A Diocese of the Reformed Episcopal Church and ACNA
The Right Reverend Alphonza Gadsden, Sr., B.S., M.A., D.D., was elected the 7th Bishop in September 2007 and consecrated Ordinary of the Diocese of the Southeast of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and special jurisdiction, on November 17, 2007. He is also Professor of Systematic Theology at Cummins Theological Seminary, Summerville, South Carolina.
Bishop Gadsden is a native of St. Stephen, South Carolina. He currently resides in Kingstree, SC. He received his early education in the public schools of Berkeley County—graduating with honors from Russellville High School, St. Stephen, SC. His Post-Secondary education includes graduating from South Carolina Area Trade School, Denmark, SC, receiving a diploma in Auto Mechanics; Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary, Summerville, SC, receiving a Bachelor of Theology Degree; Limestone College, Gaffney, SC (Magna Cum Laude), receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology; and he subsequently received a Master of Divinity from Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Divinity from the Theological Commission of Reformed Episcopal Church. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, SC.
Bishop Gadsden is a Vietnam War Veteran. He was employed with the United States Postal Service where he served in numerous positions in Charleston, SC; Summerville, SC; and Kingstree, SC to include Postal Operation Specialist, Supervisor, and Postmaster. He retired as Postmaster in 2005 after 37 years of service. He was ordained Deacon in 1991 and Presbyter in 1992 by the Rt. Rev. Sanco K. Rembert. He served at Liberty for 17 years and was instrumental in upgrading the facility to its present status.
Over the years, Bishop Gadsden also served on many committees, councils, boards, and task forces at both the local and national levels. He served his community believing that community service is important. He has served as a member of several civic organizations to include, Kiwanis Club of Kingstree, Chamber of Commerce, Williamsburg County Vital Aging Board, South Carolina Christian Action Council Board of Directors, NAACP Berkeley, and Williamsburg Counties, and as President of the Rotary Club to name a few.
Bishop Gadsden is responsible for the administration of the Diocese of the Southeast (including Cummins Theological Seminary, Summerville, SC, and the Bishop Jerdan Conference Center (BJCC), Awendaw, SC) which encompasses all churches within the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In addition, he has traveled throughout the United States and abroad to include, British Columbia, Jerusalem, and Africa proclaiming the word of God.
The tone of his episcopate, which has become admired locally and internationally, was established long before his elevation to the highest position in the diocese. His attitude and patience exemplify the true characteristic of a Christian leader. As the eldest of two boys, his parents, the late Silas, and Leola Gadsden instilled in him the benefits of loving God and man, as well as the values of living a life of humility. He believes in supporting his church and his family. “I am determined to be the best leader and provider that I can possibly be for my people. We are poor in resources but strong in spirit. We must fight together to combat the open wounds of this contemporary world and not allow ourselves to become polarized. We will endeavor to ‘Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways, we will acknowledge Him and He shall direct our paths.’” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Bishop Gadsden and his wife, Hester Brown Gadsden of Hemingway, SC, have six children, seventeen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.