The College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Front row, l-r: Bishops Sylvester Williams, Sr., Kenneth W. Carter, Henry M. Williamson, Sr., Senior Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick III, Thomas L. Brown, Sr., James B. Walker, Teresa E. Snorton and Godwin T.. Umoette. Back row, l-r: Bishops William H. Graves, Sr., Ronald M. Cunningham, Paul A.G. Stewart, Sr., Marvin F. Thomas, Bobby R. Best, Charles King, Jr., E. Lynn Brown, Othal H. Lakey and Marshall Gilmore.
The Bishops are the Chief Officers of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. They are elected for life by a majority vote of the General Conference which meets every four years. Bishops shall be retired at that General Conference nearest their seventy-fourth birthday.
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick is the Chief Operating Officer.
The College of Bishops Biographical Information and Episcopal District Websites
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick
1616 E. Illinois Avenue,
Dallas, Texas 75216-2538
(214) 372-9073 (Office) (214) 372-2082 (Fax)
Bishop Lawrence Reddick III, the 51st bishop elected in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, has been presiding bishop of the Eighth Episcopal District since July 2014.
Upon election as bishop in 1998, he was assigned as bishop of the Tenth Episcopal District (including the work in Jamaica, Haiti, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria). He was assigned in 2002 and 2006 as bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District (which includes the denomination’s work in Alabama and Florida). In 2010, he was assigned to the First Episcopal District (comprising Arkansas, Tennessee, and Jamaica). The 2014 General Conference assigned him to the Eighth Episcopal District (comprising the Regions in Texas and Jamaica).
Born June 20, 1952, in Huntsville, Alabama, he is a son of the parsonage. His parents were Rev. and Mrs. L. L. Reddick, Jr. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University of Delaware, Ohio (Bachelor of Arts degree) and Duke Divinity School of Durham, North Carolina (Master of Divinity degree). He was conferred honorary doctoral degrees from the United Theological Seminary and Bible College of Monroe, Louisiana, and Texas College, Tyler, Texas.
He was licensed to preach by the Reverend R. E. Brooks in 1966, ordained deacon in 1968 and elder in 1969 by Bishop E. P. Murchison, and admitted into full connection in 1972 by Bishop C. A. Kirkendoll.
After pastoral work in Alabama, Ohio, North Carolina, and Missouri, he was elected editor of The Christian Index, the Official Publication of the CME Church, in 1982. He was subsequently re-elected editor by the General Conferences of 1986, 1990, and 1994. During his work as editor, he was also pastor in Alabama; and pastor and presiding elder in Mississippi.
As presiding bishop of the work in the Tenth Episcopal District, he expanded the work in West Africa from six to seven Annual Conferences, and added several districts. During his tenure as presiding bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District, he was also chair of the Board of Trustees of Miles College, and served as chair during the demise of President Albert J. H. Sloan II and the election of President George T. French, Jr. During that stint, he was a founding member of the Alabama Faith Council, an interfaith gathering, with other Alabama judicatory leaders. In his four years as presiding bishop of the First Episcopal District, he was chair of the Board of Trustees of Lane College during the passing of President Wesley Cornelious McClure and the subsequent election of President Logan Hampton. He also led the CME Headquarters into self-management by professional CMEs and oversaw the Boards of Directors of six HUD-related housing properties inaugurated by Bishops B. Julian Smith, J. Madison Exum, and William H. Graves.
One of his consistent goals has been to visit every congregation within the episcopal district he serves every four years. An avid traveler, he maintains relationships across the seas with CMEs in West Africa (through their episcopal leaders); and he has maintained relationships with the people of Haiti through their episcopal leaders. As a member of the Board of Directors of Bread for the World, he has lobbied Congress in the interests of ridding the world of hunger.
He is married to Mrs. Wynde Jones Reddick, is the father of five children (Jon, Janice, Iris, Rose, and Samuel), and is the grandfather of three (Sean, Nylah, and Lailah).
Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr.
4466 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38116
Telephone: 901-345-4114 Fax: 901-345-4115
Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr. is the 52nd Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He was elected on July 3, 2002 at the General Conference in Atlanta , Georgia and assigned the Presiding Prelate of the Ninth Episcopal District. Bishop Williamson was assigned to the First Episcopal District at the General Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on July 4, 2014.
Bishop Williamson was born in Arkansas, and reared in Tennessee and Gary, Indiana. He was called to the ministry in 1967 in Gary, Indiana at Israel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop J. Claude Allen ordained him Deacon in 1968 and Elder in 1969.
Bishop Williamson is a graduate of the historic Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana. He received a B.A. in Sociology from Purdue University Calumet Campus, a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois, with advanced work in Clinical Pastoral Education. Bishop Williamson was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in Monroe, Louisiana .
His pastoral ministry spanned from 1969-2002 including CME Churches in Gary, Indiana (Westside CME Church), Evanston, Illinois (New Hope CME Church), East St. Louis, Illinois ( Pilgrim Temple CME Church), Indianapolis, Indiana (Phillips Temple CME), Jacksonville, Florida (Central CME Church), and Chicago, Illinois (Carter Temple CME Church). Bishop Williamson was privileged to serve as associate minister at Israel CME Church from 1967-1969 under Dr. Carrell K. Cargle, Sr. and associate pastor of St. Paul CME Church under the leadership of Bishop Dotcy I. Isom, Jr. (1972-1973).
Bishop Williamson pastored at Carter Temple CME Church in Chicago for 16 years and led the congregation in growing to over 3,000 active members with 50 active ministries in the church. During his ministry in three Episcopal Districts, over 30 men and women accepted their call to preach in the CME Church.
In each city while serving as pastor, Bishop Williamson motivated the congregations he led to meet the spiritual and social needs of the church and the larger community. He served as the National President of PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) from 1991-1993, helping to stabilize the organization financially and continues to work with Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. on the National Board of Rainbow/PUSH.
