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Since 1987, every president of the United States of America has signed a proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month. Women’s History month was set aside to acknowledge and honor the accomplishments of American women. We take this opportunity to highlight the accomplishments and leadership of some women in The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.E. Zion Church). These women are not the only proven leaders in our great church nor are they the only virtuous women of noble character. However, they and others embody the words of Proverbs 31:10-31. We appreciate that several A.M.E. Zion members took the time to submit accomplishments of the following women for us to honor this month:

Rev. Frances Boomer

Pastor, St. Luke AME Zion Church, New Bern District

North Carolina Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

Rev. Boomer is being honored for her service to the church and the community-at-large. She is the faithful, compassionate, and innovative pastor of St. Luke AME Zion in Maysville, NC. Rev. Boomer is the first African American Woman to be elected and to serve as Chairperson for Craven County School Board. She has a total of over forty-six years in education and has received numerous awards for her service. Rev. Boomer is always willing to take the lead on community projects and outreach to meet the needs of the people. As pastor and a community leader, her ministry and service embodies the motto of St. Luke, “Everybody is Somebody at St. Luke.” She is most deserving of this honor.

Rev. Dr. Myrtle Bowen

Presiding Elder, Harrisburg District

Philadelphia/Baltimore Conference, Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Bowen is the definition of a pioneer. She is the first African American woman chaplain promoted to the rank of Colonel serving in the United States Air Force Air National Guard. As Air National Guard Assistant to the Command Chaplain, Africa Command, Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany, she advises the Command Chaplain and staff on matters of National Guard policy, program operations and utilization of the National Guard’s chaplain community, interfacing with United States Air Force and Army Reserve programs. She recently retired as an Architectural Engineer with the Master Planning Division for the federal government. She serves as the Second Vice President of the International Ministers and Lay Association and a stalwart leader as the presiding elder of the Harrisburg District.

Sis. Glenda Davis-Canteen

Past South Atlantic Lay Council Regional Director

Member, Shaw Temple AME Zion Church, Smyrna, GA

Atlanta District, Georgia Conference, South Atlantic Episcopal District

Sis. Davis-Canteen has worked in education for over 35 years positively impacting the lives of children through her teaching and administrative gifts. She currently serves Georgia's North West Region’s Early Education Community Partnership Coordinator in the Quality Innovations and Partnership unit. Sis. Davis-Canteen serves as a deaconess in her local church, Shaw Temple AME Zion Church. She is a life member of Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society, life member of the Lay Council, and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In 2017, she received the International Ministers and Lay Association’s Samantha Wormley Lay Leadership Award. Her favorite scripture is, "And whatsoever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Rev. Dr. Amy Ciceron

Pastor, East Stonewall AME Zion Church, Charlotte District

Western North Carolina Conference, Piedmont Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Ciceron is the newly appointed Pastor of East Stonewall AME Zion Church on the Charlotte District. She previously pastored Shiloh in the Statesville District, and St. Julia in the New Bern District. She teaches Theology and Evangelism to fourth year conference studies students in the Western North Carolina Conference. She freely gives of her time, expertise, and knowledge to challenge her students in ways that make them better holistically. She inspires her students to dig deeper to explore new and more diverse perspectives. Her presence is described as “refreshing!” She is a natural born spiritual leader and mentor to her students and those she shepherds. She is unknowingly, making positive impacts and major impartations to God’s people. Rev. Dr. Ciceron is well deserving of this honor.

Ms. Queen E. Degraphenreid

Social Justice Advocate

Member, Simon Temple AME Zion Church,

Central North Carolina Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

Continuing the legacy of the “Freedom Church”, Ms. Degraphenreid will celebrate 60 years in social justice on August 28, 2023. That date is remarkable in that it coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Ms. Degraphenreid’s service in Zion lay leadership expands from local Lay President to the Connectional Lay Council, serving the longest tenure as Social Political Action Committee Chair. On the 30th Anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, she was one of 30 women inducted into the National Voting Rights Museum. As a community activist, she has served in the leadership of the Fayetteville Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Ms. Degraphenreid, a woman deserving of our recognition.

