South Carolina gets new AME bishop

AME Bishop Samuel Lawrence Green Sr. is the new bishop of the 7th District, which spans South Carolina.

The AME Church has assigned Bishop Samuel L. Green Sr. to serve as the new head of the district that spans South Carolina.

Green was bishop of Arkansas and Oklahoma. His official biography says he considers the church as “a proponent of change” working for children’s needs, jobs, education and housing.

“Bishop Green is a great guy and will do a great job. He is younger, innovative, energetic and will bring new life to the Episcopal District,” said the Rev. Kylon Middleton, pastor of Mount Zion AME in Charleston and a close friend of the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney. The slain pastor and state senator was killed with eight of his parishioners last summer at Emanuel AME.

Green replaces Bishop Richard Franklin Norris, who reached the church’s mandatory retirement age.

“I’ve been privileged to serve an extraordinary church that has provided me with unparalleled opportunities,” Norris said in his retirement speech during the church’s general conference, which concluded Wednesday in Philadelphia after the bishop assignments.

During Green’s tenure in the 12th District, he led the charge to get the AME Church’s only junior college, Shorter College, accredited in 2013 by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, his biography says.

The AME Church is woven deeply into his family. Green grew up a pastor’s son in Orlando, Fla., began preaching at 17 and went into the ministry with his brothers. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, a Master of Divinity from Turner Theological Seminary in Atlanta and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, according to his church biography.

Green also has three sons, including one who is an itinerant elder in the AME Church, another who is a recent Georgetown University master’s degree graduate and a third who is a seminarian at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Reach Jennifer Hawes at 843-937-5563 or follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes.