VALLEY FORGE, PA (2/2/18)—The Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio, died on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, following an illness. Dr. Jones was unanimously called by the Region Board to serve as the region’s Executive Minister, beginning his service in January 2016.
“On behalf of the entire American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) family, I wish to express condolences to Dr. Jones’ family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them. The Office of the General Secretary also pledges to support ABC of Ohio during this time,” said ABCUSA General Secretary Lee B. Spitzer.
“While Dr. Jones was only with the ABC of Ohio region for a brief time, he left his leadership mark. He was loved and supported by many throughout the region. I am also thankful to the region for the ways that they supported Ernest and his family throughout his illness. They served as a model of care, compassion, and support,” said Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries, ABCUSA.
Dr. Jones received the call to ministry early in his life, and was licensed to preach at the age of twelve. Since that time, he devoted his life 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 experienced increased spiritual vitality and repositioned itself as a community-based congregation for 21st century ministry.
Dr. Jones’ community involvements included 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 also served as a faculty member at New York Theological Seminary, North Campus, in Ossining, NY; and he is a past President of American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York.
On the national level, Dr. Jones served for six years as a member of the ABCUSA Board of General Ministries/General Board, serving on the Committee for Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations. He was an ABCUSA appointee to the National Council of Churches Convening Table on Interreligious Relations and served as 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.
The funeral for Dr. Jones will take place on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at noon, EST, at the First Baptist Church of Newark, Ohio, 1000 Granville Road, Newark, Ohio, 43055. Calling hours will take place from 10:00 am to noon, prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to American Baptist Churches of Ohio or to the James Cancer Hospital (Columbus, Ohio) in memory of Rev. Dr. Ernest Jones.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.