Feb 17, 2021 | Rev. Dr. Alfred Maloney

Rev. Dr. Alfred Maloney

My knowledge of Bishop F. Herbert Skeete began with my ordination as a deacon in 1982 and an Elder in 1984. He was my first bishop as an ordained clergy member in The United Methodist Church. Over the years, I would see him in various places after he departed Eastern PA, and he never forgot my name.

In my second year Bishop Skeete appointed me to lead a new church start project in the Philadelphia area. I had no training, which was a challenge for me, especially when I realized how important it was to Bishop Skeete to see a new Black church start and succeed in a Philadelphia area urban setting.

He made an unannounced visit to our church during our early development; and he left an impression on everyone in worship that Sunday morning. We were few but dedicated to developing a church in our community.

In June 1985, Bishop Skeete presented our congregation with its charter. We then took on the name of Eastwick UMC. Bishop Skeete continued to follow our development; and he was there, along with Mayor Wilson Goode of Philadelphia, conference staff, community leaders and others when Eastwick UMC broke ground for our new church building in 1987.

As Bishop Skeete prepared to leave our conference in 1988. members of Black United Methodist Pastors (BUMP) discussed giving him a plaque to show our appreciation. I had recently returned from traveling to the Holy Lands, and one of my valued souvenirs was a 12-inch-high, wooden, carved statue of Jesus carrying a lamb.

I offered that statue to BUMP to bestow upon our Bishop as a symbol of what he meant to us. He had ‘shepherded’ me through a task beyond anything I had ever attempted. Like Revs. David Fife and Herbert Palmer, Bishop Skeete found a way to be encouraging, along with others on his Cabinet.

We agreed, and BUMP offered that statue to him as a gift, mounted on a block of wood with an engraved plaque. It acknowledged our appreciation and gratitude to our Bishop, our shepherd.