The 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church, which encompasses all of South Carolina, got a new bishop Wednesday.
On the final day of the 49th Quadrennial General Conference of the AME Church in Nashville, the Rt. Rev. Richard Franklin Norris was transferred from the 1st District, which has jurisdiction over the northeast and Bermuda, to the Palmetto State. Born in Atlanta, Norris grew up in Philadelphia and received theological training in New York.
He served aspastor of Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia from 1986 through 1993, and of St. Matthew AME Church, also in Philadelphia, from 1993 to 2000, when he was made the church’s 116th bishop and moved to Africa for four years.
Norris is married to Mary Ann Hill Norris; the couple has two sons, one of whom is an AME pastor in Pennsylvania.
The AME Church, founded by Richard Allen, a former slave and Methodist preacher who became its first bishop, got its start in Philadelphia in 1787. It is the oldest historically black congregation in the U.S. and one of the largest.