Rev. Dr. Bonnie Jean Ortiz was born in Camden, NJ to Puerto Rican parents. She has lived in Philadelphia for most of her life. She attended public schools, graduating in 1982 from Olney High School. She later went on to receive a Diploma in Biblical Studies from Rose of Sharon Bible Institute (1986), Bachelor of Theology from Pan American Theological Seminary (1993), Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University (1998) and a Doctor of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary (2010). Rev. Ortiz has taken graduate courses in Interior Design, Adult Education, and Library and Information Science at Moore College of Art and Design, LaSalle University and Drexel University. Learning is one of her passions.
Rev. Ortiz is the pastor of Bethel UCC a bilingual congregation (Spanish and English) located in the Olney section of the city of Philadelphia. Rev. Ortiz served for 11 years as the associate pastor of two congregations, “Rosa de Saron,” and “El Santuario,” in the Kensington and the Fairhill sections of the city of Philadelphia. During this time, she also served for six years as Administrative Director for Way to Heaven Ministry, Inc., a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for men.
In the summer of 1998, Rev. Ortiz was hired by the Center for Urban Resources (CUR) to serve as the Program Director to the Latino churches. Rev. Ortiz had conducted a study in the Latino community interviewing over 60 pastors. The study showed that there was an interest in the leadership of these Latino churches for training in the areas of organizational, technical and resource development. She presented her findings to the following foundation: Pew Foundation, Samuel Fels Fund, Philadelphia Foundation, William Penn Foundation as well as others. Funding was secured by CUR, and the Latino church program called ICRMH, which in Spanish is Instituto de Capacitación y Recursos para Ministerios Hispanos (Institute of Knowledge and Resources for Hispanic Ministries) was launched in the Fall of 1998.
From 2004 to 2010 Rev. Ortiz was employed by Eastern University serving as the Administrative Director to the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program at Palmer Theological Seminary. When Rev. Ortiz left her position at Palmer to become the full time pastor at Bethel UCC, she was instrumental in the redesign of the Renewal track of the D.Min. Program. At the time of her departure, she left a thriving program with one of the highest enrollments since its inception. Today that program is known as the D.Min. in Leadership of Missional Church Renewal.
Rev. Ortiz has been the recipient of various awards. Some of these awards include: “Liberty Bell” from the Mayor, City of Philadelphia, “Good Samaritan Award” from the Center for Urban Resources, “Torch Award” from Latina Women in Action, and “Presidential Award for Community Excellence” from LaSalle University.
Rev. Ortiz is the mother of three wonderful children: Melissa, Gabriel and Priscilla. She is also the proud grandmother to Marco Antonio Troche, Jr., Isabella Lee Rosado, Nehemiah Rodriguez, Valentina Rosado . Rev. Ortiz resides in the Roxborough area of the city of Philadelphia. She was blissfully married to Emanuel Ortiz, the love of her life, who passed away in March of 2013. Rev. Ortiz enjoys reading, decorating, vacationing with family, visiting museums, and watching documentaries on world history, biography, and science. Her greatest passion is serving Christ, sharing the message of the Gospel, mentoring and seeing lives be transformed into the likeness of Christ.