INDIANAPOLIS (AP) African Methodist Episcopal Church delegates have elected eight new bishops, including the first three ''indigenous'' bishops for Africa and only the second and third women to hold the post.
More than 1,900 delegates decided during the quadrennial general conference last week to designate three of the 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.
The Revs. Wilfred Messiah of South Africa, Paul J.M. Kawimbe of Zambia and David R. Daniels Jr., a native Liberian who is pastor of a West Columbia, S.C., congregation, agreed to serve in Africa, denomination spokesman Mike McKinney said.
Also among those elected were the Revs. Carolyn Tyler-Guidry of Los Angeles and Sarah Frances Davis of San Antonio. They join the Right Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, elected four years ago, as the only female bishops in the 217-year history of the denomination.
The AME church is the largest U.S. body of black Methodists, claiming more than 2 million members in this country and 3 million worldwide.
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