Leading Chicago pastor set to pass the torch

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AFTER 18 YEARS as the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Chicago, Charles Jenkins (left) recently announced plans to retire. He is photographed with his successor Reverend Reginald Sharpe Jr.

Charles Jenkins, Senior Pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, to retire at the end of 2019.

Charles Jenkins, Senior Pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, has announced his retirement, effective December 31, 2019. Jenkins joined the pastoral staff of his mentor, Rev. Dr. Clay Evans, founder of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, nearly 21 years ago in 1998. Then in 2000, Jenkins officially succeeded Dr. Evans as Senior Pastor and has since led the congregation to exponential growth in all areas. Jenkins is also a widely-acclaimed singer, songwriter, and producer having topped the Billboard charts consistently since his musical debut in 2012.

“It has been the joy of my life, and the honor of a lifetime, to serve at Fellowship in the greatest city in the world, for almost half of my life,” said Jenkins. “I’m leaving the lead role, but I’m never leaving Reverend Evans, my spiritual family, or Chicago. I owe so many people so much. I am emotionally all over the place, but I believe its God’s plan. Additionally, I am excited about Fellowship’s future with my successor Reverend Reginald Sharpe Jr.!”

Jenkins assumed senior leadership of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church after its original founder, Rev. Dr. Clay Evans retired in 2000. Evans founded the ministry in 1950 and laid the tracks for a rich legacy, having personally launched the ministerial careers of over 100 people.

“I love him! I love him! He is my pastor, my son, and my friend,” said Evans. “He has done a marvelous job, a Herculean job, an excellent job. He has made me very proud. He has been good to me and Fellowship. It was the Lord’s doing, and the young man following Reverend Jenkins will do well. I was 25 when I started Fellowship. Reverend Jenkins was about 25. Sharpe is about 27, and that’s a good age, a good age. God is in the plan.”

Beyond courageous pastoral leadership and chart-topping musical success, Jenkins is recognized for his significant involvement in community initiatives, especially those impacting the African American community. He has been a strong advocate for contracts and opportunities for African Americans and has championed economic development in their communities. Jenkins has held several prominent positions, including State Commissioner and member of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, where he worked alongside others to ensure accountability to the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the City Colleges of Chicago. Jenkins has made many noteworthy contributions to the implementation of city and statewide policies over the years. He served as the President of Goodcity, a community-based non-profit overseeing and helping to build the capacity of 100 non-profit organizations.

 

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