In July 2016, at the 50th Quadrennial Session of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Reverend Dr. Harry L. Seawright was elected and consecrated the 133rd bishop of the AME Church. He serves as Presiding Prelate of the 9th Episcopal District (the State of Alabama).
Bishop Seawright is married to the Reverend Sherita Moon Seawright who serves as Episcopal Supervisor of the 9th Episcopal District.
They are the parents of two adult children, Shari and Matthew, and the grandparents of one grandson, Cameron.
Bishop Harry L. Seawright was born in Swansea, SC, to the late Joe Nathan and Mary L. Seawright. As a fourth-generation AME, his faith was nurtured at Prodigal AME in Swansea, SC.
Bishop Seawright accepted his call to ministry in 1976. The late Bishop Frank M. Reid, II admitted him to the South Carolina Central Annual Conference in 1977. He was ordained as an Itinerant Deacon in the Washington Annual Conference in 1979 by the late Bishop Henry W. Murph and as an Itinerant Elder in 1981 by Bishop John Hurst Adams.
In 1978 Bishop Harry L. Seawright served as the Interim Pastor of St. Stephen AME Church, St. Matthews, SC and a staff minister at Reid Temple AME Church, Washington, DC. During 1978-81, he was the Assistant to the Pastor at Pilgrim AME Church, Washington, DC. His first pastoral appointment was to Payne Memorial AME Church, Jessup, MD where he served 1981-1983. For three years, 1983-1986, he served faithfully as the pastor of Hemingway Temple AME Church, in Washington, DC. In June 1986, he was assigned to Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brandywine, MD. Bishop Seawright served Union Bethel longer than any other pastor in the church’s history.
In 1991, Bishop Seawright led Union Bethel in the construction of a $1.6 million sanctuary. Union Bethel has over 50 innovative ministries. More than 50 persons answered the call to ministry. In 2001, Union Bethel opened a satellite church in Temple Hills, MD, and Union Bethel North (previously known as Union Bethel Intergenerational Center, Inc. – IGC) was birthed. This second church location holds Sunday worship services, Church School, weekly Bible Study and Intercessory Prayer. This facility also features a banquet hall for special events; it is the former home of a Union Bethel non-profit’s certified HUD Housing Counseling Program office (which is now located in a professional building in Camp Springs, MD). For nine years, Union Bethel operated FOCUS (For Our Children’s Unity School) daycare and kindergarten. FOCUS students received a strong Christian and academic foundation. Union Bethel’s ministries and services blessed thousands of people in the county annually. Bishop Seawright spent over 39 years in ministry, specializing in community leadership, church construction and development. He is a spiritual leader, entrepreneur, community leader, world traveler, author, loving husband, devoted father, grandfather and loyal friend.
Among Bishop Seawright’s affiliations are: Trustee Emeritus of Prince George’s Community College; President/CEO and founder of HLS Consulting, Inc., a company that specializes in church construction, administration, management and finance; and the founder and CEO of WeKleen, Inc. a commercial cleaning, landscape and handyman services company. He is also the CEO and founder of the Union Bethel Intergenerational Center, Inc. (IGC) and the CEO and founder of Prestigious Property Management, Inc. He holds memberships in many other community and national organizations.Bishop Seawright’s prophetic vision and outstanding leadership kept Union Bethel, founded in 1887, as a solid anchor in our community, now serving over 1,700 faithful congregants. This transformation included growing from five to acquiring over 55 acres of land, from two to over 75 employees, from a little chapel to a sanctuary that seats over 500 and to property that includes three houses, two apartments, a greenhouse and a pond. In 2014, Bishop Seawright and the Union Bethel AME Church Family paid off the mortgage of the $1.6 million sanctuary and 38 acres of land. To God be the Glory!Bishop Seawright knows the power of prayer. He has made time for daily devotions with God a priority in his life. Anyone who meets him knows he is a praying man! In 2011, he started a daily prayer conference call. This time of scripture reading and prayer ministers to individuals in the United States and throughout the world. Bishop Seawright is the author of two books: More Than Bricks and Mortar: Building a Church without Losing Your Mind, 1996, and Don’t Faint: Help for Hurting Pastors and their Families, 2012. He is also a contributing author for The African American Devotional Bible and The Pastor’s Manual.Bishop Seawright served as Treasurer of the Washington Conference, the 2nd Episcopal District of the AME Church, the 2nd Episcopal District Religious, Education and Charitable Non-Profit Board (RED, Inc.) and was a former board member of the Collective Empowerment Group (formerly known as the Collective Banking Group). Bishop Seawright was a member and former president of the AME Ministerial Alliance of Washington, DC. He is the founder and held the position of president of Bethel House, Inc., Union Bethel’s nonprofit outreach agency.Bishop Seawright served as a delegate to the 2011 and 2013 World Methodist Council meetings in Durban, South Africa and London, England, respectively. Bishop Seawright represented the Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as a delegate to this prestigious international association representing over 80 million people in 155 countries.Bishop Seawright earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Benedict College, Columbia, SC and Master and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Howard University School of Divinity. As a member of the graduating class of 1995, he received the Doctor of Ministry “Student of the Year” award for his research project. In 1996, he received the Concerned Black Christian Men of Prince George’s County Religious Award. In August 2004, he attended St. Antony’s College, at the University of Oxford, Oxford England, where his presentation on “Dynamics of the Church, Politics and Education” was well received by the Oxford Round Table of distinguished leaders from around the world. Bishop Seawright has received other awards and recognitions for his leadership in the community and church. In 2015, the Howard University School of Divinity Alumni Association honored Bishop Seawright with a Distinguished Service in Pastoral Ministry Award.Bishop Seawright is a man of faith and action! In his ministry he continues to trust God to do “exceeding abundantly”.