Rev. Roberta Sonsaray White was commissioned as Deacon of Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church at the 2021 Baltimore- Washington Conference in October 2021. She joined Hughes in 2014.
Her call to serve the Lord and His people sprang from her childhood in Omaha, Neb., with the love and support of her parents, siblings, extended family and community, who encouraged her to dream big dreams. Like one of her inspirers, the great African- American author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, Rev. White learned to “Jump At the Sun!” which means reaching for that which you believe God wants you to have.
From great struggle comes great progress, Rev. White believes. She is a woman strengthened in God through life’s hardships – homelessness, working through learning challenges, and her father’s death at an early age. Instead of growing bitter, Rev. White learned to embrace difficulties, allowing them to transform and strengthen her. “I praise God for every struggle, every blessing, every discriminatory act done unto me. In them I get to know God on a more personal level. I have grown to know God always makes a way.”
She has accomplished much, from serving as Senior Class President of Omaha North High School, to being a part of the Clafin University Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, and she received a Reader’s Digest UNCF Scholarship. In college, she joined Zeta Phi Beta (Mu Chapter).
From 2004 -2012, she attended Wesley Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree in Urban Ministry.
In 2005, Rev. White self-published a book, Spiritual Metamorphosis, which is still available in bookstores and online. She continues to write today.
During her seminary years, Rev. White participated in a Zora Neale Hurston Jump at the Sun workshop. She served as a ministry intern at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church.
During the summer of 2011, Rev. White interned at Sibley Memorial Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine. At the same time, she received the Clinical Pastoral Education-Ethnic In Service Training Scholarship. From 2012-2013, she served as Resident Chaplain at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Following her Residency, she joined the staff as a Chaplain. She formed and led a support group, “Look at What Matters” on the Behavioral Health Unit.
In 2015, she became a hospice Chaplain; a year later, she received an award for her service. She is a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains.
By 2019, Rev. White conducted research and collaborated with two psychiatrists, a nurse and her supervisor to create an educational tool to train Chaplain Interns on best practices for providing spiritual care to patients on the Behavioral Health Unit.
In her other activities, Rev. White joined the Omicron Phi Zeta (graduate) Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and in 2021, was appointed DC State Mental Health Coordinator for Zeta Sings the Blues, the sorority’s initiative to destigmatize mental health in the African American community and beyond.
In striving for spiritual health, Rev. White maintains a focus on physical health, too. She is a Certified Spinning Instructor.