Founders: Bishop William Haven Bonner & Mother Dorothy Mae Bonner
Mo. Dorothy Mae Bonner
Our Founding First Lady
Mother Dorothy Mae Bonner was born on January 24, 1921 in Alexandria, LA, the daughter of Steve and Lucinda Green.
Mother Bonner accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at the age of eight. She graduated from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, IL in 1940 proud of her status on the National Honor Society. She became the bride of William Bonner on May 2, 1942. She aspired to be a nurse, but instead used her skills as a master caregiver to her husband and four children. Mother Bonner possessed the ability to make every one with whom she came in contact feel special. She never sought recognition or praise but was content to perform acts of kindness and support behind the scenes. Known for her quick wit and clever sayings, Mother had a saying suitable for every occasion or circumstance. She was the first lady of the Greater Mount Olive Church of God In Christ as well as the first lady of the Sixth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of IL.
Mo. Bonner was called from labor to reward on Tuesday, July 6, 2004, at 83 years old.
Bishop William H. Bonner
Our Founding Pastor
Bishop Bonner was born in Blytheville, Ark., as the sixth child in a family of 18. He attended elementary schools in Kentucky and Missouri and then continued his education in Chicago at DuSable High School and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Bonner was first asked to preach at age 13 and went on to become a youth pastor for the Hill Street Church of Christ in Waukegan. In 1944 Bonner received a commission to pastor in Aurora, which led to his work at The Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ, at the corner of Trask Street and Bonner Street, which was named in Bishop Bonner’s honor. He served the church for almost 72 years.
He also has a park named after him several blocks from the church.
In a 2015 interview in The Beacon-News on the occasion of his 94th birthday, Pastor Bonner credited his parents primarily for his religious orientation and faith.
“My dad and mom were very religious and taught me about sanctification and Christianity, and it became a part of me” he said. “The three principles I feel are the most important for people today are to obey God according to his word, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and follow peace with all men in order to see the Lord.”
Bishop Bonner was called to glory on Monday, August 29, 2016, two weeks before his 95th birthday.
Their Legacy Lives on
These articles serve as small references to the impact that our founders had on our local community and across the country!
The Dorothy Mae Bonner Scholarship Fund Donate or Apply Today!
Comments from Former Aurora Mayor, Tom Weisner
“For more than 72 years, Bishop Bonner was an integral figure in our community — 68 of those years in the same church that he and his congregation broke ground for in 1948. I had the honor of working with Bishop Bonner in the community for more than 30 years, including all of my years as mayor,” Weisner said. “From neighborhood meetings to citywide forums, we could always depend on Bishop Bonner’s presence and insight. On a personal level, he offered me counsel and advice over the years for which I am truly grateful.” – Monday, August 29, 2016
Former Leaders: Pastor Augustus Wright and Leading Lady Willie Etta Wright
Elder Augustus Wright
Elder Augustus Wright was born in Hayti, Missouri. His parents, the late Elder Dock Wright and Mother Zelma Wright, reared him in holines. His father was the pastor of the Hayti Heights Church of God in Christ until his death in 1953.
Elder Wright married Willie Etta Bonner in 1986, became a member of the Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ in Aurora, Illinois, and later they became parents of a son, Tharryn William Augustus Wright.
After Elder Wright connected himself with the Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ he worked faithfully under the leadership of the late Bishop William Haven Bonner and the Sixth Jurisdiction of Illinois. In the local church he became a youth Sunday School teacher, youth softball coach, Bible Study teacher, Jail Ministry Volunteer Chaplain, and an assistant pastor. He served as the Missions President for the Sixth Jurisdiction of Illinois. He now serves as an Assistant District Superintendent of the James B. Alford District.
After Bishop William Haven Bonner’s passing in 2016, he was installed as the pastor of the Greater Mount Olive Church of God in Christ. He served as Senior Pastor through July 2020.
Dr. Wilie Etta Wright
Mother Wright was born in Chicago, Illinois to the late Bishop William Haven Bonner and Mother Dorothy Mae Bonner. Because of her parents’ call to the ministry most of her life has centered around enhancing the ministry.
She graduated from Aurora College, now Aurora University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She received her M.S. and PhD from Northern Illinois University. After graduating she worked for the West Aurora Public Schools District 129 from which she retired after thirty-five years.
She and Elder Augustus Wright were married in 1986, and together they have a son, Tharryn William Augustus Wright. She endeavors to work faithfully with her husband as he leads and ministers to God’s people.
Besides her extensive church work as a former social committee chairperson and a licensed missionary, Mother Wright enjoys being a member of the Aurora Area Retired Teacher’s Association.
As a prolific author, she has self-published four books: Preserved to Serve, Leaving Something in the Field, Leaving Something in the Field Part 2, and Grandma Mable Are You Able?
As a true teacher at heart, she has spent some of her retirement years volunteering at Delnor Hospital from 2011-2016 and creating and facilitating brain teaser classes at Moser College of Adult Studies for sessions in 2015 and 2016.
Mother Wright strives to live a life pleasing in God’s sight so that she can see His face in peace.