African Methodist Episcopal Zion Bishop W. Darin Moore is looking forward to his new assignment. He is now the leader of the denomination’s Mid-Atlantic region.
At the 50th Quadrennial Session of the AME Zion Church, held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. from July 20-July 26, Moore was elected as the presiding bishop for the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District that covers Ohio, Virginia, Baltimore, the District of Columbia, Allegheny East Tennessee, Barbados, Guyana, and Saint Vincent Island. He was first elected bishop in 2012 as the presiding bishop for the Western District. The AME Zion Church was founded in 1796 in New York City and has more than 2 million members with churches on every continent except Australia.
“I’m thankful to my colleagues for allowing me to continue in this important office,” Moore told the AFRO. “Ninety-eight other people have been elected as a bishop since the church was established and my goal is to model and engage our members in this important office.”
Moore is a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y. and holds a bachelor’s degree from Purchase College and a master’s and doctorate in divinity from United Theological Seminary. He has pastored churches in Monroe, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., and in Indianapolis where he served as the presiding elder for that district. Moore and his wife Devieta Moore, the missionary supervisor of the district, have three children.
It was his stewardship of the Greater Centennial AME Zion Church in Mount Vernon, however, that gained him national recognition. During his 19-year tenure, Moore increased the number of members from a few hundred to over 6,000. “I have come to learn that healthy things grow,” he said. “My goal was to have a healthy congregation that was in tune with the community and had a healthy relationship with Christ.”
Moore said he and his members would go to what he called “Centennial Parish,” the neighborhoods around the church, door-to-door to see what their needs were. “Churches normally go out in the community and tell people what it has to offer and what it needs but we didn’t do that,” he said. “It was the people who told us that they needed an after-school center for young people and a program to help African-American boys in the Mount Vernon School District, and we created, in response, Save Our Sons.” Save Our Sons is a program that…
Moore served two terms on the Mount Vernon Board of Education, which gave him insight into the political system in the area.
As the bishop, Moore said he will mentor and coach pastors. He said spiritual and administrative leadership “go hand in hand.”
“You have to do both,” he said. “I have CEO responsibilities but I am not a CEO but I have been a pastor for 30 years. That is what I know best.”
Moore wants to “reclaim the spiritual heritage of the denomination,” noting that it was known as the “freedom church” with members such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass.”In the 1880s, the church was fighting chattel slavery and now the fights are police brutality, jobs, economic empowerment, and crime,” he said. “My freedom agenda will have three components: scriptural holiness, social justice, and community transformation.”
Moore understands his jurisdiction covers presidential battleground states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and he wants his members to make a difference in the November 8 general election. “We will launch voter registration and voter education drives,” he said. “The presidential election will be decided among those three states.”
“Bishop Moore is a dynamic person,” the Rev. Vernon Shannon, pastor at John Wesley AME Zion Church in the District told the AFRO. “I knew him when he was a boy growing up in Mount Vernon and I know of his great work at Greater Centennial.” Moore visited the national church of Zion Methodism on July 31.
Moore is a “blessing to the Washington area,” Shannon said. He also said he wants to introduce Moore to the District’s mayor as well as make a stop at the White House to potentially meet President Obama.