Pastor Vernon Randolph Byrd, Jr. - ST. Matthew AME Philly
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Pastor Vernon Randolph Byrd, Jr.

Pastor Vernon Randolph Byrd, Jr.

Rev. Vernon R. Byrd Jr. is the son of the late Bishop Vernon R. Byrd, Sr. and retired Episcopal Supervisor Theora Byrd. He is a child of the parsonage and attended schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Bermuda. He is a graduate of Central High School in Philadelphia.  He received his BA degree in Economics and Sociology from Harvard University.  He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.  And he received his Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.



From a young age Rev. Byrd was active in virtually every area of the church. He was spiritually nurtured in the Sunday School and the YPD.  Rev. Byrd is a composer, singer and musician.  As a teenager he began directing choirs and has led choirs at Morris Brown AME in Philadelphia, St Paul AME Cambridge, MA and Hemmingway Memorial AME in Maryland.


After much resistance, Rev. Byrd, finally answered the call to preach, and under the unction of the Holy Spirit, was ordained to serve the A.M.E. Church. His walk in ministry started out at Hemmingway Memorial  in Maryland where he answered the call under the late Rev. Dr. William R. Porter.  Prior to being assigned to St. Matthew AME Church, Rev. Byrd was the pastor of Grant Chapel AME in Trenton NJ and St. Paul AME in South Bound Brook NJ.


As an attorney, Rev. Byrd served as Assistant General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Education at Johnson & Johnson. Prior to that he was a Senior Counsel for The New York Times. He is a member of the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York Bar Associations. At the General Conference in July of 2012, the AME Church elected Rev. Byrd to serve as a member of the Judicial Council.  His colleagues on the Council elected him Secretary for the current quadrennium.


In his leisure Rev. Byrd likes to golf and to hike.  On September 11 of 2014 Rev. Byrd reached another summit when he successfully climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  In May of 2017 Rev. Byrd also successfully climbed Machu Picchu in Peru.


Rev. Byrd is married to the Rev. Dr. Melinda Contreras-Byrd, and they are blessed to be the proud parents of two daughters, Kamaria and Alexa.


Last but not least, Rev Byrd is simply a child of God who strives to live so that the world might see the love of Jesus and give God the glory.

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