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Bishop John F. White Named Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Trustees

July 27, 2020
Bishop John F. White

On Wednesday, July 22, the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously elected Bishop John F. White as vice-chair of the Board. In this role, Bishop White will perform a multitude of duties on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the seminary community at the request of the chairperson of the Board of Trustees. In addition, he will serve as co-chairperson for the newly formed "Garrett Together" Task Force.

A native of Boynton Beach, Florida, Bishop White joined the Board of Trustees in 2018. He serves as the 130th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and was assigned to the Fourth Episcopal District at the 50th Quadrennial Session of the AME General Conference in July 2016.

As the seminary continues to live out its mission in preparing skilled, bold, and articulate religious leaders for today’s ministry, the need for additional support and leadership at the executive level of the Board of Trustees became evident. “As we considered a number of changes, challenges, and opportunities for the seminary in the coming years, it became clear to the Board of Trustees and the Committee on Trusteeship that there was a need for an expansion of leadership to support the work of our Board and the Chairperson,” said Rev. Steven Poole, who serves as the chair for the Committee on Trusteeship. “As we look to the upcoming semester, we continue to face the impacts of the pandemic, adapting to a virtual learning model, and preparing for a new seminary president to lead us into the future. With the addition of the vice-chairperson, we will be better positioned and more responsive to the needs and the opportunities in the seminary community. We are honored and grateful that Bishop White has agreed to accept this vital role. Throughout his career he has proven himself as a skilled pastor, Bishop, scholar, and leader. We look forward to the skills and perspective that Bishop White will bring to the Board and our seminary community.”

The vice-chairperson, in coordination with the chairperson, Mr. Jerre Stead, will serve as a member of the Executive Committee and as a liaison with committees and officers of the Board of Trustees, the president of the seminary, and the seminary’s constituencies. The vice-chairperson will serve as an ex officio member of all standing or special committees of the Board, except the Committee on Trusteeship.

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve as member of the Board of Trustees for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary,” said Bishop White. “Additionally, I am very pleased to accept the invitation to serve as the vice-chair. I deem it a privilege and honor to have been recommended to serve in this leadership capacity and I look forward to eliciting the experience, knowledge, and expertise of the Board, president, faculty, student body, and staff.

“I seek your prayers, wisdom, and insight as we move forward to work as a family of believers. I am certain that the best for Garrett is yet to come. Thank you for the opportunity to serve and let us remember, ‘Only what we do for Christ will last.’”

Throughout his ministry, Bishop White has dedicated himself to kingdom building. In 1977, he led the St. John AME Church of Eatonton, Georgia, in the building of a new church edifice. While at Greater Grant Memorial AME Church in Jacksonville, Florida, he led the congregation in the burning of the church’s mortgage and the building of a new parsonage. During his 13-year tenure at Greater Bethel AME Church in Miami, he established the B.A.M.E. Development Corporation of South Florida Inc.; a Legal Assistance Program in collaboration with St. Thomas University Law School; the Agape Academic Enrichment Center, an after-school tutorial program for children in the Overtown community of the inner city Miami; the Wilbur F. Ellison Scholarship Fund; the Mattie B. Koonce Computer Lab; the Bethel Investment Club; and a new model for church growth, one church in two locations, planting a Bethel AME Church (Miami) satellite worship center at Silver Lakes Elementary School in Miramar, Florida. He also led the Overtown community in building the Jefferson Reaves Health Center and 211 units of tax credit residences, Miami River Apartments.

Bishop White began providing spiritual leadership in October 2001 to Mount Hermon AME Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During his tenure, Mount Hermon experienced an unusual amount of spiritual growth. Bishop White created the Mount Hermon Development Corporation of South Florida, Sons of Allen Men’s Ministry, the Mount Hermon Summer Camp, Back-to-School Explosion, a separate youth church, and he hired several full-time employees, an associate pastor, youth and young adult minister, custodian, and minister of music.  He led Mount Hermon in the building of a 17,000 sq. ft. Family Life /Assembly Hall with a multi-purpose room, classrooms and an administrative suite. The cost of this project was $4 million.

Bishop White holds a bachelor of science degree from Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Florida; a master of education from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida; a master of divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia; and the doctorate of education degree in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

He is married to Penny Hartsfield White, a native of Tallahassee, Florida. They are the proud parents of five lovely children: Tenner, John II, Alfred, Byron, and Candace. They have two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and nine grandchildren: Erica, Dwayne, Alisha, Kya, John III, Byron Ealie, Ashton, Doriana and Joseph.