By Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr., Presiding Officer
The Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) met in session near Baltimore, Maryland, at Kingsway Christian Center on September 8, 2018. The facility was built by the late Rev. Wesley Potter, who served as pastor and conference superintendent. The current pastor is Rev. Shaun Simon, a gifted and faithful young pastor.
Covering parts of northern Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, the MAC is perhaps the most diverse conference in the USA IPHC. Delegates included African-Americans, Koreans, and Hispanics. I was also gratified to see a large number of delegates under the age of 40.
As part of emphasizing our core value theme of All Generations, a worship team comprised of various ages led the delegates in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.
This was followed by Bishop Beacham who recognized Rev. Wesley Russ, former superintendent of the Mid-Atlantic Conference, Emmanuel College alumni Barry and Sue Wood, and Rev. Fred McCarthy, pastor of Oasis PHC in Rahway, New Jersey, and member of the General Superintendent’s M-Initiative group. Bishop Beacham presented the 2018 core value video and message.
The business session began with the Decorum and Credentials Committee reports. The following received credentials by the conference:
- Local Church Ministers Certificate: Saturnino Morente
- Local MAC Chaplain’s License: Trish Palomo, Amanda Wharton
- Minister’s License: Boniface Odong, Adam Wharton
Bishop Abel Palomo presented the State of the Conference report. Originally from Guatemala, Bishop Palomo has been an IPHC minister for 23 years. Besides serving on various IPHC councils and boards, he also serves as a board member of the Maryland Bible Society. Conference reports were all digital this session with all delegates receiving digital copies in advance. Bishop Palomo also pastors House of Prayer Maranatha, a strong Hispanic congregation that meets on Sunday afternoons at the IPHC facility near the University of Maryland campus.
The Bishop’s report included the Discipleship Ministries report that was given by Pastor Ben Spearman, the conference DM director.
At the close of his report, Bishop Palomo did something I have not seen before at a conference session. He had two ministers give praise testimonies of how God has met major needs they faced. The first was given by Shaun Simon from the Kingsway church. He described the major financial need the church faced due to an impaired roof over the educational wing and replacing air conditioning units. They were looking at over $300,000 in costs. Through prayer and the generosity of the congregation, they were able to do all the repairs for $150,000 with no debt. What was particularly striking about Pastor Simon’s testimony was that someone suggested withholding all or part of the church tithe to the conference and denomination as a way of paying the costs. The pastor and church leadership rejected that idea and affirmed their commitment to the spiritual blessings that come from tithing.
The second was Pastor Julio Martinez. He pastors in an area plagued by drugs and violence in Manassas, Virginia. His testimony included affirmation of tithing to the conference and denomination, and how that decision has opened doors of influence from the local civic government regarding the church’s positive impact in the neighborhood.
The conference Bylaws report was adopted, and elections followed. There were 73 voting delegates. The results of the election were:
- Conference Superintendent: Bishop Abel Palomo (by acclamation)
- Assistant Superintendent: Pat Correlli
- Secretary/Treasurer: Katie Eckenrode (by acclamation)
- Three council members: Donna Leatherman, Nelson Amaya, and Don Gray (all by acclamation)
The Memoirs report remembered two people for their faithful service. First, Mrs. Janice Russ, wife of former superintendent Wesley Russ, was remembered by the delegates. She lived from 1936-2017 and faithfully served her husband, the conference, and the IPHC. Second, the conference remembered the life of Bishop James D. Leggett and his impact on the Mid-Atlantic Conference and the IPHC.
Rev. Russ told the delegates about floods in India and received a love offering to go to People to People to help in this situation.
Videos from Holmes Bible College, the Global Outreach Offering, and Emmanuel College were shown.
A special greeting from IPHC Navy Chaplain (LT) Jamil Khan was shown. CH Khan and his family are now serving at a Navy station near Chicago on the Great Lakes.