ATLANTA, GA – Bishop Staccato Powell, Presiding Prelate of the Western Episcopal District, will be promoted to the position of President of the Board of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.E. Zion) at the February 2020 Winter Board of Bishops meeting in Atlanta, GA, where the baton will be passed on to him from the current president, Bishop Michael A. Frencher, Sr.
The Right Reverend Staccato Powell was born the fifth child into the Christian family of the late Mr. Harry Sylvester Powell and Mrs. Lillie Jane Smith Powell of Hallsboro, North Carolina in the year of our Lord 1959 on October 30.
He attended primary and secondary school in Columbus County, North Carolina and graduated within the top tenth of his class from Hallsboro High School. Powell had the distinction of serving as Class President for four consecutive years.
In 1976, with a terrible crash of glass and metal, it looked like God had called Staccato Powell home. Then it seems He changed His mind. Powell’s moment of near-parting came when he was just sixteen. He was out driving in his hometown of rural Hallsboro, North Carolina, when a log truck came across a trestle. The trailer detached, crossed the lane and rammed Powell’s car, peeling back the roof like a can of sardines. But in those few seconds, the life God spared He also claimed. It was following this “accident” that Staccato finally answered the call God has placed upon his life, and he hasn’t turned back. He became a preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at sixteen and a pastor at eighteen.
Upon graduating from High School in 1978 he enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and African American and African Studies in two and half years. While in undergraduate school he was active in student government and became affiliated with the Greek letter fraternal organization Omega Psi Phi and received the Omega Man of the year award from the Epsilon Zeta Chapter a foreshadowing of things to come.
He went on to earn a Masters of Divinity Degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Subsequently, Powell graduated with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the North Carolina Central University School of Law also in Durham, North Carolina. Staccato has been inducted into the Morehouse Board of Preachers and is also the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Livingstone College in his home state.
Powell’s career exhibits his abiding commitment and dedication to human service. He has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America and as Deputy General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.
His Ecumenical reach has a long arm stretched around the world. As an ecumenicist he has served or continues to function in a number of ecumenical capacities. He has served on the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns of the United Methodist Church for eight years. He has served as vice chair of the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations for the Presbyterian Church(USA); as well as serving as the Chair and Coordinator of the Great Gathering of the historic African American Methodist communions, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal Churches; he is a former member of the national Board of the Interfaith Alliance; a former member of the Balm in Gilead Religious Advisory Board; a former member of the National Conference of Community and Justice; and a former member of the World Methodist Council. Dr. Powell serves on the National Council of Churches and is a current Board Member of Creation Justice Ministries. Staccato has also served on the Board of Directors for the United States Conference of the World Council of Churches, and is now serving on the Central Committee of this organization. Being elected for the second time, which is an unprecedented occurrence in our church. Staccato has attended each World Council Assembly since his affiliation with this body. The 7th Assembly held in Canberra, Australia in February of 1991; the 8th Assembly held in Harare, Zimbabwe in December of 1998; the 9th Assembly held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in February of 2006, and the 10th Assembly held in Busan, Republic of Korea in October/November of 2013.
Staccato has preached on six of the seven continents, with extensive travel in Africa. He has delivered messages to the people of Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Egypt.
Dr. Powell shares his knowledge, wisdom and experience with people in keynotes, seminars, workshops and forums nationally and internationally. Audiences experiencing “The Staccato Effect” receive clear, crisp and concrete directions for navigating the capricious channels of corporate and personal life. In topics such as The Price of Power, Conquering Your Comfort Zone, The Challenge of Consistency, The Opportunities of Opposition, The Significance of Stones and others, Powell’s dynamic delivery and anecdotal quips are fascinating and life-changing.
While he completed his formal education, Powell was assigned as the Pastor of Brown Chapel AME Zion Church, from 1977 to 1979 in Southport, North Carolina. Other pastorates in North Carolina include Pierce Chapel AME Zion from 1979 to 1980; Rehobeth AME Zion Church from 1979 to 1982; Mt. Hebron AME Zion Church in 1982; and St. John AME Zion Church from 1982 to 1992. Staccato has also pastored Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church in St. Louis, Missouri from 1992 to 1999. In 2007 Staccato Powell founded Grace North AME Zion Church (now known as Solid Rock AME Zion Church) and pastored this congregation from 2007 to 2012 in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Staccato was assigned to Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2004 and completed his pastoral calling there in 2016.
