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Saluting Zion’s Women


The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church has many women who are virtuous and of noble character, who embody the words of Proverbs 31:10-31. We restate those words to salute our sisters as Zion Women saluting Zion Women.

Zion women have labored and continue to labor in our homes, our churches, and our communities; and across the global landscape leaving a legacy worth far more than rubies. Zion women support their husbands, each husband ensuring his full confidence in her as he reaps the value she brings to his life without regret. A value that reflects her intent for him to always receive good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

Zion women seek out the best materials and work hard at their craft. They are like the merchant ships, which find wonderful surprises in foreign ports and bring them home as food for the mind, body and soul.

Zion women get up while it is still night; and provide for their family and all whom they manage. They are efficient businesswomen who consider a field and buy it; and from their earnings plant a garden. Zion women wake up in the morning ready for work and go about it vigorously without any weakness in their arms. They know the value of their efforts and do not quit before the task is completed. They grasp the tools of their trade and know how to use them.

Zion women open their arms to the poor and extend their hands to the needy. The snow does not alarm them; their household is already prepared for it. They adorn their houses and themselves with the finest fabrics. Their husbands are respected leaders in the community.

Zion women make products and sell them, while supplying the merchants with even more. They are clothed with strength and dignity; they can laugh at the days to come. They speak with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on their tongues. They watch over the affairs of their household and they sacredly manage their time wisely as not to waste any of it. Their children and husbands arise and call them blessed; their husbands praise them saying, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a Zion woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

We salute all the women of the AME Zion Church and wish we were able to salute each one in this article! We pause now to salute the following Zion Women whose names were submitted for special recognition.

Rev. Robyn Anderson

Pastor, Blackwell AME Zion Church, Hartford, CT

North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Anderson serves as the Chair of the Christian Education Commission on Family Life, the New England Conference Assistant Director of Christian Education and the Chair of the Zion Clergywomen’s Network. Rev. Anderson travels regularly throughout the episcopal district and attends many connectional events in an effort to strengthen our Zion. She is very excited about the Zion Clergywomen’s Network, which was the idea of the late Rev. Dr. Kathy Brown. She is determined to implement ministry that enhances family life and strengthens those who are called to service in the kingdom of God. She is known to take time every Sunday morning to send messages of encouragement to preachers around the nation. Rev. Robyn Anderson, We Salute You!

Rev. Celesta Ary

Zion Ministries, Los Angeles, CA

Western Episcopal District

In July of 2017, Rev. Ary launched The Napkin Chronicles ministry for women using John 20:7 as the thematic ministry Scripture. This ministry was born out of the necessity to provide a safe space for women to share and nurture one another in truth, absent of fear and condemnation. Rev. Ary has pastored two churches in the Los Angeles District and was instrumental in raising the funds for Peoples of Lancaster, CA to purchase a church building. She currently serves as a Chaplain at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s Hospital), where every child there is hers and treated as such. Rev. Ary is described as a passionate preacher/teacher, counselor, wife, mother, grandmother and dear friend. Rev. Celesta Ary, We Salute You!

Rev. Shirley Brockman

Founder and Pastor Walker Temple A.M.E Zion Hempstead, NY

North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Brockman is a member in good standing of the North Eastern Episcopal District of the New York Annual Conference, presently serving under the Rt. Rev. Dennis V. Proctor and Presiding Elder Keith I. Harris of the Loving Long Island District. She made a mark in the history of the AME Zion Church in 2003 as the first woman in 50 years to start a church in the New York Annual Conference under the episcopal leadership of the Rt. Rev. George W. Walker Carver, Sr. She is re-starting in Zion a trail in church planting that other women clergy could follow. She is active in her community, which includes providing shelter for the homeless and veteran families. She is acknowledged as a Servant of Christ. Rev. Shirley Brockman, We Salute You!

