Bishop Turner’s Ringing Letter
Christian Recorder: January 19, 1899
ATLANTA, Ga., December 26th, 1898.
Ministers and Members of the Sixth Episcopal District, comprehending the four annual conferences in Georgia and the three in Alabama.
Dear Brethren, the birthday anniversary of Bishop Richard Allen, the first Episcopate of the A.M.E. Church, has been observed for a number of years as a day consecrated to the relief and assistance of our Publishing Department. You are hereby most respectfully requested to collect and tender a free-will offering to the sustentation of the same. Our chief literary institution should be free of debt and unembarrassed. Dr. Henderson, our great publisher, has been more generous with the ministry of our Church than any other General Manager in the history of the Connection. He has put all of our publications, including the Course of Study, within the reach of the poorest preacher, and Hymn Books and Disciplines within the reach of the poorest member. Any preacher who now fails to procure his Course of Study or purchase books that will enable him to preach God’s Word is a hypocritical tramp and was never made to pastor a church. A preacher who has the will can pick up old horseshoes, scraps of iron and brass and old bones, stray bottles and cow hoofs and sell to junk dealers and get money enough now to purchase his books. But Dr. Henderson can only offer these low rates upon the presumption that ALLEN’S DAY is to be made a success. As one of the Bishops, we have determined to admit no more men into conference who have not procured the requisite books and given them some attention; hence, we received no man on admission this year out of the six conferences we have held, nor do we intend to appoint any presiding elder who will not act as an agent in getting books for the ministry under him, but the men must supply him with the money to purchase their books.
Now, if the Sixth Episcopal District will be generous on Allen’s Day, Dr. Henderson will be liberal towards our candidates for admission, deacons’ and elders’ orders, for the preaching grade of our ministry, must be raised and ignorance will never do it; books procured and well studied alone will do it, and the cheapness of books, quarterlies and papers depend upon your action on Allen Day. February 14th is the day, but Sunday, February the 12th, will be observed. Let every pastor send something to Dr. T. W. Henderson, 631 Pine Street, Philadelphia.
H. M. Turner