Rev. Dr. Erlinda Dobson

Presiding Elder, New Bern District

Pastor, Bryant Chapel AME Zion Church, New Bern District

North Carolina Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Dobson continues to be a trailblazing presiding elder and pastor as she implements programs and activities to assist all people. She is an activist, and she is always willing to lead in any humanitarian effort. Rev. Dr. Dobson received the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the Ole North State Medical Society’s Gold Medal, and the International Ministers and Lay Association’s Sojourner Truth Award. In addition, she serves on Zion’s Christian Education Board. Even during an economic recession, the congregation at Bryant Chapel built a 2.5-million-dollar church under her leadership. She is well known preacher and impactful teacher, but better known to her family as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Unselfishly and unequivocally, she makes a difference in Zion!

Rev. Dr. Willa Estell

Presiding Elder, Maryville District

Pastor, St. Paul AME Zion Church, Maryville District

Executive Secretary, Presiding Elders Council

Tennessee Conference, Midwest Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Estell is a compassionate and detail oriented hard worker who serves in many noteworthy capacities in The AME Zion Church. She is the Executive Secretary of the Presiding Elders Council, a member of the Board of Global Missions, an Alternate Delegate to the World Methodist Council, the Coordinator of the Midwest and Trinidad-Tobago Leadership Training Institutes, the Coordinator for the Leadership Training Institute, Treasurer of the Tennessee Conference, Chairperson of Conference Admissions Committee, Vice President of the Trustee Board, Coordinator of the Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Chairperson of the Nominating Committee, and Chairperson of Specialized Ministry. She worked as chaplain for Blount Memorial Hospital and Blount Memorial Hospice and completed residency chaplain at The University of Tennessee Medical Center in August 2022. She is the proud mother of three and grandmother of two.

Ms. Jessica Gamble

Camden District President, Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society

Member, St. Paul AME Zion Church, Camden District

New Jersey Conference, North Eastern Episcopal District

Ms. Jessica Gamble has served as the Camden District President of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society for six years. Previously, she served as the District YAMS Coordinator for 12 years. She is described as “creative, innovative, dependable, detail oriented, and a wonderful person to work with and to work for.” She is the Assistant Registrar at Princeton University, a dedicated member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and works for several other community organizations and church ministries. She is the mother of two “AMAZING” Zion young ladies, Miss Shanice Gamble Union, the chair of the Technology Ministry at St. Paul and Camden District Assistant Chairperson of YACM and Miss JonBonae Shipmen, an author, and the Graphics Designer for the St. Paul Technology Ministry.

Rev. Mary Helen Giles

Pastor, Reeveytown AME Zion Church, Camden District

New Jersey Conference, North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Giles is a Woman after God’s own heart. Although she is retired from working as a Supervisor for the United Parcel Service (UPS), God called her to the preaching ministry, and she has been working for Him ever since. She is a pastor, preacher, teacher, missionary, and evangelist who drives folks to run errands, doctor appointments and provides rides to the airport. She is described as “kind, compassionate, and a loving and loyal friend.” She is one sharp dresser who has more hats than one can ever wear and reminds us “you wear the hat, don’t let the hat wear you”!

Rev. Dr. Laticia Hill Godette

Presiding Elder, Camden District

New Jersey Conference, North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Godette is described as “Black Woman Excellence!” She is a devoted wife, mother of three beautiful young ladies, and a successful business owner, who serves as an inspiration, role model, and Godly example. She is the first woman to pastor a “first church” on the Washington District and in the North Carolina Conference. In 2021, she became the first woman to serve as Presiding Elder of the Camden District and in the New Jersey Conference. She is a philanthropist who gave over 1.5 million dollars to churches and Livingstone College, as well as scholarships to help students. Her continued generosity, authenticity and love for God’s people is unmatched. She pours out her heart daily on the Prayer Line and freely shares the “Blueprint” for success on her Business Line. As a result, many people have been, and are being, saved, delivered, set free and EMPOWERED! Dr. Godette walks the talk and well deserves this honor!

