Rev. Dr. Rita J. Colbert was born in Newport News, Virginia and has resided in the Washington Metropolitan area since early childhood. She grew up attending John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church in Washington, DC and preached her initial sermon at John Wesley in 1989. In 1993 she was appointed the pastor of Saint Mary A.M.E. Zion Church in Washington, DC and in 1996 to be pastor of North Brentwood A.M.E. Zion Church which is located in North Brentwood, Maryland.

In May of 2001 the late Bishop Milton A. Williams appointed Dr. Colbert to the position of Presiding Elder. Dr. Colbert continues to serve in that capacity, under Bishop Richard K. Thompson with supervisory responsibility over the AME Zion Churches in the Washington, DC area. She has served on the Board of Evangelism, Harriet Tubman Board, Restructuring Commission, Summit Committee and most recently the Christian Education Board, General Conference Site Committee and Pan Methodist Commission of the AME Zion Church. Dr. Colbert is the Second Vice President of the International Presiding Elder's Council.

Dr. Colbert earned her Master of Divinity degree from Howard University School of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Colbert is the wife of James V. Colbert, Sr., the mother of two sons – Reverend Quintin Borders and James, Jr. She is also the proud grandmother of six granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.

Presiding Elder Colbert is an enthusiastic servant of God who knows for herself that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to God’s purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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