By Tasion Kwamilele, 5th Episcopal District
First AME Church of Oakland and leaders throughout the connectional AME Church recently gathered to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry’s 50th year in ministry. On Father’s Day weekend, more than 300 people joined in celebrating Dr. Mayberry’s extraordinary spiritual leadership and continued commitment to serving in God’s Kingdom with integrity and passion.
“My years of service to God through the African Methodist Episcopal Church have been a tremendous blessing. I’ve had the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling across the world doing ministry and I’ve had the awesome experience of being used by God to touch the lives of many people and to have my own life enhanced through my relationship with those same people,” said Dr. Mayberry. “I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest congregations any pastor could hope for. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to work in the Connectional church in areas of responsibility and leadership that I previously had only viewed from afar,” he added.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Mayberry grew up in St. James AME Church. At the age of 12, he confided in his pastor that he believed he was called to preach. While attending Wilberforce College, the Rev. Mayberry was ordained a deacon at Wayman Temple AME Church in St. Louis, further empowering his walk to serve in the Kingdom.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Dr. Mayberry attended Payne Theological Seminary to refine his academic and spiritual knowledge. In his early years of ministry, the Rev. Mayberry served at Grant Chapel AME Church in Wentzville, Missouri; Friendship AME Church in Clarksdale, Mississippi; Matthew AME Church in Greenville, Mississippi; and Payne Memorial AME Church in New Orleans.
Since 1996, Dr. Mayberry has served as the senior pastor of FAME Oakland, where he has been a prominent spiritual voice in the local community and throughout the AME Church. Since 2004, he has served as chairperson of the Episcopal Committee for the AME Church.
To celebrate his extraordinary leadership, Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III, who has been a dear friend of Dr. Mayberry’s since childhood, attended the celebration. He spoke to the love, brotherhood, and friendship that he and Dr. Mayberry have shared over the years. John Thomas, III, Editor of The Christian Recorder, attended and spoke to the care and mentoring Dr. Mayberry provided him over the years. Congresswoman Barbara Lee presented Dr. Mayberry with a Congressional Record and thanked him for his unwavering service to the community. She also noted he was the first pastor from her district to serve as a guest chaplain in the United States House of Representatives.
“The celebration of 50 years in ministry sponsored by the wonderful members of First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Oakland was humbling as well as exciting,” said Dr. Mayberry. He continued, “As I looked out and saw so many people from the congregation I pastor, the conference that I share ministry in and the connectional church that I love, I realize how great God is and I praise God from whom all blessings flow for the unselfish energy, effort, and enthusiasm on the part of persons who organized and worked to make the celebration the stellar event that it was.” He added, “As for the future, I believe that God is continuing to use me, to work with so many other persons, to prepare others to work towards the continued development of God’s Kingdom in positive and productive ways.”