Bishop Williamson is the founder and CEO of One Church One School Community Partnership Program. This nationwide program involves churches and schools in partnerships that teach our young people to Value Life and Learning. Over 200 One Church One School partnerships across the nation are positively impacting students through tutoring and mentoring programs, parent involvement, homework assistance programs, scholarships, and student empowerment conferences. The CME Church formally adopted a resolution supporting One Church, One School program at its 1994 General Conference.
Bishop Williamson has received numerous awards and Keys to the City including the 2001 Keeper of the Dream, Purdue University ’s Outstanding Alumni Award, Pastor of the New Generation, PUSH Dream Keepers Award, and Black Expo Award for Community Leadership, among others. Bishop Williamson serves on the Boards of Northern Trust Bank, and World Methodist Council of Churches.
Most proud of his family, he and his wife Doris Yvonne are the proud parents of Henry, Jr., a graduate of Northwestern University, and currently a financial analyst with LaSalle Partners of Chicago; and Kelli Daonne, a graduate of Chicago State University, and currently teaching Music Education in the Chicago Public Schools. Their grandsons, Jonathan and Henry III, are the source of much joy and happiness in their lives. Bishop Williamson is especially grateful to his mother Mrs. Alma J. Carvin of Gary, IN for her love, influence, and sacrifice in making him the son, husband, father and Christian leader that he is today, in the body of Christ.
Bishop Williamson is currently a trustee of The Phillips School of Theology at the ITC in Atlanta, Georgia, the Chairman of the Department of Publication Services, and the Chairman of the Commission on Social Justice and Human Concerns of the CME Church. He is a much sought after public speaker and an advocate for civil and human rights and especially for the needs of children and youth. His favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 – "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr.
680 Beckwith Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
Telephone: (404) 963-6652
Fax: (404) 963-6656
Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr. was elected the 54th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on June 28, 2006 in Memphis, Tennessee. Upon his election, the General Conference assigned him to the Fourth Episcopal District which encompasses the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. At the 2018 General Conference, Bishop Brown was assigned to the Sixth Episcopal District. He is the Chair of the Department of the Department of Christian Education.
Bishop Brown was born June 21, 1951 in Oakland, Mississippi, the eighth child of Stephen and Lillie H. Brown. His elementary and secondary education was attained at Walker High School in Oakland from which he graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He attended Northwest Junior College, Senatobia, Mississippi; and earned the Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in 1973. He matriculated at the Phillips School of Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia, from which he earned the Master of Divinity degree, with honors, in 1976. Bishop Brown also earned, with honors, the Doctor of Theology degree in Pastoral Counseling from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in cooperation with Candler School of Theology/Emory University and Columbia Seminary in 1991. He is a member of Theta Phi Honor Society.
The ministry of Thomas Louis Brown, Sr. began during his junior year at Ole Miss when he answered the call to Christian Ministry. In the fall of 1973, he was admitted on trial in the Mississippi Annual Conference by Bishop Joseph A. Johnson, Jr. and was assigned to pastor Rice Chapel in Durant, Mississippi. In 1975 and 1976 respectively, Bishop Joseph C. Coles Jr. ordained him Deacon and Elder and admitted him into Full Connection in the Georgia Annual Conference.
Bishop Brown's itinerant ministry in the C.M.E. Church has been extensive and thorough. In addition to Rice Chapel, he served Murray Memorial, Covington, GA; St. James, Columbus, GA; Butler Street, Atlanta, GA; and College Park, College Park, GA. He was the organizing pastor of the Good News Community Church in Lithonia, GA. From June 1990 until July 2006, Bishop Brown served with distinction as the sixth President/Dean of the Phillips School of Theology at the ITC. During his tenure, more than ninety-five students graduated. It was under his leadership in 1996 that the Annual C.M.E. Pastors' Conference was established.
The 54th Bishop is a noted scholar, lecturer and preacher. He has served as adjunct professor of CME History and Polity as well as pastoral care; lectured at Candler School of Theology, (Emory University) and Columbia Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary; and regular teacher and preacher with the Institute of Church Administration and Management (ICAM). He is in national demand as a preacher both within and outside the CME Church. Moreover, Bishop Brown has represented the church exceptionally well. He has been a delegate to the General Conference of the CME Church from 1978 to 2006; and was a delegate to the World Methodist Conference in Nairobi, Kenya and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a founding member of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, an advocate for the homeless and persons on death row. Civic participation include the NAACP, SCLC and Urban League.
Bishop Brown is married to Dr. Louise Baker-Brown. They are the parents of Charisa Nicole Brown-Jefferson and Thomas, Jr.
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter
Bishop Kenneth W. Carter was elected the 55th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in the Thirty-Fifth Quadrennial Session and the Thirty-Sixth General Conference meeting in Memphis, Tennessee June 2006. He is currently the Presiding Prelate of the Eleventh Episcopal District.
Bishop Carter was born in Corinth, Mississippi on July 12, 1957 to Willie and Stella Carter. His tenacious pursuit of learning began in the public schools of Corinth, Mississippi. He earned the B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi; Master of Music Education from Delta State University; Master of Divinity from Howard University; and the Doctor of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
In 1973 Bishop Carter was licensed to preach at the City Road Temple C.M.E. Church in Corinth, Mississippi; ordained Deacon in 1976; and ordained Elder in 1978. He was admitted into Full connection in 1979. Dr. Carter's first appointment as pastor was Jones Chapel C.M.E. Church in Iuka, Mississippi.
During his itinerant ministry, he served congregations in Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, DC and Texas. He also served as presiding elder in the Greenwood-Jackson and Columbus-Meridian Districts in Mississippi.
At the time of his election to the Episcopacy, Bishop Carter had served 10 years as pastor at the Carter Metropolitan C.M.E. Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
He is married to Rosia Hunter Carter, and they share two daughters--Jill Lynette and Stacy Marie.
Bishop James B. Walker
6524 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20012
Bishop James B. Walker is a native of Boley, Oklahoma. He is married to Delois Woody-Walker and they have two daughters and one grandson. Bishop Walker is the Presiding Prelate of the Seventh Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church.
Bishop Walker was elected the 56th bishop of the C.M.E. Church at its thirty-seventh General Conference, held in Mobile, Alabama. He was the first of five new bishops elected including the denomination’s first female bishop as well as its first indigenous bishop for Africa.
