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hello, i'm pat lawson muse. from a modern day pastor making history to a 19th century pass for whose history is being honored in our own backyard. she is a pentecostal preacher who made church history recently by shattering the dplglass ceil her organization. bonnie hunter in capital heights,aryland is the first woman ever elevated to the osition of bishop in the international bible way church ead quartered here in washington, d.c. bible way is head ofox apately 140 churches in the nation and around the world.
bishop hunter, greetings. >> i'm happy to be here. >> congratulations to be honored as a bishop. you've come aoong way becoming the first woman bishop. does it fl like you broke a glass ceiling? >> yes. we have reached beyond, beyond even my imagination. to know that god will open that door and let uso this far. >> god helped open the door but you did a lot ofsh g. >> absolutely. a lot of praying and working and the work has spoken for itself. >> you have served as the pastor of frip outreach church in prince georges county since 1995. you founded friendship as an independent church because becoming a woman pastor and ynir ortion and bible way just wasn't an option, is tht? ri >> it wasn't an option. they didn't believe in women pastors, women ministers, they
would never allow us topr ch. if we were too loud, they would pull our kcoattails. w as the lord called me that i would not be accepted. so i just stepped up my faith and the lord led me, and we opened our church in 1995, and so we thankor god the leading of the lord. i wasn't even ordained. i just heard the voice of god, stepped out, and god said, let me show you the way. >> your fatherg was a str leader in the church, but he also didn't believe women should be stors. >>no, he didn't believe, because he was taught the same thing, that women are taught to preach. won are not going to pastor. so he kept that rule. you had to talk fromr. the fl so i took opportunities when they had testimony service, that's when i preached. i was preaching and didn't even realize itut the preaching was on me. but those were my opportunities because the didn't belie in women preachers. >> you could have remained
independent. you stepped out in 1995 and started your own churchf independent bible way. you could have stayed that way. but in 1991, something happened. the organization that wouldn't even ordain you to be able to stand in front of a congregation and deliver a sermon to come back. how big a surprise was that? >> i mean, i was like,oh, my god. i was at a banquet. at that time the presiding prelay, pasr lawrence campbell, just approached me at the table and said, i heard good thingsbout yound i believe in women pastors. won't you come on back to bible way? so i prayed about it and i heard the lord say for such a time as this, i've raised you up. go back. h andtory begins. n went back to the very place that wouldn't e believe in women pastors. >> yeah, because you wanted to show them something, i assume, too. >> i was successful. and they heard the success. and they e said,nt her.
and at that very time, i had just bought my church. ghwe had just b our church building. and he just heard the of what we were doing. >> so you became, at that pointt the foman given a license to serve as a pastor. >> yes. >> in bible way. that was a big thing. >> that was history for bible way, of being the first woman pastor. because they had none. bure they women that were undercover pastoring. but because they didn't accept it -- >> undercover meaning they were working as pastors >> yes. >> -- but bible way didn't know about it? >> no credentials, nothing. so when i went back and they were going to give mepastor's credentials, it was amazing, because the womenidn't believe it was going to ever happen. so i said, they're going to give me credentials. i said, i won't belie it until it happens. >> years later, bishop hunter,
you became t first woman promoted to a district elder. a district eld oversees groups of churches. when you were a pastor, you were helping to start other churches in bible way. >>absolutely. and every church i started, i brought into the bible way church, which helped it to grow. so we had birthed seven urches. the work was there, but i was a woman. so that was a ste'ggle. going to take a break. we're talking with bishop bonnie hunter. l be right back.
continuing now our discussion with bishop bonnie hunter, you last year were finallyo elevated the position of bishop in bible way, the ternational bible way church. >> uh-huh. >> you're the first woman ever to get that title. >> first ever, and i am humbled and honored to receive that. >> how much bapu did you
get? did they changehe rules to -- they were trying to work around it. they were changing the rules the whole time every te my name came up to be elected. it was pushback every year until finally the executive board and the board of bishops came together and it was a unanimous vote to vote me. >> did it feel odd, bishop hunter, always finding yourself the only womanoo in thel pit when you would go to various church services, when you would preside over church services or church events? there would be all the men dressed in their clergy attire sitting in the pulpit area, and you were the onlyoman sitting there in the middle. how did that make you feel? >> it seemed uncomfortable, but i felt ibe nged. and i felt that i kneelneeded te a statement to include women.
