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Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling

In July, the Reverend Vashti Murphy McKenzie became the first woman bishop in the 213-year history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Women make up 70 percent of the denomination, which represents the oldest community of black Christians in the United States. “This is a victory for everyone who has suffered rejection based on exclusion, be it racism or sexism,” McKenzie says. “I stand on the shoulders of the generations of women who served without validation, recognition, or ordination-women who took the heat so that I did not have to take as much.” McKenzie will preside over the church’s 18th episcopal district in Africa, which covers Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, and Mozambique.

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