More about Dr. Barbara . . . This great lady is someone whom I continue to admire and respect. Getting to know her, and to appreciate all that she had done, has been a blessing for me. The story below was written in 2011; and I realize even more, (now – in 2017) that she is “super” remarkable. In 2014, she gave an interview to the “History Makers” which is in the permanent collection at the Library of Congress. In addition, her foot-steps were placed in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame (Atlanta, GA). She has donated her personal collection to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History (Atlanta) that is used by researchers worldwide – which has encouraged me to take the same course with the papers that I have created during my seventy-five years.
Dr. Barbara King moves with grace – both kinds: The Grace from God and the grace of an elegant lady. When she enters a room, all eyes turn to her. When she speaks, the people listen. And, she loves Butterflies! I am privileged to call her my friend.
There are many titles to chose from when you speak of this woman; I just want to call her “Dr. Barbara” because this is how I came to know and love her. So let me take advantage of the fact that I am writing this column and say why I know Bishop Barbara Lewis King is more than your ordinary “History Maker.”
I’ve lived a long time now and I’ve known of, and about, lots of phenomenal women. Some of my heroes are Mary McCloud Bethune and Hatshepsut (the woman Pharaoh who ruled in the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt). And now I have added Barbara Lewis King to my list. But, more importantly, this particular hero, I know up close and personal.
The living legacy of Bishop Dr. Barbara Lewis King is long-standing. She is the founder minister/world spiritual leader and CEO of Hillside International Chapel and Truth Center, Inc, one of the largest New Thought Movement Churches in the world; and she has been en-stooled as the first female chief at Assin Nsuta, Ghana, West Africa. Having had audiences with the Dalai Lama, South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and having worked closely with His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Dr. & Master Zhi Gang Sha, she is known throughout the world. Dr. Barbara, as she is affectionately called by her congregation, has been a guest at the White House consulting with Presidents Jimmy Carter and William J. Clinton. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference honored her with the 2011 Beautiful Are Your Feet Award; and the Trumpet Awards Foundation placed her footprints into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
A Sunday School teacher at age 13 and a Woman’s Day speaker at age 15 in her home town of Houston, TX, Dr. Barbara was destined for service in the ministry, and more, specifically, to her people. She learned Christian principles from her family, was an “A” student in high school and Texas Southern University. After Dr. King received her Master of Social Work degree from Atlanta University, she settled in Chicago. She held several prominent social work positions before meeting Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon, founding minister of the Christ Unity Temple, who inspired her to pursue her dream to become a minister.
Barbara Lewis King continued her work in social work at Atlanta University and later served as Dean of Students at Spelman College. In 1971, The Reverend Dr. Barbara Lewis King, with twelve friends and prayer partners, founded Hillside International Chapel and Truth Center. Over the years, Hillside has grown in its mission and its service. In 1977, the Barbara King School of Ministry was founded to train ministers and “Truth” teachers to spread the metaphysical principles in the universe and develop other New Thought Movement Churches.
The nationally acclaimed Transform Your Life, is one of the nine books and monographs authored by Bishop King, in addition to numerous magazine articles and essays. She hosted her own television show, “A New Thought, A New Life,” which appeared on network and cable television. Recognized as one of the foremost spiritual leaders in the 21st century, Bishop King continues to receive numerous honors. When you go into the International Hall of Honor at the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College, you will see her portrait hanging there among the likes of many luminaries. At the Smithsonian Museum, you will find her portrait hung in the gallery of “Women in the Pulpit,” and the ITC (The Interdenominational Theological Center) honored her with their Trail Blazer Award.
“An essential tenet of Dr. Barbara Lewis King’s ministry is the unity, oneness, and connectedness of all life, and she has spent a lifetime devoted to these principles,” says Bishop Carlson Pearson, who performed the ceremony consecrating The Reverend Dr. Barbara Lewis King to be the first Bishop within the international New Thought Christian Movement of Churches by the International College of Bishops.
“My personal commitment is to touch someone’s life and help them to see their very special talent to be given to the world as only they can do,” says Dr. Barbara.
When a Black female preacher can build a church on the top of a hill, and keep it there for 45 years – growing and thriving – she has got to be a woman of fortitude – full of God’s grace. What a woman. What an extraordinary woman who continues to make history.