Bishop Donald Hilliard Jr. is a Son, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Painter, and Professor—a true renaissance man who celebrates this year thirty years as Senior Pastor of Cathedral International. Reverend Hilliard was called to the pastorate of Second Baptist Church (now Cathedral International) in Perth Amboy in 1983. Church membership has grown from 125 members in 1983 to an excess of 5,000 today. Now, as “One Church in Three Locations,” this vibrant ministry has grown to serving the specific needs of three locations of worship in urban areas of New Jersey: Cathedral International in Perth Amboy, Cathedral Assembly by the Shore in Asbury Park, and Cathedral Assembly in Fields in Plainfield. Bishop Hilliard has moved to ensure that the church’s ministries and auxiliaries, now numbering more than 50, are relevant to the needs of the rapidly expanding congregation and community.
Bishop Hilliard also serves as President of the Pastor’s Leadership Alliance Network, and travels the world as a renowned preacher and a motivational speaker. In 2006, after a life-threatening illness, Bishop Hilliard reinvented himself by resurrecting his gift of painting by creating original pieces of art through his abstract expressionistic company, Pulpit to the Palate Art. His premier collections of over 70 original pieces include the recently exhibited “Let Go, Let Gesture: Abstract Ascension” series as well as “Divine Liturgy in Abstract” and “From the Pulpit to the Palate” series. His paintings grab your attention with brilliant use of color and shapes with the purpose of speaking to your mind and soul while creating rare moments of introspection.
Bishop Hilliard’s creativity does not stop with his gift of painting, but now extends into the theatrical arts arena. In April 2013, his first theatrical production, “Stop the Funeral,” will premiere at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey. “Stop the Funeral” was written in an attempt to create a sense of urgency of what we must do to change the mindset of the often misguided, misunderstood, and sometimes forgotten youth.
From an array of community groups, non-profit agencies and governmental associations, Bishop Hilliard has received numerous awards and citations for his efforts inside the church and beyond, including his role in the ongoing renewal of downtown Perth Amboy. In 2008, The New York Council of Churches presented Bishop Hilliard with the prestigious Clergy of the Year Award. Consecrated as Bishop in 1995, Dr. Hilliard is the Presiding Bishop and Founder of the Covenant Ecumenical Fellowship and Cathedral Assemblies, Inc. In this role, Bishop Hilliard serves as the spiritual advisor and mentor for several pastors and churches across the United States and West Africa. He is a member of The Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops, and is a lifetime member of the NAACP. He has also received the “Humanitarian Award” from the National Conference for Community and Justice, and has also served as a commissioner for the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Authority.
Bishop Hilliard has earned degrees from Eastern College (now Eastern University) of St. Davids, Pennsylvania; Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey; and in 1990, a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, as a Samuel D. Proctor Fellow.
He is the author of books on a variety of relevant topics: Somebody Say Yes!; A Safe Harbor Begins @ Home; Faith in the Face of Fear; In the Grip of His Mercy; Church Growth from an African American Perspective; After the Fall: Resurrecting Your Life from Shame, Disgrace, and Guilt; Journal Your Journey: This Too Will Pass; Faith in the Face of Fear—10th Anniversary Edition; A Lenten Journey—Lessons Learned in the Wilderness; Pentecost: Real Power for Real Times; and most recently, Midlife, Manhood, and Ministry (Judson Press, 2013) and Stop the Funeral, Revised (LiPav Publishing, 2013).