Oldest church in Dothan appoints first female pastor

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:30 AM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Cherry Street African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded as the first church in Dothan in 1877. The church is 144 years old, and they just appointed their first female pastor, Pastor Lynntesha Henley.

She says she’s ready to take the church to new heights.

“Being the pastor of the historic Cherry Street African Methodist Episcopal Church and what it means to me, everything,” says Pastor Henley.

Pastor Henley says the appointment to this church has been nothing but an honor. “God doesn’t give that opportunity to everybody, and someone had to see fit for me to come here.”

Pastor Henley has been a pastor for 14 years, and she was appointed to the church four months ago. She says every day is a new challenge, especially with COVID.

“People are uncomfortable, and we want people to know that we are doing everything that we can, sanitizing to keep everyone safe to get them back in the building so it feels like church again,” says Pastor Henley. “We’ll never be able to do church as normal again, but I think one of my biggest goals is to just restore, renew, and rejuvenate this church.”

As time progresses, she says she hopes to see more women rise to leadership within churches.

“As we know that most churches are full of women, period,” says Pastor Henley. “Women make up the vast majority of churches, so it’s just time. It’s time to stand at the helm and lead God’s people.”

Pastor Henley says she’s excited to serve the rest of her term here in Dothan, and hopefully she will be reappointed to Cherry Street at the Southeast Alabama Conference in October.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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