ABOUT US

The Twentieth Episcopal District of the AME Church is composed of seven annual conferences that encompass the countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Mozambique.  Currently, under the  leadership of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Ronnie E. Brailsford, Sr. and Supervisor Rev. Carolyn E. Brailsford, the Twentieth Episcopal District is seeking to reach more people, strengthen institutional effectiveness, and develop new ministry partnerships.

ADDRESS

803-361-5340

P.O. Box 7004

Columbia, SC 29202

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OUR LEADERSHIP

Bishop Ronnie E. Brailsford

            Bishop Brailsford is a native of South Carolina, born and raised in Clarendon County. He was elected and consecrated the 136th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church during the 50th Quadrennial General Conference held in Philadelphia, PA, July 5th – 13th, 2016.  With this honor, he is the Presiding Prelate of the 20th Episcopal District  of the A.M.E. Church that comprises of nearly 200 churches in the African countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Mozambique.  He graduated in 1976 from Scott’s Branch High School of Summerton, SC as Valedictorian, and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. His Master of Divinity degree was earned at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA. During his tenure at ITC, he was a Benjamin E. Mays Fellow and a John Middleton Scholar. An honorary Doctor of Divinity degree was bestowed upon him by A.M.E. University of Monrovia, Liberia. He did further studies in the Doctor of Ministry program at I.T.C. and he earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2007 from United Theological Seminary.He was licensed to preach January 20, 1980 at his home church, Historic Liberty Hill A.M.E. Church in Summerton, SC. He pastored Amanda Flipper A.M.E. Church, Decatur, Georgia; associate pastor at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church, Atlanta, GA.; and pastor of Mt. Carmel A.M.E. Church, Gray Court, SC. 

He has received many academic, professional and community awards and honors. In 1999 he was inducted with Bishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Rev. Bernice King and others into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. Ministry abroad include the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Liberia, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho and South Africa.

            A leadership that is defined by perpetual motion and progress continued during his tenure at Bethel A.M.E. Church. His arrival at 1528 Sumter Street on December 6, 1992 marked the beginning of a renaissance in the life and works of the church. His twenty-four years were  highlighted by exceptional spiritual, numerical, and financial growth. In 1995, under his leadership Bethel relocated from its Sumter Street site to 819 Woodrow Street and acquired an 86,000 square foot facility that sits on five acres of land. The one and one-half city blocks campus offers 366 parking spaces and has all the modern accommodations necessary to serve this present age, including 120 classrooms and offices, a Christian Life Center and Gymnasium. A new school, Bethel Learning Centers, was founded and accredited since 1995. Bethel Learning Centers became one of only five predominantly African American elementary schools in the entire state of South Carolina that accredited by South Carolina Independent School Association. Sixty plus new ministries were  established to better serve membership needs as well as the surrounding community. Also during his tenure more than 1,900 persons joined the church; and over $8,000,000.00 (eight million) in assets were added to the church, including a $3,000,000.00 new school building project completed in 2008. Under his leadership, the church’s overall annual revenue grew from $160,000.00 in 1992 to nearly $2,000,000.00 annually.

            In 1983, he married Carolyn Elizabeth Irvin. They are partners in marriage and ministry. She is the Supervisor of the 20th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, an Itinerant Elder in the A.M.E. Church, was Minister of Worship Arts at Bethel A.M.E. and a professional recording artist. She was the founder and director of the highly regarded CaBrailSong School of Vocal Arts in Columbia, SC. They have three children: one daughter, Veronica-Carol, two sons: Ronnie Jr. and David; two daughters-in love, Ashley and Erica; and three grands, Harper, Kyndal and Gracen. He is a very devoted husband, father, bishop, and community leader.