it was just like rosa park. i'm notoing to be moved because it's not about me, it's ugout the women. so even t it felt uncomfortable, it was something itat i had to stick with. and i stuck it. >> so now you're the first woman and you're still the onl female bishop. >> yes. >> is there another on the horizon? well, when they make a district elder, that district elder, that's the key, that's what they were aaid of. when you make a district elder, eventually -- >> that's the next ste is bishop. >> yes. is to they have elected a yo iger person whoa district elder,o i believe that doors open for that person and many others behind me that will onee day bec a bishop as well. >> and what about pastors, women pastors? you said before they were doing it in secret, pastoring church in >>secret? n secret. >> women no longer have to do that. >> no. all they have to do i come and
say they are pastoring a church and want to become par of the organization and they will be given credentials. >> do you know how many women approximately there are now in bibleway? >> i would say probably about 50. 50 i have knowledge aof. that's a big number for bible way. >> absolutely. and they're coming in.e >> you wn advocate. you really are a trailblazer. did you set out to be a trailblazer o w just to dot you feel was the calling on your own life? >> the calling on my own life se me up to be a trailblazer. because there were soom many that were held back. and i knew that i knew. because being raised the way i was raised and saying a w dan couldn it, and i kept skaring god speaking to me. and i one of the preachers, i said, how did god call you? they began to tell me h god called them. i said, god called me the same way. >> the only difference siis i'm woman. >> i'm a woman.
that's always been the fight, being woman. i said, god knows why he chose me. >> you're the only woman now among male bishops. do you feel fully accepted? >> i don'teel fully accepted, but i'm getting there and i feel the embrace. i feel them accepting me. i'm a lady and that's another thing tedy're conce about, how you coming in here? i'm a lady and i'm still a bula, i have a voice. >> a woman with a voice w is not afraid to use it. >> not afraid to use it. >> whaic a would you give, bishop hunter, to other women who feel the call to pastor in their particular denominations and religious organizations no matter what the organizationis? >> the way i went -- when you hear god call you and t's god, you got to move on that. man will hold you back, but god will make the opportunity, he will open doors for you, but i
will tell them wait on it. be patient, continue to do what you're doing, because god will make theway. if god calls you, that's his problem. he's going to do it. he's going to ope thosedoors. he's going to elevate you. don't go for the title, just d the work. >> you see it in strictlyua spir terms rather than in terms of, you know, naturally getting in there and struggling and fighting for yourself? >> when i look at that, when you see spiritual, then you're looking at the humanity part. there was a lot of rejection, a lot of disa appomentppointments couldn't quit. i see those visions and i'm like, oh,god, and now i'm in
the place i was meant to be. i see people fighting a good fight and god develop you in the process of waiting. >> congratulations again. >> thank you. k >>w you have lots of followers in this area and you have a nice, strong chch, activechurch, and you've done a lot of good in the cmunity and prince georges county. now you're spreading good across the country. >> i'm so honored you would have me here today. >> thank you, bishop hunter. >> god bless next a pastor whose 19th century history is being honored in our own backyard.
county, you probably heard of jj robert henson. tell us who he was. >> robert henson wasaz an g man with a lot of achievements in his life. he w formerly enslaved here in montgomery countynd he escaped in the underground railway with his family. once he made his way to, cana he worked there as a miller efrmiller, he was an ordained minister and he was a published author. his narrative really helped people underst slavery in the south. >> why do you think his profile hasn't been higher here in the state? >> well, i think there's two reasons. bescuse hensoned to canada and he basically stayed there and did not come back to the united states -- >> and he's a hero there. >> -- and he's a hero in canada, but we'vebo forgotten him
here in the united states because we really spent more time thing about frederick douglas and his role in the il abolitionist cights movement. i think the other reason we've forgotten about henson association to the term of uncle tom. what people need to know is when hari hariett beacher wrote her memoir, she tked about uncle tom. she developed the character uncle tom with slavery, but as uncle tom hit the bigscreen, it evolved into this negative, derogatory term. >> you have done a lot of research for the exhibits that will go io the museum, which will be opening sometime next year, perhaps, and you've written a boo about josiah henson, a biography, rather, entitled "sharp flashes of lightning come from black ." clou
you brought a copy of it here. this is about the life of joah henson. to what does the title refer, "sharp flashes of lightning from black clouds"? >> when henson makes this qinte his narrative, he talks about how most slaves we not provided for an education. maryland education was not prohibited to africa iamericans, buwas shunned upon. so he never learned to read and write while he here in maryland. it didn't happen until later in his life. but he became a published author despite being illiterate for a very long time. and he really spent the rest of canada while he was in making sure that other freedom seekers who made their way from the united states to canada had access to an educati so they could be gainfully employed. >> so now he worked on the plantaon in montgomery county rockville.n >> correct.
