St. Paul Community Baptist Church
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood
Born in the State of Louisiana and reared in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, Johnny Ray Youngblood was licensed to preach at the age of 12.
Dr. Youngblood is the father of three sons: Johnny Jernell, Joel Ray and Jason Royce, and grandfather to Donna Lynn, Joshua, Jalen, Jordyn and Jasmine. His work is widely recognized and has earned him great respect for producing the phenomenal, by challenging the traditional and empowering oppressed people to achieve the impossible.
Johnny Ray Youngblood’s commitment to the call for spiritual healing, racial parity, social justice, and economic equity for all people has garnered him national recognition as a prophet, preacher, national leader, public advocate, motivator, writer, and teacher. He is, without a doubt, one of the leading theologians of his time.
Dr. Youngblood has served as Senior Pastor of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church (SPCBC), located in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York from 1974-2009. He will continue to be a servant of God through ministry as in 2001 he was called to serve as Senior Pastor at the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn – a role he was honored to assume in memory of one of his mentors, the late Rev. George H. Murray.
In the tradition of The Gospel, Rev. Youngblood has designed a socially relevant, thoughtfully crafted ministry that has touched and shaped the lives of men, women and children alike. One of the cornerstones of Rev. Youngblood’s ministry, for which he is widely respected and recognized, is his intentional ministry to Black men which challenges and empowers them to be strong leaders of their communities, Bible based vanguards who are politically aware, involved in social action as well as be the cord that bonds family.
In 1984, Rev. Youngblood founded the St. Paul Community Christian School, renamed The Johnny Ray Youngblood Academy in March 2007, which served grades K- 8 until temporarily shuttering in June 2008. Over the years he has also collaborated to establish two public high schools, as well as provided support to the Trey Whitfield School and the George H. Murray Preparatory Academy, located at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church.
In September 1994, Rev. Youngblood began to hold conversations and sponsor lectures at St. Paul Community with world-renowned speakers on the subject of SLAVERY AND ITS CONTINUALLY DEVASTATING EFFECTS ON AFRICAN AMERICAN PEOPLE. Born from these discussions was the genesis for one of the most effective healing ministries in the world today, The Commemoration of the MAAFA (pronounced Mah-ah-fah). THE MAAFA SUITE: A Healing Journey™ is the centerpiece of this annual commemoration now in its fifteenth year, which is a psychosocial dramatic depiction of the horrors of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade that pays tribute to the millions of African men, women and children who were lost in the government-sanctioned, multi-continent sale of humans.
In 2003, St. Paul Community instituted its economic development corporation, E.D.I.F.Y. (Empower, Develop & Improve Families and Youth) Communities of New York, Inc., with Dr. Youngblood as Chairman. In 2004, E.D.I.F.Y. proudly sponsored their first major event, The Economic Empowerment Conference and Expo. Over 3,000 participants packed the Brooklyn (NY) Marriott and gleaned valuable information from internationally recognized speakers and lecturers from the fields of finance, real estate and entrepreneurship.
Pastor Youngblood is recognized on the national political front, and is noted in the Congressional Record, as a result of his work with East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC), the Brooklyn organizing entity of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Dr. Youngblood is credited through EBC with leading the Nehemiah Housing Project, which to date has constructed 2,900 single family owner-occupied homes in Brooklyn.
Rev. Youngblood was the celebrated subject of the 1993 book, Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church. Written by Samuel G. Freedman, the book chronicles Dr. Youngblood’s life, his journey to St. Paul Community and has become a staple on reading lists at seminaries across the United States. In June 1998, Dr. Youngblood released his own book of reflections and poetry, I Honor My Father, a collection inspired by the impact the illness and subsequent death of his father that year had on his life. Dr. Youngblood wrote this book as a work of love to his father, Palmon Youngblood, not as a preacher.
In March 2006, Dr. Youngblood’s vision for Brooklyn broadened. He organized other Brooklyn pastors who together founded Brooklyn Congregations Together (BCT). The churches of BCT are joined by their faith in Jesus Christ, but the destiny of BCT is to be ecumenical and interfaith in makeup and ministry. Their motto, “Together in the Spirit of the King”, has come to life through borough quality of life programming which has served and positively affected over 3000 community residents to date.
Dr. Youngblood received his Doctorate of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, where he studied as a Samuel D. Proctor Fellow. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York, and his Bachelor’s degree from Dillard University in New Orleans. He has been honored, esteemed and celebrated by many national organizations and institutions and was inducted into the prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta.