First Woman AME Bishop Kicks off October 'Preaching, Prophecy, and Practice' Series

The Right Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the first woman to be elected bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (in July, 2000), was greeted in a reception at 5:30 pm, and then speak as part of a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 1, in the Sperry Room of Andover Hall. Bishop McKenzie  preached at Boston University's Marsh Chapel earlier in the day, at 11 am.

Named at the top of Ebony's 15 Greatest African American Female Preachers in 1997, and the author of Not Without A Struggle, Strength in the Struggle and Journey to the Well, McKenzie is known to be a commanding speaker with a strong commitment to community development. In her post, prelate over the 18th Episcopal District of the AME Church, she presides over Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.

The other panelists at the October 1 HDS event were the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Pastor of Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, and the Rev. Charlotte Pridgen-Randolph, Senior Pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in South Dorchester.

The Bishop McKenzie events kick off a series entitled "Preaching, Prophesy and Practice: A Tribute to the Reverend Doctor Prathia Hall," co-sponsored by the Office of Ministerial Studies at HDS and the Center for African American Religious Research and Education at Boston University School of Theology. Hall was a renowned and beloved pastor, professor, and civil rights leader who died in 2002. One of the first women field leaders in southwest Georgia for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Hall was then ordained a Baptist minister. She became pastor of Mount Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia and was the first woman to join the Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and vicinity in 1982. She also held the Martin Luther King Jr. Chair in Social Ethics at Boston University School of Theology. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was quoted as saying that "Prathia Hall is the one platform speaker I would prefer not to follow."

For more information about the series, contact the Office of Ministry Studies at 617.496.5711.

Other upcoming events in the series include:

Thursday, October 2
1 pm at BU's Marsh Chapel — The Rev. Drs. Ray Hammond and Gloria White-Hammond, co-pastors of Bethel AME Church in Boston

Wednesday, October 15
11 am at BU's Marsh Chapel — Bishop Leontine Kelly, a retired United Methodist Bishop who was the first African American woman to be elected bishop by any major religious denomination (1984)

12:15 pm at HDS's Andover Chapel — Bishop Barbara Harris, first woman Episcopal Bishop (1989)

Thursday, October 16
5:15 pm — Co-celebration of Eucharist by bishops Harris and Kelly at HDS's Andover Chapel