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Hattie Downer: 100th Birthday Highlights Ministry Impact

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Photo: Benny Santiago embraces Hattie Downer at her 100th birthday celebration. Benny’s was one of countless lives changed because of the ministry of Hattie Downer. Photo credit: Richard LaGuerre.

By Carl Stagner

She was the first African American woman to serve the Church of God as a home missionary. She traveled up and down the East Coast, starting Sunday schools and other children’s programs for churches. Ultimately, she made her base of ministry operations on the crime-stricken, drug-infested streets of Brooklyn, New York. There she preached the gospel to local characters with nicknames like “Killer” and “Capone.” She even extended grace multiple times to delinquents who would break in and steal from the church she led. This pillar of faith, rock of endurance, and epitome of compassion has a name: Hattie Downer. She celebrated her one hundredth birthday in September, and many who have been touched by her ministry came to honor her and share stories of personal impact. Continue reading