Fifth Episcopal District, CME Church

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Presiding Prelate


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has many of us on edge as so many unknowns accompany the known facts that the virus is highly contagious and potentially fatal for high-risk individuals. Knowing what to do and not do can be confusing and generate more fears as we as people of faith desire to "do the right thing".

Over the past several days, I have been in discussions with multiple communities of which I am a part, deliberating about the measures needed to be put in place to safeguard our communities. These communities include Miles College, the Interdenominational Theological Center, the ecumenical community, our own CME College of Bishops and several different groups within the Fifth Episcopal District. I mention them only to let you know how much I have been engaged in serious conversation about the Coronavirus. And to be perfectly transparent, I am also informed by more than thirty years working as a Chaplain in healthcare settings.

The College of Bishops is urging everyone to follow any government directives - at any level - regarding social distancing, cancelling events, and so on. As of now, we have left the decision whether or not to have local church services (unless mandated to suspend by your local or state government) in the hands of the pastor. Likewise, each Bishop is making his/her own decision about whether or not to hold scheduled meetings.

After much prayer and conversation, I have decided to CANCEL THE FLORIDA REGION SPRING CONVOCATION, which was scheduled for March 27-28, 2020. Please see the article below with details about our alternate plan for conducting our business.

In addition, I am advising every pastor and local congregation to give serious consideration to minimizing the gathering of its membership, even if it means cancelling Sunday services and weekday events at the church. I am not saying to do this out of FEAR, but out of WISDOM and LOVE one for another. No, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and might." But WISDOM tells us that our earthly life is governed by science and biological facts that lead us to not touch hot stoves or not go barefoot in the snow.

As believers, we should not abuse the faith of our members by using guilt and shame to put people in harm's way! We should not use our faith as an excuse not to change our behavior.

The things we know about this virus support the WISDOM of limiting our human contact at this time. We do know exposure to infected persons can lead to becoming infected. We do know that you can be infected and not know it. We do know you can be infected and not feel sick. This is why the spread of the virus is so hard to contain and the pandemic numbers are climbing daily.

Now is the time to realize there is more than one way to do something. Technology like conference calls and video-conferencing, group text messaging and so on give us the ability to communicate with one another and be in community with one another other than face-to-face. If you are worried about your membership, an old-fashioned phone call will keep you in touch with them, even if it takes you all day to call each and every one of them.  PASTORS, this is not a time of break or vacation from your ministry, but a time to put in the extra effort to care for your flock!!!!

NOW is the time to stop and rethink and not just do "business as usual". If you don't know how to use technology, now is the time to learn. If you church has been resistant to on-line giving, now is the time to set that up. If you have been spending your time preparing for a traditional Sunday service, use that time instead to be creative and relevant to the current crises and needs of your people. Now is the time to embrace new behaviors, try new things, and acknowledge that we do trust in God, but God does not expect us to be reckless, just because we don't want to change.

If we truly love God, our neighbors and ourselves as the Great Commandment instructs, we will all stop, take stock of what is really important and invest in behaviors that demonstrate that LOVE, including behaviors related to how we worship, how we pray, how we do outreach and how we attend to God's business at such a time as this.

In love and in Christ,
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton

(Resources and suggestions to follow are found in the links listed 
further down in this newsletter).

Although many of us were looking forward to gathering in Orlando for our Spring Convocation on March 27-28, 2020, wisdom dictates that it is in the best interest of all to cancel the event. However, there will be virtual events happening in order for the Region to continue its business operations.

