Rev. Vashti McKenzie
The Rev. Bishop Vashti Mckenzie is the first woman bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Mckenzie has used her talents in congregations of all sizes, in both rural and urban areas. Of late, she was pastor at Payne Memorial AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland, at which she expanded the congregation from 330 to over 1,700 members, augmented property value from $1.6 to $5.6 million, introduced 25 ministries and established the faith-based, nonprofit organization Payne Memorial Outreach, Inc. Devoted to urban issues, she secured a $1.5 million welfare-to-work contract in Maryland that enabled 600 people to be educated, trained, and placed in jobs. Also under her direction, Payne Memorial turned a vacant apartment building within a high drug use area into a $1.8 million human and economic development center that will house a senior daycare center. A riveting speaker, McKenzie was recognized as one of Ebony's 15 Greatest African American Female Preachers in 1997. She has spoken at the White House and for the Democratic National Convention.