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~Bishop Thomas E. Lee and Sharon Bridgett Lee ~ "I Am Bertie Black History"

~Thomas E. Lee and Sharon Bridgett Lee~

Bishop and Leading Lady

Greater Wynns Grove Baptist Church

Bishop Thomas E. Lee and his lovely wife, Sharon, are both Bertie County natives, providing spiritual nourishment, with the beautiful edifice of Greater Wynns Grove Church(GWG) as the platform. Their ministry reaches residents of the county, surrounding areas, several states, and as far as the Bahamas. With Bishop Lee pastoring and leading the charge, they have one of the most progressive ministries in the county and beyond. Exhibiting transformative greatness, and focusing on the "wholesale" needs of their congregants and the community, Greater Wynns Grove is the first and only church in the county to have a community development/enrichment center. It is state-of-the-art, and appropriately named, The Dr. Thomas E. Lee Enrichment Center. As you will read, the church also sponsors a carnival, that is second to none, in which the community, at-large, is able to experience the likes of an amusement park. GWG is the only church sponsoring an event of this magnitude---now or ever in the county! What a wonderful display of community outreach! While Bishop Lee is one of three pastors in the area who has been pastoring for over 30 years, he is the youngest of the three. His beautiful helpmate, co-pilot, co-warrior in Christ, and kingdom-building partner, is also my WSSU (Winston-Salem State University) roomate. Our sister-friendship is one that I treasure with my whole heart, lasting over 41 years. I'm especially grateful that God chose them for each other, as they pastor and minister through their love for and commitment to our Heavenly Father. Thank you, both, for trusting God, and selflessly bringing souls to Christ . At the mark of 34 years in ministry, your journey has been and will continue to bless the multitudes. The best is certainly yet to come. You, both, are indeed Bertie Black History, and we are exceptionally proud! Congrats on being TCV's first couple honorees. 😊

TCV1: What community did you grow up in as a Bertie County youngster?

TL1: I grew up in the Lea Lumber Company Community.

SL1: I grew up in downtown Windsor on Granville Street.

TCV2: What are your first thoughts of life in Bertie?

TL2: I was born in Bertie County, received my formative education here, and married my wife, Sharon, who is also a native of Bertie County.

SL2: My first thoughts are of home and family.

TCV3: When (year/age) were you “called” to the ministry?

TL3: I was called into the ministry in 1988, at the age of 23.

SL3: My initial sermon was preached on December 10, 2000, 38 years young.

TCV4: Who was most influential in providing spiritual guidance---your spiritual mentor?

TL4: The late Reverend Dr. John W. Law (he was my pastor). I accepted Christ as my savior through the guidance of my first cousin, the Reverend Dr. Elbert E. Lee.

SL4: My former pastor, the late Reverend Dr. Eugene C. Watson, and my husband, Bishop Thomas E. Lee.

TCV5: Why did you choose to remain in the county?

TL5: I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina when I accepted the pastoral position at Greater Wynns Grove (GWG). I stayed in Raleigh and commuted to Colerain two Sundays a month for two years before moving back to Bertie County. I’ve always wanted to pastor in a metropolitan area and have had many opportunities, but God had other plans for me. In 1997, we became a full-time church and have seven associate ministers.

SL5: I chose to remain in Bertie County to be with my husband and to assist him in ministry.

TCV6: What is your most memorable experience as a Bishop/Leading Lady?

TL6: On several occasions, I have preached in the country of Haiti, accompanied by an interpreter. It amazes me to see the response and thunderous applause coming from the people when telling them about the goodness of Jesus. I know very little French and no Creole, but it’s something about sharing the Gospel and calling the name, Jesus, for every time I call His name, the interpreter says it in another language and the worship experience goes to another level.

SL6: I concur with my husband--- I’ve had the opportunity to travel with him on one of those missions. What an awesome and memorable occasion.

TCV7: What have you learned the most about the responsibility and accountability of pastoring/being a pastor’s wife?

TL7: God has entrusted us with his people to preach the word; be it in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. Pastoring is not an easy job. Most people see the glory, but they don’t know the story. Sometimes, the Shepherd has to get down in the midst of the sheep in order to protect and save the sheep.

SL7: Being a pastor’s wife is not an easy job. The role of a pastor’s wife is the same as that of any other wife in a believing household---to love God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love and support her husband as he follows God.

TCV8: What college(s) did you attend? Why those choices?

