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The Philadelphia and Baltimore Conferences (of which the District of Columbia was a part) were combined in 1864 at the Eighth Session of The General Conference of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.  The combined Conference continued to grow during the migration of African Americans North.  The Washington District reported 993 members to the Annual Conference in 1885.

As the years progressed and the Nation’s Capital became a fort for African Americans, AME Zion Pastors and congregations in Washington, DC were prominently engaged in the Civil Rights Movement.  The historic growth of churches on the Washington District during the 1900’s prompted the Presiding Prelate, Bishop James Clinton Hoggard, to recommend dividing the Washington District into the Washington District East and Washington District West.

Under the dynamic leadership of Bishop Milton Alexander Williams, Bishop Warren M. Brown, Bishop Richard K. Thompson, and Bishop W. Darin Moore the District was renamed Washington-Potomac District and now, once again, the Washington District. The Washington District is part of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion. The churches within the Washington District are located in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.


Some of the under shepherds serving as Presiding Elders during this period of expansion in this progressive District of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District were:

  • Presiding Elder Henry Hampton Sink

  • Presiding Elder Fredrick W. Barnes

  • Presiding Elder James W. Paige

  • Presiding Elder William L. Burton

  • Presiding Elder Gregory R. Smith, Sr.

  • Presiding Elder Rita J. Colbert

  • Presiding Elder Alvin T. Durant, Sr. (Present)

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