Women in Ministry Series: Bishop Ernestine C. Reems, Leading The Vanguard

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Bishop Ernestine Reems  (left) with Lady Barbara Bridges celebrating together before the signing of consecration documents of Bishop Damon Bridges, at Restoration for Life Ministries, April 2017, in Stockton, CA. Photo by Sue Taylor.

In 2018, as the political, economic, physical and spiritual world around us seems to be spinning out of control, women in ministry are stepping up to guide our country.
Leading the vanguard, we honor Bishop Ernestine C. Reems, with Part 1 of this series. She has been a trailblazer, setting precedents that will be explored weekly, as we learn from the womanist movement.

Bishop Reems has helped define terms such as feminism v. womanism, has made courageous decisions and provided leadership in churches, denominations, geographic regions, race issues, and social justice movements.

Coming to Richmond, CA in 1939, Bishop Reems, who turned 89 this year, has never waivered from the Call to Christ she answered at age 13. Third of nine children born to Elmer Elijah “E.E.” and Matilda Cleveland, she graduated from Patton Bible College, founded the E.C. Reems Women’s International Ministries in 1968, and remains committed to serving those in need through housing, education, food, and worship. Her son and daughter-in-law, Brondon and Maria Reems continue her work as Pastors of the Center of Hope Community Church in Oakland.

In a clear, strong voice at the consecration service in 2017, Bishop Ernestine Reems said, “I have been doing this over fifty years…and I am here today to encourage Barbara and Damon. God sent them to labor in the ministry and do the work of the Lord with pure hearts.”

Bishop Ernestine C. Reems, while leading globally, remains committed locally.

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