The Presiding Elders, Joint Board and Treasurer will meet by video-conference on the evening of Friday, March 27th to settle assessment payments, Miles College contributions and other financial business of the Region. Please do the following:

  • REGISTRATION- although there will be no face-to-face meeting, we encourage everyone to still register since these funds are part of our operations budget. All Pastors and Ministers-on-Trial are REQUIRED to register as a part of our accountability as members of the Region.
  • ASSESSMENTS, MILES COLLEGE, COMMEMORATIVE CALENDAR FUNDS - Please send these to your Presiding Elder AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, but so that they receive them no later than Wednesday, March 25th and can report them in our video-conference.
  • CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FRIDAY NIGHT EVENT - this is obviously also cancelled. For those who have already purchased tickets, your funds will go directly towards the cost of the bus that will take the CYYAC attendees to Greensboro. If you would like to still make a donation towards this, please give it to your Presiding Elder.
  • HOTEL ROOMS - You may cancel your reservation at the Doubletree, Downtown Orlando without penalty, as long as you cancel no later than 48 hours (2 days) before your scheduled check-in. Cancellations after that will likely incur a charge for one night.
The entire Florida Region is invited to join us at the conclusion of our video-conference for a PRAYER CALL, Friday, March 27th at 8 pm Eastern time. The dial-in number is 515-606-5378, passcode 859103#.

Let us all be in prayer daily for those impacted by the Coronavirus! And be safe!

Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (

SDP Resources for Coronavirus for faith-based 

CME College of Bishops Statement 


  • Rev. John Hennington  (retired, Birmingham Region) died in February.
  • Rev. Colin Grey (retired, Birmingham Region) died in December.
  • Rev. Alvin Crenshaw, pastor, Greenfield CME, Cropwell, AL, lost his wife, Sandra.
  • Rev. James Copeland, pastor, Allen Temple CME, Tallahassee, FL, lost his father.
  • Rev. Kenneth Smith, pastor, Trinity-Uptown, Birmingham, AL, lost his mother.
  • Rev. Phoebe Presson (Birmingham Region, lost her mother.
  • Rev. Michael Williams, pastor, Unity CME, Bessemer, AL, lost his sister.
  • Presiding Elder Desi Echoles (Mobile District), lost his mother.
  • Rev. Dr. Tyrone Davis (Mobile District) lost his mother in law and a cousin.
  • Rev. Bonnie Bryant (Mobile District) lost her mother.
  • Rev. L. Jermaine Woods, pastor, Greater St. Paul CME, Akron, AL lost his grandmother and uncle in the same week.
  • Minister Alford Smiley (Mobile District) lost his wife.
  • The family of Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart (brother died)
  • The family of Bishop Othal H. Lakey (brother died)
  • The family of Dr. Judith Grant (brother died)
  • The family of Dr. Jacqueline Scott (sister died)
Sick, Surgery and other Prayer Concerns
  • Rev. Desi Echoles, Presiding Elder, Mobile District
  • Rev. Marvin C. Lue, Jr., pastor, Stewart Memorial CME, Mobile, AL 

  • Rev. Johnny Allen, supply pastor, St. Paul CME (Docena), Birmingham, AL 

  • Rev. Kenneth Solomon Williams, pastor, Mt. Pleasant CME, Piedmont, AL
  • Rev. Willie Croshon, pastor, New Hopewell CME, Oak Hill, AL and Jones Chapel CME, Dixon Mills, AL
  • Rev. Margaret Boudreaux, Birmingham Region
  • Rev. Izea Blanks, pastor, Grants Chapel CME, Cuba, AL
  • Rev. Virgie McNair, pastor, Prosperity Chapel CME, Orrville, AL
  • Mrs. Beverly Combs, Lay Leader, SE Alabama Region
  • Mr. Floyd Everett, husband of Rev. Alicia Everett, pastor Cooper CME, Jachin, AL and Tallahatta CME, Tallahatta, AL
  • Mrs. Princella Johnson, mother of Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton 

Congratulations to Rev. Marquise and Mrs. Cherylen Hardrick, who were married on February 2, 2020!
Rev. Hardrick is pastor of the Trinity CME Church in Miami.

Fifth Episcopal District of the CME Church
P.O. Box 13383   Birmingham, AL 35202

Phone: 205-202-6504 
email:          website:

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