Newly elected African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Bishop Frank Madison Reid III is ready to assume his position as part of the leadership team of the denomination.
Reid and five of his colleagues were elected as AME bishops on July 11 at the 50th AME Quadrennial Conference in Philadelphia. Since his election, Reid said he has been in a state of euphoria.
“It feels wonderful,” Reid told the AFRO. “When you look at the W.E.DuBois’s ‘Souls of Black Folk,’ he said that AME bishops were powerful and productive for our people.”
The AME Church was incorporated in Philadelphia in 1816 by Richard Allen and Daniel Coker, a history-making event. During its recent Quadrennial Bicentennial Conference in Philadelphia, Reid said his election as bishop made history as well.
“I am the first person in the history of the church to be a third generation bishop,” Reid said. Reid’s grandfather, Frank Reid Sr., and his father, Frank Reid Jr., were also elected to the position.
Reid received a unique assignment in his bishop class. He will be the bishop of the ecumenical office, whereas his classmates were sent to countries throughout the world to start their new careers.
“I will manage the AME’s relationships with the World Conference of Churches and World Methodist Church and I also will chair the denomination’s social action committee,” he said. “I am also in charge of supervising the military and prison chaplains.”
Reid also confirmed that he will be a fill-in for a bishop that is physically ailing and unable to perform their duties, or one who has died.
Unlike the others in his bishop class, Reid can continue to reside in Baltimore, though he will travel extensively throughout the world.
“I will live in Baltimore but not pastor a church,” he said. “I am now the acting pastor of Bethel AME. My home in Baltimore is my office.”
Reid said that a decision on his successor at Bethel AME is up to Bishop James Levert Davis. Davis is the bishop of the Second Episcopal District, which includes Baltimore.
Reid said he will stay out of the process of choosing his successor, saying “that is the godly judgment of the bishop.” However, if Davis were to ask him, he said he would make recommendations.
The orientation for new bishops will take place in August but no firm time or place has been set at this time, Reid said. Reid said his focus will be on both growing the membership of the denomination and spiritual individual growth.
“The two are the same,” he said. “It is like the left side and the right side of the brain working together. I will work to grow the membership of the AME church and help its members to be more Christ-like.”
Noting that the recent Republican convention in Cleveland featured speakers that were insensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed along with the police murders that are taking place in the country, Reid said “that our culture and our nation and world are in the grips of fear, violence and terrorism.”
“People have turned away from Christ,” Reid said. “We in the church are good at church work but not the work of Jesus Christ. If we are Christ-like, we can change our culture and society.”