"San Antonio Woman is Elected Bishop" (San Antonio Times, 07/07/04)

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San Antonio woman is elected bishop Web Posted: 07/07/2004 12:00 AM CDT

Ron Wilson Express-News Staff Writer

The Rev. Sarah Davis, pastor of Bethel AME Church, was elected the denomination's first female bishop from Texas and one of only three worldwide early Tuesday.

Davis was selected by 1,900 delegates at the church's 47th quadrennial general conference in Indianapolis.

Delegates also elevated the Rev. Carolyn Tyler Guidry, a presiding elder from Los Angeles, and elected an unprecedented three indigenous bishops to lead in Africa.

Davis will be consecrated today, a spokeswoman said, and then will learn where she will serve.

The African Methodist Episcopal church has 19 episcopal districts in North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. She could be assigned to any one of them.

Davis' husband of 34 years, retired SBC manager Claytie Davis Jr., was elected episcopal supervisor and will travel with her to her new assignment.

Firsts are nothing new to Davis, who was the first female pastor at Bethel and the first female pastor of a major AME congregation in Texas.

She also was the first female chairman of the church's Board of Examiners, which is responsible for training clergy.

Observers said her election is no surprise, and reflects her deep spirituality and commitment to prayer.

"She's a woman of great prayer," said the Rev. Brenda White, itinerant elder from Baltimore.

Davis teaches about prayer and holds three Bible studies each week, White said.

"She encourages people."

Davis has been at Bethel AME since 1997 and has a radio ministry.

She earned a bachelor's degree from North Texas University, a master of science from Pace University, a master of divinity from Houston Graduate School of Theology, and her doctorate of ministry from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

She has ministered through the church in South Africa and the Bahamas.

In 2002 she joined the Rev. Vashti McKenzie, who became the first female bishop of the AME church in 2000, to dedicate an orphanage for children of AIDS victims in Swaziland.

The 217-year-old denomination is the largest U.S. body of black Methodists, with more than 2 million members in this country. It has 3 million members worldwide.

More than 1,900 delegates decided earlier during the conference to designate three of eight bishop positions for Africans.

It was the first time the denomination had approved so-called "indigenous" leadership for any of its districts on the continent.

Only one other African has been elected an AME bishop.

The Right Rev. Harold Ben Senatle of South Africa, elected in 1984, served in Africa by choice, although he could have been assigned to any of the denomination's 19 districts worldwide, denomination spokesman Mike McKinney said.

-- Anonymous, July 19, 2004


Please allow me to make a small but important correction to the information above. Bishop Senatle was the second African elected and consecrated a bishop in our Zion. The late Bishop Francis H. Gow was the first in 1956. His wife was an American and he was educated in the United States. He served 12 years in this office.

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2004

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