As former pastor of Phillips Metropolitan CME Church in Hartford, Connecticut for 27 years, he brings extensive pastoral experience. He led the congregation through many years of numerical and spiritual growth. During Bishop Walker's administration, the congregation acquired and renovated the Phillips Metro office complex and constructed its new worship center on 2500 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut.
Bishop Walker has also served as interim Presiding Elder of the New York-New England District, as well, and the pastor of Trinity CME Church, Toccoa, Georgia and Sykes Memorial CME Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Bishop Walker is a former President of the Greater Hartford Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance as well as the former Interim Dean and Adjunct Faculty at Hartford Seminary. He is the founder and first Executive Director of the North Star Center for Human Development, Inc. and through his leadership, North Star was awarded a HUD 202 grant to construct the Phillips Metropolitan Apartments (a 40 unit Senior Housing Community). Additionally, Bishop Walker collaborated with the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families to form a faith-based adoption and foster care ministry, the Queen Esther Ministry.
Bishop Walker served as Co-Chair of the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care, a faith-based organization responsible for passing Connecticut's landmark Health Care for all legislation (Sustinet) in 2009. He was a member of the Community Advisory Board for St. Francis Hospital and he was appointed as a Commissioner on the City of Hartford Planning and Zoning Board. Bishop Walker is also a former member of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee (7th District).
Bishop Walker is a graduate of Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma and he received the Master’s of Divinity degree at Phillips School of Theology of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr.
Third Episcopal District
Post Office Box 211237
Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr. is the last of three children born to the late Edward and Georgiana Williams. Growing up in a small rural town in Hale County, Alabama, Bishop Williams was surrounded by a loving family who taught him values such as respect and caring for each other, honoring your word, being responsible, but more importantly to love the Lord. As he watched his family, particularly his mother and father, display these values, he became more keenly aware of his calling and how God had partnered with them to shape him for ministry.
p Williams’ parents not only taught him social and spiritual values, they instilled educational values as well. Having received his early education in the Hale County School System, he continued his education by attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he earned a B.A. degree in Health Care Management. Between this interval, however, he earned an A.A. degree in Mortuary Science from Jefferson State Jr. College in Birmingham, AL. Later, having accepted the call to ministry, he furthered his education at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA where he received the Master of Divinity degree in 1988, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree in May, 2008.
After accepting the call to ministry in ‘81, Bishop Williams served the Church and community in many capacities which included pastoral leadership at Owens Chapel, Emory Chapel, Franconia, and Southside CME Churches in Alabama; Mt. Olive CME Church in Orlando, FL; and Carter Temple CME Church in Chicago, IL. He has served as a member of the Joint Board of Finance for the Birmingham and Southeast Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin Annual Conferences; Budget Director for the Third Episcopal District; Dean of Leadership Training School for the Southeast Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin Region; a Member of the Board of Trustees at Miles College and Phillips School of Theology; Chairman, Board of Directors, for the Commission on Religion in Appalachia; and Chaplain of Brookwood Hospice in Birmingham. Bishop Williams attended the World Methodist Conferences which were held in England and Korea; he was also selected by the Interdenominational Theological Center as one of 21 pastors to participate in a 15-day Holy Land Pilgrimage for Pastoral Renewal.
On June 30, 2010, Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr. was elected the 58th Bishop of the CME Church and was assigned to be the Presiding Prelate of the Second Episcopal District. At the 2014 General Conference, Bishop Williams was assigned to the Third Episcopal District.
Bishop Williams is married to the former Carmen Elaine Leonard. They have three children: Samantha, Sylvia, and Sylvester II.
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton
Address: P.O. Box 13383
Birmingham, AL 35202
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton is the 59th Bishop and the first female Bishop in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church since its founding in 1870. She is presiding bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District, which includes the states of Alabama and Florida. Her first episcopal appointment was to the new Eleventh Episcopal District in East Africa. She is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Miles College (Fairfield, AL), Chair of the Board of Directors of the Miles Foundation Service Corporation and Ecumenical Officer and Endorsing Agent for the CME Church.
Bishop Jefferson-Snorton is President of Churches Uniting in Christ, Chair of the Pan-Methodist Commission, Chair of the Family Life Committee of the World Methodist Council, a member of the Board of Directors of the World Methodist Evangelism, Inc., Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Institute for Human Development, a member of the Advisory Board for Candler School of Theology at Emory University, the Board of Trustees of the Interdenominational Theological Center and the Board of Trustees of the Phillips School of Theology. In the CME Church, she is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Connectional Headquarters, Chair of the Committee on Ministerial Assessment and Secretary of the CME College of Bishops. During 2013-2014, she served Chair of the College of Bishops of the CME Church.
Bishop Jefferson-Snorton is the founder of the empowerment conference “The Phenomenal Women’s Summit” and an advocate for healthy communities and healthy churches through initiatives such as the Academy for Public Theology, the Church Garden Project, Faith and Fitness, Mental Health Education for Congregations and the Rural Leadership Development Institute. She has a B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Patient Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Bishop Jefferson-Snorton is a certified Clinical Pastoral Educator (CPE Supervisor) and a board-
certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She previously pastored in Kentucky and served on ministerial staffs in Virginia and Georgia. She previously served as the Executive Director of the national Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (2000-2012) and as Executive Director and Pastoral Education Director in the Emory University Center for Pastoral Services (1990-2000). Her publications are on tpoics related to pastoral care, pastoral education and women’s issues. She has taught Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (1991-2010), Virginia Commonwealth University (1987-1990), and the School of Theology at Virginia Union University (1988-90).
Bishop Jefferson-Snorton, a native of Kentucky is married to Rev. Lawrence Jefferson-Snorton and is the mother of two adult sons and two grandchildren.
Bishop Godwin T. Umoette
Address: P.O. Box 4312
UYO, Akwa Iborn State, Nigeria
Bishop Godwin Thompson Umoette was elected the 60th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church - and the first Bishop born on African soil - on June 30k, 2010, in Mobile, Alabama. He is the Presiding Prelate of the Tenth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church.
