Convocation Hosts:

Bishop John Franklin White

Supervisor Penny H. White

Greetings in the precious name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! As we begin our 2019 season, I am excited to invite you to the Fourth District’s “Spiritual Transformation Convocation III” (formerly Mid-Year Convocation). This momentous event will take place on Wednesday, March 6 through Saturday, March 9, 2019, at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago – Oak Brook, 1909 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Our host is the Mighty Milwaukee District of the Chicago Conference, led by Presiding Elder Walter R. Bauldrick, Sr. Our theme is: WITH GOD, WE CAN TRANSFORM THE WORLD; WITH GOD…ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (Matthew 19:26).


Please note the following format. On Wednesday, Component groups will meet in the afternoon and our Opening Worship Communion Service will start at 7:30pm. On Thursday and Friday, we will participate in inspiring plenary sessions, edifying workshops and spirit-filled worship services, with specialty sessions for clergy, lay and young adults. We will close on Saturday with the Spiritual Empowerment Breakfast sponsored by YAN, followed by the closing plenary session with the Bishop. The planned speakers, facilitators and preachers are renowned leaders who will impact our 4th District ministries in a spiritually, powerful way. A complete schedule and agenda will be published and distributed soon.


I am praying for revitalized churches with renewed strength and re-energized commitment for our district. Please pray with me as we join together at this convocation to experience a covering of God’s power that will allow our ministries to “Spiritually Transform the World”.



The Rt. Rev. John Franklin White

Presiding Prelate Fourth Episcopal District

Convocation Itinerary At-A-Glance

Wednesday, March 6th

7:30pm | Opening Communion & Ash Wednesday Worship Service

Rev. Roderick Belin - President/Publisher AME Sunday School Union


Thursday, March 7th

8am | “Morning Glory” Worship Service

Rev. Conitras M. Houston - Trinity AME Church, Atlanta, GA

12pm | Mid-Day Worship Service

Rev. Dr. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. - Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, Irvine, CA

7:30pm | Evening Worship Service

Rev. Starsky Wilson - President & CEO, Deaconess Foundation


Friday, March 8th

8am | “Morning Glory” Worship Service

Rev. Conitras M. Houston - Trinity AME Church, Atlanta, GA

12:30pm | Mid-Day Worship Service

Rev. Joy Gallmon - St. Mark AME Church, Milwaukee, WI

7:30pm | Evening Worship Service

Pastor Walter P. Turner, III - New Spiritual Light MBC, Chicago, IL


Saturday, March 9th

7:30pm | YAN Spiritual Empowerment Breakfast

9pm | Closing Plenary Session

Bishop John Franklin White - Presiding Prelate, 4th Episcopal District


Workshop Sessions Include:

Clergy and Laity Evangelism  |  Visioning and Strategic Planning

Young Adult Workshop  |  Ministry and Auxiliary Planning Sessions

Reverend Conitras M. Houston

A true woman of God, the Reverend Conitras M. Houston strives for excellence in ministry through the Word of God, the Work of God, and the Will of God. She sincerely loves God and God’s people; therefore, she professes boldly the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9 “…no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him”!


Pastor “C,” as she is affectionately called, is the daughter of Bonita Houston and Harold Houston, Jr.

and is the proud beloved sister of Harold Houston III and Brian Collier.

In October 2016, after faithfully serving over four years in Columbus, GA, Pastor “C” was appointed as the first female and 38th pastor of Trinity A.M.E. Church in Atlanta, GA where she now serves a Quality Rated Early Learning Center and a vibrant, growing congregation. Already, the congregation is increasing in membership and ministry with Pastor “C” as an enthusiastic and spiritually grounded leader. Pastor “C” is truly passionate about the work God has sent her to do—not only at Trinity but also around the entire world. For this reason, Pastor “C” continues to travel preaching and teaching the Good News while mentoring and encouraging Christians of all ages within the United States and abroad.


Beyond all of the technical information, the Reverend Conitras M. Houston loves the Lord. Since childhood, she has always pursued a walk with Christ. Pastor “C” is known for the following quote: “Since God is a God of excellence, God’s children SHALL excel!”

