Senior Bishop to visit Muskegon Heights church in honor of 75th anniversary

By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI — Phillip Chapel AME will get a special visitor come Sunday, Nov. 30.

Bishop John Richard Bryant, who is the Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District and Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will be speaking at Phillip Chapel as part of the church’s celebration of its 75 years of existence.

“If we get a bishop here in Muskegon once in 10 or 12 years, that’s good,” said B.C. Thompson, a trustee of the church. “We found out about a month ago that he would be coming. Initially, we had that scheduled earlier, but he had to postpone that and rescheduled it for Sunday.”

For Phillip Chapel, located on 2145 Dyson St., this will be the first time a bishop walks through its doors in more than 10 years. The bishop’s appearance at the Muskegon Heights church is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday.

Bryant was elected and consecrated the 106th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at the 1988 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Later that year he was assigned to the 14th Episcopal District in West Africa where he presided over 101 churches and 25 schools.

Under his leadership, this historically black institution moved from probationary status to full accreditation and successfully raised $29 million in its Capital Fund Drive, Thompson said.

In 2008 at the 48th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference, Bryant became the Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was assigned as the Presiding Prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District, where he currently serves.

His purview includes superintending churches located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and three Canadian provinces – Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

At the present time, there are also 89 AME churches in southern and northern India.

“It is such an honor to have him here,” said Ida W. Thompson, chairwoman for the church’s 75th anniversary. “We are so happy, delighted and elated to have him here.”

Tony Wittkowski is a staff reporter at MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at twittkow@mlive.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 28, 2014)

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