Bishop Umoette is a native of Ikot Akpan Isihet; Onna Local Government Area, in Akwa Ibom State Nigeria. He was born February 23, 1955, to Chief Thompson and Jessie Umoette, who reared him through the values of good parenthood and familyhood, and taught him to believe and trust God. Prior to becoming a Bishop, he was elected a delegate in 1982 to the General Conference. Since then he has functioned in a variety of capacities in the CME Church and society.
Bishop Umoette was ordained Deacon and Elder in the East Tennessee Annual Conference by Bishop William H. Graves. His ministerial responsibilities have included serving on ministerial staffs at St. Paul CME Church, Jackson, Tennessee; Stewart Memorial CME Church, Columbus, Ohio (alongside the Rev. Anzo Montgomery, whom he identies as his "ministry mentor"); and Miles Chapel CME Church, Tyler, Texas. He was appointed pastor of the Gilmore Cathedral CME Church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria, by Bishop Kenneth W. Carter. In Uyo, he led the congregation to purchase a virgin land and build a church that has become the symbolic church in Nigeria. He has served as chair of the Division of Business and Social Sciencce, Texas College; Head of the Department and Professor of Political Science, University of Uyo, Nigeria; a Jury Commissioner for the U.S. District Court, Tyler, Texas; and a member of the CME Judicial Council. Bishop Umoette earned a B.A. degree from Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee; the M.A. degree from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and the Ph.D degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a concentration in African and African-American politics and government. His Ph.D dissertation topic was Military Neo-Colonialism in Africa. Among his numerous highlights in academe was his presentation at the 23rd Inaugural Lecture of the University of Uyo, February 2009, from the subject, "Democracy and the Changing Nature of Institutional Development: Prospect and Obligation."
He is married to Mrs. Elizabeth Godwin Umoette, and is the father of six children: Akaninyene G. Umoette, Emem G. Umoette, Idara G. Umoette, Ofonime G. Umoette, Jesse G. Umoette, and Itoro G. Umoette. He is an excited grandfather of two boys and two girls.
Bishop Paul A.G. Stewart, Sr.
Address: 8145 Summerwood Circle
Olive Branch MS 38654-7060
Retired Senior Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr., was reassigned the new presiding bishop of the Ninth Episcopal District on August 16, 2020, after the passing of Bishop Bobby R. Best.
.Bishop Paul A. Stewart, Sr. was elected the 50th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church on July 1, 1998, in the Thirty-Third Quadrennial Session and the Thirty-Forth General Conference meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.
Bishop Stewart was born June 21, 1941 in Baldwyn, Mississippi, the youngest of six children born to the late Mr. Leroy and Ms. Bessie Agnew Stewart. He was educated in the elementary and secondary schools of Baldwyn. Believing strongly in the value of education, his quest for knowledge led him as follows:
- Mississippi Industrial College, Holy Springs, Mississippi, 1961
- Master of Divinity Degree, Phillips School of Theology of the Interdenominational Theological Center,1965
- Master's Degree in Guidance and Counseling, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi,1975
- Graduate of the United States Military Academy for Chaplains, Staten Island, New York, 1975
- Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Training for Ministers, Fort Hood, Texas, 1977
- Training courses for ministering to cancer patients, University of Alabama, 1980
- Doctorate of Divinity Degree from Reed School of Religion, Los Angeles, CA, 1996
- Doctorate of Humane Letters from Miles College, Birmingham, AL, May, 2002.
The Ministry of Bishop Stewart in the C.M.E. Church has been extensive. He has served faithfully as a local pastor of C.M.E. congregations and has been recognized as a gifted counselor, educator and administrator at institutions across the United States:
- Guntown C.M.E. Church, Mississippi Circuit from 1958-1961
- Miles Memorial C.M.E. Church, Augusta, Georgia, 1961-1962
- Holsey Temple and Mt. Sinai, Rome, Georgia, 1962-1963
- Bethel Crowley C.M.E. Church, Louisiana, 1964-1966
- Dyer Chapel C.M.E. Church, West Monroe, Louisiana, 1966-1967
- Dean of Chapel and Instructor of Religion at Mississippi Industrial College, Holly Springs, Mississippi and Pastor of Anderson Chapel, 1967-1975.
- Chaplain in the United States Army, with the rank of Captain from 1975-1977 and granted with the Outstanding Achievement Award of Counseling Soldiers who were under stress
- Dean of Students at Miles College, Birmingham, Alabama, 1977-1982 and also pastored Miles Chapel, Reform, Alabama and Porter-St. Paul, Northport, Alabama during that period
- Pastored Russell Memorial, Durham, North Carolina 1982-1988 where more than 300 members were added to the church and five programs funded during his tenure.
- Pastored Phillips Temple, Los Angeles, California, 1988-1998, from which he was elected Bishop. Four funded ministries were added to the Church, a Hispanic Ministry was organized and developed, and the Feeding Ministry was expanded extensively. More than 200 members were added to the church.
- Served as the Presiding Elder of the Los Angeles/San Diego District in 1998
Throughout his ministry Bishop Stewart has been an active participant in community, ecumenical, civic, social and civil rights affairs. He has worked extensively with the NAACP; served on the NAACP Executive Board of Durham, North Carolina; Former president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Durham, North Carolina and Vicinity; Former President of the Los Angeles Council of Churches for six years; Former Co-Chairperson of the Southern California Organizing Committee of the Industrial Area Foundation; Former member of the Board of Trustees and Chairperson of the Joint Board of Finance of the Southern California Conference of the C.M.E. Church; Former member of the Coordinating Council of Hope in Youth Gang Prevention Program of Los Angeles, California.
Bishop Stewart is married to the former M. Earline Gardner. They are the parents of three children: Gloria Jean Stewart-Wicks, an elementary education teacher, Greenville, Mississippi School System; Paul Jr., an Engineer for the County of Los Angeles and Shinar LaDonna Stewart-Parnell, an elementary school teacher, Los Angeles, California. They are proudly parents-in-law of Mr. Dana Parnell and Reverend Thomas Wicks. The Stewarts are grandparents to two precious grandchildren.