Reverend Roderick Dwayne Belin
An anointed preacher and teacher with a prophetic voice and a global mission to empower God’s 
people to reach their full potential and fulfill their divine purposes. His ministry is characterized 
by love, mutuality, and respect for all people, and advocacy for justice and liberation by “restoring 
the poor, reclaiming the lost, realizing the vision, releasing the captive and revealing God’s favor”.

A third generation minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Rev. Belin has served 
as Executive Minister/ Assistant Pastor of the Greater Allen AME Cathedral, Jamaica, NY under the 
leadership of the Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake. He served as the pastor of Williams Chapel AME Church 
in Orangeburg, South Carolina before returning to his native Nashville, Tennessee in 2004 to plant 
Kairos Community AME Church. Rev. Belin served as Presiding Elder of the South Nashville District 
before being appointed as Pastor of historic Lee Chapel AME Church in North Nashville. Within two 
years of this appointment, he led the planning and construction of a 15,550 square foot building with 
sanctuary seating for 500-plus persons. This new building was dedicated in August 2015.

Rev. Belin’s commitment to sharing the love of Christ extends to his service in the community. He is 
very involved in a burgeoning interfaith organization in the Nashville community which promotes 
peace and cooperation among people of different faiths including those who lay claim to no faith.  He 
has deep love and compassion for people and an important component of his ministry is his interest 
in the social and academic lives of youth, and the support of persons struggling with mental health 
and other stigmatized issues. Rev. Belin is particularly drawn to presenting long-term remedial 
means to those who are underserved and marginalized. His Christian faith and ministry are 
governed by humility, discipline, and a fervent prayer life.

He is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated and is a part of a family of Christian 
ministers.  He is the son of Bishop Henry A. Belin, Jr. and Mrs. Lucinda Crawford Belin, and brother 
of the Reverend Henry Allen Belin, III and the Reverend Toni Belin Ingram.


Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr.

Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. is committed to serving God, the AME Church and the community. Rev. Whitlock has served as pastor of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church (COR Church) in Irvine, CA since August 1998. COR Church had no building in 1998. Under Rev. Whitlock leadership, COR Church purchased its first building in 2006. It purchased its second church sanctuary in 2014. The currently sanctuary is valued at over seven million dollars. COR Church has grown from five members to three thousand seven hundred members. COR Church has over forty different ministries and a staff of thirty people. COR CDC, the non-profit arm of COR Church owns eleven apartments, a sports camp program, small business loan fund, youth entrepreneurial training program, banking on your success training program, and youth summer enrichment math program. 

Rev. Mark has a dual career as the Executive Director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. The Cecil Murray Center has educated over two thousand pastors, executive directors of community development corporations, and non-profit board members on community development, civic engagement, and financial literacy.


Rev. Whitlock is the founder and CEO of COR CDC, the non-profit arm of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church. It has multiple community development, youth programs, entrepreneurial investment fund, and civic engagement programs. COR CDC has eleven housing sites valued over seven hundred and fifty million dollars. COR CDC is the General Partner with Avanath Capital. COR CDC provides all social services to the residents of the eight properties. COR CDC has given three hundred thousand dollars in college scholarships to minority college students living in Orange County, hosted the National Faith Leadership Conference, created the Innovators Impact Fund, and trained young people on entrepreneurships. The Avanath Capital, Ray Charles Foundation, multiple banks, and the State of CA are COR CDC’s primary sources of income

Rev. Starsky D. Wilson

Rev. Starsky D. Wilson is a pastor, philanthropist and activist pursuing God's vision of community marked by justice, peace and love. He is currently president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation and board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP).

Deaconess is a faith-based grant making organization devoted to advancing child well-being in St. Louis through racial equity and public policy change. Since 1998, Deaconess has invested more than $85 million to advance its mission. With Wilson’s leadership, the Foundation is building a movement for child well-being through philanthropy, advocacy and organizing. In 2018, Deaconess opened the 21,000 square-foot Deaconess Center for Child Well-being, a community action tank. With the Children’s Defense Fund, the Foundation sponsors a network of Freedom Schools hosted by local United Church of Christ congregations.

From 2008 through 2018, Wilson led Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), an inter-racial, inner-city congregation. There he led activism on myriad issues, including youth violence prevention, Medicaid expansion, public school accreditation, voter mobilization, capping payday lending and raising the minimum wage, while more than quadrupling worship attendance and annual giving. He also established The Beloved Community Conference to resource social justice ministries and Sojourner’s Truth: Celebration of Preaching Women.

