I am deeply moved and find it difficult to adequately express my gratitude and admiration for the late Bishop Hines. I recall being present in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 18, 2008, at the 48th General Conference of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church as she was elected the 98th bishop in the line of succession of The A.M.E. Zion Church.
I could not have imagined that I would one day pastor in the Western Episcopal District, where, by divine arrangement, Bishop Hines would be the bishop in residence.
Our bond was profound; a mutual affection and respect blossomed between us. I had the privilege to serve her in various capacities, both in person and where she needed to remotely serve the wonderful people of the South Atlantic Episcopal District. Her calls, whether to record a sermon or to join in worship with the First Church Pasadena family, were always cherished moments.
I am profoundly honored that her final sermon was delivered at First Church in Pasadena, California. Her message, titled "Bend but Don't Snap," Matthew
28:16-20; remains a source of inspiration. The privilege to offer final prayers by her bedside as she transitioned into the glorious presence of God, granted to me by her family, is something I hold close to my heart.
Zion has indeed lost a giant in the passing of Bishop Hines. Her legacy of strength, wisdom, and grace looms large, a beacon of light and inspiration for us all. As we approach the next General Conference, it is my earnest prayer that the church remembers the remarkable trail she blazed. May we see the fulfillment of her legacy in the election of another female bishop, continuing the journey of diversity and equity in the life of our cherished church.
Let us continue to pray, trusting that God will guide the A.M.E. Zion church forward, always keeping us anchored in faith and unity.