Upon his election and consecration in 1998 in the Thirty-Third Quadrennial Session and Thirty-Forth General Conference meeting Birmingham, Alabama, Bishop Stewart was assigned to the Fifth Episcopal District, comprising the states of Alabama and Florida.
In the Thirty-Fourth Quadrennial Session and Thirty-Fifth General Conference of the CME Church in Atlanta, Georgia, June 29 - July 7, 2002, Bishop Stewart was assigned to the Third Episcopal District.
At the Thirty-Seventh Quadrennial Session and Thirty-Eighth General Conference of the CME Church in Baltimore, Maryland (June 2014), Bishop Stewart was officially retired.
Prior to his retirement, Bishop Stewart served as the Chaplaincy Endorsing Agent for the CME Church; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Phillips School of Theology, Atlanta, GA; Vice Chairperson for the Board of Trustees of Miles College, Birmingham, AL; and Advisory Board Member, Institute of Church Administration and Management (ICAM).
Bishop Marvin F. Thomas, Sr.
P. O. Box 36455
Cincinnati, OH 45235
Telephone: 513-827-6651 Fax: 513-672-2026
Bishop Marvin Frank Thomas, Sr. was elected the 62nd bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on July 1, 2014 at the 37th Quadrennial Session & 38th General Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to his election as bishop, he served as the seventh president/dean of The Phillips School of Theology (“The Seminary of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church”) at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and the pastor of the Good News Community CME Church in Lithonia, GA. While at ITC, Bishop Thomas also served as the Chair of the Council of Deans and an adjunct instructor.
He holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a minor in Sociology from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He also earned the Master of Divinity degree from The Phillips School of Theology at The ITC and the Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
He has served as the pastor of Walls Memorial CME Church in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to his tenure as pastor of Walls Memorial, he served as pastor of other congregations in the CME Church and presiding elder in the states of Alabama and Tennessee. He has also served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and a member of the Religion faculty at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. He has also served as a member of the Religion faculty and Student Services staff at Stillman College.
Presently, Bishop Thomas serves as the presiding bishop of the Second Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, which includes the Kentucky and Ohio Central Indiana Regions. He also serves as the chair of the denomination’s Department of Lay Ministry and the acting pastor of the Metropolitan Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bishop Thomas is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is the second of six children born to Mrs. Minnie Thomas Brown. Bishop Thomas has two children, Kourtney Lea Thomas and Marvin Frank Thomas, Jr., and one grandson, Kameron.
Bishop C. James King, Jr.
Bishop C. James King, Jr. was elected the 63rd Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on the fourth ballot on July 1, 2014, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was assigned to the Eleventh Episcopal District.
At the 2018 General Conference, Bishop King was assigned to the Fourth Episcopal District.
The eldest of twelve children, Bishop King was born May 15, 1948, in Columbus, Georgia, to Mr. Charles James King, Sr., and Mrs. Ruthie Mae Middlebrooks King. He was reared by his grandparents, Horace and Zadie Mae Middlebrooks. Bishop King received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Paine College, Augusta, Georgia (1974), with a major in history; his Master of Divinity degree from The Interdenominational Theological Center (Phillips School of Theology) in Old Testament (1979); and he earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio (1994), in educational administration with a special concentration in developing programs of self-help for economically disadvantaged children, youth and young adults.
He has pastored congregations in Georgia (Murray Memorial, Covington),Washington, D.C. (Bunton Institutional), Kentucky (Brown Memorial, Louisville),Indiana (Trinity, Indianapolis; and Murchison Tabernacle, Indianapolis) and Ohio(Peoples Community, Dayton; Phillips Memorial, Cincinnati; and St. Phillips, Hamilton).
His administrative experiences included serving as presiding elder of in the Cincinnati-Dayton-Indianapolis District in the Ohio-Central Indiana Region for twelve years. Additionally, he served in the Second Episcopal District as the Episcopal director of faith-based and community-based ministries. Bishop King was a member of The General Board of Personnel Services for 24 years and was serving as its vice chair when elected bishop.
Bishop King is also the founder/president/CEO of Project One, Inc., a faith based, not for profit corporation. The Project One, Inc., ministry has helped over15,000 youth become engaged in meaningful summer employment and after-school programs. Bishop King has raised enormous amounts of funding to support youth services for Project One, Inc. Some of the programs he has developed are: The job Annual Summer Jobs Campaign, The Summer Earning and Enrichment Program, The Fatherhood Program, The Talented and Gifted Scholars (TAG) Program, and his latest – The After School University at the Alice Lucille Martin Educational Academy.
Bishop King served as chair of the Board of Trustees for The Interdenominational Theological Center - the first C.M.E. preacher who has served as the chair of this board. He was instrumental in raising funds for the school’s budget, working with the board in any and all administrative capacities which included the hiring of a new president for the school.
Bishop Bobby R. Best
3844 West Slauson Avenue, Suite One
Los Angeles, CA 90043
Telephone: 323-294-3830 Fax: 323-294-3830
Bishop Bobby R. Best passed on August 2, 2020 and served as the Presiding Prelate of the Ninth Episcopal District from 2014-2020..
Bishop Bobby R. Best was the husband of 38 wonderful years to Jacqueline Howard Best, the proud father of Brandon Girard Best and Bridgette Michelle Best, and the loving grandfather of Brandon Girad Best, Jr. (BJ) and Cameron Jamie Best (CJ)
Bishop Bobby R. Best was elected the 61st Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on the first ballot on July 1, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Bishop Best is the eighth of nine children and the sixth son, born April 9, 1956 in Wilson NC to AD and Helen Summerville Best. He is a 1974 graduate of Ralph L. Fike Senior High School. It was obvious to all around that Bishop Best had a call on his life for ministry. He was a happy child that loved the Lord and spent much time in church services, Bible Studies and Sunday Church School. He accepted Christ in 1967. Bishop Best joined Faith CME Church in 1978 after graduating from college and locating to Charlotte where his new job landed him. He preached his initial sermon at Faith in 1980 and served as local preacher for six years, assisting and was trained by three pastors, Rev. Robyn Gool, Rev. Anthony Williams and Rev. Willie J. Sturgess.
