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Notable Women In Faith: Past & Present

Vashti Mckenzie


Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie holds the coveted distinction of being the first woman elected to the bishopric of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.  She is a well established national voice for women and a strong advocate for social justice.  The current bishop of the 10th Episcopal District in the AME Church, McKenzie is the author of more than 5 books and is a dynamic and transformative preacher and public speaker, and an impactful administrator.

Her responsibility as a president prelate covers all AME churches in the entire state of Texas.  She also served as president of the AME Council of Bishops, chair of the General Conference Commission, and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Inaugural Council and on the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Bishop McKenzie served for ten years as the senior pastor at Payne Memorial AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland.  A graduate of Howard University School of Divinity, where she earned her Master of Divinity, McKenzie was ordained to the ministry in 1984.  She earned her Doctorate in Ministry from United Theological Seminary.  This celebrated church pioneer and leader was noted by Huffington Post as one of the 50 powerful women in religion.

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