Retired Bishop

Bishop Othal Hawthorne Lakey


Othal Hawthorne Lakey is the 44th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He was elected on May 9, 1982 after serving pastorates in Pasco, Washington, Portland, Oregon, Shreveport, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas. From 1974 to 1982 he was the Editor of The Christian Index, the official publication of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. From 1982 - 1994 he was the Presiding Bishop of the Second Episcopal District. The General Conference of 1994 assigned him to the Sixth Episcopal District.

Born April 6, 1936, the 7th of 11 children to Clarence and Zandree Ashley Lakey in Shreveport, Louisiana, the future bishop migrated with his family to San Pedro, California at an early age. He grew up in that city, a product of the public school system of Los Angeles. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, the Masters of Divinity degree from the Drew University Theological Seminary, and the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas. The Interdenominational Theological Center and the Phillips School of Theology of Atlanta, Georgia conferred upon Bishop Lakey the degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in 1990, and Lane College conferred the same degree in 1994.

The 44th Bishop is the Chair of the Department of Christian Education of the CME Church, Chair of the Commission on History and Archives, is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Congress of Black Churches, and is Chair of the Commission on Merger with the AME Zion Church. For some 30 years Bishop Lakey has been a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated television program, The American Religious Townhall.

Often called the Historian of the CME Church, Bishop Lakey is also the author of several books and seminal historic texts including "The Rise of Colored Methodism: A Study of the Background and Beginnings of the CME Church" (1972), "The History of the CME Church" (1985), "God In My Mama's House: The Women's Movement in the CME Church" (1994) and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (2011)

He was married to the late Narsis (nee Beard) Lakey; parent of two adults sons, James Othal and Bryan Ashley, 2 adult stepdaughters, Rachael and Beulah Millicent and grandparent to 3 grandchildren, Keisha Jeanette, Bryan Ashley II and Jaide Ahlexas. In 2005 he married Dr. Elfreda (nee McCrae) Lakey.