Bishop Best has a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, (1979), a Masters of Divinity degree from Duke University, Durham, NC (1991), a Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Interdenominational Theology Center (Phillips School of Theology), Atlanta, GA (2006) where he was an honor graduate.
Bishop Best was ordained Deacon in 1986, Elder in 1988 and went into Full Connection in 1990 in the Carolina Annual Conference by one of his mentors and friend, Bishop Oree Broomfield, Sr. Bishop Best was also mentored and prepared for Episcopal Ministry by Bishop Charles Helton and Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr., his Episcopal Father in the ministry.
Bishop Best has pastored six churches in three episcopal districts in his 28 years of pastoral ministry. His pastoral assignments include Brooklyn CME Church, Chesnee, SC (1986-1988), Young Missionary Temple CME Church, Raleigh, NC (1988-1992), Broomfield CME Church, (1992-1996), St. John CME Church, Winston-Salem, NC (1996-2006), Greater Cleaves Memorial CME Church, Oklahoma City, OK (2006-2010) and Metropolitan CME Church, Houston, TX (2010-2014).
His ministry can be characterized by Evangelism, Christian Education, Prayer, Stewardship and Community Service. He has served as Director of Youth, Director of Young Adult, and Director of Evangelism for the Carolina Region for 14 years. Bishop Best has chaired the Joint Board of Finance for the Oklahoma Region and served as Treasurer for the Southeast Texas Region. Bishop Best has conducted many worships throughout our great Zion on stewardship, evangelism and officers training.
During his ministry in Gastonia, NC, Bishop Best was the founding President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Vice President of Drug and Crime Task Force, and Adjunct Chaplain at Gaston Memorial Hospital, as well as on the Medical Bioethics Board-Gaston Memorial Hospital, founding Co-chair of Advocate for Healthy Citizens (school linked healthcare center) and Myrtle Community Spirit Man of the Year-1995.
In Winston-Salem, Bishop Best served on the following boards: Infant Mortality Reduction Board, Today Woman Health & Wellness Center, Crisis Control Ministries, YMCA, Urban League, AIDS Care Services, North Carolina Council of Churches and Commission on Religion in the Appalachia (CORA). Honors bestowed upon Bishop Best include Winston-Salem Human Relations Commission, Humanitarian Award (2000), Phillip School of Theology (ITC) Distinguished Award for Ministry (2004). Best also served as a tutor at Kimberly Park Elementary School in reading for 3rd graders.
In Oklahoma, Bishop Best was a member of Oklahoma Conference of Churches and he tutored and mentored 3rd through 5th graders weekly in math and reading at the Martin Luther King Elementary School in Oklahoma City, OK and as part of his church’s One Church One School ministry.
In Houston, Bishop Best was a member of Harris County Council of Organizations and the NAACP. He served and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees at Texas College. He was honored for outstanding community service by Congressman Al Green at a social justice rally held at Metropolitan CME in 2013.
Bishop Best is a lifetime member of Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, is presently a member of the Tau Tau Chapter in Los Angeles, CA.
Bishop Edward Lynn Brown
Address: 4250 Thunderstone Circle W
Hickory Hill, TN 38125
Bishop E. Lynn Brown was born in Madison County, Tennessee, the third son of the late Willie T. and Ocie Bell Brown. He received his elementary and secondary education in the public schools of Madison County, Tennessee; the Bachelor of Arts degree from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee; the Master of Divinity degree from Phillips School of Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. His doctoral studies were done at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Several honorary degrees have been conferred upon him from the following institutions: D. D., Lane College, Texas College, Miles College and Phillips School of Theology at ITC. He has taught at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee, lectured extensively and has earned an international reputation as a world traveler (throughout Africa, Europe and Israel), a dynamic preacher and a forceful speaker. He, also, has authored several books, some of which includes: Salvation Is Of The Lord, The Pastor As An Enabling And Equipping Disciple and Conception Of Sin In Thought Of Reinhold Neibuhr.
He was elected the 46th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1986 in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon his election as a bishop, he was assigned to the Ninth Episcopal District, which encompassed the California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington and Alaska Regions. Prior to his elevation to the office of bishop, he was General Secretary of the Board of Publication Services of the CME Church. He distinguished himself as a most effective pastor at the Temple of Love CME Church in Memphis, Tennessee, which he started in the CME Publishing House. Bishop Brown was also a prominent pastor of Mt. Pisgah CME Church in Memphis, where he developed a model urban ministry for the entire community.
At the 2010 General Conference held in Mobile, Alabama, Bishop Brown was honorably retired.
Bishop Brown has served in many positions in the CME Church, as well as in the community. He is the past chairperson of the CME Lay Ministry, past chairperson of the Department of Evangelism, Social Justice and Human Concerns, among many other positions. Presently, he is the resident bishop in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Ohio-Central Indiana and Kentucky Regions of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He is the chairperson of the Department of Publication Services, a member of the Board of Trustees of Phillips School of Theology; a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, chairperson of Closing the Health Gap of Greater Cincinnati, chairperson of the MLK Coalition, City of Cincinnati, chairperson of the Clergy Advisory Health Council and a member of the Electoral Reform Commission, City of Cincinnati. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The hallmark of the entire ministry of Bishop Brown has been his community activism. He has received hundreds of awards, plaques, commendations, trophies and citations for his outstanding contributions toward improving the life of his fellowman.
Bishop Brown is married to Gladys Delores Stephens Brown and is the father of Alonzo Victor Brown (deceased) and Cheronda Brown Guyton. He is the grandfather of Kyrhee Sjamont (KJ) Brown, Alonzo Edward (AJ) Brown, Stephen Andrew Guyton and Sean Matthew Guyton.
Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham
Address: 200 Big Bend Drive
Desoto, TX 75115
Bishop Ronald M. Cunningham was elected July 3, 2002, as the 53rd Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. At the 2010 General Conference held in Mobile, Alabama, Bishop Cunningham was honorably retired. On March 15, 2011 (after the passing of Bishop W.E. Lockett), Bishop Cunningham was recalled to active service and assigned to the Eleventh Episcopal District. Bishop Cunningham retired officially at the General Conference in 2014.
