|Isaac H. Bivens was born on March 13, 1928 in Beverly, New Jersey to Ella Brinkley Bivens and James F. Bivens; he was the youngest of five children. He attended West Virginia State College, earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. He earned the S.T.B. Degree (which is now called the Master of Divinity degree), and the Master of Sacred Theology degree in Social Ethics from Boston University School of Theology, Wiley College, in Marshall, Texas, where Isaac taught and was involved in the civil rights movement, and they awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree for outstanding contributions to church and society.
Dr. Bivens served as Dean of Students for several colleges, Mississippi State Valley College, Wiley College and Houston-Tillotson College in Texas. Early in his ministry, he pastored churches in Sacramento, California and Trinity United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York.
From 1972 to 1986, Dr. Bivens served as the Assistant General Secretary for the Africa/Europe/Middle East Regions of the World Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. During this period, he was the chief architect of the denomination’s mission. As a mission executive and as a negotiator with churches and ecumenical agencies, he was instrumental in developing innovative programs in Africa to enhance the self-development and self-determination of African people and institutions. Dr. Bivens was actively involved in the African liberation of the 1960’s and 70’s, and in the struggle for independence of such countries Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Bivens served as Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Chaplain at University from 1987 to 1998. He relished the process of challenging students’ and widening the scope of academic reach.
Over 50 years of ministry in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Bivens spent the past 8 as pastor at Boynton United Methodist Church in Gretna, Louisiana. He enjoyed ministering to the Boynton family.
Bivens was known as a prophetic and pastoral preacher. In 1992 he was inducted the into
Morehouse College Martin Luther King International Board of Preachers as a recognized outstanding preacher.
Bivens was dedicated to his family and was a vociferous proponent regarding the
importance and priorities of family in one’s life. An avid gardener and gourmet cook, he especially delighted in entertaining family and friends. His wife, Sonia Hylton Bivens, children, and four grandchildren survive Dr. Bivens.
A celebration of Dr. Bivens’ life was held on Friday, April 12, 2002 at Lawless Memorial Chapel, Dillard University, with Rev. Freddie C. Henderson officiating.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, 2002, pages 256-257 by Sonia Hylton Bivens, Wife|