Samuel M. Huddleston has been elected the first designated African-American executive presbyter. General Council delegates approved Huddleston on the second ballot Wednesday afternoon in a four-candidate contest.
Huddleston is assistant superintendent of the Assemblies of God Northern California-Nevada District in Sacramento. The AG Executive Presbytery will have 21 members when Huddleston takes office in October.
The General Council voted unanimously by voice vote in 2015 to approve the creation of a designated African-American presbyter slot.
Earlier, districts and networks submitted the names of 30 nominees for consideration. The four executive officers of the AG’s National Black Fellowship (NBF) also were among the candidates. By secret balloting, the General Presbytery whittled the slate to four candidates for the Wednesday vote: Huddleston and three officers in the NBF: Walter F. Harvey of Brown Deer, Wisconsin; Michael Nelson of Jacksonville, Florida; and Darnell Williams Sr. of Lima, Ohio.
Zollie L. Smith Jr., who is retiring as executive director of AG U.S. Missions after a decade, has been the sole African-American on the EP panel in recent years. His newly elected replacement, Malcolm Burleigh, also is African-American.
African-Americans constitute 10 percent of the U.S. AG Fellowship, according to the most recent statistics.