Immediate Past Connectional Director of Lay Activities Honored by First AME Church: Bethel
“[N]ow finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:11).
On Saturday, October 21, First AME Church-Bethel celebrated the eight years (2009-2017) of connectional service of Mrs. Edith Bartley Cartledge as Connectional Director of Lay Activities. Her accomplishments in office included forming regional training workshops, being the first sitting Director of Lay Activities to visit and perform training on the continent of Africa, and publishing two Study Guides earning over $30,000 in revenue to the Connectional Lay Organization. Mrs. Cartledge is one of the few persons to have served as a Director of Lay Activities for First AME Church:Bethel, the New York Annual Conference, the First Episcopal District, and the Connection.
The event was held at Maestro’s Catering, a legendary banquet hall in the Bronx. Gwendolyn and Matthew McCottry served as chairpersons with the support of the Rev. Henry A. Belin, III, pastor of First AME Church: Bethel. Laity and clergy from all seven annual conferences of the First Episcopal District were present to show their appreciation for Mrs. Cartledge. Connectional guests included Bishops Gregory G.M. Ingram, Reginald T. Jackson, Henry Allen Belin, Jr., and Richard F. Norris, Sr.; Episcopal Supervisor Lucinda C. Belin; General Officers Roderick D. Belin and John Thomas, III; and Connectional Lay Organization President Valerie Gary Bell. First Episcopal District Lay President Cheryl Hammond Hopewell and Immediate Past 19th Episcopal District Director of Lay Activities Herbert N. Mngadi were also in attendance.
After a rousing jazz tribute, the festivities began. Mrs. Cartledge was shepherded by Master of Ceremonies Mr. Charlie Nichols, Immediate Past President of the 11th Episcopal District Lay Organization. Numerous tributes were paid by various persons from Mrs. Cartledge’s professional, educational, and church life. One participant even commented that he had no clue that Mrs. Cartledge had a job outside the church as a liaison in New York City Housing Court until he came to the celebration. Her love and devotion to Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina, was mentioned by its representatives. A large contingent of members from the Bartley clan of Moncks Corner was present to celebrate the family matriarch and sang several “low country” melodies. One signature highlight by Mrs. Valerie Gary Bell was the naming of Mrs. Cartledge as an advisor to the Connectional Executive Board. This was a testament to her dedication and continued influence throughout the church. Mrs. Cartledge shared her remarks with her signature wit, humor, and humility, thanking everyone for taking the time to celebrate her but reminding everyone that she only gave back what she was given.
On Sunday, October 22, Lay Day was celebrated at First AME Church: Bethel. For the first (and only) time, the local lay president–Mrs. Cartledge—served as the speaker. Among the congregants were Bishop and Supervisor Belin; General Officers Belin, Thomas, and Garland F. Pierce; and Immediate Past First District Lay President Mrs. Mary Mootoo. First Lady Rita Sinkfield Belin, Esq., served as the worship leader. After a high time of praise and worship, Mrs. Cartledge gave the morning message, encouraging all under her voice—particularly laity— to serve gladly and with a fullness of heart. As a testament to the word she brought, one person joined the church and four persons joined the local Lay Organization. The day closed with a scrumptious meal served in the grand fashion for which First AME Church: Bethel is renowned.
We salute you, Mrs. Edith Cartledge. We know that God still has much work for you to do here in the vineyard!