VALLEY FORGE, PA (11/19/15)—The Executive Minister Search Committee for the American Baptist Churches of Ohio announces the call of the Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones of Brooklyn, New York, to serve as the region’s next Executive Minister. The committee, chaired by the Rev. Dr. Marva Hughes of Dayton, Ohio, made the recommendation to call Jones to the Region Board at their November 7, 2015, meeting, and the Board voted unanimously after meeting with the candidate.
Dr. Jones will begin his service with ABC/Ohio on January 1, 2016, succeeding Dr. Larry Swain, who will be retiring on December 31, 2015. A formal installation service will be planned for Dr. Jones in the Spring of 2016.
“Ernest brings to this role a breadth of pastoral and denominational experience that will well serve the churches of Ohio and the denomination. His service on the Board of General Ministries and the Committee on Christian Unity/Interfaith Relations has been exemplary. We welcome Ernest to regional and national leadership in ABC life,” said A. Roy Medley, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.
ABC President Don Ng said, “Rev. Dr. Ernest Jones knows how the Christian faith is thriving in today’s world. As a pastor in New York City brimming with a cacophony of viewpoints, Dr. Jones professes the love of Christ as an American Baptist in his local church and at the same time is reaching out to other religious communities with recognition and reconciliation. I am excited about his appointment to the American Baptist Churches of Ohio and for the larger ABC family as we work together in the name of Jesus Christ to bring Good News to all people!”
A letter posted on the ABC of Ohio website states, “Please join us in praise and thanksgiving to our Lord for His abiding presence with our Search Committee during their time of discerning His will for ABC/Ohio. We ask for your prayers and support for Dr. and Mrs. Jones as we welcome them in 2016 to help us continue our mission of Building Healthy Churches that Impact the World for Christ.”
Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones received the call to ministry early in his life, and was licensed to preach at the age of twelve. Since that time, his life has been devoted to the Gospel ministry. Jones is a graduate of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1989. In 2013 he received a Doctor of Ministry degree from New York Theological Seminary in New York, New York.
After graduating from Andover Newton Theological School, he accepted the call to serve as Assistant to the Pastor of the East End Tabernacle Baptist Church, Bridgeport, Connecticut. His interests in working with youth soon led him to the Connecticut Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he provided pretrial adjudicatory intervention with at-risk youth.
In 1994, Jones became the first African American to assume an executive level position with the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, where he served as Church Missions Director. He was responsible for developing the Council’s award-winning Bridge Building Initiative (BBI), a community discussion/action forum. Under his leadership, the BBI was recognized as a Promising Practices Program by The President’s Initiative on Race in 1998 and was a recipient of Chase Bank’s Harmony grant, among others.
In October of 1998, Dr. Jones was called to serve as the Pastor of the Greenwood Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. Under his pastorate, the church has experienced increased spiritual vitality as it has repositioned itself as a community-based congregation for 21st century ministry. The congregation provides a range of outreach and educational ministries, and is in the process of developing the only Protestant preschool to serve a community of 25,000 households.
Dr. Jones’ community involvements include serving as chair of New York Methodist Hospital’s Pastoral Care Advisory Committee; working as an organizing clergy member of Faith in New York, Brooklyn, serving on the Live Free steering committee addressing issues related to mass incarceration. He is a faculty member at New York Theological Seminary, North Campus, in Ossining, NY; and he is the immediate past President of American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York and a current member of the board’s Public Missions committee.
On the national level, Dr. Jones has served for six years as a member of the Board of General Ministries ABCUSA, serving on the Committee for Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations. He is an ABCUSA appointee to the National Council of Churches Convening Table on Interreligious Relations and is the ABCUSA representative to the Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign steering committee, an interfaith organization founded in 2010 by over 20 national religious groups dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment by strengthening the voice of freedom and peace.
Dr. Jones and his wife, Denise, have two grown children.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.