Spurgeon Chapel AME Zion Church invites the community to attend the morning service on May 15 in honor of its new pastor, Reverend Erica N. Haigler.
The morning worship at 10:30 a.m. will feature church leader, Reverend Larry Brinson, Maryville District evangelical leader and meditative speaker, Reverend Dr. Richard M. Gadzekpo, former president of Chattanooga District AME Zion Church. Music will be provided by musical director Leroy Sims and soloist Cynethia Sims.
“She (Haigler) has been an asset to Spurgeon and the community,” said Willie Jean Robertson, preacher steward and appreciation program coordinator.
Haigler received a dual bachelor’s degree in fine arts and education and a master’s degree in education, curriculum and teaching, all from Tennessee State University (TSU) in Nashville. It was at TSU that she was introduced to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
In 2006, Haigler preached his first sermon at Mt. Pleasant AME Zion Church in Rockford, Tennessee, under the tutelage of Reverend Dr. Richard M. Gadzekpo, his ministry father. In 2012, Erica was ordained a deacon in AME Zion Church by the late Bishop Roy Anderson Holmes, and was ordained an elder by the Most Reverend Bishop Darryl B. Starnes Sr. in May 2014.
Erica’s past pastorates include: Rice Chapel AME Zion Church – Madisonville, Tenn., Craigs Chapel AME Zion Church – Greenback, Tenn., and Speights Chapel AME Zion -Rockwood, Tenn.
In June 2021, history was made when she became the first female pastor in the history of Spurgeon Chapel AME Zion Church and the first African-American female pastor in the city of Oak Ridge.
Haigler also maintains a professional career. As an independent contractor for a national agency, she helps provide intensive mental and behavioral health services to families and children who have experienced life-altering circumstances. It has been his passion for 15 years. She is a Certified HIV/AIDS Counselor and is pursuing certification as a Certified Behavior Technician and Life Coach. She is also active in the Knoxville and Roane County communities, having been a member of the Rockwood Ministerial Alliance, an American Red Cross crisis volunteer, and a graduate in community leadership through the Action Committee. community of Knoxville. She recently became a member of the Oak Ridge Chapter of the NAACP and the Oak Ridge Ministerial Alliance.
Haigler has held many church positions, including: Tennessee Conference Liaison to End Childhood Poverty for the AME Zion Church, Tennessee Conference Statistician, Member of the Tennessee Conference Finance Committee, Member of the Maryville District Intercessory Prayer Team, a member of the Church Growth and Development Council and Maryville District Secretary.
Her heart’s desire is to continue to be molded into a “Proverbs 31 woman” daily. She is grateful to have the opportunity to work for the glory of God and to serve the people of God. She espouses and personifies the belief: “It pays to give God and His people the best of yourself. Be kind, loving and genuine. It always brings a reward. She claims, “I was brought up on these principles and I will never give them up.”
Haigler was born in South Carolina and raised by her late grandmother, Rosa Belle Haigler. She is the proud daughter of Reverend Barbara Ann Haigler, pastor of Broadway Temple AME Zion Church in Louisville, Ky., and past president of the Tennessee Conference of AME Zion Church.
Spurgeon Chapel AME Zion Church is located at 100 S. Benedict Ave, Oak Ridge. Email the church at [email protected].