Barbara LaToison was born in Wilmot, AR, where she was raised by her paternal grandparents. She grew up at John Wesley A. M. E. Zion Church. Her work in the church began at the young age of thirteen when she accepted Jesus as her Savior. Barbara became the local Sunday School teacher and eventually the District Director of Youth. Barbara represented Arkansas at the 1976 General Conference as the youngest delegate ever seated in the General Conference. As a 21-year-old delegate, Barbara served on the Secretariat, Budget Committee, and Revisions Committee.
In 1979, Barbara moved to Houston to join FEMA’s efforts in assisting families to rebuild their lives and homes after the tropical storm Claudette hit Texas and Louisiana. While in Houston, Barbara met and married her husband, A.J., at Walls Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church. Barbara served the Houston District and Texas Conference as District Director of Christian Education, District Secretary of Y’s, District and Conference Director of Evangelism, a member of the administrative board for the Department of Evangelism, and Mid-West Regional Vice President of ACE. In 1983, she accepted the call to ministry and preached her trial sermon. In 1987, she received her first ordination, and in 1990, she was ordained an elder. Bishop Joseph Johnson assigned A. J. and Barbara LaToison as co-pastors to organize and plant Holy Ghost A. M. E. Zion Church in 1994, which started as a bible study in their home.
Barbara now serves as Pastor of St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church in Dallas, TX, Presiding Elder of the Houston-San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth Districts, as well as, President of the Presiding Elders’ Council of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Speech Communication and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Houston Graduate School of Theology. She has a Doctor of Ministry from Southern Reformed Theological Seminary.
As a proven leader in the trenches of The A.M.E. Zion Church, Barbara’s passion for her church and desire to please God cause her to not only talk about the changes that need to be made, but implement them as well. Her church, district, & the PE’s Council have all made progress as she leads with these three ideals in mind: innovation, transformation, and expansion.
Barbara and her husband A. J. proudly celebrate over 33 years of marriage. Together they boast 6 children and 14 grandchildren.