Mrs. Doris Hollis

Camden District, Lay Council President

Member St. Paul AME Zion Church, Camden District

New Jersey Conference, North Eastern Episcopal District

Sister Hollis has served faithfully as a Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, Missionary, church historian, and mentor to new leaders at St. Paul AME Zion Church, Ewing, NJ. Mrs. Hollis currently serves as the Camden District President of the Lay Council and has held that office since 2001. During her tenure, she initiated the Grandparent Luncheon and Celebration, which is held annually to recognize grandparents representing all the Camden District churches. Mrs. Hollis is devoted to providing support, resources, and guidance to the local Lay Council Presidents, and to the clergy and lay members of the New Jersey Conference.

Rev. Dr. Evalina Huggins

Presiding Elder, Baltimore District

Pastor, Scotland A.M.E. Zion Church, Baltimore District

Philadelphia-Baltimore Conference – Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Huggins is a compassionate, committed, Christ-loving change maker, leader, visionary, and teacher. She is described as “seemingly stern and of no nonsense but is a source of strength and resilience, who makes it fun to serve under her leadership.” Her academic achievements, authorship, interest and love for our young adults, and service on many boards speaks volume of her versatility. She has a heart for doing the work of the Lord in innovative ways. Rev. Dr. Huggins has a wonderful since of humor and a contagious laugh. Her love for the AME Zion Church shows as she travels the Episcopal area assisting other colleagues in conducting workshops training minsters and laity at no charge. Her servant leadership skills make her a role model for those coming behind her, be they male or female, as she prepares leaders of the future. As a conference studies instructor she was purposeful in developing curriculum that was practical and theological. She makes every effort give an understanding of God’s Word and how to apply it to our lives. The tenacity she has in all that she does helps to inspire others.

Rev. Dr. Charlrean Mapson

Pastor, Price Cathedral AME Zion Church, Wilmington District, Cape Fear Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Mapson has truly been a trailblazer in our beloved AME Zion Church, and we celebrate how she shares her love of God with others with her service. She is the former General Youth Secretary of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society, serving from 2003 through 2011. She served four charges as pastor, including the Johnson Chapel Church, Leland, NC; the historic St. Mark Church, Whiteville, NC; where she led the congregation in a $250K renovation; and the historic St. John Church in Wilson, NC. She is currently the proud pastor of the Price Cathedral Church in Wilmington, NC. Rev. Dr. Mapson is grateful to be on the journey to the episcopacy and has a powerful PLAN to help take Zion higher by promoting: personal care and mental health for ministers, leadership in a post pandemic era, autism awareness, and nurturing ecumenical relationships.

Rev. Rochelle McEntyre

Presiding Elder, Key West District

Pastor, Cornish Memorial AME Zion Church, Key West District, South Florida Conference, Alabama Florida Episcopal District

Rev. McEntyre is being recognized for her unwavering dedication, service and effective leadership to the Key West District, Cornish Memorial AME Zion Church and the community she serves. Her commitment to God’s work, her faith, and the church has not gone unnoticed, as she was appointed ten years ago as the first woman to pastor Cornish Memorial and a year later the first woman presiding elder of the Key West District. She is noted for reaching people, “Beyond the Walls” of the church. She just celebrated her first year of marriage to Rev. Rev. Travis McEntyre, the pastor of Harvest House Baptist Church, Henrietta, NC. She is the author of “First Lady, The Truth Shall Set You Free,” and has worked as a Nursing Director in geriatrics and memory care for over 25 years. Rev. McEntyre currently is the President and CEO of “Asha Vital Health Consulting, LLC. She is the First Vice President of the International Presiding Elders’ Council.

