In 1987 I was invited to preach the Annual Sermon. My sermon title was “There Is A Spiritual Solution” because I profoundly believe that God is the answer to every question, the Answer to assure that all things are in order and the Hallmark to our Zion. When all things are in order we grow, the church grows and God provides increase.

I realized early in my ministry that the future does not depend on the current circumstances but rather it is determined by how we address the current realities. All of my pastoral appointments have reinforced this understanding. In my very first appointment, I was not told that the small church was expected to close. And even my second appointed had struggled, leaving a foregone conclusion that it would also close its doors.

Yet as a result of our believing in God’s ability to transform, both churches are strong today, thriving with a passion for spiritual disciplines growth, and service, and under my pastorate both received connectional church growth awards. Indeed, together we helped make our strong Zion, stronger.

Our past has been to put God first. Our history proves our reliance on God. Our future must be now to do so as well. I want to continue in that tradition as we refocus, revive, and renew our Zion making this strong Zion, stronger.


We have a responsibility to pursue and realize the AME mission, which is a Biblical mission to impact the world. Only the love of God and love for people will stop and help heal the challenges we now face. Think about many of the challenges your community faces in education, jobs, services and spiritual sadness. Together, we must meet our reality and usher in the future where we stand, where we live, and where we worship in order to make our Zion stronger.

Together let us move forward, listening to God and taking the steps He deems necessary to continue the tradition of strength and integrity while embracing a unified effort to impact the pew, our community, and the pulpit. Our future is now, together, you and I, us and them; WE can make a positive turn toward a future of reliance on God, respect of people, and renewing of Faith.


Our future shall be built on a bedrock of transparent accountability. Transparency is not pointing fingers; instead, it is fully embracing our responsibility. What I have heard over and over from you is that you want us to leave a legacy of hope and pride for your children and grandchildren, and that will require that we earnestly institute fiscal accountability at all levels.

The truth is that fiscal management reignites giving, increases resources, and protects the sacred bringing solvency to the church. It promotes an environment of trust and helps to lessen both mismanagement and the mishandling of funds. However, transparent accountability is a group effort. Everyone, the pew, the pulpit, and the Episcopal leadership must strive and fully participate together in an effort to maintain and secure our fiscal responsibility.


Leadership must be shared. When I became an presiding elder I met with Lay who indicated that mutuality in leadership was needed at all levels, which have support to a life ministry belief of giving voice to all that are a part of our Zion. We must recognize your diversity of gifts, talents and voices that represent the church. There is unique value in every person, age group, and culture; we must embrace our differences and use its strength to improve our witness and our work. Everyone is a contributor and potential leader.

Leadership is inclusive not exclusive, and I believe in people above position. We must continue to be committed to educating and training our pulpit, holding both lay leadership and ministerial leadership to highest standards.

Our history speaks to the success of a Zion that was built on mutual leadership. I will promote respect of and need for strong leadership on all levels. I believe in training and access for all who seek it. I believe in policies for advancement and performance based promotions to ensure fairness.

Over 2500 saved  and 3500 accessions during her ministry.

Rev. Byfield Cont'd

Rev. Byfield

Her Pastoral Experience

  • St. Paul AME Church, Indianapolis, IN 1976-1981. Director of Christian Education
  • Coppin Chapel AME Church, Indianapolis, IN. 1981-1982: Minister of Education/Associate Minister (appointed by Bishop Robinson, the first of its kind in the Indiana Conference)
  • Bethel AME Church, Bloomington, IN: Pastor (1983-1989). She won Connectional Awards for church growth
  • Robinson Community AME Church, Indianapolis, IN 1989-1999(1st woman pastor). She won Connectional Awards for Church growth and took over the mortgage that the 4th District was paying
  • St. Paul AME Church, Detroit, MI(1999-2004) (1st woman in the AME Church to be assigned to a church with a membership of close to 1000. Instituted several cutting edge ministries
  • Presiding Elder, South District, Indiana Annual Conference 2004-2009(first woman to be presiding elder whose father was a presiding elder)
  • 1st woman Presiding Elder in 4th District
  • Presiding Elder, North District, Indiana Annual Conference: 2009-present

