Loretta Y. Dickerson-Smith is the eldest daughter of Edward Lewis and Yvonne M. Dickerson who is a bay area native.  She attended elementary school in San Francisco and received a scholarship to St. Rose Academy for high school. After graduating, she attended college at Stanford University where she received a full academic scholarship and majored in Chemical Engineering and received her Bachelor degree in 1984.  


She began her ministry in music at the age of fourteen, playing for her home church and other bay area church choirs.  Her life is a living example of the scripture “I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall continually be in my mouth!”  She continued in her the music ministry and accepted a position as a musician at Allen Chapel AMEC in 1988. During these early years her faith matured and she united in marriage to her high school sweetheart.


Under the leadership of Rev. Carolyn Habersham, she joined Allen Chapel and began to serve not only has a musician but as a Sunday School teacher.  In 2005, she accepted her call into the ministry under the leadership of Rev. Ira Woodfin-Dickason and entered the Admissions Class the same year after preaching her trial sermon.



Loretta was ordained an Itinerant Deacon in 2008 where she serves both her local congregation and at the connection level.  She graduated from the American Baptist Seminary of the West with a Masters of Divinity in May 2013. That same year she was ordained as an Itinerant Elder.  During the 151st Session of the California Annual Conference in September 2015, she received her first pastoral assignment at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Chico, CA.  Her desire is to share the good news about the saving power of Jesus Christ, which is available to all who believe.


Loretta was given a vision to begin a community choir that has ministered to Chico community and has become a part of the church’s Evangelism and outreach to the community and university.  The choir brings the “Good News” of salvation and deliverance for the past three years with our annual concert that is held at Chico State University. This year’s concert included a special memorial to remember the lives who were affected or experienced loss through the devastation of the Campfire in Butte County.  As a result of the outreach to the victims of the fire, Rev. Loretta received the 2019 Community Service Award for the California Conference of the AME Church.


Loretta is married to her husband Mark Anthony Smith for the past 32 years and they are the proud parents of five children: Whitney, Alyssa, Marques, Jenelle and Justus.  They are the proud grandparents of their first grandchild, Alexis Jenelle Gray. To God be the Glory for the great things He has done.