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

Pastor, St. Paul AME Zion Church, Camden District

New Jersey Conference, North Eastern Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Miller is a life-long learner having earned two doctorate degrees, a courageous servant leader for God and country, an effective personal and professional counselor, and one who has dedicated her life to caring for others. She served as the first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director for Chaplain Programs in the U.S. Navy. She has written numerous articles for the Star of Zion, Lenten Dove, Missionary Seer, and other professional publications. She has pastored four Zion churches, Sycamore Hill, Gatesville, NC; Martin Temple, Compton, CA; Varick Memorial, Hackensack, NJ; and currently serves as the only woman pastoring a “first church” in the North Eastern Episcopal District at St. Paul Church, Ewing, NJ. She represents The AME Zion Church as a chaplain in the Navy with distinction as an officer and a religious leader. She facilitates the practice of religion in a pluralistic environment, counsels military personnel, and advises the officers in charge.

Dr. Lisa Darlene Moore

Corresponding Secretary for the Assembly of Christian Educators, Jackson-Panola District Christian Education Director, Member, Cathedral AME Zion Church, Jackson-Panola District, South Mississippi Conference,

Southwestern Delta Episcopal District

Dr. Lisa Moore is an anointed treasure within The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Possessing a genuine gift and passion for education, philanthropy, music, and advocacy for God’s people is her superpower. Dr. Moore has blessed her faith community in the South Mississippi Conference and abroad with service as a Choir Director, District Director of Christian Education, and Corresponding Secretary for the Assembly of Christian Educators. Furthermore, she created a community sponsored campaign to supply computers for rural churches, sponsors an annual Christmas Toy and Clothing Drive, created local college scholarships for AME Zion high school graduates, and so much more. It is the selfless work of Dr. Moore for the Kingdom of God that has endorsed this nomination of recognition for a work well done.

Dr. Da’Tarvia Parrish

Professor of Humanities, English and History, Livingstone College, Member, New Hope AME Zion Church, Salisbury District, Western North Carolina Conference,

Piedmont Episcopal District

Since 2005, Dr. Parrish has served as a professor of Humanities, English, and History at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. She developed the Honors Program at Livingstone College and serves as an Associate Professor of English. Her teaching areas include African American history and literature and Southern history and literature with an emphasis on issues of race and gender. Her research interests are interdisciplinary: geography and African American writers; photography and Southern women; film and historical fiction; visual culture and the Black Church; civil rights law; and narrative fiction. Dr. Parrish freely lends her expertise and heart to her church and community through community workshops and presentations, mentorship, and grant funding initiatives. Her academic achievement and accomplishments are beyond amazing!

Rev. Dr. Tonya M. Pass

Pastor, Brighton Rock AME Zion Church, Norfolk District

Virginia Conference, Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District

Rev. Dr. Pass accepted her call to ministry in 1983 and has been pastoring in The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church since 2012. She is a passionate leader, teacher, and coach. She desires to motivate men, women, boys, and girls to reach their maximum potential spiritually, mentally, financially, and physically. Dr. Pass uses her education, a Doctor of Ministry (DMin), a Master of Social Work (MSW), and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), and skills to organize her community. Her goal is for the community to join her mission to provide a holistic approach to serving her church and her community. Rev. Dr. Pass is a Social Worker, who is highly recognized for her service to the community, especially helping children and families in Virginia’s child welfare system.

Mrs. Sonya McLaurin Powell

Member, St. Thomas AME Zion Church, Goldsboro District

Cape Fear Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

A lifelong member of the Freedom Church, Sonya serves faithfully at St. Thomas AME Zion

church of Roseboro NC. Mrs. Powell holds positions at her local church, the Goldsboro District, Cape Fear Conference, and Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District levels, and has served as a Delegate at the General Conference. She was elected and has served several terms on the Sampson County Board of Education, which included serving as Vice Chairperson. As a former high school English teacher, she continues to serve out of her love for children. She is dedicated to working with young people and helping them to continuously improve their lives. She is noted for helping to guide former students into teaching careers.

