Bishop Kwabena "Rainey" Cheeks, DD, photo by Michael Key
Bishop Kwabena Albert Rainier Cheeks, "Rainey," a native Washingtonian, in 1993, founded and continues to serve as the Senior Pastor of Inner Light Ministries in Washington, DC. Bishop cheek is the founder of Us Helping US into Living a holistic organization for African Americans living with HIV/AIDS where they designed and implemented holistic training programs. Bishop first began this work from his own home and expanded it to an organization after recognizing early on in the HIV/AIDS epidemic that African American, and in particular African American Gay, bisexual and transgendered men and women were vulnerable to poor health concerns, poor health education, and stigma. He has gone on to become one of the leading voices and advocated for the healing of both the LGBT community in places of worship as well as those impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the US and abroad.
Bishop Cheeks, was also the lead coordinator of the famous DC "Clubhouse" in which hundreds DC's LGBT community flocked in the doors for both community and spiritual refuge dancing and celebrating with each other weekly (notably this venue was completely drug and alcohol free). Through this and other events Cheeks continued his legacy of community engagement and empowerment. His work as an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community and the inclusive nature of spirituality and ministry extends to everyone and the Love of God is not exclusive of anyone.
This work has fueled ministers and ministries around the country and the world. In 1982 Cheeks graduated and was ordained from the National Spiritual Science Center of the Nation's Capital a metaphysical training center under Reverend Diane Nagorka PhD. 1999 - later he would receive a Doctorate of Divinity from the St. Andrews Theological Seminary of London England. He is also a priest in the African Traditions of Akan and Ga. Continuing his healing ministry to the physical he is also a licensed massage therapist. 1987-89 he presented papers on holistic healing at the 8th, 9th, and 10th International World Health Conferences in Amsterdam Netherlands, Berlin Germany and Tokyo Japan.
Bishop Cheeks is also a Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do (trained by Grand Master Ki Kwan Kim) and was rated in the top ten in the United States and won a silver and bronze medal in the first world championship in Seoul, Korea . In 2002 he was inducted into the Tae Kwon Do International hall of fame and received the rank on Grand Master 9th Degree. In 1976 he was also initiated in Kriya Yoga by Swami Hariharananda Giri.
Bishop Cheeks is also certified in Grief and Bereavement counseling, teaches meditation, world religion, and Qabalah, and is certified in Prana healing techniques and Chakra balancing. He has been a key note speaker for the Mon Valley AIDS Conference (Pennsylvania), AIDS Medicine and Miracles (Denver. CO), Howard University Black Psychology Association, the Washington DC Nursing Association, The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum (Boston MA), the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Kirkridge Institute, Brown University, and the Bayard Rustin Committee Breakfast. He has been a panelist at 2007 Congressional Black Caucus Conference on HIV/AIDS chaired by congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congresswoman Donna Christensen, the Balm in Gilead Foundation Conference, The Black Church Initiative conference, Howard University school of Divinity, the Howard University School of Nursing, the Unity Fellowship Conference, The Washington DC police department, the Washington DC public school system, The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Howard University, Tuskegee University health conference, and has helped lead and facilitate the Damien Retreat Program.
Bishop Cheeks has been featured in the Feb. 21 2008 Metro Weekly (cover story), Poz Magazine, Port of Harlem Magazine, the Washington Post, the Louisiana Weekly, New York Times, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel News, The Washington Blade, Marylanders of Color Collective, and on BET's Tavis Smily, Kojo Namde, and Bev Smith Talk shows. He has received awards from Community Pioneers the Rainbow History Project, International Hall of Honor Hall of Champions award, Mayor Anthony Williams Community Service award, Witman Walker Community Service award, and the Episcopal Care and Response Community Service award. Bishop has served on the boards of Us Helping Us, Safe Haven Outreach, Washington Regional Clinical Trial Board, the Black Church Initiative Advisory board of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the DC Department of Health Places of Worship Advisory Board.
Bishop Cheeks has preached around the world; but his most proud of serving the community in Washington, DC and in continuing to mentor and work with ministers, pastors and lay leaders who seek to empower the community and make a difference in our lifetime in moving people to living whole and liberated lives. His motto: "I See The God In You," is the foundation of his life's work and ministry- so that everyone will be free to reclaim their Divine Birthright. His book "Reclaiming Your Divine Birthright" was released in the spring of 2011.