The structure of the Christian Methodist
Episcopal Church includes general or connectional ministries and
operations to promote the needs and interests of the
denomination. These ministries and operations are known as
Departments and are headed by General Secretaries.
During the interim of the General
Conference, each department reports annually to the General
Connectional Board regarding the conduct and administration of
their respective offices.
Each connectional department is designed to
administer to local congregations and the church and has a
standing committee which consists of both lay and clergy
representatives from the respective Episcopal Districts.
The departments are divided into
Connectional Ministries and Connectional Operations.
Connectional Ministries are those departments that are designed
to minister directly to the local congregations, district
conferences, and annual conferences. Thus, these ministries
exist on all levels of the Church. The Connectional Ministries
Programmatic Departments are Christian Education, Lay,
Evangelism, Mission and human Concerns.
The Connectional Operations departments are
designed to serve the Church at the Connectional level and keep
the denomination operational. These departments are Finance,
Publications and Personnel Services.
Department of Christian Education
The Department of Christian Education
provides “cradle to the grave” nurture in the Christian faith
for the members of the CME Church. In addition to those
activities normally associated with Christian, this department
prepares, selects and recommends all literature and materials to
be used in CME churches especially for Sunday Church schools,
membership training classes and children, youth and young
The Department also prepares, selects and
recommends leadership training and promotional literature for
ALL the areas of the life and witness of the CME Church. It
promotes programs of Christian nurture by keeping the CME Church
informed about such activities as Christian Education Week and
National Youth and Young Adult Week.
The Department promotes Sunday Schools,
Christian Youth and Young Adult Fellowships, Vacation Bible
Schools, adult education courses, Bible Study Courses, and so
Through the General Secretary, Dr.
Crutchfield Carmichael, it serves as the official liaison
between the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the colleges
and the theological school which are under the auspices of the
Department of Lay Ministry
The Department of Lay Ministry aids the CME
Church in equipping and enabling her members to engage in
effective ministry in the Name of Jesus Christ.
The Lay Department’s primary focus is on
the whole people of God. As such, this department develops
programs that will strengthen the ministry of the “people of
God” who, as the “saints” of the Household of God, “build up the
body of Christ.”
Lay Ministry aids the local congregations
of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church to “equip” the
members of the congregations to be more effective witnesses of
Jesus Christ in stewardship and service. It also helps local
congregations address the needs and concerns of people, as they
confront the hostility of the present society.
Lay ministry also helps to insure that its
church members engage in such leadership and service roles as
stewards, stewardesses, trustees, choir members, ushers and
other leadership capacities. The General Secretary is Dr.
Department of Evangelism, Missions and Human
The Department of Evangelism, Missions and
Human Concerns develops and promotes programs that help local
congregations become more aware of and involved in evangelism
and social issues. It directs workshops, seminars, and
conferences, at annual, district and local congregational levels
on the meaning of and strategies for evangelism and the social
ministry of the church. It also prepares position papers and
statements on vital social, political and moral issues before
the church and the world and represents the CME Church, when
necessary, at conferences and seminars when these issues are
This department serves as the focal point
of the ecumenical witness and involvement of the CME Church on
evangelistic and social concerns. The General Secretary is Dr.
Department of Finance
The Department of Finance of the Christian
Methodist Episcopal Church is headed by a General Secretary who
administers the General Funds of the Church in accordance with
the Connectional Budget approved by the General Conference and
the provisions of The Book of Discipline.
All connectional funds, including the
apportionments to the several Annual Conferences, approved by
the General Conference, are forwarded to the General Secretary
of the Department of Finance with the exception of the 12%
Pastor’s Salaries and funds derived from the CME Fire and
Casualty Program, the income of the Department of Publications,
and subscriptions income from The Christian Index and
The Missionary Messenger.
The General Secretary of Finance expends
the connectional funds in accordance with the Connectional
Budget. The schedule for expenditures is established by the
General Connectional Board based on the budgetary needs and
expected schedule of income.
The Department of Finance, in consultation
with the College of Bishops, explores alternate sources of
revenue to aid in underwriting the operational costs of the
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and presents these costs
annually to the General Connectional Board for action. The
General Secretary is Dr. Joseph C. Neal.
Department of Publications Services
The General Department of Publications
comprises the publishing interests of the Christian Methodist
Episcopal Church. It operates the Miles Bookstore, publishes
Sunday School literature, The Christian Index, and other
specialty items. The General Secretary is Rev. William E.
