Pastors

Dr. Edward Parker, Jr.

Senior Pastor

EDWARD PARKER, JR.

B.Th, M.T.S., M.Div., D.Min., D.Min.

The Rev. Dr. Edward Parker, Jr. has been pastoring for 41 years and preaching for 46 years.  He has led the Berean Missionary Baptist Church congregation for the last 28 years. Starting with 325 members in April 1990, the congregation has had growth spurts up to 3500 members.  Dr. Parker, along with his congregation, has established over 20 ministries that seek to make a difference in the community of humankind.

Dr. Parker accepted his call to the gospel ministry in July 1972 at the Monumental Baptist Church pastored by the Reverend S. B. Kyles.  Upon a visit to his home church, New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Parker was asked by Revered Willie G. Williams to return and help out with the ministry.  This he did, and on December 2, 1973 Reverend Williams licensed Dr. Parker to the gospel ministry. On June 12, 1975 Dr. Parker was ordained to the gospel ministry.  Dr. Parker pastored Littlejohn Baptist Church (Millington) for nine years and New Salem Missionary Baptist Church (955 South Fourth Street, Memphis) for four years.

Dr. Parker grew up during the late 40s and 50s in the segregated south in Memphis, TN.  He graduated in 1956 from Booker T. Washington High School where the teachers told their students to be fully prepared for a change. His Father, the late Mr. Edward Parker, Sr., said to him “It’s going to be better for you than it was for me. So get all the education you can.”  By the time Dr. Parker started college at Tennessee State University in 1956, he was eager to be a part of the movement to gain civil rights for Blacks.

After working at Union Protective Life Insurance and Universal Life Insurance Company Edward made the transition to work for the TN Commission on Human Rights under Governor Buford Elliott.  As the Field Director for the West Tennessee area from 1969-1972; 1974-75, he was responsible for handling discrimination suits within state employment as well as job discrimination and dismissals.  In 1970 Winfield Dunn was elected as Governor and increased financial support for TCHR after Parker and staff submitted a 10-point proposal on how to improve civil rights from a state perspective.

For years, Parker ignored the tugging of his calling to the ministry, and finally on October 4, 1972, he preached his maiden sermon.  Convinced that pastoring was not for him, he turned his efforts toward entrepreneurship and opened Edwardian Accounts and Associates after taking a free course in tax preparation offered by IRS.  His clientele included:  The Fords, school teachers/administrators, judges, lawyers and various businesses. In addition to providing tax services, his company installed fences for residences and commercial properties.  The company was also a part of a work release program providing employment to persons just released from prison.

When Parker’s business began to fail, he knew it was a sign that God had something different in store for him.  With his exposure dealing with people, and the understanding of the structural, organization and financial aspect of business, he began to see it as God shaping and developing him to be a Pastor.  Yielding to the call, he began to attend church more often working diligently in the youth ministry at his then home church, New Salem Baptist Church (Fourth St). Pastor Willie G. Williams saw Parker’s gift and began to allow him to preach every fourth Sunday which was designated as Youth Sunday.  Also during this time, Parker’s tax clients sought him out, and he reopened his tax business expanding his clientele to preachers and pastors. In his fifth year of preaching, he was called to Pastor Littlejohn Baptist Church in Millington, TN.

After nine years at Littlejohn Baptist Church, the Lord led him to New Salem Baptist Church.  It was there that he recognized the need to go back to school for theological training. In 1981-82, he earned a Bachelor of Theology and a Master of Theological Studies from Tennessee School of Religion.  He was encouraged by the late Dr. Henry Rueben Green to attend the Memphis Theological Seminary. That he did and received a Master of Divinity in 1985. He furthered his graduate studies at McCormick Theological Seminary on the campus of the University of Chicago where he earned two Doctor of Ministry degrees: a Doctor of Ministry in 1993 and a Doctor of Homiletics in 2001.  During the summer of 2003, he attended the Summer Leadership Institute at Harvard Divinity School.

In the fall of 1985, Parker became a Homiletics Instructor at Tennessee School of Religion, and on July 10, 2008, Dr. Parker succeeded Dr. Rueben Henry Green as President of the Tennessee School of Religion making him the first alumnus to be elected in that position.  

He’s affiliated with a number of local, state and national organizations and is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.  For eight years, he served as President of the Minister’s Division for the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Marvin Mercer and currently serves as the 2nd Vice Moderator of the Memphis District Association under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Eric L. Winston.

