Apostle Beverly “Bam” Crawford, founder and senior pastor of the Inglewood-based Bible Enrichment Fellowship International; Togetta Ulmer, first lady of Faithful Central Bible Church; Evelyn Perkins, first lady of True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church; and Tisa Hill, first lady of both Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Calvary Temple Pentecostal Holiness Church were honored at the 15th Annual First Ladies High Tea.
Over 800 women turned out to the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the annual event that has become tradition in the Los Angeles church community.
Crawford, whose 2,700-plus member church is the largest to be headed by a woman west of the Mississippi, was honored with the “Legacy Award” for her vision, her community involvement and her 35-year history of mentoring, teaching and mobilizing programs to positively effect the lives of men, women and youth worldwide.
“I am honored to be recognized today in the company of these other women. I am committed to birthing visions and dreams and providing a greater awareness of support and motivation as we partner together and further develop the maturing of our souls,” said Crawford.
First Lady Togetta Ulmer who was presented the First Lady Faith In Action Award by good friend Simone I. Smith (wife of LL Cool J and owner of the Simone I. Smith Jewelry Collection) was also surprised with flowers by her husband, Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, who knelt down on one knee to present it to her and then capped it off with a kiss.
“My desire is simple To be the Christian lady that God wants to use, so I am very humbled by this award as I am to have members of my congregation say that I have made a difference in their lives,” Ulmer stated.
Evelyn Perkins, who received a kiss from her husband, Dr. James A. Perkins, and who was joined on stage by her son, noted gospel artist Rickey Grundey, said she didn’t have the words to express her joy at receiving such an honor.
Perkins, long active with the California State Ministers’ Wives & Ministers’ Widows, also serves as co-chair of Walgreens First Ladies Health Initiative in Los Angeles.
Hill, the wife of Rev. Pastor Edward V. Hill II, received the award from her 18-year-old son, Edward III. Hill who does double duty as the first lady of two churches, also manages an addiction/recovery- counseling program called Transitions.
“To be in the company of women who understand just how challenging it can be to be a first lady, makes this honor all the more special,” said Hill.