Voorhees alumna becomes newly appointed Episcopal Church pastor

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Voorhees alumna becomes newly appointed Episcopal AME Church pastor

January 09, 2019

Rev. Rhonda D. Brooks-Heyward a 1994 graduate of Voorhees College, was recently appointed the new pastor of Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Edisto Island, S.C.

She was appointed by the Right Reverend Samuel Lawrence Green, Sr., presiding Prelate of the 7th Episcopal District. Greater Bethel AME Edisto is one of 32 churches under the leadership of presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff, Sr. 

Brooks-Heyward said she decided to accept this position because God had prepared her to step out on faith. “I was nervous, but knew that I had the comfort of the Holy Spirit that would lead and guide me all the way.  God called me to do this. The love, prayers and support from my husband, family, friends, church, and colleagues in the ministry, encouraged me more on this new journey,” Brooks-Heyward said.

She said she plans for Greater AME to grow spiritually maximizing every opportunity to learn, grow and prepare to evangelize for kingdom building. Also, becoming financially equipped to serve those in need within the community and at large.

Brooks-Heyward is a native of Hollywood, S.C. and is active in the Ecumenical community. Currently, she is a member of the Edisto District Women in Ministry, where she serves as the financial secretary, Edisto Island Ministerial Alliance, and Neighbors Helping Neighbors for the residents of Hollywood, S.C.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Voorhees College and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies from Erskine Theological Seminary.

Brooks-Heyward said while under the leadership of Father Emmanuel Johnson, former chaplain and vicar of Voorhees College at St. Philips Chapel, he influenced her to keep God first and be a servant leader. “Father Johnson provided engaging opportunities during chapel services that became a platform for where I am today. I served whenever called upon for chapel, Founder’s Day, and Homecoming celebrations when I was a student,” Brooks-Heyward said.

While a student at Voorhees, Brooks-Heyward and her twin sister, Yolanda P. Brooks-Holmes, made Voorhees history in 1994 when they became the first twin sisters to reign as queens. Her sister was Miss Voorhees College 1993-1994 and Brooks-Heyward was Miss Homecoming 1993. She was a member of the Eta Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Upward Bound Math and Science Program, Voorhees Acting Guild, Voorhees Volleyball Team, and Women’s Softball team.

She is married to Darrold Heyward, and they have four children.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications, at 803-780-1191 or at communications@voorhees.edu.  

Rev. Rhonda D. Brooks-Heyward