Friday, September 18, 2020
Bishop Powell to Lead 1.4 Million AME Zion Church
By Sentinel News Service
Published April 1, 2020

       Bishop Staccato Powell (Courtesy photo)

Presidential Appointment to Board of Bishops Covers Oversight of Church Membership on Six Continents

 Bishop Staccato Powell, presiding prelate of the Western Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AME Zion) has been elevated to the position of president of the Board of Bishops.

The ceremony was held in February during the AME Zion Annual Winter Board of Bishops Meeting. Bishops from across the United States as well as Central Southern, Western and Eastern West Africa will be in attendance.


“It’s humbling to occupy this pinnacle privilege at such a seminal moment in time,” said Powell. “I look forward to serving the denomination in this new leadership capacity propelling Zion into a new decade of service and kingdom building.”

During the 2016 quadrennial session of the AME Zion General Conference, Powell was elected the first of his episcopal class. According to a spokesperson, “Those who have been exposed to Bishop Powell’s dynamic pastoral leadership, attended his riveting revivals and participated in his instructional forums, seminars and workshops, over the years have experienced the ‘Staccato Effect.’ The ‘Staccato Effect’ came about because of the Bishop’s clear, crisp, compelling and concrete directional teachings about confronting and conquering life challenges.”

In addition to Powell’s leadership over the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado and Arizona, he will have the added responsibility of being the titular head of the 12-member Board of Bishops, which provides oversight and definitive direction for the global AME Zion Church.  

“As shepherd of the vast six-state western region, my overarching mandate has been to make sure that our church’s number one task is to be good stewards of that which God has entrusted to us. That mandate covers concerns ranging from community development opportunities and economic growth to mental health initiatives and environmental justice,” said Powell. “We expect to continue our work and to expand its impact throughout the length and breadth of the 1.4 million-member AME Zion Church and beyond.”

Powell has identified four principle priorities to propel the church forward during his presidency. These priorities are Evangelistic Expansion by purposefully planting churches, producing disciples, practicing Christian principles and participating in perpetual prayer; Ecumenical Effectiveness by enhancing collaborative efforts among other communions and denominations; Environmental Engagement by raising awareness of the responsibility for being custodians of God’s creation restoring ecological balance; and Economic Equity by proactively building generational wealth for individuals, institutions, and communities.

With more than 40 years of experience in evangelism, ecumenism, and ecclesial growth, Powell’s ecumenical reach spans several organizations. He serves on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and as vice moderator of the WCC 11th Assembly Planning Committee to be held in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2021. Bishop Powell has attended each World Council Assembly since 1991 including conferences in Canberra, Australia; Harare, Zimbabwe; Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Busan, Republic of South Korea.

He most recently served on the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and is a current Board Member of Creation Justice Ministries and eco-America Blessed Tomorrow Leadership Circle.

Powell also serves in various other leadership positions in the AME Zion Church including chair of the Discipline Codification Committee, First vice Chair of the Connectional Board of Trustees, Chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee of Livingstone College and member of the Governance Committee. Powell is also one of six Bishops who is a member of 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.

Bishop Powell hails from Hallsboro, North Carolina where he was reared on the farm and in a God-fearing family. He attended public schools and is a graduate of University of North Carolina, Charlotte (UNCC), North Carolina Central University School of Law, and Duke University Divinity School. Powell, who is an inductee of the Morehouse Board of Preachers and recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Livingstone College, is the proud father of two adult children who are also following career paths in the AME Zion Church.

Staccato Keithan is a recent Doctorate of Ministry graduate from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio and serves as pastor of Fisher Chapel AME Zion Church in Phoenix, Arizona.  Susan Elizabeth Nicole Powell has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently serving as the Missionary Supervisor for the Western Episcopal District of the AME Zion Church and as a Safe House Advocate for the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County in Pennsylvania.

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