MEET OUR PASTOR
REVEREND DR. JESSE WENDELL MAPSON, Jr. was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. The son of a Baptist minister, Reverend Mapson was baptized, licensed and ordained at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where his father pastored for over fifty years.
Doctor Mapson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; a Master of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary (now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School); and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Palmer Theological
Seminary (formerly EasternBaptist Theological Seminary). In 2002 Palmer conferred upon him the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree. While at Morehouse Dr. Mapson was president of the Ministers' Union and served as student minister under Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Associate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pastor of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church.
Reverend Mapson is the author of the three books; The Ministry of Music In The Black Church, published by Judson Press; and, Strange Fire: A Study of Worship and Liturgy in the African American Church. Also, Dr. Mapson’s lecture entitled An Uncertain Sound has been selected as one of the best presentations delivered at the prestigious Hampton Ministers’ Conference and was included in the Spring 2002 Best of Hampton issue of the African American Pulpit. Recently Dr. Mapson has published a collection of sermons entitled God of My Father: Sermons of a Father and Son. These are sermons of his father Rev. J. Wendell Mapson, Sr. and Rev. J. Wendell Mapson, Jr.
Doctor Mapson has preached and lectured in many schools of higher learning including: Andover Newton Theological School, Benedict College, Birmingham Baptist College, Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary), Howard Divinity School, Morehouse College, Morris College, Shaw University and Divinity School, Virginia Union School of Theology, Westminster Choir College and Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia.
He served as Pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey from 1969 to 1987. In June 1987, he was called to pastor the historic Monumental Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in the year of our Lord, 1826. Under his leadership, Monumental has reached unparalleled heights, as he seeks to make real the church motto “The Church Where Jesus Christ is Central”.
Doctor Mapson is Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. Also, he has taught at the Palmer Theological Seminary and Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia, and is former President of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
In 1994 Reverend Mapson was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia; and in 1995 he was presented with the Benjamin E. Mays Footprint Award by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Morehouse Alumni Association. Dr. Mapson is also a former member of the Board of Governors at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.
He is married to Shirley D. Jones Mapson, and they are the parents of three sons; Keith, Brian and Jesse III, the grandparents of 11 and the great-grandparents of 4.
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