Supervisor Rev. Carolyn E. Brailsford

            Episcopal Supervisor Rev. Carolyn Elizabeth Irvin Brailsford is a native of Valdosta, GA, and serves the 20th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Married to Bishop Ronnie Elijah Brailsford, Sr., she served as the Minister of Music and Worship Arts at Bethel A.M.E Church in Columbia, SC as he pastored 24 years. Previously, she served on the faculty of Spelman College (Atlanta, GA), and Allen University (Columbia, SC) as Choral Directress and Instructor of Music. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music; and an Honors graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington) where she earned a Master of Music Degree with Distinction in Vocal Performance. She did further studies in the area of Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Affectionately called "Rev. Carolyn",  she is an Ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
            The first Miss Black Valdosta, Rev. Carolyn is a national recording artist, songwriter, and preacher of the Gospel, who ministers as Psalmist/ Vocal Artist, speaker, teacher of vocal workshops for adults and youths, and presenter on the special topic of Praise and Worship. Her dynamic singing ministry and teaching/ preaching style keep her active as a speaker for Women's Conferences, Music Conferences, retreats, and revivals.
 

            From Classical to Contemporary Christian/Gospel, Rev. Carolyn's gift of song has made room for her on many diverse stages. She has performed for noted dignitaries and shared the stage with music legends, including Opera Legend, Leontyne Price, Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, DAVID and Tamala Mann, CeCe Winans, Bobby Jones, Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, Norman Hutchins, Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Dottie Peoples, and Luther Barnes. Her singing ministry has also taken her to many countries and across continents including Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermuda, several countries in Southern Africa, and the East to West Coasts of the U.S.A.  Rev. Carolyn has been extensively recognized and honored. She was featured in the State Newspaper (Columbia) on several occasions, as well as several magazines. Her many awards include The South Carolina House of Representatives Honors and Commendation; the March of Dimes African American Achievement Award; Woman of Valor (Allen University); Legendary Gospel Musician and Master Clinician (Benedict College Harambee Festival); SC Baptist Convention Music Auxiliary Presidential State Music Legend Award; the Renaissance Foundation Gospel Heritage Legacy Award, which was presented by Gospel legend, Dr. Bobby Jones.

            In 1992, Rev. Carolyn established the CaBrailSong School of Vocal Arts, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit youth organization in Atlanta, GA. With their move to Columbia, SC the following year, it was reestablished as an arm of outreach ministry for Bethel A.M.E. Church. Created for children, youths, and young adults, many gifted singers have gone on to achieve great success spiritually and in their vocal skills and gifts through college scholarships and recordings.  The impact of CaBrailSong teachings has been profound, and has even been shared abroad in Bermuda, where fifty youths participated in a Summer Singing Experience, with over twenty of them giving their lives to Christ!  Celebrating 33 years of marvelous marriage and ministry, Supervisor Carolyn and Bishop Brailsford are the proud parents of three children: Veronica-Carol, Ronnie, Jr., and David; and three grandchildren, Harper, Kyndall and Gracen.

Episcopal & Connectional Representatives

Connectional Officers:

Sis. Hilda Matshoba

WMS, Third Vice President

 

Sis. Precious Ncube

WMS, Asst. Recording Secretary

 

General Board Members:

Rev. Eustice B. Ginya, P.E.

Rev. Rosetta Swinton, P.E.

Bro. Stain Simfukwe

Sis. Passion N. Musa

Sis. Kwandokuhle M. Khumalo

 

Episcopal District Leaders:

Presiding Elder Eustice B. Ginya

President, Presiding Elder's Council

 

Presiding Elder Manuel Chamamba

Vice-President, Presiding Elder's Council

 

Presiding Elder Jimson Kaponda

Executive Assistant to the Bishop

 

Bro. Stain Simfukwe

Special Assistant to the Bishop

Episcopal District Treasurer, Malawi

 

Bro. Wingfield Vengasayi

Episcopal District Treasurer, Zimbabwe

 

Presiding Elder Rosetta Swinton

Executive Director

Department of Christian Education & Ministerial Institutes

 

Rev. Fanny Banda Mdzeka

President

Women In Ministry

 

Sis. Charity Manyawu Chimuse

President

Women's Missionary Society

 

Sis. Judith Yohane

President

Young People's and Children Divisions

 

Bro. Sailesi Gulule

President

Lay Organization

 

Rev. Israel Chimuse

Dean

Board of Examiners

 

Bro. Ronald Mkwandawire

President

Richard Allen Young Adult Council

 

Malawi Council of Churches A.M.E. Church Representatives:

Presiding Elder Jimson Kaponda

Presiding Elder Manuel Chamamba

 

Zimbabwe Council of Churches A.M.E. Church Representatives:

Presiding Elder Eustice B. Ginya

Bro. Dennis Nyabadza