Bishop Cunningham is a son of the parsonage. He is the son of the late Rev. Bishop David S. Cunningham, who retired as General Secretary of the General Board of Pensions of our Zion. His father was instrumental in giving us our first commercial ministerial retirement program in 1968.
Bishop Cunningham is one of three siblings. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in the parsonages of the St. James CME Church, Freeport, Illinois, Trinity CME Church, Decatur, Illinois, and Scruggs Memorial CME Church, St. Louis, Missouri. In a real sense he is a son of the 3rd Episcopal District, where many stalwart servants of the church nurtured him.
He graduated from Charles Sumner High School, St. Louis, Missouri, the first African American high school founded west of the Mississippi River in 1875. After his high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served for 3 years and received an honorary discharge.
Bishop Cunningham says his father taught him how important it is “to make something of yourself.” Therefore, after receiving his military discharge he achieved the following academic pursuits:
· BA Degree – LeMoyne College, Memphis, Tennessee – 1960
· Certificate of Participation – American University, Washington
Semester Student 1959
· Doctor of Religion Degree – School of Theology, Claremont, California
Bishop Cunningham served as General Secretary of Christian Education for 16 years. He was elected on the first ballot in the 1986 General Conference, Birmingham, Alabama.
Prior to his election, Bishop Cunningham served the CME Church in several meaningful capacities. To name a few:
Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee – 1970-84
Chairman of Social Science Division
Director of Continuing Education for Black Church Leadership, Lane College and First Episcopal District; 1979-1984
Dean of the 1st Episcopal District Ecumenical Ministers and Layman’s Institute–1979-84
Administrative Assistant to the General Secretary of Evangelism – 1982-86
Vice President, Miles College, Birmingham, Alabama -1984-86
Interim President of Texas College, Tyler, Texas – Summer/Fall 1994
Bishop Cunningham accepted his call to preach in 1961 and was licensed to preach in February 1962. He has pastured the following Churches:
· Amos CME – Riverside, California
· Parker Chapel & Mount Pleasant – (Milan Circuit) Gibson
· Dyer CME – Dyer, Tennessee
· Johnson Temple – McKenzie, Tennessee
· Mother Liberty – Jackson, Tennessee
· Shady Grove – Fairfield, Alabama
· Phillips Chapel, Milan Tennessee
· Taylor Chapel, German Town, Tennessee
· Leslie Temple, Tuscumbia, Alabama
Bishop Cunningham was the first coordinator of the Annual CME Convocation 1987-90. He brought the Convocation from concept to reality. In 2000 he was chosen to serve as the 2001 Director of the Convocation, which took place at the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN. He even served as coordinator of the 2002 Convocation after he was elected to the office of Bishop.
As General Secretary of Christian Education, he coordinated four National Youth and Young Adult Conferences, with the last one taking place in Greensboro, North Carolina, where more than 5,000 persons were in attendance. He has been in the ministry since 1961.
In community and civic affairs Bishop Cunningham served as a student organizer during the “sit ins” of the late 50s early 60s. During the summer of 1976 he served as West Coast Regional Director of Operation PUSH. He also organized a PUSH chapter in Jackson, TN, and served as Political Action Chairman of the Jackson-Madison County Chapter of the NAACP.
Bishop Cunningham was the developer and writer of our denomination’s discipleship program titled Discipleship 2000, which guided us toward a more intentional and dedicated approach to discipleship. He served as the editor of our Church School publication, The Discovery series. He is the author and compiler of numerous manuals and handbooks for Christian education.
For 16 years he served on the Boards of Lane, Paine, and Miles Colleges, and Phillips School of Theology. Presently, he is the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Texas College.
He served as Chairman of the National Church Advisory Council of the American Bible Society, and for nine years he served as a member of the Executive Committee of Bread for the World, an International Christian Anti-hunger organization.
He was also appointed to serve as Ecumenical Bishop, a position which he presently holds.
Following his election to the office of Bishop he was appointed to serve as the Presiding Bishop of the Tenth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Cunningham served as presiding prelate of the Eighth Episcopal District, the state of Texas, from July 2006 through July 4, 2010. At the General Conference in 2010, Bishop Marshall Cunningham was honorably retired.
Bishop Cunningham is a member of the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches USA. He heads the CME delegation to the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches. He is a member of the Executive Committees of Church World Service, the Pan Methodist Commission, and he is Vice Chairman of the Coordinating Council of Churches Uniting In Christ (CUIC). He is a member of the World Council of Churches ecumenical officers team. He is a member of the executive committee of the North American Section of the World Council of Churches.
He also represents the CME Church as a member of the Board of Global Ministry of the United Methodist Church.
In the Fall of 2006, Bishop Cunningham joined with leaders of eight major African American denominations on a Church World Service sponsored trip to Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan to participate in a Christian, Jewish, Muslim dialogue, seeking peace and understanding in the Middle East.
Bishop Cunningham is married to Clarice Flake Cunningham and they are parents of Bridgette, a Magna Cum Laude Pre-Med 2005 and 2007 Graduate of FAMU, earning a BS degree in Pre Med, and a MS degree in Public Health-Epidemiology.
Bishop Cunningham’s vision for future of our Zion involves the following:
- Every CME Church a Safe Haven for children, youth, and families
- Collaborative Servant Leadership – The development of spirit-filled, Bible-centered, well-prepared Servant Leaders that subscribe to Kingdom-Building
- Church Expansion – Growing and Planting Churches
- Finding new and creative ways to financially support the Connectional Ministry and Mission of the Church
- Making real disciples of the Master’s – through the investment of financial resources for the support of our Connectional Children, Youth, Young Adult and Family Ministries.
- Consistent support of Outreach Ministries for every congregation.
- Empowering local congregations to employ21st Century technology in all phases of the ministry of the Church.
- Developing a Connectional World Christian Mission consciousness. (Overseas Missions)
Bishop Othal H. Lakey
Address: 4441 Magnolia Path Pl.
