Another in a series of ongoing articles to introduce you to people in ministry, past and present, who are "Prophets in the Pulpit".
REV. DR. VASHTI MURPHY MCKENZIE
On July 11, 2000, Rev. Dr. Vashti Murphy McKenzie was elected as the 117th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). She became the first woman to hold that position in the 214 year history of the AME Church. As head of the 18th Episcopal District, her territory comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland in Southern Africa.
Before her election, Bishop McKenzie served for ten years as Pastor of the historic Payne Memorial AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland. While there the congregation grew from 300 to more than 1700. McKenzie brought new ministries to the church and organized the Payne Memorial Outreach, Inc., a faith based nonprofit organization.
A former journalist, Bishop McKenzie is the author of two books, Not Without A Struggle and Strength in the Struggle.
The recipient of numerous honors and awards, in 1997, she was named one of Ebony Magazine's 15 Greatest African American Female Preachers.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park , McKenzie also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC and she earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Bishop McKenzie is the granddaughter of the late Vashti Turley Murphy, one of the founders of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and serves as the group's National Chaplain.
Married to Stan McKenzie and the mother of three children, Bishop McKenzie's gifts of teaching, preaching and leading are exemplified in her love for God.
REV. DR. PRATHIA L. HALL
On August 12, 2002, the nation lost a preacher and teacher, educator and pastor extraordinaire--The Rev. Dr. Prathia L. Hall.
After a long illness, Rev. Hall passed away, but the work she began, to empower women in ministry, lives on. An ordained American Baptist minister, Rev. Hall pastored the Mount Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia for more than twenty years. In addition, she held the Martin Luther King Jr. Chair in Social Ethics at Boston University where she taught courses on women and religion and Christian social ethics.
Rev. Hall was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she received a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees.
A groundbreaker and pioneer in her quest for gender justice within the church, Rev. Hall was the first woman received into membership of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity and was often called on to lecture, speak and preach around the country.