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; host bishop to the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the President of the General Board of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Currently, she is honored to serve as the presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District, which encompasses 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 establishing Believe, Inc., a faith-based non-profit to help resource local congregations and provide theological 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 a member of the Board of Trustee of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas and is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Interdenominational 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.
Bishop McKenzie has been named by Huffington Post 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 six books. The first two books, Not Without a Struggle and Strength in the Struggle address 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. Those Sisters Can Preach is an edited anthology of sermons from twenty-two outstanding preachers. Her latest work, The Big Deal of Taking Small Steps to Move Closer to God, shows how to develop a stronger relationship with God and more effective spiritual lifestyle by taking small steps that lead to big changes
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, 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 entitled 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.
Bishop McKenzie is the wife of former NBA player, Dr. Stan McKenzie. They are the parents of three adult children and one grandchild.
For more info, visit www.vashtimckenzie.com
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