Area AME elder elected bishop

| August 30, 2016
Bishop Anne Henning Byfield delivers the Sunday morning sermon at Turner Chapel AME Church.

Bishop Anne Henning Byfield delivers the Sunday morning sermon at Turner Chapel AME Church.

The Rt. Rev. Anne Henning Byfield to head up 16th District covering Caribbean

FORT WAYNE—The Summit City played host to one of the region’s history making women this past Sunday when newly-elected African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Anne Henning Byfield delivered the message during Sunday morning service at Turner Chapel AME Church on Aug. 28.

Bishop Byfield formerly served as presiding elder for the North District Indiana Conference of the AME Church’s 4th Episcopal District under retiring 4th District Bishop John Bryant. Byfield, who has historic roots at Turner where her brother, the late J.P. Henning once served as pastor, was in the city not only to preach but to preside over the local church’s quarterly conference—one of her last official acts as a presiding elder before officially taking her post as bishop.

Byfield was one of six new bishops elected by the AME Council of Bishopsd on July 13.

Worshippers at Turner Chapel AME Church  join in service with newly-elected  Bishop Byfield.

Worshippers at Turner Chapel AME Church join in service with newly-elected Bishop Byfield.

As bishop of the AME Church’s 16th District, Byfield will preside over the 16th District that covers South America, the Caribbean, the Windward Islands, Europe and Cuba. One of her first stops as bishop will be Kingston, Jamaica. During Sunday morning service at Turner, Bishop Byfield also revealed that she has been given a special commission in Cuba. Prior to the U.S. government cutting ties with the island nation, the AME Church had approximately 30 churches there but, unable to travel there do to the trade and political embargo against the nation, the church lost contact with its Cuban missions and was unable to service them. With travel restrictions lifted and efforts to normalize relationships under the Obama administration, Bishop Byfield said she has been charged with the task of traveling to Cuba and trying to locate remnants of those congregations in an attempt to reorganize the AME Church there.

Byfield earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University, attended Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and received her Master of Divinity degree from Newburgh Theological Seminary; a Masters of Divinity from Payne Theological Seminary, and a Candidate for the Doctorate of Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary, and an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from R.R. Wright School of Religion in Johannesburg, South Africa. She also attended Harvard Divinity School/School of Government Summer Leadership Program for Community Development, and Ashland Seminary’s Pastors of Excellence.

Bishop Byfield the managing partner of AHB and Associates, which is a consulting firm to help clients unleash their talents. She conducts extensive training and consulting in organizational transformation, and leadership development with universities, nonprofits, and faith based institutions. Profiled in numerous newspapers, journals and books, she is included in The Trumpet to Zion and received the King Drum Major for Peace Award and Jarena Lee Preaching Award among others.

She has served as Dean of the Fourth District Board of Examiners, is a member of Payne Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, Latino/African American Dialogue Group, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light. She is recognized as one of the most 15 influential African Americans in Indianapolis and was named as one of its 1- most influential pastors.  Byfield also received the Legacy Award for more than 25 years of leadership in Pastoral Health Initiatives particularly in the HIV/AIDS community and earned the City of Indianapolis Volunteer Award for community service.

She served as presiding elder of the North District Indiana Annual Conference from 2009 up until her election as bishop in July of this year.  Prior to that, she served as presiding elder of the South District for four years.  Byfield made history as the first woman presiding elder in the Fourth Episcopal District and  as the first known woman presiding elder whose father was presiding elder. Byfield also made history as the first woman from the Fourth District to be elected bishop.

Prior to becoming a presiding elder and her election to the post of bishop, Byfield served as senior pastor of Bethel AME Church in Bloomington, Indiana, Robinson Community AME Church in Indianapolis and St. Paul AME Church, Detroit.

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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