134th Elected and Consecrated Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church Presiding Prelate of the Twelfth Episcopal District
The hand of God has been evident on the life of Bishop Michael Leon Mitchell since he was a young child. Born August 4, 1960, in Perry, Florida to the late Reverend Arthur L. Mitchell, Sr. and the late Mrs. Mary L. Mitchell, he is the ninth of their fifteen children.
Bishop Mitchell is a life-long member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a product of Duval County Public Schools. While in high school, He answered the call to the ministry and preached his trial sermon at age 17, on August 28, 1977 at New Saint James AME Church. Determined to achieve God’s purpose for his life, Bishop Mitchell began his ministerial training and study under the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was ordained an Itinerant Deacon in 1979 and an Itinerant Elder in 1981. His first pastoral assignment came in 1985 at the A.M.E. Church of the Master (Jacksonville, FL). He also pastored Mount Zion (Arcadia, FL), Saint Luke (Tampa, FL), and Martin Memorial (Miami, FL).
As a pastor, Bishop Mitchell worked tirelessly at all of his charges to implement improvement projects to benefit the physical and economic growth of the churches. Under his leadership mortgages were liquidated, renovations enhanced aesthetic and functional capabilities, and real estate holdings increased. These physical enhancements were matched only by the spiritual enrichment of the membership and sparked a new attitude toward active Christian Stewardship and the up building of God’s Church.
In September 1992, Bishop Mitchell was chosen to succeed Bishop Robert V. Webster (retired) as pastor of Saint Stephen A.M.E. Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He served the congregation and community faithfully for 24 years, building on the legacy of great pastors before him. Ministries were expanded, additional land purchased, and the church’s outreach broadened through the establishment of a Mission Outreach Center, the founding of a state-of-the-art Child Care & Learning Center, and the initiation of a business complex to house and encourage African American entrepreneurial endeavors. Bishop Mitchell left an indelible mark of compassion, innovation and service before being elected and consecrated the 134th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, at the 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference in Philadelphia, PA.
Bishop Mitchell is married to Supervisor Cordelia D. Mitchell and they have two daughters, Courtney and Channing. They are blessed to be assigned as the Episcopal Leaders of the 12th Episcopal District of the AME Church, comprising the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. They arrived in 2016 with the theme, “Lifting Christ, Loving the People and Leading the Church through Evangelism,” and strive daily to live by example of these words. Bishop Mitchell continued the legacy he began as a pastor,
by building upon that which he found. He rendered direction to the leadership of the District to complete projects begun by his predecessors. The mortgage of the Episcopal Residence was liquidated, and construction of the 12th Episcopal District Headquarters (which also houses Jackson Theological Seminary) was completed within two years of his arrival.
An anointed man of God whose concern for the people is not only spiritual, Bishop Mitchell is actively involved in the social, economic, and educational needs of the community. He was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas to serve on the Economic Recovery Task Force Committee. He serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Shorter College and Jackson Theological Seminary. He serves as the First Vice President of Turner Theological Seminary Board of Trustees and is a member of the Interdenominational Theological Center Board of Trustees. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Bishop Mitchell graduated from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio in 1982 and received a Master of Divinity Degree from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia in 1986. He received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in 2012.
A true servant leader, Bishop Mitchell possesses a heart for the parish and the people, a mind for productivity and progression of God’s plan, and the spirit to powerfully proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
On June 15, 2020, Bishop Michael Leon Mitchell, will become the President of the Council of Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.