NASHVILLE — Delegates to the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s general conference have elected Rev. Dr. Clement W. Fugh, a native of Memphis, as the church’s 131st bishop. The bishop serves as the denomination’s general superintendent, chief executive, chief pastor and administrative head.
Fugh, who now lives in Brentwood, Tenn., was elected out of a field of 17 candidates at the quadrennial conference held in Nashville for the first time since the late 1800s. The weeklong general conference ends Wednesday.
Fugh received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Memphis, a master’s in theology from the Boston University School of Theology, and a doctorate in ministry from United Theological Seminary. Until the conference began, he was general secretary and chief information officer of the AME Church. He served more than 30 years as pastor to congregations in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.
He received the most votes in delegates’ first round of voting on all 17 candidates. After the first round, 11 candidates withdrew, and Fugh received the most votes in the second round, 1,228 to 1,031 for Rev. Dr. Reginald T. Jackson, pastor of St. Matthew AME Church in Orange, N.J. But Jackson was also elected as the church’s 132nd bishop, filling the second vacancy in the denomination’s Council of Bishops. The council serves as the church’s executive branch.
In his acceptance speech, Fugh told delegates that “To God be the glory,” and that “teamwork makes dreams work.
In other action, delegates approved a resolution calling on the AME Church to register at least 500,000 new voters this year, and to “educate and mobilize no fewer than 80 percent of the eligible voters in our churches and communities.”
The resolution says that “efforts are under way in many states to enact and enforce laws reportedly designed to prevent non-existent voter fraud, but with an apparent intent to suppress the vote and to deny some citizens the right to vote.”