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Richard Allen Stenhouse

He was born in Buffalo, New York.
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Reverend Richard A. Stenhouse is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopla Church. A native of Buffalo, New York, he was educated in the Buffalo Public Schools, received a BA degree in Mathematics from State University of New York at Buffalo and Masters of Divinity from United Theological Seminary.

Reverend Stenhouse began his pastoral ministry in 1982 as Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Lackawanna, New York, where he served for two years. In August 1984, he assumed the pastorate of Bethel AME Church, Norwalk, Connecticut, appointed by Bishop Richard Allen Hildebrand. In June of 1997, Bishop Philip Cousin appointed him to the pastorate of historic Bethel AME Buffalo, the oldest Black Church in Western New York.

Reverend Stenhouse worked untiringly the religious realm of the Norwalk, CT community. He was affiliated with such organizations as: Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship (IMF), where he served as president (four years), secretary (two years), and treasurer(two years); Norwalk Clergy Association (NCA) serving as president (two years), secretary (three hears), treasurer (two years); and the Martin Luther King City-Wide Service Committee serving as chairperson for twelve years.

In the civic and social realms, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Human Service council Mid-Fairfield County, secretary (two Years); Norwalk-Wilton Chapter of the American Red Cross – President and Vice President; Norwalk Emergency Shelter – Vice President; Broad River Congregate Home; NEON Community Action Organization for the City of Norwalk (1986); YMCA and Urban League of Southwestern Connecticut; Chaplain-Norwalk Police Department; Grant Application Review Committee, The Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission; Chairperson – Mayor’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Task Force; Minority Achievement Committee; Coalition for Excellence in Education; UConn-Stamford Downtown Initiatives; Norwalk Homeless Shelter – Vice President; City of Norwalk Fair Housing Advisory Committee – Chairperson; State Department of DCF Regional Advisory Council; Fairfield County Foundation Youth Council and Trail Board for the Norwalk P9olice Department. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at Norwalk Community Technical College. Rev. Stenhouse received the Stamford Advocate’s 1994 Leadership Award for Community Service.

The success of Bethel AME Church – Norwalk, CT and its programs are accredited to Reverend Stenhouse’s inspiration and leadership. Under his leadership, the church founded two non-profit corporations, a housing corporation which developed a 1.3 million dollar – 10 unit Cooperative Housing for Moderate Income Families and a two family housing unit. This is the first housing project ever undertaken by a Black religious organization in the City of Norwalk and State of Connecticut. A transportation service was started to provide service to the greater Norwalk community with two coach buses. In January 1996, the church expanded its educational building at a cost of three hundred five thousand dollars ($305,000). The expansion included twelve classrooms, elevator, state of the art sound system, four restrooms, and renovations to equip the church for total handicap accessibility. Reverend Stenhouse was Founder and Director of the Educational Center, which housed a summer enrichment program (120 students) for pre-kindergartners through high school.

As Pastor of Bethel-Buffalo, Reverend Stenhouse is the executive Director of Bethel Head Start, the oldest and largest Head Start program in Western New York. In 1998, Bethel Church formed the Bethel Community Development Corporation through a ten thousand dollar grant from the Chase Manhattan Foundation. In 2000, the CDC was successful in securing a fifty thousand dollar grant from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a loaned executive from the City of Buffalo to work for the Bethel CDC and a one million, five hundred dollar, three year grant from Fleet Bank and LISC. Bethel CDC has constructed fourteen homes in the Cold Spring area of Buffalo for low and moderate-income families; a two million, seven hundred thousand dollar day care facility, and a retail incubator for minority entrepreneurs on Jefferson Avenue and in partnership with Belmont Shelter, thirty rental units in Buffalo. Bethel CDC purchased 1461 Main Street in Buffalo and leased the building to Bethel Head Start to house its administrative staff. In September 2003, Reverend Stenhouse was appointed to the Board of Regents of Canisius College and the Community Advisory Committee of Buffalo State University.

Reverend Stenhouse is one of the founding members of the Jeremiah Partnership, a historic partnership of seven faith-based institutions on the East Side of Buffalo. Founded in 2003, this partnership addresses the housing, economic development and educational needs of the East Side of Buffalo. In November 2006, the Jeremiah Partnership received a 1.1 million dollar grant for three economic development projects. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of LEWAC Associates of WNY, Inc. and previously served on the Board of Directors of Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Buffalo.

Before entering the ministry, Rev. Stenhouse managed his family businesses. He was the first African American computer programmer employed by M&T Bank and worked as a system engineer at Comptek.

In February 2004, Governor George Pataki appointed Reverend Stenhouse to the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. Reverend Stenhouse is the first and only clergy on the nine member authority.

Rev. Stenhouse is married to the former Sharon Davis and is the son of Edward and Thelma Stenhouse of Buffalo, New York. He has one daughter, Nicole and three grandchildren, Lucy, Tiana and Vernard.