He’s married to Linda Rutherford Parker and has three children:  Andre, Edward III and Edie Lynn and four grandsons: Andre Jr., Austin, Edward IV and Elijah and 1 great granddaughter, Maya Anjali.

Reverend William Smith III

B.A., M.A., M.Div.

Community educator, spiritual activist, and minister; born in Memphis, Tennessee. Son of the Late Reverend William Smith Jr. and Minister Louise Jackson Mason. He is the proud Husband of LaTonya Michelle Smith and Father of three beautiful daughters and one handsome son: MaKayla Dyann, LaNiya Erielle, Trinity Grace and Trent Terrell.

Rev. William Smith III accepted the call to the ministry at the early age of 9. In March of 1991, he delivered his first sermon at Greater New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, TN and was licensed to preach respectively by the Reverend Andrew H. Walker.

He received his first ordination in October of 1997 at Eureka Truevine Baptist Church by Elder Frederick Tappan, Sr. He has served as Youth Pastor and Director of Youth Programs at Lake Grove and Eureka Truevine churches. Rev. Smith has devoted a good majority of his life to the betterment of people, by the spreading of the gospel and by defining and redefining the concept of love.

He is a product of Memphis City Schools, graduating from Hillcrest High School with Honors in 1999.  He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Lane College. He continued his graduate studies at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Education.  He received a Master of Divinity degree from Phillips School of Theology at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since the start of his ministry, his gift of preaching has not only been limited to local engagements. He has traveled the globe to preach revivals and many worship services.

Pastor Smith has always been dedicated to the principles of education and community service. Beginning at the age of 9, his civic involvement has included the Cub Scouts & Boys Scouts of America; at the age of 10, he won the Memphis-Shelby County Spelling Bee sponsored by Scripps-Howard.

While attending Hillcrest High School in Memphis, Tennessee, he was the President of the Key Club, selected to be in Who’s Who Among American High School Students, Student Director of T.V. Productions, the Junior Class President, Student Council Treasurer, Memphis City Schools Board of Education’s Student Advisory Board member, a member of the Knowledge Bowl Team, and a Writer for the Teen Appeal Newspaper. One of his most remarkable accomplishments was that he founded a prayer, bible study and debate organization at the school named Hillcrest Fellowship Outreach. His senior year, he was Student Council President, Mr. Hillcrest, Most Ambitious, and Parliamentarian of the National Honor Society and still maintained and graduated with Honors. He was selected between two other students from the state of Tennessee to attend the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. At this conference, he was selected to play the role of “Mr. President,” among thousands of youth from across the country.  

He was featured in Memphis, TN on Channel 24 Live as an Operator for Telethon for Children suffering from Cerebral Palsy, the top of all News Stations to speak out against “Senior Skip Day,” and a “Round the Table” guest on Channel 24 and 30 for issues involving violence in the Memphis and Shelby County Schools, and one of the first guest on WHRK/K97-FM Talk Show titled “On Point” discussing spiritual issues involving youth of society.

He attended and completed the Dean’s Institute at the University of Memphis in the summer of 1997.

From President to many other organizations he became involved. At Lane College, he became an active member and Brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by being initiated and joining the Beta Pi Chapter. He held the positions of President and Director of Intake for the chapter. Additionally, he was elected to serve as the Assistant District Director for the state of Tennessee-the highest selected position that a College Alpha Brother can hold. He was one of the leading Student Ministers on campus. He was a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society; he served as the Secretary, Treasurer and Assistant Public Relations Officer. He served as the Chaplain of the Education Club, and a member of the Student Government Association.

In 2000, the President of the College asked him to preach in the College’s Assembly. While matriculating, he also worked as a Dorm Counselor. In his senior year, William was named “Student of the Year” by the presentation of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. during another College Assembly.

He has worked for a short period of time in the Jackson Madison County Schools.  For sixteen years, Smith served and was employed at his alma mater (Lane College), serving in the following Staff and Administrative positions: Residential Counselor, Aid to the Office of the President, Admissions Counselor, Special Assistant to the President for Church Relations, Dean of Campus, Director of Environmental Safety, Chaplain of the College, Director of Security and Safety Department, Director of Community Outreach and Dean of Students, respectively.