TL8: I attended Shaw University - Raleigh, NC and received a BA Degree in Sociology, with a minor in Religion. I also hold a Doctor of Divinity from Apex School of Theology. I chose Shaw, as I was inspired that it was "The Shaw University." I actually started in the Shaw School of Divinity on the Raleigh campus, but graduated with another major.

SL8: I attended Winston-Salem State University, receiving a BS in Business Administration. There weren’t that many people from the area who had attended WSSU. A childhood friend, Carolyn Bunch, was attending, and I was inspired by her.

TCV9: How did college prepare you for life—personally?

TL9: Shaw University prepared me very well for my calling. Sociology taught me how to deal with people and to accept people for who they are. College helped me to be better equipped to face today’s complex issues. Education is part of the preparation and an on-going process of leadership. We are able to share what we have learned through higher education along with life’s experiences.

SL9: College prepared me for the job that I have today. My degree is in Business, and it has afforded me to work in the field of Business. I am the COO (Chief Operating Officer) at Bertie County Rural Health. I have been employed there for the past 35years.

TCV10: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

TL10: Being able to pastor a church for 34 years, and counting, is definitely an accomplishment for me. Over these past 34 years as pastor, we’ve been able to build a beautiful edifice and an Enrichment Center for the community at-large. The Dr. Thomas E. Lee Enrichment Center has several classrooms, a conference room, a clothing store, an exercise room with exercise equipment, restrooms, commercial kitchen, and a Gala Room/Dining Area that seats 300 people comfortably. Our sanctuary’s maximum capacity is 450. Our campus also has a walking track. Before the pandemic, we would sponsor a community carnival that would attract from 500 to 700 people. Children that couldn’t afford a trip to Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens, Carowinds, and other amusement parks were able to visit GWG Community Fair, and enjoy many mechanical rides, which would sometimes include a ferris wheel, and at no cost. They were able to eat lots of food----no cost. This project is sponsored by the Greater Wynns Grove Community Development Center, in which I serve as Director. We have also been able to launch a Lifeline Prayer Ministry that comes on Monday through Friday at 6a.m. There are 100 plus callers on every morning. There are representatives from multiple states--North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, New Jersey, Louisiana, Connecticut, and the beautiful island of Nassau Bahamas.

TCV11: What are two words that sum up your call to pastor?

TL11: SERVING PEOPLE----Among all the gifts and talents with which God has blessed us with, none is more meaningful and fulfilling to us than Pastoral Ministry. We are very sensitive to the spiritual needs of individuals, and therefore focus our ministry, primarily, but not exclusively, toward persons who are hurting—not only in the church, but wherever help is needed.

TCV12: What words of wisdom/encouragement do you have for today’s pastors, those who are “on the fence” in accepting God’s calling---the “runners”, and those who are questioning their call?

TL12: Choose your friends wisely… but choose friends. Don’t attempt to lead alone. Too many pastors avoid close friendships because they’ve been hurt. Finding friends, you can trust and be real with means you’ll sometimes get injured, but the reward is worth it. The church can never love your family as much as you do. Your family needs you more than the church does. They can get another pastor. Your family doesn’t want another you. You’ll have to learn to say “no,” learn how to balance and prioritize your time, and be willing to delegate to others in the church.

TCV13: What advice would you give youngsters that would motivate and inspire them to accomplish their goals----Personally? Spiritually?

TL13: Continue to excel in education, treat people like you want to be treated. In all of your “getting,” make sure that you have your own personal relationship with the Lord.

SL13: Work hard! The sky is the limit and if you fall among the stars, you’ll be okay.

TCV14: Your favorite quote?

TL14: If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring salvation to a world overwrought, if I can spread my message as the Master taught, then my living will not have been in vain.

SL14: Psalms 91~ "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High--- Shall abide under the shadow of The Almighty" It is my emergency call, 91:1.

TCV15: Today, I am grateful for________. (One or more words)

TLSL15: We are grateful for what the Lord has done for us. He has blessed us to still have our parents alive and three of our parents, along with other family members, are a part of our ministry here in Colerain. We are also grateful for the flock that God has entrusted us with and for our friends. We are also grateful for you, Mrs. Lisa Cherry-Singletary, for being Sharon’s best friend and roommate at Winston-Salem State University! Go Rams!

TCV16: What do you want your legacy to be?

TLSL16: We’ve tried to live our lives as a Christian ought (to). We’ve tried to empower and uplift all humanity through the life-changing, uncompromising Word of God.

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