Fourth District/Conference Experience

  • Indiana Annual Conference Christian Education Director
  • Indiana Women in Ministry Coordinator
  • Indiana Conference: Board of Examiners
  • Indiana Conference: Finance Committee
  • Indiana Conference: Conference Board of Trustees
  • Indiana Conference: Ministerial Efficiency Committee
  • Michigan Conference: Board of Examiners
  • Michigan Conference: Finance Committee
  • Michigan Conference: Conference Board of Trustees
  • Michigan Conference: Chair, Ministerial Efficiency
  • 4th District Christian Education Chair
  • 4th District Dean of Board of Examiners


  • President 5th District YPD and host of the Connectional YPD Quadrennial, Los Angeles
  • Official Youth Observer, 1972 General Conference (inaugural group)
  • Assistant Secretary of the Connectional General Conference Commission and twice member
  • Member of Connectional Youth Ministry, and sponsored bill, which passed, for full inclusion of youth in the church with then Rev. McKinley Young, Rev. James C. Wade, and others. This bill allowed young people to be delegates to the General Conference, and Members of the Connectional Commissions
  • Worked with Connectional Christian Education Directors in providing training materials and lecturer
  • Member of Board of Directors, Payne Theological Seminary
  • Adult Sunday School writer for the AME Sunday School Literature
  • Treasurer, Connectional Women In Ministry
  • Second Vice President, Connectional Women in Ministry
  • Connectional Parliamentarian, Connectional Presiding Elder’s Council
  • Wrote the Prayer Booklet for the 2008 General Conference
  • Preached or Lectured at Episcopal Districts 1-13, 14, 15, 16, 19, and AME India
  • Lectured or Preached at Connectional Women’s Missionary Conventions and Executive Boards
  • Connectional YPD Conventions, Connectional Women in Ministry Quadrennials, Christian Education Congresses, Connectional Music and Arts Quadrennial, Connectional Evangelism Conference, Connectional Stewardship Conference and General Conferences, among others

Personal and Ministry Highlight

  • 1st Woman to preach Indiana Annual Sermon
  • 2nd Woman to preach Michigan Annual Sermon
  • 1st Woman to preach 4th District Midyear
  • 1st Woman Host of the 4th District Founder’s Day Weekend
  • Award for 25 years of Excellence for Health Initiatives: Indiana Women Foundation: HIV/AIDS
  • Jarena Lee Preaching Award
  • Preached/Taught on Four Continents: North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa
  • First AME female to preach at John Wesley Cathedral, London, England
  • City of Indianapolis Volunteer Award for community service.
  • On Cover of Indianapolis Woman Magazine
  • Named one of the most 15 influential African Americans in Indianapolis
  • Named one of its ten most influential pastors;
  • Named one of 4 widely known and effective pastors, Indianapolis
  • Named one of the emerging leaders of Detroit, MI
  • Indianapolis Urban League Parents of the year
  • Martin Luther King Drum Major Peace Award
  • MLK Continuing the Legacy Award
  • Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Organization: Couple of the year
  • Indiana Gospel Music Pastor of the year
  • Named one of eight ministers who help shaped history in the state of Indiana by the Indianapolis Recorder
  • Wrote the litany for Mrs. Rosa Parks’ funeral in Detroit
  • Wrote the litany for Congresswoman Julia Carson’s funeral in Indianapolis


  • Many of the following were the first of their initiation:
  • The RC Rappers, a children’s spoken word group
  • Boys Choral Group
  • Domestic Violence Support Group
  • Victims of Violent Death Ministry
  • HIV/AIDS ministry
  • Technology Class for youth where they built a computer and kept it; and Neighborhood Peer Academy
  • Village House: Housed the spring and Christmas Break Day camp afterschool and a summer camp
  • Established Village House Academy
  • St. Paul Family Outreach Center
  • Radio Ministry(Sunday Drive Time) Indianapolis, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan

