The Refuge Temple Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.
Bishop W. L. Bonner

420 56th Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20019
Church Office 202-388-5605 * Fax: 202-388-5610

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Our Founder Bishop William L. Bonner
Refuge Temple Church: Our Founder Bishop William L. Bonner


 Bishop William L. Bonner Biography

Bishop William Lee Bonner was born on November 12, 1921 in Bolden County Georgia, to Emmett and Janie Bonner. Bishop Bonner was married to the late Ethel Mae Smith Bonner. He is the father of two children, Ethel Mae Bonner Archer and William Lee Bonner, Jr.

Bishop Bonner's ministry began in the 1940s under the tutelage of the late Bishop Robert C. Lawson, (1883-1961), founder of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. His first pastorate was the Green Avenue Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Brooklyn, New York.

Church of our Lord Jesus Christ  of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. SealIt was in 1944 that Bishop Lawson sent Bishop Bonner to Detroit to pastor the first Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a store front. Today, it is a two thousand five hundred (2,500) seat edifice known as Solomon's Temple.

In 1961, upon the death of Bishop Lawson, Bishop Bonner became the pastor of the three thousand (3,000) member mother church, the Greater Refuge Temple in Harlem, New York City. Apostle Bonner currently pastors churches in Detroit, Michigan, New York City, Washington, D.C., Jackson, Mississippi, and Columbia, South Carolina. He is the Chief Apostle and Senior Prelate of the General Assembly of the Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. This is an international body of churches. Under his administration, the assembly has grown from one hundred and fifty-five (155) churches in 1961 to over five hundred (500) churches and missions throughout the world. He has faithfully kept the charge of the founder Bishop Lawson, to "Add Thou to It".

Bishop Bonner received his religious education and the Doctor of Divinity through the Church of Christ Bible Institute in New York City. Pastor Bonner is listed in "Who’s Who in Religion" (1985). Bishop Bonner's ministry is based on prayer and faith in God. His message is one of hope and deliverance. He believes that those who pray can expect a miracle.

The Refuge Temple of Washington, D.C. was founded December 12, 1989, by Bishop William L. Bonner. The first services were held at Days Inn, at 12th and K Streets, N.W. In February 1990, Kelly Miller Junior High School, located at 49th and Brooks Street, N.E., became the church's final temporary home. The Lord blessed Pastor Bonner to acquire the land for the church in three weeks. On October 27, 1990 the church held a ground breaking service. On June 1, 1991, the first service was held at the new edifice for Refuge Temple Church. God has miraculously brought this work to pass, demonstrating that this is only the beginning for the continuous winning of souls for His Kingdom in the Washington, D.C. area.

On March 8th, 2012, a church vote was conducted by Apostle Bonner for the next Pastor of Refuge Temple Church, Washington, DC. After the vote, with the majority of votes in Bishop Fields' favor, Apostle Bonner named Bishop W. Michael Fields the Pastor of Refuge Temple Church in Washington, D.C.

The ground breaking for Refuge Temple of Columbia, South Carolina was on July 20, 1993. It was organized with only twenty-two (22) members. Within three years, the congregation grew to seven hundred (700). The church is located on twelve and one-half (12.5) acres in the Eau Claire section of Columbia. Pastor Bonner's ministry in Columbia also consists of the Family Life Center, Retirement Community and the W. L. Bonner Bible College. Previously taped television broadcasts can be viewed every Sunday at six o'clock a.m. on WIS-TV, channel ten. Previously taped radio broadcasts can be heard nightly at ten o'clock p.m. on WMFV, channel 95.3, both in the Columbia viewing and listening area.

...And the High Places I'll Bring Down, Bishop William L. Bonner "The Man and His God" Book
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A Day in the Life of our Chief Apostle Bishop William L. Bonner

After being baptized in Jesus Name in Atlanta, Bishop went to New York to attend his 1st Holy Convocation. When he arrived at the convention he was told by the usher that he could not come in because there were no more seats available. Bishop Bonner was determined he was going to hear Bishop Lawson that day so he found a seat on the stairs leading to the pulpit. . He felt in his heart that it was the Lord’s will that he be somehow involved in the life of the Bishop Lawson. After the convention he stayed in New York and attended Refuge Temple. He liked it so much he began to seek the Holy Ghost. It took Bishop Bonner a whole year to receive the Holy Ghost because he could not get his attention off of his hair. He was sporting the latest men’s hair style and did not want to mess it up by sweating it out tarrying. One of the missionaries noticed this about Bishop and told him he would not receive the Holy Spirit until he surrendered his hair to the Lord. Bishop admitted his problem and yielded to the Lord and received the Holy Ghost that very moment which empowers him still today.

Purchase his newest book today “The Positive Thinking Preacher” for $22. Contact the church secretary at 202-388-5605 or email


After Bishop Bonner got well he moved to Atlanta in a home with a senior citizen. He went for a walk one night and heard music, clapping and tambourines. It was a little Pentecostal Church. He looked through the window and saw the people having a good time. It was then that he heard the voice of the Lord say to him, “I have a baptism that you are to be baptized with”. He immediately ran inside the church straight to the preacher who was preaching at the time and told him he wanted to be baptized. The preacher’s response was, “we don’t have water in the pool come back another day”. Bishop Bonner insisted and the preacher was touched by Bishop’s sincerity and determination so he sent the saints across the street to get buckets of water to fill the pool enough so Bishop could stand up in it but Bishop wanted to be emerged so they kept filling the pool until it was filled enough to cover him. Bishop Bonner was baptized in the Name Lord Jesus Christ and it changed his life and gave him a new direction. Bishop said, “It was his most exciting moment in his life and all of his lifetime in Georgia”.

Purchase his book, “The Man and His God” for a discounted price of $15. Contact the church secretary at 202-388-5605 or email



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Refuge Temple Church, 420 56th Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20019 * Church Office 202-388-5605 * Fax: 202-388-5610
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Bishop R.C. Lawson Bishop W. Michael Fields Bishop W. L. Bonner