Sis. Joyce Franklin

Jersey City District President of WH&OMS, Metropolitan AME Zion Church, Jersey City, NJ

North Eastern Episcopal District

Sis. Franklin has served for 24 years as the Jersey City District President of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society. She founded the Jersey City District’s Y.E.S. (Youth Empowered by the Spirit) Scholarship in 1997. The scholarship was originally adopted by the WH&OMS; however, has grown to a joint venture with the Jersey City District’s Christian Education and Lay Council. Over $90,000 has been awarded to graduating high school seniors to date. Under Sis. Franklin’s leadership, the WH&OMS has raised over $19,000 through the Tiny Tots Extravaganza and has assisted many in need, inside and outside of the AME Zion Church. She is quite creative is well known for her poems and lyrics for songs or rap beats, which lift up Christ and the spirits of others. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Sis. Joyce Franklin, We Salute You!

Rev. Dr. Laticia Hill Godette

Pastor, York Memorial AME Zion Church, Greenville, NC

Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

Dr. Godette is the first woman Pastor ever appointed to any “first” church in the North Carolina Annual Conference of the A.M.E. Zion Church. In 2017, she founded Laticia Hill Godette Ministries. Her non-profit has provided over $10,000 to college students to help pay for tuition, books, food, housing and cars. She earned a Juris Doctorate from UNC Chapel Hill School of Law in 2004. In addition to being an energetic Pastor and an Adjunct Professor at Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC, she serves in the NC Annual Conference as the Chair of the Appeals Committee; Conference Studies Chair; and as Assistant Chief of Protocol. Rev. Dr. Laticia Godette, We Salute You!

Ms. Brenda Harps

Lay Member, Greater Metropolitan AME Zion Church, Norfolk, VA

Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District

Ms. Harps is a lifelong member of Greater Metropolitan and has served in numerous capacities focusing on Christian Education and community missions. She serves as the Norfolk District’s Director of Youth for the Christian Education Department. She has taught Special Education in the Norfolk Public School system for over 36 years and is proficient in sign language. She also serves as a Girl Scout leader in Norfolk, VA. Ms. Harps has impacted the life of so many children and youth for years as a member of Greater Metropolitan and the Norfolk, VA area. She has raised four children who have grown to be quite the scholars and accomplished athletes reflecting an awesome role model and loving mother. Ms. Harps is the daughter of the late Rev. Nathaniel and the late Alcenia Harps. Ms. Brenda Harps, We Salute You!

Rev. Jacqueline Hills, AABS, BSUML

Supernumerary, Wesley AME Zion Church, Burlington, NJ

North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Hills is a servant leader who truly believes that only what’s done for Christ will last. She has served in ministry for 25 years and has spent much of her life serving others. She serves in ministry as a mentor, counselor, teacher and preacher of the Gospel. She is a strong leader and role model for others who have been called to ministry. Her two daughters and son-in-law all serve as supernumerary ministers in the AME Zion Church and are sought out to preach and teach the Good News to the world. Rev. Jacqueline Hills, We Salute You!

Rev. Dr. Sandi Brandon Hutchinson

Pastor, The Historic Gabriel Chapel AME Zion Church “Cuffeytown,” Chesapeake, VA

Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Sandi Brandon Hutchinson serves as the first female pastor of Historic Gabriel Chapel AME Zion Church in its 154-year history. The first freed slaves who settled in the state of Virginia built the church. Thirteen members of the former Colored Infantry, also known as Buffalo Soldiers, are interred on the church property. As an educator and former high school administrator, she has been dedicated to bringing the history and legacy of this church to the forefront of the community. Dr. Hutchinson served for ten years as the second African American Planning Commissioner in the City of Chesapeake and attained the highest-level certification from Virginia Tech as a certified planner, where she concentrated on infrastructure, multi-modal transportation systems, and green spaces. She served as the first African American Chairperson of Chesapeake’s Youth Commission, Advisor to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Virginia Annual Conference Director of Christian Education for over 11 years. Dr. Hutchinson serves as a member of the Athletic Foundation Board at her alma mater, Norfolk State University and holds two Master’s degrees, Humanities and Theology, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Administration, and a Doctorate in Religious Education and Curriculum Development. In 2018, she received an African American Icon award and in 2016 the Mayor named “Rev. Dr. Sandi Brandon Hutchinson Day” to honor her forever in the city of Chesapeake. She is the wife of Rev. Leon Hutchinson, mother of Tiffani-dawn and Alexxis, and grandmother of Domenique. Rev. Dr. Sandi Hutchinson, We Salute You!

