Dr. Mildred “Bonnie” Hines, Pastor of First A.M.E. Zion Church, Los Angeles, made history on Friday when she became the first female bishop elected to serve in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the first Bishop elected from the West Coast.
The historic election took place during the 48th Quadrennial Session in Atlanta. Dr. Hines was one of three Bishops elected from a field of 25 candidates and will serve the Western/West Africa Episcopal District, including the East Ghana, Mid Ghana, West Ghana, Liberia, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire conferences.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I have been elected to serve my church at this level,” said Dr. Hines. “I am grateful for the hard work and support of my family members, Assistant Pastor, Rev. Jimmie Miller, Church Administrator, Gwen Brumfield, and the stewards, trustees and members of First A.M.E. Zion Church during this campaign. I could not have accomplished this goal without the support of the officers and delegates from throughout the connection. And, I am thankful for the leadership and guidance provided by my campaign manager, Jewett L. Walker Jr.”
She continued, “as Bishop, I am committed to developing church-wide ministries – social, spiritual and environmental – to deal with the needs of our members; developing intergenerational programs to illustrate the value of collaboration between all ages; working with other Bishops to develop church-wide, universal record-keeping, budgeting and congregational financial reporting methods; working with other Bishops to develop curricula and initiate church-wide workshops addressing morality and ethics to combat the impact of negative images to which we are exposed through various mediums; developing partnerships with colleges, universities, corporations and agencies, to expose our youth to 21st century educational pathways, careers and employment options; working to keep our ministers healthy as they continue to lead; and increasing outreach to the communities surrounding our churches so as to: 1) assist in building and maintaining our communities; 2) meet the immediate needs of humankind; 3) bring souls to Christ; and 4) expose people to the AME Zion Church.
Dr. Hines has served as Pastor of four A.M.E. Zion churches: Waddell, in Shelby, North Carolina, from 1992 to 1998; St. Peter’s Tabernacle, in Gastonia, North Carolina from 1998 to 2001; Walls Memorial in Charlotte, from 2001 to 2004 and her current post at First A.M.E. Zion, Los Angeles, from 2004 to present.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill College in North Carolina; a master’s in psychology from University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and a master’s of divinity as well as a doctor of ministry, both degrees from Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Founded in 1796, the A.M.E. Zion Church has more than 1 million members and churches on all continents except Australia. The church maintains headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina and has 12 Episcopal Districts covering the U.S. and abroad. In addition to Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina and Hood Speaks Theological Seminary in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, the church supports Livingstone College in Salisbury, Clinton Junior College in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Lomax-Hannon Junior College in Greenville, Alabama, and A.M.E. Zion University in Monrovia, Liberia. The A.M.E. Zion Church was active in both the abolitionist movement as well as the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.