Formation + Nurture + Leadership = MISSION
Our Leadership: Passion, Perception, Pursuit, Preparation, and Performance
Meet our professional Christian educational leaders. We model, think, communicate, and research with biblical excellence. Together, we collaborate to create resources, program planning, and activities that will grow in your local program's ability to enhance God’s Kingdom and represent Christian education perspectives in the broader society.
Carmichael D. Crutchfield, Ph.D.
Carmichael D. Crutchfield is the General Secretary of Department of Christian Education for the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church and Assistant Professor of Christian Education and Youth Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary. He is a native Tennessean, born in Weakley County and graduated from Henry County High School. In 1976 he received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a major in Accounting from the University of Tennessee Martin. In 1985 he received the Master of Science (M.S.) in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. In 1993 he received the Master of Divinity (M.Div) with high honors from Memphis Theological Seminary Memphis, Tennessee. In 2002 he earned and received the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) from Memphis Theological Seminary. His doctoral work was entitled “A Model of Christian Education based on Spiritual Formation and Discipleship.” May 14, 2010, he graduated with a Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Christian Education and Congregational Studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary Evanston, Illinois. His dissertation was entitled “How Can Leadership Formation of African American Adolescent Males in the Church be Transformative and a catalyst for Social Reform.”
Willa M. Ross, Ph.D.
Reverend Dr. Willa M. Ross is a native of Jackson, Tennessee. Raised in Chicago, Illinois, she returned to Jackson, Tennessee in 1982 where she united with Mother Liberty Christian Methodist Episcopal Church under the leadership of Reverend Ronald M. Cunningham, Retired Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Prior to accepting the call to ministry in 1998, Willa worked for the Federal Government for twenty years. She was licensed at Mother Liberty Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in April, 1999. She was ordained deacon by the East Tennessee Annual Conference, First Episcopal District in 2000, and Traveling Elder in 2002. She was accepted into Full Connection in 2005 in the East Tennessee Annual Conference. Upon accepting the call to ministry, Reverend Ross entered Memphis Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity Degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude in May 2002 and was recognized as the Alston Outstanding African American Female Student. She received her Doctor of Ministry Degree in May, 2008. Her Doctoral Dissertation is entitled Preparing and Equipping Leaders as Christ Bearers who Lead Youth in Mission. She is the recipient of the MTS 2008 Outstanding African American Alumni Award.
Dr. Ross served as the Executive Assistant to the General Secretary of Christian Education, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church from 1999 to 2010. She was instrumental in assisting the General Secretary in the coordination and implementation of the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Connectional Youth and Young Adult Conferences. In May, 2014 Dr. Ross was hired by Memphis Theological Seminary as the Project Coordinator of the Financial Leadership for Ministry Project, a Lilly Endowment initiative that addresses the “Economic Realities Facing Future Ministers.” Dr. Ross has served as an adjunct faculty member for Memphis Theological Seminary where she has taught Financial Leadership for Ministry, CME Polity, History and other courses. She has also served as a Spiritual Formation Group Leader for incoming seminary students. Dr. Ross has developed a course on Mentoring to African American Adolescent Girls. Dr. Ross was appointed as Pastor of Morning Chapel CME Church, Fort Worth, Texas in August, 2014. Previous Pastoral appointments include Collins Chapel CME Church, Memphis, Tennessee, Mt. Pleasant C.M.E. and New Carmel CME, Jackson, Tennessee. She has served as Chairperson of the Commission on Membership and Evangelism on the local level, Director of Christian Education on the District Level and The Episcopal District Level. Dr. Ross represented the First Episcopal District as General Conference Delegate in 2014 and 2006. She serves on the Committee on Ministerial Examination for the Eighth Episcopal District. Reverend Ross is an advocate for children and youth and is passionate about Christian Education at every level of the church. She conducts workshops and seminars throughout the Connectional Church and other ecumenical circles. She is a committed preacher of the Gospel and is serious about the Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 to make disciples. Dr. Ross has served as the CME Representative to two committees of the Education Leadership and Ministries Commission of the National Council of Churches; The Ecumenical Youth Ministries Staff Team, and the Committee on Black Congregational Ministries. She attended the 2011 Methodist World Council Meeting in Durban, South Africa. She is the mother of three adult children, Kevin (Shemica) Gautreaux, Dorothy (Jevon) Sisnett and Chinitra (Brian) Graham, and grandmother of six amazing grandchildren, Eva, Addison, Nia, Reagan, Caden and Ari.
Juanita Payne / Eartha Grimes
Rev. Juanita Payne, Office Assistant
Ms. Eartha Grimes, Special Projects
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Chair
During the 37th General Conference, Bishop Thomas Louis Brown, Sr. became the Department Chair for the Department of Christian Education for the next quadrennial. Bishop was elected the 54th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on June 28, 2006 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was born June 21, 1951 in Oakland, Miss., the eighth child of Stephen and Lillie H. Brown. His elementary and secondary education was attained at Walker High School in Oakland from which he graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He attended Northwest Junior College, Senatobia, Miss.; and earned the Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in 1973. He matriculated at the Phillips School of Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia, from which he earned the Master of Divinity degree, with honors, in 1976. Bishop Brown also earned, with honors, the Doctor of Theology degree in Pastoral Counseling from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in cooperation with Candler School of Theology/Emory University and Columbia Seminary in 1991. He is a member of Theta Phi Honor Society.
Charles L. Coney, M.B.A.
Charles L. Coney has lived across the United States and in each city has connected with the local administrations and leaderships offering his talents in business and service. His corporate stints includes Arby’s Inc., MCI Telecommunications, Cotelligent , and REXAM and consulting experiences with Coca- Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Home Depot, City of Atlanta, City of Denver, City of Fitzgerald, and many other governments. These companies sought his expertise relative to technology and most importantly the implementation and integration of same.
Welcome to the C.M.E. Department of Christian Education Website. This site has been created to produce and provide connectional resources for our denomination and others. The department of Christian Education is committed to age level teaching ministry. Our goal is to make disciples through "events that form and transform."