The Reverend Kimberly Brown Barnes was appointed pastor of Gethsemane African Methodist Episcopal Church in Landover, Md., during the 60th Session of the Washington Annual Conference, April 20-24 at Reid Temple AME Church in Glen Dale, Md. She joins the ranks of nearly a dozen women who pastor AME churches in the Washington conference of the Second Episcopal District.
“This is my first pastorate and it is very humbling but at the same time very exciting,” Barnes told the small congregation as she led her first service Sun., April 25.
“We have come open, excited, and a little nervous, but we are so excited about what God is going to do here at Gethsemane,” she said.
Family members and friends joined Barnes and nearly 30 members of the Gethsemane congregation at the worship service currently held in the auditorium at Kenmoor Elementary School, 3211 82nd Avenue in Landover. Among them was the Rev. Marie Braxton, of Metropolitan AME Church in the District, where she co-pastors with her husband the Rev. Ronald Braxton.
“This is a new day for Gethsemane and for Metropolitan because we have had to send our baby out of the nest, and we know she is going to do great things for the Lord,” Braxton said. Barnes joined Metropolitan 15 years ago and she has served with the Braxtons as the assistant pastor to Pastoral Care and Youth Ministry for 12 years.
“This is the day we had to let her go,” Braxton said, before handing Barnes a preaching handkerchief as a gift for her new appointment.
“You know that in the ministry you have to walk a journey sometimes that will require you to shed some tears. Use it to preach and then use it to dry your tears. We’ve taken good care of her and she is prepared.”
In addition to her ministry to young people, Barnes has extended her reach globally particularly in Africa where she has advocated on behalf of the people of Darfur in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her advocacy led her to serve as the co-facilitator of the Darfur Interfaith Network, leading to events she has coordinated in the D.C. area, along with appearances on NBC4’s Viewpoint. She coordinated a joint vigil between Metropolitan AME Church and Washington Hebrew Congregation in front of the Sudanese Embassy in the District in which 300 people participated.
Due to her activism on behalf of the people of Darfur, Barnes was nominated by the Washington Chapter of the American Jewish Committee to travel to Israel with a delegation of Protestant clergy. Her experience in Israel and Palestine further enhanced her commitment to humanitarian efforts.
As an advocate for the women of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who have been victims of abuse with the recent war, Barnes participated in
the Third Black Women’s International Congress in Kinshasa.
Barnes holds a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola Marymount University in Political Science and a minor degree in French. She holds a Master of Arts from Howard University in Political Science and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She also holds a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary in pursuit of a Doctor of Ministry.
She is married to the Rev. Rodney Barnes, a Washingtonian, who will serve as Gethsemane’s assistant pastor. His ministerial responsibilities will include the men’s ministry, music ministry and evangelism. He is also a member of the Montgomery County Police Department.