the first woman bishop in the history of the 145-year-old denomination. Also, the Rev. Dr. James Washington of the 5,000-member Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church in Dayton, OH, taught an in-depth session on ‘Healthy Churches and the Great Commission.'
In addition, U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry addressed the opening session of the conference. Bishop Walker also received honorary proclamations from many state and local elected officials including Assemblyman Isadore Hall, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Carson Mayor James "Jim" Dear, Gardena Mayor Paul K. Tanaka, L.A. City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, and Attorney Yvonne B. Burke, former Assemblywoman and L.A. County Supervisor.
Other activities included Christian Education Hour, the Women's Missionary Service featuring the Missionary March and Missionary Choir, the Lay Ministry and Ministry to Men observances, and the Men's Choir.
At the Closing and Commissioning Service, Bishop Walker announced the pastoral appointments for Conference Year 2011-2012. In the Los Angeles District, Rev. Wendell M. Oldham Jr. was reassigned presiding elder and pastor of Lewis Metropolitan. Other appointments were Rev. Julio A. Andujo - Hays Tabernacle and Corona Mission, Rev. Byron Smith Sr. - Curry Temple, Rev. Marrix Seymore - Amos Temple, Rev. U. L. Butts - Phillips Chapel, Rev. Terry T. Tapley - Greater Phillips Chapel, Rev. Billy Bohannon - Christ Temple, Rev. Erick L. Carpenter - Brown temple, Rev. Charles Cole - Lewis Chapel, and Rev. Michael Wade - St. Paul.
Rev. John Deron Johnson was reappointed to Calvary and named presiding elder of the Los Angeles/San Diego District. Additional assignments were Rev. Joseph C. Gardner - Phillips Temple (Los Angeles), Rev. Pansy Washington - Amos Memorial, Rev. Dr. James E. Markham - Emmanuel Temple, Rev. Marshall A. Sharpe Jr. - Phillips Temple (San Diego), Rev. Oliver E. Buie - Warren Chapel, Rev. Napoleon Goshay - Bethel, Rev. E. Earl Hamer - New Vision, Rev. Brian Reese - First CME Williamson Temple, Rev. Gwendolyn O. Rector - Grace Community, Rev. Gloria Marshall-Coburn - Word of Faith, Rev. Gaina Flores - Edwards Chapel, Rev. William Carter - Praise Tabernacle, Rev. Ben Covington - Rancho Cucamonga, and Rev. Dr. Sharon LaFleur Prince - Prince of Peace.
(Mrs. Bettye J. Nichols, C.M.E. Church Public Relations Director, also contributed to this story.)