The Right Reverend Mildred “Bonnie” Hines is the first of five daughters—Renita, Marcia, Charlotte, and Maria (deceased)-- born to Roscoe and JoAnn Gwyn Hines of Mount Airy, North Carolina, a rural, family town. The home of her grandparents, Jess and Melissa Gwyn, was one of the three gathering sites for members of the community; the other two were the church and the school.
Bishop Hines received her schooling in the public county schools in Surry County, North Carolina. She credits Miss Virginia Galloway, her first grade teacher, for instilling in her a thirst for learning and a passion for speaking. Her favorite subjects were English, chemistry, history, and home economics at North Surry High School. After receiving an academic and athletic scholarship, Bishop Hines attended Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, North Carolina, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Home Economics Education. She received her Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She was awarded a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and certification in Clinical Pastoral Counseling from the Colgate Rochester School of Divinity in Rochester, New York. She was awarded a Doctor of Ministry from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bishop Hines pastored First A.M.E. Zion Church in Los Angeles, California, prior to her election to the episcopacy.
Previous assignments and involvement included:
Pastor, Walls Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Mecklenburg City Planning Commission
Charlotte Mecklenburg NAACP Life Member
Charlotte Mecklenburg Urban League
Charlotte Mecklenburg Political Black Caucus
Charlotte Mecklenburg Speaker’s Bureau
Charlotte Medical Center Chaplin
Presbyterian Hospital Chaplin
Pastor, Saint Peter’s Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church, Gastonia, NC
Gaston County NAACP Life Member
Gaston County Ministerial Alliance
Gaston Memorial Hospital Chaplin
Gaston City Planning Commission
Highland Community Improvement Association
Pastor, Waddell Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Shelby, NC
NAACP Life Member
Cleveland County Hospice Chaplin
Cleveland Memorial Hospital Chaplin
Mayor’s Crime Task Force
Cleveland County CDC Board Member
YMCA Board Member
Cleveland County Ministerial Alliance
She has also served as an office assistant and ghostwriter for the Department of Church School Literature for The A. M. E. Zion Church. Her lay profession was as a senior buyer for Belk Department Stores. Bishop Hines was elected in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 18, 2008 at the 48 th General Conference of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church as the 98 th bishop in the line of succession of The A.M.E. Zion Church. She is the first and only female to be elected to the episcopacy in the 222 nd year history of the denomination and on February 20, 2013 she became the first female to head The A.M.E. Zion Church when she was elected President of the Board of Bishops. Bishop Hines is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA). She is a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a Legacy Life Member of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) as well as a member of the Los Angeles unit of Church Women United. Prior to her elevation to the episcopacy Bishop Hines’ served as a member of the President’s Advisory Board for the University of Southern California (USC). She also was a faculty member for USC’s School of Religion’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture, where she taught Leadership Development classes to empower clergy and lay leaders, assisting them to expand their vision for community development and social engagement projects. She sat on several boards, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Los Angeles Council of Churches, and the Traditionally Black Methodist Churches of Los Angeles, to name a few. Bishop Hines’ first assignment was to the Western West Africa Episcopal District, which included over 450 churches in Ghana, Liberia, Cotê d’Ivoire and Togo. Bishop Hines in 2012 was assigned supervision of the Southwestern Delta Episcopal District which included churches in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas, and West Tennessee. After the sudden death of Bishop Roy Holmes in May of 2013, the New England and the Bahamas Islands Conferences of the North Eastern Episcopal District were added to her supervision. She presently is assigned to the South Atlantic Episcopal District, which is made up of the states of South Carolina and Georgia.