Grace AME Zion Church is a church of distinction. There were thirty five members upon his arrival, which grew to over one thousand three fifty seven members with multiple impactful ministries when he was elected bishop. While there he established the Grace Church Community Kitchen that had reached serving numbers of over a thousand individuals per quarter. He reestablished the Class Leader system, implemented the Male Investment Plan, and focused on Community Outreach as the backbone of his ministry. His vision for his congregation was outlined in the mission statement of Grace Church, “We are a Bible-based church producing Disciples of Christ to build sustainable communities and families and extend Christ to all.” In keeping with this mission statement and the vision that God had given him, Staccato also established the Grace in the City, CDC. As the Chief Executive Officer for Grace in the City, a community engagement project designed to improve the quality of life for residence of the College Park area, Powell established a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the College Park Community. Green spaces, housing and academic centers of excellence such as a boys academy based on the STEM program, a housing system for single mothers with AIDS, a senior housing facility, and a transition home for men leaving the prison system and being reintroduced into society were all a part of the Master Plan.
During his tenure as pastor of Grace Church and as the Chair of the Great Gathering, Staccato also established the Male Investment Program. The nation’s three largest Black Methodist denominations joined forces creating Black Methodist United which among other issues confronts challenges facing young African American males in this country with four focal components of Spirituality, Education, Health & Wellness and Economics.
In 2008 Dr. Powell and Grace Church hosted the Road to Recovery Revival. A 40 day tent revival held in the College Park Community. Dr. Powell bought forth the word every day of this revival and the healing and deliverance that took place at this momentous revival was epic! The weeks leading up to the revival gave way to prayer walks throughout the community which resulted in crack houses being demolished, prostitution decreasing, souls saved, and lives changed. Dr. Powell left a legacy of impressive and impactful ministries at Grace Church and the College Park Community.
In 2013, Dr. Powell began the new church Believers movement. New church Believers is a dynamic, energized, global Movement characterized by individual transparency, transformed lives and an Evangelistic Ministry which empowers believers to be transparent witnesses of the transformative power of Jesus Christ, in their communities and beyond. New church Believers is not preoccupied with structure. It is not “A” church; it is “THE” Church. Dr. Powell believes that “In order for the shift of people leaving the church to change, the church needs to change. It’s imperative for the church to stop being inward focused. New church Believers encourages people to move outside the four walls of the church into communities where great needs exist. This is a call to reclaim God’s original intent of the church.
In keeping with his servitude, Staccato Powell does not allow his work to stop within his church affiliations. Taking note of his servitude, ethics, determination, and humbleness, The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. appointed him as the Grand Chaplain in 2014. During his time of service to his fraternity, Staccato has been the keynote speaker at numerous fraternity gatherings, such as the Joint Omega Worship and Memorial Service at Beth Eden Baptist Church, Mother Church of East Morgan Park Chicago, Illinois; the Ronald E McNair Undergraduate Luncheon in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Tau Omega Chapter at the Joint School of Nano science and Nano engineering in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has instituted a nationwide Prayer Call for all Omega Men and organized and led a district chaplain’s retreat, with more to come.
Dr. Powell began his position as an Adjunct Professor for the Doctorate of Ministry Program at Hood Theological Seminary in 2014. Dr. Powell focuses on Re-visioning Ministry, teaching once a month per semester on The Nature of the Church, The Nature and Tasks of the Ordained Ministry, The Cultural Context of the Practice of Ministry, and The Vision and Strategy for Ministry.
On July 23rd of 2016, in Greensboro, North Carolina at the 50th General Conference, Bishop Staccato Powell was elected the 102nd Bishop in line of succession of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. As the prefect of the Golden Class of elected bishops, Bishop Powell dispenses institutional knowledge of the Church wherever he goes to the utter delight of audiences around the globe. He was assigned to be the Presiding Prelate of the Western Episcopal District, serving and providing leadership to the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Bishop Powell is the first Resident Bishop of the Western Episcopal District. He has implemented the 20/20 Vision for the Area, with plans to have fifty churches in the district with each congregation having at least fifty active members by the year 2020. He has established a prayer line for the Western Episcopal District that takes place every Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 7:30 am PST. Staccato is pressing forward to do and be all that Christ has consecrated him to be.
He currently serves in the following capacities in the denomination: Chair of the Discipline Codification Committee and First Vice Chair of the Connectional Board of Trustees. As a trustee of Livingstone College he chairs the Institutional Advancement Committee and serves on the Governance Committee. Powell is also one of six of the Bishops who is on the Hood Theological Seminary Board of Trustees. Both Livingstone and Hood are located in Salisbury, North Carolina and are supported by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
And above all else, His most esteemed role