Mrs. Linda Johnson Sutton

President of Voter Registration and Education, Winston-Salem District, Chairperson, NC State NCNW Civic Engagement and Public Policy Program, Member, Goler Memorial AME Zion Church, Winston-Salem District

Western North Carolina Conference, Piedmont Episcopal District

Mrs. Sutton has dedicated a lifetime of work and service to The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the fight to secure the dignity and rights for all people. Her steadfast involvement in the spiritual, educational, social, and political life of citizens has earned her many awards and recognitions from local, state, and national organizations. By bringing together groups of individuals and organizations to increase voter registration, education, and civic engagement in the community-at-large and within Zion, she believes that voting rights can change laws and public policies that affect the quality of everyday life for people while on this life’s journey.

Mrs. Alyce West

Member, Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church, Jersey City District, New Jersey Conference, North Eastern Episcopal District

Mrs. West is described as “AWESOME!” She is always taking care of the community and making sure that community has what they NEED all year long. She works to provide for her family and considers everyone she meets “family.” She has devoted every waking moment helping those in need including collecting, purchasing, and donating backpacks and coats for students, and food for families in the community. Mrs. West’s work truly speaks for her.

Rev. Gloria Clemons White

Presiding Elder, Central Valley District

Pastor, Hilliard Chapel AME Zion Church, Central Valley District, California Conference, Western Episcopal District

Rev. Clemons-White was the first female pastor appointed to the Historical Kyles Temple, AME Zion Church, Sacramento, California. She served until June 2017, when she was appointed the first Female Presiding Elder of the Central Valley District, of the California Conference, of the AME Zion Church. Rev. Clemons-White is an active member of her community as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Links, Incorporated, Nation Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP), National Council of Negro Women and the Northern State Ecumenical Council. Most important to her is “Having a firm and unmovable faith, a committed love for God and His people, and an earnest desire to ‘serve’ God through preaching and teaching of His Holy word.”

Sis. Lorean G. Wilson

Traveling Minister, Bryant Chapel AME Zion Church, New Bern District, North Carolina Conference, Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District

Sis. Wilson is a resident of Cove City of North Carolina. She is a hairdresser by trade but wears many hats. She is a traveling minister in The AME Zion Church and serves as the YACM Coordinator for the Women’s Home and Oversees Missionary Society. In 2020, Sis. Wilson founded the Cove City Community Outreach Ministries. This ministry has been a blessing to so many residents of Craven County and the surrounding areas. The ministry sowed seeds of love to their neighbors by hosting free food drives, COVID vaccine clinics, and a senior enrichment seminar.

Contributors: Ms. Donita Burston-Monroe, Rev. Michelle Davis, Ms. Antoinette Ford, Ms. LaTisha Gassaway, Mr. Harry Hines, Ms. India R. Johns, Ms. Tawana N. Lefeged, Miss Shanice Gamble Union, Rev. Renesa Mayo, Rev. Lisa McDow, Esq., Ms. Linda McRae, Rev. Lakeisha D. Mobley, Rev. Renata E. Moseley Harper, Ms. Ida Ositelu, Rev. Dr. Tonya Pass, Sis. Tasharah Person, Ms. Yvonne Smith, Ms. Melva Polk Wright, Ms. Affie Sawyer, Ms. Patricia Scott, Miss JonBonae Shipman, Rev. Donna Stewart, Rev. Dr. Mary Thompson, Dr. Audrey Toney, Ms. Debra Valentine-Gray, Rev. Netecia Walker, Rev. Katina D. Washington, Rev. Keitha Wiggins-Kennedy, Ms. Shauna Wilkins, Sis. Lorean Wilson, Salisbury District CED Youth


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