Ms. Gloria Joyner

Lay Member, Little Rock AME Zion Church, Charlotte, NC

Ms. Joyner serves as the President of the Lay Council at Little Rock AME Zion Church and is quite active throughout the connection and in the community at large. She has served the AME Zion all her life and in many capacities. Prior to relocating to Charlotte, NC, she served at Trinity AME Zion Church, Washington, DC. She retired as an administrator at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, MD. She is described as energetic, a leader, a friend and a loving person. She is a dedicated member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Gloria Joyner, We Salute You!

Rev. Dr. Dedra Kimensky

St. Paul AME Zion Church, Quogue, NY

North Eastern Episcopal District

Dr. Kimensky has the longest tenure at St. Paul AME Zion Church located in Quogue, NY. She joined the denomination in 1971 and has been offering her talents and gifts ever since. She is known for her soft-spoken spirit and her teachings about the holy sacraments. To know her is to love her and our denomination has a gem full of knowledge within Dr. Kimensky. Rev. Dr. Debra Kimensky, We Salute You!

Rev. Dorothy A. Patterson

Pastor, Wallace Temple AME Zion Church, Bayonne, NJ

North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Patterson was appointed to Wallace Temple. A.M.E. Zion Church, Bayonne, NJ in 2010 becoming their first woman pastor. She is a visible and effective community activist, at home and abroad. Rev. Patterson is Chaplain and Guyana Water Wells Coordinator for the Bayonne Rotary Club, Community Relations Specialist for the City of Bayonne, Associate Chaplain at Hackensack Meridian Health Palisade Medical Center, the 1st Vice President for the Bayonne Chapter of NAACP, Coordinator of Bayonne Interfaith Clergy, member of the Bayonne Medical Center Advisory Board and Treasurer for the Jersey City District, NJ Annual Conference of the AME Zion Church. She is described as a mother, grandmother, dynamic preacher/teacher, community activist, leader and most importantly, a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Rev. Dorothy Patterson, We Salute You!

Rev. Dr. Gloria Morris Snipes

Superannuated Minister Scott AME Zion, Wilmington, DE

Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District

Dr. Snipes has served the AME Zion Church in many capacities for many years. She is known for her signature chant: “Joy! Joy! Joy! Jesus Joy! Holy Ghost Joy!” Dr. Snipes is a trailblazing leader having served as the first woman pastor of Mount Pisgah AME Zion Church, CA, Trinity AME Zion, Delta, PA and historic Scott AME Zion Church. She is the first clergywoman to be elected a 2008 General Conference Delegate for Philadelphia-Baltimore Annual Conference, and the first woman appointed as a presiding elder in the Philadelphia-Baltimore Annual Conference. She served as the Presiding Elder for the Salisbury and Philadelphia-Harrisburg Districts. She was married to the late Rev. Johnnie Snipes for over 50 years and the loving mother of the late Rev. Mignonne Snipes. She retired in 2017. Rev. Dr. Gloria Snipes, We Salute You!

Mrs. Shirley R. Thompson

First Lady, Park Street AME Zion Church, Peekskill, NY

Mrs. Thompson is a member of the Park Street AME Zion Church, Westchester District of the New York Annual Conference. She is an active member of the Lay Council and Superintendent of the Buds of Promise in the Westchester District. She is truly loved by all her Park Street family. Mrs. Shirley R. Thompson, We Salute You!

Rev. Kellie Y. Wofford

Pastor, St. Mark AME Zion, Poughkeepsie, NY

North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Wofford received the 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award on February 2 at the 101st Annual Lincoln Douglas Luncheon. She received this award for her excellence and advocacy in the community and the difference she has made in the lives of people in the Hudson Valley. She serves as the Secretary for the Northern Dutchess branch of the NAACP. Rev. Wofford is described as passionate, fearless, genuine and a modern day super woman. Rev. Kellie Wofford, We Salute You!

Contributors: Rev. Nicole Harris, Ms. Alexxis Hutchinson, Ms. Joyneia Joyner, Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller, Rev. Irene Pyke, Ms. Barbara Staton, Ms. Sharnisha Wheeler, Sis. B. Lauren Williams


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