Reverend Dr. Sondra Coleman
Born in Mobile, Alabama to Ann Owen and E. B. Coleman Jr., both musicians, she was raised in the A.M.E. Zion Church and baptized by her grandfather, the late Rev. O. F. Owen. Sondra developed a love for Christ, people and music in her early years. The diligent method employed by her grandfather instilled a spirit of ministry in her long before she realized it. As a child and until she left Mobile for college, she was involved in every ministry in the church. When she was employed in Birmingham after graduation from college, she joined Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Erskine Faush where she continued to serve as she was accustomed. She heard and answered the call to ministry under the pastoral leadership of Bishop Darryl B. Starnes, Sr. and realized she was being prepared for the vocation of ministry all of her life.
Rev, Coleman’s corporate experience includes nineteen years with AT&T (formerly BellSouth) a lucrative career with AT&T for 19 years; an Accounting Supervisor 11 and Human Resources Manager for 8 years recruiting persons for management, intern, and co-op positions. She also worked as a Facilitator Trainer for various departments within the company. She was also a licensed realtor for 10 years, a Contract Interviewer for 3 years with Samaritan Counseling Center for 5 years. She is currently employed with Hood Theological Seminary as Director of Extensions and Adjunct Professor in Pastoral Theology at Hood’s Extension site on the Lomax-Hannon Campus in Greenville, AL
Dr. Coleman’s leadership was apparent at an early age. She often emerged as the leader of multiple groups and ministries during her teen years and she continues to provide leadership in various capacities in this present age. Churches have flourished under her leadership as pastor and as Presiding Elder.
Presiding Elder Coleman has served Zion on every level. She held the position of Treasurer in the District Conference for several years until she was appointed Presiding Elder. She currently serves as the Annual Conference and Episcopal District Treasurers. Other positions include Episcopal Chair of Budget and Finance Committee, Executive Director of the Episcopal District’s Presiding Elders Council, Recording Secretary of the A.M.E. Zion International Presiding Elders Council, and Board Secretary of the Connectional Trustees.
Her strong passion for ministry is people, whom she sees as God's most precious assets. Deeply moved by injustice and determined to align deeply with social justice causes for the remainder of her life, she supports many justice organizations. She is a board member of Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM), which is dedicated to serving people, building people, and pursuing justice; she is also a board member of Faith in Action Alabama (FIAA), whose mission is to honor God and create systemic changes by creating pathways of equal opportunity for all citizens.
Gifted with a sense of humor, she knows without a doubt that the "joy of the Lord is her strength." Dr. Coleman believes as John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, “the world is her parish.” Leading with a zeal for excellence, inspired by her parents and grandparents, and surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, she is committed to being a servant leader, purposefully, persistently, and passionately.
Dr. Coleman’s Journey
1976 Bachelor of Business Administration/Accounting, Texas Southern University
1976 Began employment with BellSouth, Accounting Supervisor
1987 Promoted to Human Resources Manager
1994 Call to ministry; received Local Preacher License
1995 Resigned from Bellsouth, Enrolled in Beeson Divinity School
1996 First pastoral appointment to Mount Hermon Church
1997 Ordained Deacon
1998 Master of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
1998 2nd Pastoral Appointment – St. Luke Church
1999 Ordained Elder
2000 Elected 8th Delegate to General Conference
2004 Elected 5th Delegate to General Conference
2004 Named to Zion Benefits Board and elected Secretary
2005 Doctor of Ministry, Hood Theological Seminary
2006 Hired as Adjunct Professor, Hood Seminary’s Alabama Extension
2008 Elected 1st Delegate to General Conference
2010 Named Director of Extensions, Hood Seminary
2012 Elected 1st Delegate to General Conference
2013 Appointed Presiding Elder of the Birmingham District
2016 Elected 1st Delegate to General Conference
2018 Received the Jarena Lee “Herstory” Award for Pioneering Social Justice Spirit from the 9th Episcopal District Women in Ministry of the AME Church
2018 Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Livingstone College