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Bishop Vashti McKenzie

First Female Bishop of African Methodist Episcopal Church


Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her historic election in the year 2000 represents the first time in the over 213-year history of the A.M.E. Church, a woman had obtained the level of Episcopal office. The firsts continued, as she is the first woman to serve as President of the Council of Bishops, Chair, General Conference Commission, and host bishop to the 49th Quadrennial Session of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee with over 30,000 in attendance. Currently, she is honored to serve as the presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District, which includes the great state of Texas.

She previously served as the presiding bishop of the Thirteenth Episcopal District, Tennessee and Kentucky, and the Eighteenth Episcopal District in Southern Africa. In each district, she initiated innovative ministry from building three group homes for children orphaned by AIDS in Swaziland to Believe, Inc., a faith-based non-profit to help resource local congregations and provide scholarships.

Bishop McKenzie was appointed to serve on the Advisory Council of the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships by President Barack Obama in 2009. She is Chairman of the Board of Trustee of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas and is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bishop McKenzie is the National Chaplain for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. the largest predominantly African-American sorority of college-trained women. She has served for more than 30 years as the spiritual guide for over 250,000 women. She was recently appointed the National Chaplain for The Links, Inc. another exceptional organization of powerful and upwardly mobile women.

She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, earned a Master of Divinity from Howard University, School of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary. She has been honored with several Honorary Degrees and prestigious awards from diverse educational institutions including Morehouse, Union Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, Goucher College, Howard University, Wilberforce University, Central State University, Virginia Union University, North Carolina Central University, Bethune-Cookman University, and Morgan State University. She has also been honored for her leadership, community service, and outstanding achievements by a number of diverse civic, educational, business, and governmental leaders.

The Huffington Post honored her as one of 50 Powerful Women Religious Leaders. She has also been honored at the top of the list of Great African American Female Preachers, on the Honor Roll of Great African American Preachers and by Ebony Magazine.

Bishop McKenzie is the author of five books. The first two books, Not Without a Struggle and Strength in the Struggle concern leadership and professional growth for women. She revised Not Without a Struggle in 2012, as it remains a staple at seminaries and schools of religion. Journey to the Well helps women seek new directions for personal growth and transformation following the footsteps of the Biblical Samaritan woman. Swapping Housewives tells the stories of Rachel, Jacob, and Leah and shares the 21st-century implications for married and unmarried love. Her latest book is an edited anthology of sermons from twenty-two outstanding preachers titled Those Sisters Can Preach.

Bishop McKenzie, described as an “electrifying preacher,” is a much sought after workshop and seminar presenter on women, transformation, and leadership. She has a global preaching ministry and has preached extensively in the United States including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Congressional Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast, The Hampton Minister’s Conference, Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Pastor’s, and Leaders Conference, Harvard School of Divinity, and Princeton School of Divinity just to name a few.

She is founder and CEO of Kerygma, LLC a literary content provider. She produced a television documentary after the devastation of hurricane Katrina titled Survivor Stories, which aired on cable and PBS Stations. She also produced the documentary Echoes From the General Conference in 2012. She edits and publishes annually The Anvil, a resource guide of the Council of Bishops of the AME Church and is currently working on The Spirit of African Methodism. In February 2012, she launched The Greatest of These is Love mixtape of ten mini-messages as love notes for your soul.
Bishop McKenzie is the wife of former NBA player, Stan McKenzie. They are the parents of three adult children and one grandchild.


Piercing & Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling

Not Without a Struggle: Leadership Development for African American Women in Ministry

Journey to the Well

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