It is official! After ten months of diligently seeking God’s leading, the Executive Minister Search Committee, chaired by the Rev. Dr. Marva Hughes of Dayton, recommended a candidate to the Region Board at their November 7, 2015, meeting. After meeting with the candidate, the Board voted unanimously to extend a call to the Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones of Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Jones has officially accepted our call and will begin his service with ABC/Ohio on January 1, 2016, succeeding Dr. Larry Swain who will be retiring on December 31, 2015. 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. A formal installation service will be planned for Dr. Jones in the Spring of 2016.
Early in the life of Reverend Dr. Ernest H. Jones he received the call to ministry and was licensed to preach at the age of twelve. Since that time his life has been devoted to the Gospel ministry. Dr. 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, Dr. Jones 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 lead him to the Connecticut Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he provided pretrial adjudicatory intervention with at-risk youth.
In 1994, Pastor 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 is a member of the Board of General Ministries ABC USA, serving on the Committee for Christian Unity and Interreligious Relations. He is an ABC USA appointee to the National Council of Churches Convening Table on Interreligious Relations and is the ABC USA 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-Muslin sentiment by strengthening the voice of freedom and peace.
In August, Dr. Jones and his wife, Denise, an educator, celebrated thirty years of marriage. They have been blessed with two wonderful children: Candace Alaura, who receives her MSW from the University of Chicago May 2016, and Adam Harrison, a neuroscientist in research at Boston Children’s Hospital.
And now, a new chapter is added to the life of Dr. Jones and Denise as we welcome them to the American Baptist Churches of Ohio!