In 2006, Rev. Smith accepted the call to lead a congregation. He was appointed to the Holsey Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Gadsden, Tennessee by Bishop William H. Graves. He served as Pastor from July 2006 until June 2008. Under his leadership, the church experienced significant growth and the physical structure was completely revitalized and remodeled anew. Additionally, Holsey Chapel added space to accommodate greater attendance and more ministries.

During the 2007 Annual Conference in Jackson, Tennessee, he was ordained a Traveling Elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Smith and his family relocated to the Atlanta, Georgia area in 2008 to continue his studies. Bishop Othal H. Lakey appointed him to the Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia (Georgia North Region).

During his time in Georgia and at Phillips School of Theology, he was appointed by Bishop William H. Graves, Dr. Jacqui Burton and Dr. W. Franklin Richardson to serve on the Staff and Board of the Institute for Church Administration and Management (ICAM)/Council of National Black Churches (CNBC); comprised of the leaders of all 8 historically Black denominations. Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, he was awarded The W.C. Larkin Tenacious Award and the Bishop Othal Hawthorne Lakey Scholarship Preaching Award respectively.

In June of 2009, Rev. Smith was admitted into Full Connection with the East Tennessee Annual Conference. Additionally, he was elected to be a Delegate to the 2010 General Conference.

In August of 2010, Rev. Smith was appointed to the historic Capers Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee (The Oldest Black Church in the State of Tennessee) by Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, III. While serving in Nashville, Pastor Smith joined the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship and partnered with the Bethlehem Centers of Nashville outreach ministry.

In 2011, the United Negro College Fund selected Rev. Smith to receive the Young Alumni Award from the National Alumni Council of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

During the East Tennessee Region Annual Conference held in Jackson, TN in the summer of 2012, Rev. Smith was transferred to the West Tennessee Region Annual Conference and as a result, he was appointed Pastor of Collins Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Covington, Tennessee by Bishop Lawrence L. Reddick, III.  

Rev. Smith was asked to join in the chartering and initiation of a community civic organization of young African-American males in the Tipton County area that discourages violence and promotes success of youth in the community. The organization’s name upon its birth was Men of Tipton (M.O.T.). Rev. Smith served as its founding Chaplain. Additionally, Rev. Smith is an active, current and financial member of the Greater Memphis CME Ministers Alliance.

In July of 2013, Pastor Smith was appointed as Pastor at Farmer Chapel CME Church in Downtown Brownsville, TN. He served faithfully for one year. From 2014-November, 2017, Pastor Smith served as Pastor at Polk Chapel CME Church in Memphis, TN and as Pastor of Mount Olive CME Church in Somerville, TN.

Most recently, Smith accepted the position of Dean of Student Success/Student Affairs at the LeMoyne-Owen College located in Memphis, Tennessee. Since July of 2017, Dean Smith has been employed at this historic institution located in the heart of the South Memphis community. As Dean of Student Success, Smith serves as the lead official in the Student Affairs Division; responsible for the direction, supervision and planning of all college programs in the offices of student-retention, student leadership and engagement, residence life and housing, counseling services, career services, and campus recreation; provides executive-level leadership and vision in the administration of a comprehensive range of policies, practices, and procedures related to the implementation of services that promote student success; serves as the chief judicial affairs officer and responsible for conducting and adjudicating disciplinary hearings and assigning appropriate sanctions under the College’s policies and procedures. Serves as a member of the President’s Administrative Cabinet.

On August 22, 2017, in recognition of a life of exemplary qualities, outstanding service to the city, meritorious involvement in humanitarian affairs and demonstrated concern for government processes, Pastor Smith was appointed Chaplain of the Day of the Memphis City Council.

Later in the year of 2017, The Links, Incorporated/Shelby County (TN) Chapter invited Smith to serve as the Keynote Speaker for their Annual Father/Son Brunch held on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College where he serves as Dean.

His short term goals are and have consisted of being able to receive his undergraduate degree and certification from Lane College; a desire to teach and later move to administration after receiving a Master’s degree; to become a principal and on to hold a position on the School Board; to attend a Theological Seminary and receive a Master’s and Doctorate Degree in Ministry.

His long term goals are to earn a PhD in Education and in the field of Ministry, become the President of Lane College in Jackson, TN, Mayor of a city and a Member of Congress House of Representatives; finally, he desires to become the President of the United States of America.

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