CHURCH COVENANT—The signing of the Pastor-Church Covenant of Relationship by Rev. Dr. Willie J. Thompson Jr. as deacon Terrence Hammons, pastor search committee chairperson, looks on waiting for his turn to sign the agreement. (Photos by J.L. Martello)


Reverend Dr. Willie J. Thompson believes the best way to transform minds is to transform communities.

As the newly installed pastor of Clairton’s Morning Star Baptist Church, he plans on initiating the help of his 300 parishioners to change the City of Prayer into a thriving town once again.

“My plan is to continue to strengthen Morning Star’s efforts in becoming a worshipping, witness for Christ to impact the community, the world and the continent,” said Thompson, who was installed on April 28 as the 94-year-old church’s newest pastor. He was chosen as the church’s pastor-elect in November of last year. “The first thing you do is feed and equip people and give them the tools they need to live healthy social and economic lives.”

Reverend Thompson was born and raised in Columbia, S.C., and accepted the call to ministry in 1997. He was licensed two years later and ordained in 2002. The 34-year-old earned his Baccalaureate degree in Religion and Philosophy from Benedict College and his Masters of Divinity degree from Washington, D.C.’s Howard University. While attending Howard,  Rev. Thompson served as Logistics Coordinator for the Graduate Schools Office of Retention, Mentoring and Support. He is a recruiter and ambassador for the School of Divinity and is the vice president of the Howard University Graduate Student Council, College of Arts and Sciences.

Prior to accepting the call to pastor Morning Star’s flock, Rev. Thompson was the Youth and Young adult Pastor at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Elgin, S.C., and most recently at Prince George’s Community Presbyterian Church. While at the Prince George’s Community Church, he established a college ministry, youth mission team and co-founded a national association for youth ministers. He also wrote and produced the stage plays “The Rock: A History of African American Worship,” “When Sunday Comes” and “A Mitchellville Christmas.” He is currently completing his Doctorate in Sociology from Howard.

“Every now and again our church hit a mountain, but Rev. Thompson elevated us to a level of praise and he led by example,” said Elder Dawn Brown, of Prince Georges Community Presbyterian Church in Mitchellville, Md., during the installation ceremony where she presented Rev. Thompson with a pastor’s robe. “We will forever be grateful for the outstanding work he did at our church and we thank you for challenging us in our Christian walk.”

Reverend Thompson plans to enhance Morning Star’s walk with Christ.

“I will continue to encourage the ministries of the church to do more of the works of Jesus and that will increase the ministry and the body of the church,” Rev. Thompson said. “If you have people who are doing the works of Jesus, people will come from everywhere.”

Reverend Thompson takes over the reign at Morning Star after the death of its pastor, Rev. Dr. Jerome Stevenson who died in 2011.

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