Department of Personnel Services
The Department known as the General Board
of Personnel Services was formerly known as the General Board of
Pensions of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The
Department addresses the general welfare and needs of ministers
and full-time lay personnel of the CME Church, covering such
areas as retirement benefits, ministerial care and insurance
(life, health, fire and casualty, homeowners, auto and
This Department has developed an expanded
program which included concerns of and for the ministry in terms
of support and maintenance, counseling, welfare relief,
pre-retirement assistance, retirement and survivors benefits of
In addition to the aforementioned concerns,
this department oversees and coordinates all pension funds,
insurance programs, health services, retirement plans and other
related personnel services for ordained ministers in full
connection and lay personnel working full-time for the Church.
It keeps records and vital statistics of all clerical personnel
in full connection.
The department administers those programs
of the CME Church that are related to the Department of
Superannuated Preachers, Widows and Orphans (SPWO), Department
of Personnel Services, the Ministerial Salary Supplement
Program, the CME Fire and Casualty Program and any other
programs of pensions and insurance that may be established by
the Church. The General Secretary is Dr. Tyrone Davis.
The Christian Index
The Christian Index is the official
publication of the CME Church which publishes all official
announcements, notices, communications and decisions of the
church as directed by the General Connectional Board and/or
College of Bishops.
Although The Christian Index is
published on a regular schedule, special publications may be
authorized, as the General Connectional Board deems advisable.
The edition and publication of The Christian Index is
under the supervision of the General Connectional Board’s
Standing Committee on The Christian Index and is
constituted as provided by the Discipline of the CME Church.
The preparation, edition, promotion and
publication of The Christian Index is the responsibility
of the Editor who: prepares the manuscripts for publications,
including format, selection of materials and editing of
materials; manages the circulation of the paper, including
promotion, securing and processing subscriptions; supervises all
details related to the publication, including printing and
mailing as directed by the Standing Committee on The
Christian Index; distributes news and informational public
relations materials to promote The Christian Index and
the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The Editor is Dr.
Kenneth E. Jones.
Office of The Executive Secretary
The office of the Executive Secretary
serves as the conduit of the CME Church by providing centralized
and efficient execution, coordination and follow up of
denominational programs. It also handles correspondence,
questions and concerns either for referral or for action. The
Executive Secretary is Attorney Juanita Bryant.
Four Connectional Commissions are
responsible for projecting and evaluating the total program of
the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. These Commissions are
The Commission on Faith and Order
sustains the biblical, theological and historical heritage of
the CME Church. It also informs the church of any theological
concerns that may be referred to it by either the church or one
of its agencies.
The Commission on Life and Witness
monitors the denominational life of the church and determines
the extent to which the connectional administration of the
church is in keeping with its established missions, goals and
purpose. It also plans for the future of the church in every
area of its life and witness.
The Commission on Social Justice and
Human Concerns determines the witness of the CME Church in
terms of the social, economic and political issues of the day.
The Commission on Ecumenicity
evaluates the nature of the relationship the CME Church should
have with other Christian denominations and religious
Historically, women had been denied
leadership roles in the church – they sang, prayed, shouted and
raised money. Mrs. Carolyn Poe, President of the Women’s
Missionary South of the East Texas Conference, started a
movement toward a larger and official role for women in 1882.
In 1890, the Women’s Missionary Society became official.
The Connectional Woman’s Society was
formally organized on September 3, 1918 at Capers Memorial
Church in Nashville. Dr. Mattie E. Coleman was its first
president. This organization is known as the Women’s Missionary
Council. It is a Connectional Ministry. Thus, Missionary
Societies are a part of all local congregations, District
Conference, and Annual Conferences. Dr. Elnora P. Hamb is
the President of the Women's Missionary Council.
The Missionary Messenger is a
monthly publication by and for missionaries. White and royal
blue are the missionary colors.
…In the Ministry:
In 1918, the General Conference gave authority to license
women as local preachers. Today, women serve as pastors,
associate pastors, presiding elders and exhorters.
…In the Church:
Women hold various positions in the CME Church among which
are stewardesses, trustees, ushers, Sunday School
superintendents, Directors of Board of Christian Education and
musicians, just to name a few.
The 1930 General Conference granted women the right to be
delegates, though they did not have full rights equal to those
of men. Today, women comprise an apportionate share of the
delegates to the General Conference.