>> but he actually wound up leaving there and going to kentucky. >> he did. while he was aven in montgomery county, his owner went through some legal issues, so his owner had asked that fnson take him and all the enslaved peoplem montgomery county all the way to kentucky. and basically it was an escape, in a ns so raleigh wouldn't have to pay his debts. so henso led all these people to kentucky and they stayed there for many years. most of the enslaved people in kentucky wereimately sold to the deep south. henson was able to avoid that, an eventually he made the decision, very courageous deci aon, that he his family needed to make the escape to canada. that was the only way they wouli e freedom. >> so he was working on the underground railroad. this was before harriet tubman. >> right. he made it through himself, and canada,made his way to he made the decision to come back to the united states to
help other freedom ekers. which was a really courageous decision -- >> risky. >> veryrisky. he was still considered a fugitive at that point. for him to comehe back to united states, if he had been caught, he could have been taken back to isaac raleigh and put back into slavery. >> i think one ointhe most resting and notable things about him, he not only helped those slaves escape, when they got to canada, he helpedmpower them. he set up an encampment, if you will,he where communities began to thrive and to strengthen, and then they became a real community. >> right. theommunity you're referring to is dawn, and he really did have a majorand in establishing the institutions you expect and you need in a community, a church, a school, a mill, things where african-americans inhat community could develop cameraderie, they developed the skills they need to get jobs, their children were educated, and for the first i time their
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we are talking this morning about the jo sirsiah henson mus in montgomery count slated to open about a year from now or so. tell us wt visitors can expect from this facility. >> i'm glad you asked. h we'reing to have the site opened by august of 2020. when guests come, the first place they'll stop is at the vis visitors center where they'll see a t short film learn a little about josiah henson. the main house built in 1900 is
dedicated to helping tell josiah henson's story. they'll carry exhibits from when he was born until his death in 1883. we'll tackle uncle tom's cabin, and we'll t about contemporary issues and the lasting impact of slavery and racism here in the united states. >> did members of the henson family and the family that owned josiah henson,saac riley, are they involved in this project and are there still members of the family in this area? >> yes. both members of the riley a henson family participated in the henson advisory committee, and it was a bunch of different stakehol hrs whoped us develop the exhibits. e ran content by them to get their approval and to make sure they were happy with the story we were providing to the public. both sides do have members still in the dmv area.
henson's family is still heavily in canada, but we ha them a the site this past august for a family reunion, and so we're really happy to have both sides nevolved in this story. >> this isf the projects that montgomery parks is working on. tell us about some of the other historic sites that you have to offer. >> i'm glad you asked that, because right now the henson site is closed to the public until we open the new museum. so for people who are loong fo historic sites to visit in montgomery county, we have a coupac -- ally, a few that are going to open starting in april. the first one i would mention is thewoodlawn museum which is in sandy spring, and there people can learn about the intersection of white and black communities in montgomery county prior to emancipation in 1864. and at the gift shop there, they can a bually purchase thek on josiah henson. we also havehe kingsley schoolhouse, which is a 1920s
one-room schoolhouse in clarksburg. we have te experie on reconstruction and the ag hou in deerwood where we talk about farming practices in the county from 1876 to the 1940s. >> a lot of history there. >> yes, ma'am. >> and a lot of historyeing preserved with the education center. can people volunteer to work at the sites? >> absolutely. i hope your guests will check out our website at history ine parks.org where we talk and that'communities another means people can purchase the book. and all proceeds from the book go back to the museum. >> the author f jamieguson coons of montgomery park. thank you, hamie. >> you for having me. to see any of our programs log ono washingtonnews.com and
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new this morning, police are trying toigure out who shot and killed a man in northeast d.c. plus, we are staying on top of the mueller report. whatt inside that rep remains a mystery as the battle for its release is just gi ing. the gw parkway back open this morning after emergencyau repairs b of a sinkhole. >> another busy sunday, yeah, that was a mess right there and thankfully it's fixed now. good morning to you 6:00 on the dot on a sunday morning. i'm adam tuss. >> i'm megan fitzgerald.n we are store for a beautiful, i hear, sunday fun day. >> let's hold her to it. el she says it's going to happen, thener on this promise today.