06/04/2014 07:59 am ET Updated Aug 04, 2014

Why The Hampton Ministers' Conference Still Matters

This is my 3lst consecutive year in attendance at one of the greatest conferences in the world,the Hampton Ministers conference.

I started attending when I was a new seminarian. We couldn't afford to fly back then, so we car pooled, and along the way, would join other car pools on their way to "Hampton". It was, and still is, an amazing "experience"

It can be summed up with yesterday's lineup, and theme as we looked at the past and looked towards the future. Powerful.

We were in worship services from 8:30 in the morning, starting with Pastor E. Dewey Smith of Georgia, a combination of Holy Ghost power, intellect and charisma, followed by New York's Dr. James A, Forbes, a most requested lecturer, then Dr Cynthia James, of Dallas, Texas who dealt with power and justice, and luncheon preacher from Virginia.

Then l,500 women ministers, yes l,500, crowded into the Student center for the Women in Ministry hour, something I started and helped to build some 25 years ago, when it was still questioned by many as to whether women should have full participation in the conference.

Pastor Susie of Washington, DC was our guest preacher, and the place went wild for the Lord. We gave our Founders awards to women who had worked with me, all along the way, as we had to have our secret "underground railroad meetings" years ago.

The night before, I along with four other Past presidents, received gifts for our leadership in front of the entire body,. When they read my name, and reminded them I was the FIRST and only female President, and US Ambassador, the place erupted.The sisters AND the brothers stood up.

Then last night we came back to hear Bishop TD Jakes, as he preached. It had been ten years since h ehadbeen there. When he was last there, he had written the book, God's Leading Ladies and presented it to me on the night of my election as President

We wept then. We leap for joy now, as we are reminded,, "Weeping may endure for a night, but in the morning, JOY Comes." It's morning time at Hampton, and I'm so glad I endured the night. I am part of the 8,000 clergy strong FAMILY, and invite you to "come on down."

Ambassador Sujay was the 3rd Ambassador at Large for International religious freedom, the first Female President of the Hampton Ministers Conference, the lst female Chaplain of NYPD and the creator of the ProVoiceMovement for women.

Fifteen historic moments from the Hampton University Ministers' conference's long history.

Hampton University