Board Spotlight

Rev. Renee E. McKenzie Hayward, PhD

Founding board member

Current Board Treasurer, Past Board Chair

Rev. Dr. Renee McKenzie Hayward retired as the Vicar of the George W. South Memorial Church of the Advocate located in Philadelphia PA. She also served as the Episcopal Chaplain of Temple University, Philadelphia, PA..

The Church of the Advocate sits at the center of a historically black community, adjacent to Temple University. As an established community hub offering a variety of social service programs, the Advocate is a central place for the community to organize for social justice.

The Church of the Advocate has a long history of activism in North Philadelphia. The church was the first Episcopal church in the world to ordain women. And in 1968, the National Conference of Black Power was held there. The Church of the Advocate also hosted the Black Panther Conference of 1970, marking it a stronghold of civil rights.

To illustrate the church’s role in civil rights is a series of murals painted by Walter Edmonds and Richard Watson from 1973-1976 that line the walls within the church. The murals depict important moments in the struggle for Black liberation in America and inspire Rev. McKenzie.

“These murals tell me constantly that I have a responsibility, because they hold me accountable,” said Rev. McKenzie.

Although retired from her position at The Church of the Advocate, Rev. McKenzie serves as the worship leader at Calvary St. Augustine Episcopal Church located in West Philadelphia.

Rev. McKenzie received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Masters and PhD from Temple University with a concentration on Womanist Thought and the Philosophy of Religion.