Buford, GA 30518
Bishop Othal Hawthorne Lakey is the 44th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He was elected on May 9, 1982 after serving pastorates in Pasco, WA, Portland, OR, Shreveport, LA and Dallas, TX. From 1974 to 1982 he was the Editor of The Christian Index, the official publication of the CME Church. From 1982 - 1994 he was the Presiding Bishop of the Second Episcopal District. The General Conference of 1994 assigned him to the Sixth Episcopal District.
At the 2010 General Conference held in Mobile, Alabama, Bishop Lakey was honorably retired.
Born April 6, 1936, the 7th of 11 children to Clarence and Zandree Ashley Lakey in Shreveport, LA, the future bishop migrated with his family to San Pedro, CA at an early age. He grew up in that city, a product of the public school system of Los Angeles. He received the BA degree from Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, the M.Div. degree from the Theological School of Drew University, and the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. The Interdenominational Theological Center and the Phillips School of Theology of Atlanta, GA conferred upon Bishop Lakey the degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in 1990, and Lane College conferred the same degree in 1994.
Bishop Lakey served as the Chair of the Department of Christian Education of the CME Church, Chair of the Commission on History and Archives, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Congress of Black Churches, and Chair of the Commission on Merger with the AME Zion Church. For several years of Bishop Lakey was a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated television program, The American Religious Townhall. Bishop Lakey is the author of The Rise of Colored Methodism: A Study of the Background and Beginnings of the CME Church (1972), The History of the CME Church (1985), and God In My Mama's House: the Women's Movement in the CME Church (1994).
He is married to Dr. Elfreda Lakey; and they are the parents of two adult sons, James O. and Bryan, two adult daughters, Rachel McRae and Millicent McRae, and have three grandchildren.
Bishop William H. Graves, Sr.
Address: 1089 Oakridge Drive
Memphis, TN 38111
William H. Graves, the 42nd Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, is the eighth child born to Johnnie and Leatha Graves.
He was born June 19, 1936 in Brownsville, Tennessee. At an early age he migrated with his family to Detroit where he spent the majority of his childhood and youth. His public school education began in Tennessee and was completed in Michigan. Upon receiving the BA degree from Lane College, he matriculated at Phillips School of Theology of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. He pursued his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Claremont School of Theology.
After being licensed to preach, Bishop graves served as the Assistant Pastor of his home church, the St. John's CME Church of Detroit, under the pastorate of Walter H. Amos, (who later became the 32nd Bishop of the church). Prior of his election, he served pastorates in Georgia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. He rose to prominence in the church during an outstanding pastorate of the Phillips Temple CME Church of Los Angeles, CA, where he led that historic congregation to a renovation/restoration project of its worship facility. While there, he earned a reputation as an unusual leader in stewardship motivation of local congregations.
The role of William H. Graves as a representative of Christian Methodism began early in his ministry. He was elected the President of the National Youth Conference, and represented the denomination in the World Council of Churches in India; and in the World Methodist Conference on several occasions London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Honolulu, Hawaii. For two General Conferences he served as the Chair of the Committee on Episcopacy of the CME Church. Throughout his ministry he has been actively involved in the social and political issues of the community.
From 1982-2010, Bishop Graves presided over the First Episcopal District, with headquarters and residence in Memphis, TN.
At the 2006 General Conference held in Memphis Tennessee, Bishop William H. Graves was elevated to the position of Senior Bishop and CEO of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
At the 2010 General Conference held in Mobile, Alabama, Bishop Graves was honorably retired.
Bishop Graves serves as a National Board Member of the NAACP and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Bishop Graves is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors of the National Congress of Black Churches.
Bishop Graves is married to the former Donna Bentley. He is the father of three adult children, Jacquelyn Graves Thomas, Ameera, and William II.
Bishop Marshall Gilmore
Address: 683 Beacontree Court
Concord, NC 28027
Bishop Marshall Gilmore, the 41st Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Hoffman, NC, January 4, 1931.
From infancy, his early Christian nurture was within the bosom of the Pleasant Hill CME Church family. Upon his hearing and answering the call to preach, his home church granted license on January 2, 1954 - two days short of his 23rd birthday. The North Carolina Annual Conference admitted him on trial in 1955, and in the same year, Bishop William Yancy Bell ordained him Deacon. The following year Bishop Bell ordained him Elder.
Bishop Gilmore is well trained for his calling. He graduated from the West Southern Pines High School in NC in 1949, following which he entered military service, serving honorably in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 - 1954. He matriculated at Paine College in Augusta, GA in 1954 and was graduated with a BA degree in 1957. He studied theology at the Theological School of Drew University, being awarded the M.Div. degree from that institution in 1960. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary in 1974. Bishop Gilmore was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree from Texas College and the Interdenominational Theological Center, and his Alma Mater, Paine College, bestowed upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws and Letters.
It was from distinguished and effective service in the pastoral ministry that Marshall Gilmore was elected to the Episcopacy in 1982 - the senior in the largest Episcopal class elected in the history of the church. That service carried him to pastoral appointments in Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. His last and most outstanding pastoral service was at the Phillips Temple CME Church of Dayton, OH where he led the congregation into the erection of a new edifice for which the mortgage was also liquidated.
As a Bishop, Marshall Gilmore served as Chair of the Department of Evangelism; and presently serves as Chair of the Department of Personnel Services. He was Vice-Chair of the General Connectional Board and was the representative of the CME Church on the Consultation on Church Union. He was also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Texas College and a member of the Board of Trustees at Paine College.
At the 1994 General Conference, Bishop Gilmore was assigned the Presiding Bishop of the 8th Episcopal District. At the General Conference in 2006, Bishop Marshall Gilmore was honorably retired. Since that time, he was recalled twice to serve as the Presiding Prelate of the Second Episcopal District (2010) and the
Presiding Prelate of the Seventh Episcopal District (November 6, 2013-July 4, 2014).
Married to the former Yvonne Dukes, a native of Fitzgerald, GA, he is the father of two adult children, John Marshall and Joan Michele.