BISHOP SYLVESTER WILLIAMS, SR.
Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr., is the last of three children born to the late Edward and Georgiana Williams. Growing up in a small rural town in Hale County, Alabama, Bishop Williams was surrounded by a loving family who taught him values such as respect and caring for each other, honoring your word, being responsible, but more importantly to love the Lord. As he watched his family, particularly his mother and father, display these values, he became more keenly aware of his calling and how God had partnered with them to shape him for ministry.
Bishop Williams’ parents not only taught him social and spiritual values, they instilled educational values as well. Having received his early education in the Hale County School System, he continued his education by attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he earned a B.A. degree in Health Care Management. Between this interval, however, he earned an A.A. degree in Mortuary Science from Jefferson State Jr. College in Birmingham, AL. Later, having accepted the call to ministry, he furthered his education at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA where he received the Master of Divinity degree in 1988, and the Doctor of Ministry Degree in May, 2008.
After accepting the call to ministry in ‘81, Bishop Williams served the Church and community in many capacities which included pastoral leadership at Owens Chapel, Emory Chapel, Franconia, and Southside CME Churches in Alabama; Mt. Olive CME Church in Orlando, FL; and Carter Temple CME Church in Chicago, IL. He has served as a member of the Joint Board of Finance for the Birmingham and Southeast Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin Annual Conferences; Budget Director for the Third Episcopal District; Dean of Leadership Training School for the Southeast Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin Region; a Member of the Board of Trustees at Miles College and Phillips School of Theology; Chairman, Board of Directors, for the Commission on Religion in Appalachia; and Chaplain of Brookwood Hospice in Birmingham. Bishop Williams attended the World Methodist Conferences which were held in England and Korea; he was also selected by the Interdenominational Theological Center as one of 21 pastors to participate in a 15-day Holy Land Pilgrimage for Pastoral Renewal.
On June 30, 2010, Bishop Sylvester Williams, Sr. was elected the 58th Bishop of the CME Church and was assigned as the leader of the Second Episcopal District. In July, 2014, Bishop Williams was assigned as the Presiding Prelate of the Third Episcopal District.
Bishop Williams is married to the former Carmen Elaine Leonard. They have three children, Samantha (Chris), Sylvia (Alphonso), and Sylvester, II (Katia), and two grandchildren, Weslee and Laila.