During the Ferguson uprising in 2014 after the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., Missouri’s governor appointed Wilson to lead the Ferguson Commission. In 2015, they released the ground-breaking ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility.  In addition to NCRP, he serves boards for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Chicago Theological Seminary, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Saint Louis Children’s Hospital and the Forum for Theological Exploration. Wilson is an advisor to the Democracy Fund, Let America Vote and the National Voter Protection Action Fund.

Rev. Wilson earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, master of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary and is currently completing his doctoral thesis, entitled The Truth of Reconciliation: Leadership for American Apartheid, at Duke Divinity School. For his public theology and ministry, Wilson was awarded doctor of public service and doctor of divinity degrees honoris causa by Saint Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. They are raising four children in St. Louis.

Reverend Joy L. Gallmon

The Reverend Joy L. Gallmon, fondly known as “Pastor Joy,” is the pastor and is a native of Ft. Pierce, Florida. She is the daughter of Jacob and Earline Gallmon and the proud mother of two, David Jacob and Janis Annette.

Pastor Joy is a graduate of Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Educational Ministries degree at Columbia Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia.

Responding to the divine call to preach the gospel, Pastor Joy delivered her initial sermon in April 1999 at Greater Bethel AME Church, Miami, Florida and was ordained an itinerant elder in 2003.
Prior to her appointment to St. Mark AME Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Pastor Joy served New Mount Pisgah AME Church, Lake City, Florida for seven years, St. Paul AME Church, Ocala, Florida for five years and Allen Temple AME Church, Brooksville, Florida for two years.  

Pastor Joy remains forever committed to serving God, the Church Universal, and the community.

Kimberly D. Russaw
Kimberly D. Russaw is a dynamic and diversely gifted woman of God who brings all of her gifts together to serve the God she loves.  Russaw is the Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN where she blends intellectual rigor with an infectious passion for teaching. To prepare for this ministry, she earned the Master of Divinity degree (Biblical Studies) from the Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA), and the Master of Arts degree (Hebrew Bible) from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN).  When Russaw completed her Ph.D. in Religion at Vanderbilt University, she joined a select cadre of African American scholars who passionately teach the next generation of Christian leaders at our seminaries, colleges, and universities.  Russaw is the author of Daughters in the Hebrew Bible (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2018).

Born in Chicago, Russaw is committed to the life of the local church and is a life-long member of Greater Institutional AME Church, where Rev. Dr. Walter B. Johnson, Jr. is the pastor.  There, she is most committed to those ministries that empower women, girls, and those who love them.  Russaw shares her gifts as a sought after workshop facilitator and preacher.

Recently named one of “Six Black Women at the Center of Gravity in Theological Education” by, Russaw is an ordained itinerate elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, an inductee into the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College, and holds membership in many professional organizations including the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and the National Black MBA Association.  Russaw also serves on the board of the African American Methodist Heritage Center and is a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  

Above all this, God has blessed Russaw with a loving family to whom she is devoted.  She is the daughter of Drs. Floyd and Ethel Russaw, the sister of Kaye and Kelly, the sister-in-love of Sean D. Shelton, and the adoring auntie of Sean William Floyd Shelton.

Reverend Walter Turner

Rev. Christopher Michael Grimes

The Rev. Christopher Michael Grimes is a native of the greater Detroit Area. He is a product of Detroit Public School system and alum of Eastern Michigan University. He served as the youth Pastor at Scott Memorial U.M.C. from 2008-10, where he was responsible for the developing the spiritual formation of the youth and changing the name of the youth group from Heavens Bird Gang to the Youth of Judah. From this youth group came the Joy of Judah a choir composed of youth and young adults. Rev. Grimes is alum of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he obtained his Masters of Divinity. He served as the pastor of St. Timothy U.M.C. (Detroit) and St. James U.M.C. (Westland) from 2013-17.


Currently Pastor Chris is serving as the associate pastor of Hope U.M.C where he is responsible for the continued spiritual formation of the youth, young adults and emerging ministry. He is a young man of God, passionate about assisting people in developing their personal relationship with God through small groups, conference call bible studies and through the lifestyle of worship as a everyday practice. Rev. Grimes is a worshiper, a teacher, a preacher, a pastor and a believer that God is still in control.

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