Community Leadership

  • First African American Female president of Indiana Commission on Human Equality
  • Desmond Tutu Center of Reconciliation, Peace and Healing
  • Hoosier Power and Light (Environment Stewardship)
  • Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and first female officer
  • First Female President of Central Indiana Ministerial Alliance
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Soroity
  • Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family President. The budget increased by 3.5 million under her leadership

As a learner, she has the following:


  • Bachelors of Science Degree: Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio
  • Master’s of Divinity Degree: Newburgh Theological Seminary, Newburgh, IN
  • Master’s of Divinity Degree: Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio
  • Doctor of Minister Degree: Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio
  • Doctor of Divinity Degree: R.R. Wright School of Religion, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Pastors of Excellence Training and Mentoring Program: Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio

She lives a life filled with creativity and passion as a preacher, presiding elder, psalmist, a poet, motivational speaker, spoken word artist, strategic consultant, writer, composer, wife, mother and grandmother. Known for her unique brand of leadership, presentation style, humor and passion for living; annehenningbyfield leads by example, inspires, and develops others to lead their best lives. Married to Ainsley for 36 years, they have one son, Michael, and four grandchildren, Miles, Liana, Kendra and Jeremiah.

The following further evidences her passion for life:


  • Books:
  • Let The Worship Begin
  • The Essence of My Existence
  • Odyssey-A Girl’s Mentoring Program
  • Pamphlets:
  • Now That You Belong
  • Now That You Are Saved
  • Understanding the African Methodist Order of Worship
  • Training Manuals and or DVDs
  • Preparing Leaders for Leadership
  • The Evolution of Worship in the AME Church
  • How To Do an Invitation
  • What Wee Believe About Baptism
  • What We Believe About Holy Communion
  • The AME Order of Service
  • New Members Training: DVD
  • You Can Do This (DVD)
  • Reigniting Success (DVD)
  • Articles(A Few)
  • Is God in the Dungeon? Those Preaching Women: Multicultural Edition
  • The Church’s Response to Hurricane Katrina: The African American Lectionary
  • Understanding Worship in the AME Church: Christian Education Journal
  • Strengthening the Back Family: The African American Lectionary
  • Living Through Crisis: The African American Pulpit
  • The Role of a Presiding Elder: The AME Church Review
  • The Profundity of Aggressive Mediocrity: The AME Church Review
  • The Role of A Presiding Elder: The AME Church Review
  • Ecumenical Stewardship: The AME Church Review
  • CD
  • Flowing Essence: Spoken Word
  • Various Sermons


  • Seventh Child to Herman William Henning and Mattie Elizabeth Henning
  • Married 38 years to Ainsley M. Byfield
  • Mother of Michael Ainsley Byfield
  • Grandparents of Miles, Liana, Kendra and Jeremiah
  • Henry Henning: Local Pastor, AME Church, Grandfather
  • Rev. Dr. Herman W. Henning, Sr., Itinerant Elder, Presiding Elder; Southern Editor, Christian Recorder, Father
  • Mrs. M. Elizabeth Miller Henning Life Missionary and Educator, Mother
  • Mrs. Wencie Henning Chapman, Mrs. Blanche Henning Caddell, Ethel O. Miller, Mrs. Lucille Miller Gaines, Church planters and Life Missionaries
  • Siblings: Dr. Herman W. Henning, Jr., The Rt. Rev. C. Garnett Henning, Itinerant, Mrs. Ethel Yvonne Henning Parks, Former District YPD Director; Rev. John P. Henning, Itinerant Preacher (Deceased): George Miller Henning (Deceased)
  • Other AME Preachers in the family:
  • Rev. Kevin E. Parks, Recently deceased, former AME Pastor, 3rd District; Rev. Dr. Maria Williams Hawkins, 4th Episcopal District
  • Rev. Andra P. Henning, 2nd District
  • Over 2500 saved and 3500 accessions during her ministry.