Bishop Audrey Bronson, D.Min.
Dr. Audrey F. Bronson, ordained minister and consecrated bishop, is founder and pastor of the Sanctuary Church of the Open Door. She began preaching at the early age of fourteen years and after many years of serving as an evangelist, she was lead of the Lord to establish the Sanctuary Church of the Open Door in 1975. Under her leadership, the church has grown tremendously. She also founded the Sanctuary Christian Academy in 1978, a private academic school from pre-school to fifth grade; the Sanctuary Bible Institute and the Sanctuary Counseling and Referral Center.
Due to the overwhelming demands of a growing church, Dr. Bronson retired from Cheyney University in 1984 as Associate Professor of Psychology after seventeen years of teaching. She served as Dean of the Philadelphia Urban Education Institute, a subsidiary of the African American Interdenominational Ministries, Inc. (AAIM, Inc.) of Philadelphia in association with the major seminaries of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Bronson served on the boards of One Church, One Child, Inc. of Pennsylvania, as state secretary, a statewide organization organized to encourage members of African American Churches to adopt African American children. She also served on the Mayor’s Transition Team. She served two years on the Executive Committee of the Association of Theological Schools and two years as Executive Director of AAIM, Inc. Currently she serves on the board of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and she is the first female to be elected President of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity.
Dr. Bronson, a native of Florida, comes from a family of ministers and educators. Her father, Dr. Uriah Perry Bronson, was a minister and pastor of churches in Florida. He was also principal of several schools in Florida. Her mother and step-mother were both teachers and church workers. Her brother, Dr. Oswald P. Bronson, a United Methodist minister, was pastor of several churches; president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and recently retired president of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida.
Dr. Bronson received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Cheyney University; a Masters degree in psychology from Howard University where she became a Ph.D candidate in psychology. She earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from New York Theological Seminary. She holds a Doctor of Divinity degree from Bethune-Cookman College and a Doctor of Humane Letters from the National Theological Seminary and College.
On December 17, 1994, she was consecrated to the office of Bishop and now presides over many churches in the International Fellowship of Churches, Inc.
The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Bishop Bronson is in demand as a speaker, panelist, television guest and consultant. She served briefly as the host of the Dialogue television program. She has ministered at conferences and seminars throughout the United States, Germany, South Africa and Bermuda.
Bishop Bronson served on the Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission (MOVE). Her picture and resume were on display at the Afro-American Museum in Philadelphia as one of the Black women who has made a contribution to Philadelphia in the area of religion. She is listed in the book entitled Philadelphia Leaders, 1991, Who’s Who In Delaware Valley, and has been nominated for the book, Who’s Who in Black America. She is a member of the Heritage Registry Who’s Who for 2005-2006. Dr. Bronson’s photo and brief resume appears in an issue of the African American Pulpit as one of “Those Preaching Women” and Gospel Today magazine as one of 2005’s most loved pastors. She recently received the Ruth B. Hayre Award for excellence in education. Bishop Bronson dedicated the Air Traffic Control Tower, a Federal Building at the Philadelphia International Airport.
Bishop Bronson is deeply touched by suffering people, consequently, the church doors are open seven days a week to minister to people in need of both spiritual and physical help. Bishop Bronson has served as block captain; ministered in prisons; worked to rid the area of drugs surrounding her church and helped to feed homeless people.
She has a tremendous desire to bring about changes in the lives of her fellowman and faith in his ability to help himself. Changes in society are brought about by relatively few superior individuals deciding to have a mission in life to help their fellowman. Providing an example which inspires many, Bishop Bronson continues to be a multi-cited personality.
“My life is based on one historical hero, Jesus Christ, and two historical heroines,” says Bishop Bronson, “Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune.”