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Bishop Barbara Lewis King dies at 90 after a life devoted to faith and service

Bishop Barbara Lewis King was the minister and founder of Hillside International Truth Center Inc. in Atlanta. (Photo: Steed Media)

The religious community is mourning the passing of Bishop Barbara Lewis King, founder of Hillside International Truth Center Inc. in Atlanta, who died Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, according to a statement released by her estate. She was 90.

Born in Houston, Texas, King earned a master’s degree in social work from Atlanta University. Before delving into religion, King served as a social worker in the Chicago public housing department. During her tenure, she was inspired by the Rev. Johnnie Coleman, a Black woman who was a prominent religious leader in Chicago, to serve in the ministry.

After serving as a professor at Clark Atlanta University and dean of students at Spelman College, King founded Hillside International Truth Center Inc., in 1971 in Atlanta. Hillside began with a prayer group of 12 people in her home, and over the next two decades grew to become one of the most prominent religious centers in America. Today, the nondenominational Christian ministry has thousands of members and supporters worldwide.

Affectionately known as “Dr. Barbara,” King was a bestselling author and appeared on popular TV shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Tavis Smiley. She also provided consultation for former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. 

King would go on to receive numerous awards, and in 2018, the City of Atlanta dedicated the Bishop Dr. Barbara Lewis King Interfaith Chapel at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in honor of her life and work.

King said that she would like to be remembered “for my personal commitment 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.”