The Rev. Frank M. Reid III, one who has used his religious clout to climb the ranks of popularity among Baltimore City’s Black church community, is the senior pastor of the widely recognized Bethel AME Church, located on Druid Hill Avenue in West Baltimore.
As the African Methodist Episcopal Church celebrates its 50th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference and Bicentennial, Reid is a candidate for Bishop in the church.
“God just made it clear to me that I was called to run for Episcopal service, and if I get elected I will go where the [AME] church sends me and will give the church good day’s service, Reid told the AFRO. “If I don’t get elected, I’ll come back to Bethel and grow Bethel to even greater heights.”
Reid’s campaign theme promotes sound and effective leadership, particularly in Baltimore City. He has resided in Baltimore for 28 years.
“Our theme is ‘It’s Time to Lead with Reid’… It’s a time to lead change – it’s time to lead change in our communities. It’s time to lead change in our churches. It’s time to lead change in our city. It’s time to lead change in our nation,” he said.
Reid, 65, was born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis, where he attended school. As a fifth-generation minister, Reid has been preaching for more than 40 years.
He said there isn’t a region in particular where he thinks or hopes he’ll be assigned, and highlighted that the Episcopal Committee makes those assignments.
“My focus right now is on getting elected, and once that happens, I still believe in the will of God. And if it’s God’s will that I get elected, the district they assign me to will be in the will of God and I will accept wherever that might be,” he said.
Reid added the person who will succeed him as the pastor at Bethel, if possible, is “rooted in the bishop who makes the appointment.” The official Reid was referring to is the presiding bishop of the AME Church’s second district, including churches in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina. The second district’s presiding bishop, who will also be appointed at the general conference, will consult various officials and parishioners at Bethel to base his decision on what is in the best interests of the church.
The Rev. William DeVeaux, Sr., who currently serves as the bishop for the second Episcopal district, sponsored Reid’s candidacy.
Reid has received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, a master’s of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctor of ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
A number of influential Black intellectuals and religious leaders have made appearances at Bethel AME, including Cornel West, Terry McMillan, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Dick Gregory, Marian Wright Edelman and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
In 2004, Reid ran for Bishop, but withdrew.
“Because my father would have retired in 2004, I kept my name off the ballot… I did not run a campaign. I did not go to any of the meetings. I just wanted my name to stay on the ballot. And then after the first [round of] votes, then I would’ve pulled my name out, which I did anyway,” he said.
Furthermore, Reid is regarded as an accomplished author and motivational speaker, and has voiced his opinion on several social issues concerning race and the Black religious community. He and his wife, Marlaa’ Hall Reid, have been married for more than 30 years. Reid also has three children, all of whom are heavily involved in ministry.
Before relocating to Baltimore, Reid has held leadership ministerial roles in churches located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Monrovia, Liberia.