Third Baptist pastor to be honored at Emancipation commemoration

Staff report


The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Baptist Pastors Council of Youngstown will host their annual community Emancipation Proclamation and installation of officers services at 10 a.m. Jan. 1 at New Bethel Baptist Church, 1507 Hillman St. The event is free.

The annual event, the longest contiguous black community celebration in the Mahoning Valley, recognizes the commemorative enactment by President Abraham Lincoln’s document that abolished the legalization of slavery in the United States.

The Rev. Todd A. Johnson of Second Baptist of Warren will be the guest preacher. The Youngstown Fellowship Choir will minister in song.

The Rev. Mr. Johnson is creator and presenter of a social media awareness workshop for youth and parents as well as the creator of H.Y.P.E. (Helping Young People Excel), which is a young-adult career workshop presented at local high schools and as part of the Trumbull County Summer Youth Work Program.

The Rev. Morris W. Lee, longtime pastor of Third Baptist Church on the city’s South Side, will be presented as the 2018 recipient of the Rev. Elizabeth Powell Heritage Award. In its 10th year, the award recognizes community leaders who have advocated for social justice and the ideals of peace.

The Rev. Mr. Lee is a native of Virginia. He attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., receiving a bachelor’s degree in history and his master of divinity degree (cum laude). He has completed course requirements toward a doctorate in ministry from Ashland University. He has served on numerous church boards and has served as chairman of the Trumbull Baptist Neighborhood Ministries and president of the Mahoning Valley Council of Churches and the IMA.

Mr. Lee and his wife, Beverly, a retired Youngstown City Schools educator, are the parents of a son, Morris, a city police officer, and a daughter, Miriam, an employee of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

Pastor Gary Frost, vice president Midwest Region North American Mission Board, will conduct the installation and commissioning service of officers of faith and community organizations as well as elected and appointed public officials.

The IMA and BPC share similar missions, which include promoting ecumenical fellowship in a united effort for the good of all people and establish partnerships with faith-based and community organizations that work toward eradication of racial and social injustice issues.

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