A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MIDWEST CONFERENCE LAY ORGANIZATION
The organized lay movement dates back to the 1912 General Conference, which was held in Kansas City, Missouri. The Lay Organization is one of the newest auxiliaries in our church relative to our total years of existence. The Lay Organization was formed as a means of providing the laity of the church an official voice within our great Zion and has contributed immeasurably to the passage of some of the most constructive, progressive and far-reaching legislation which has been enacted into law by our Zion. It is charged with the task of being the training and teaching arm of our Church.
Our Zion is a worldwide Church and welcomes all nationalities, races and genders. We are divided into 20 Episcopal Districts. Each district is further divided into conferences. The Fifth Episcopal District, of which we are a part, is geographically the largest within our Zion and is divided into six conferences. The Midwest Conference was created on July 10, 2008 when the 48th General Session of our Zion voted to combine two historic conferences – The Northwest Missouri and the Kansas/Nebraska Conferences. While other auxiliaries unofficially merged prior to this historic session, the Lay Organizations of both former conferences fought side-by-side against the merger until the very end. This delayed the official organizing of the Midwest Conference Lay Organization until January 10, 2009 when elections were held at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri. The first officers of this newly formed conference were:
Lugene Hill, Conference President
Rosie L. Horn, First Vice-President
Dianna Maddix, Second Vice-President
Phyllis A. Kitchen, Third Vice-President
Barbara Cooper, Recording Secretary
Kay Davis, Assistant Recording Secretary
Sharon Owens- Bradford, Corresponding Secretary
Margaret Riley, Treasurer
Darian Jefferson, Financial Secretary
Donald Bratton, Chaplain
Cedric Patton, Historiographer
Beverly Workcuff, Parliamentarian
Thelma Williams, Director of Lay Activities (DOLA)
Sharon Burnett, Director of Public Relations
Kanika Calvin, Young Adult Representative
Bishop John R. Bryant, Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and architect of the merger, believed that we would be stronger and more effective together than apart.
It has been our sincere desire to prove the wisdom of Bishop Bryant’s prophetic belief, and to carry it on into the days of our present bishop, Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Fifth Episcopal District Presiding Prelate. As we now are one, seeking to truly fulfill our mission of training the laity of our great Zion with clergy, in unity! Pray for us. Join us.
The Midwest Lay (Zoom) Convention was held on August 15, 2020.
The following persons were elected:
President: Melvin L. Jenkins, Esq.
Ward Chapel/Cain Grant AME Church - Kansas City, MO
First Vice President: Katherine McCraney
St. Paul AME Church - Independence, MO
Second Vice President: Jo Lee Brooks
Allen-St. John AME Church - Kansas City, MO
Third Vice President: Vacant
Corresponding Secretary: Dr. Marilyn Johnson-Farr
Quinn Chapel AME Church - Lincoln, NE
Recording Secretary: Esther Gilmore
Ward Chapel/Cain-Grant AME Church - Kansas City, MO
Treasurer: Lori Miller
Trinity AME Church - Kansas City, KS
Financial Secretary: Darian Jefferson
Gregg Tabernacle AME Church - Kansas City, MO
Chaplain: Monice Crawford
St. Mark's AME Church - Topeka, KS
Parliamentarian: Foster Chisholm
St. Mark's AME Church - Topeka, KS
(Acting) Director of Lay Activities: Danita Robinson
First AME Church - Kansas City, KS
Young Adult Representative: Jessica Byrd
Allen-St. John AME Church, Kansas City, MO
President: Mrs. Valerie Gary Bell (2nd)
1st Vice-President: Mr. Abednego Matikane Makiti (19th)
2nd Vice-President: Mr. Simon Letsoko (19th)
3rd Vice-President: Mrs. Starr L. Battle (2nd)
Recording-Secretary: Mrs. Doris Bell (13th)
Assist Recording-Secretary: Mrs. Brenda Holland Curry (7th)
Corresponding Secretary: Mrs. Ada L. Groff (5th)
Financial Secretary: Mrs. Lyndia Mayo (3rd)
Treasurer: Mr. Richard L. Bowden (9th)
Chaplain: Mrs. Alice Belden (4th)
Director of Lay Activities: Ms. Ametta L. Reaves (3rd)
Director of Public Relations: Vacant
Historiographer: Dr. Dorothy Henderson (12th)
Young Adult Representative: Ms. Jamesha J. Williams (7th)
2018 - 2021 Fifth District Lay Organization Officers
Simeon Rhoden, President
Lamar Rose, 1st VP
Judge Patricia Mayberry, 2nd VP
Barbara Moore, 3rd VP
Nixietta Williams, Recording Sec.
Jackie Payton, Asst. Rec. Sec.
Frances Settles, Corresponding Sec.
Florette Hampton, Treasurer
Jacqueline Brown, Financial Sec.
Marilyn Lovelace-Grant, Dir. of Lay Activities/Adviser
Faye Brown, Dir. of Public Relations
Jene'l Sconier, Chaplain
Dr. Verda Bradley, Historiographer
Monice Crawford, Parliamentarian
Cassandra Marshall, Young Adult Rep.
5th District Lay Delegation to St. Louis, Mo
June 2021. (Election Year)
Melvin Jenkins, Esq., President
Jo Lee Brooks
Jessica Byrd, YAR
Carolyn Williams Campbell