By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Bishop Noel Jones, Pastor Xavier Thompson and Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake are among the speakers at the 12th Annual Pastorís and Lay Leadership Conference on Friday, January 28 and Saturday, January 29, at Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church, 46 Maxwell St., in Irvine.The ecumenical symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Southern California, will include workshops and strategies on evangelism, finances, community outreach and legal aspects of ministry. ìThis is the first time in the history of southern California where leadership from the A.M.E. Church, Church of God in Christ, the Baptist Church, and Pentecostal Assemblies of the World are coming together to share resources and models of ministry for a systemic approach to church growth and development,î said Rev. Mark Whitlock, host pastor.ìItís an exciting moment and we anticipate having a packed house. With so many churches experiencing financial challenges because members are losing jobs and homes, we just donít want them to lose hope. ìOur goal is teach ministers and lay leaders how to manage in a crisis to achieve celebration. They will learn from successful pastors who are great achievers in ministry.îBishop Kirkland is presiding prelate of the 5th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, Bishop Jones is founder and pastor of City of Refuge in Gardena, Rev. Thompson is pastor of Southern Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, and Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake is pastor of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica, NY.Also serving as leadership speakers are Rev. Dr. Cecil ìChipî Murray, Professor of Religion at USC and retired pastor of First A.M.E. Church-LA; Dr. Lula Ballton, co-founder and CEO of West Angeles Community Development Corporation; Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church ñ LA; Rev. Dr. Steve Johnson, CFO of Faithful Central Bible Church; Rev. Dr. Francine Brookins, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church ñ Fontana..Additional sessions will be instructed by Rev. Hermia Whitlock, Attorney Scott Chaplin, Rev. Charles Dorsey, Rev. DeWayne Knox, Edward Thomas and Rev. Mark Whitlock, who added, ìWe will also have bankers there to provide financial tips on loans and grants.îTo further assist conference participants, follow-up guidance will be provided by the Cecil Murray Center (CMC) for Community Development located on the USC campus, said Rev. Whitlock, who serves as CMC Executive Director.ìWe will offer services to churches to help them find financing, build structures, establish community development programs, and better manage their church. Our goal is to offer, not just inspiration, but also resources for church leaders, as well as lay leaders who are not ordained, to help guide Godís church in the 21st Century.îConference registration is available for a $35 donation which includes breakfast, lunch and materials. Register online at www.corchurch.org or call (949) 955-0014.