Historic Appointment at Greater Zion Hill

Nyack/ATS Alumnus Rev. Dr. Christopher Williams named Senior Pastor

FIRE RIPS THROUGH HARLEM CHURCH. That was the horrifying headline of an August 2000 newspaper article about the inferno that engulfed a three-story house of worship on Manhattan Avenue and 116th Street in New York City. Just four months later, the congregation of Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church, led by Pastor Frank Blackshear, met in its current location at 2365 Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem.

This faith community prevailed 22 years ago with the same determination that launched the ministry in the early 1950s. Back then a small group of believers convened in a Harlem beauty salon to discuss what God was leading them to do. In August 1954, Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church opened its doors.

During that fiery trial in 2000, little did the congregants know in the midst of the close-knit church family there was a young man who God would raise up to represent a new generation of church leadership.

Christopher Lance Williams was on a journey to fulfill God’s purpose. A part of the preparation included earning not one, but four academic degrees at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary. He holds an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree (both in music), earned at the College and a Master of Arts in biblical studies and Doctor of Ministry from the Seminary.

When he was just 16 years of age, the gifted young organist ventured outside of the church where he was raised in response to opportunities that aligned with his talent. He became director of music for several churches in the New York Tri-State area, including one Connecticut church where he served for 12 years. At Iona College, the Office of Mission and Ministry hired him as a lecturer and director of gospel music.

Beyond the comfort and confines of church walls, Chris Williams has also served his community since 2008 as a New York City police officer. In addition to being on the front lines as a servant leader, he has acquired several certifications in areas such as mental health first aid, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, developing mentoring programs, and identifying and reporting child abuse.

During the COVID pandemic, the Greater Zion Hill Baptist congregation stayed connected because of his efforts to get virtual worship services and Bible study online, a skill he shared with other ministry leaders. With his lovely wife, Amaranta Williams, they created Ministry That Matters. Through this outreach, they ensured that church members had personal protective equipment, distributed food to the hungry, and developed COVID response plans.

Shortly after his graduation with the ATS D.Min. last year, he was one of nine candidates being considered by a church search committee to fill the vacant pastoral role at Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church. Votes were tallied and a historic moment unfolded. Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Williams, grandson of the late Pastor Frank Blackshear, was named pastor-elect on May 21, 2021. According to his pastoral colleagues, he is the youngest Baptist pastor in the Village of Harlem. On May 22, 2022, a ceremony was conducted officially installing him as senior pastor.

Congratulations, Rev. Dr. Williams! Your alma mater salutes you for your tireless efforts serving the Church and your community.

Smithsonian African American Museum Honors Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther Costume in New Exhibit

“Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures,” opens on March 24, 2023, and features the late actor’s iconic gear. Black Panther ...
Read More

Essex County Executive Dedicates the “Ronald L. Rice Sports Complex” in Vailsburg Park in Honor of Retired State Senator Ronald L. Rice

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. dedicated the Ronald L. Rice Sports Complex in Essex County’s Vailsburg Park in ...
Read More

Rep. Karen Bass Makes History as L.A.’s First Black Woman Mayor

By Maxim Elramsisy “This is my home, and with my whole heart, I’m ready to serve, and my pledge to ...
Read More

Black Playwright Legends Hit Broadway—At Last

By Fern Gillespie The sudden death of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Playwright and Screenwriter Charles Fuller (March 5, 1939–October ...
Read More

Newark wins 2022 Planning Excellence Award for Newark360

NEWARK, NJ — Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced Nov. 17 that the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning ...
Read More

The Arts Brings Residents and Tourists to Play and Chill in Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) non-profit unique business model in which community development meets the arts, culture, and ...
Read More

From South Park to Lincoln Park

The Lincoln Park Façade Project Has A Story To TellBy Roger Smith, Assoc. AIA, LEED Green Associate There is a ...
Read More

West Indian American Day Carnival 2022

The theme of this year’s Labor Day Parade was “Life,” said Anne Rhea Smith, a board member of the West ...
Read More

A Raisin in the Sun at Newark Symphony Hall

Finds Triumph in its Debut Production Rutgers-Newark (RU-N) Law School alumna and retired Vice Chancellor Marcia Brown produced and directed ...
Read More

How North Star Academy’s In-Classroom TutoringStrategies Help Students Close Covid Gaps

Walk into any classroom at a North Star Academy school and you’ll often see students in small groups focused on ...

Essex County College Community Education Forum with Dr. Akil Khalfani and SGA Pres. Yahira Rosales

In this episode of Essex County College’s Community Education Forum, host Alfred Bundy speaks with Professor Dr. Akil Khalfani about ...

Bethune-Cookman University Damaged by Hurricane Ian

The Daytona Beach, Florida university, evacuated prior to the Hurricane Ian’s landfall over concerns about the safety of their students, ...

Newark Board of Education Superintendent Roger León

The Newark Board of Education began its transition to local control in 2018, beginning with the appointment of Superintendent of ...

Moving Education Forward in Newark

For too long we have not taken a holistic stakeholder approach to education in our cities, instead remaining in our ...

FBCLG Joins forces with NoirUnited International to Help African Refugees from Ukraine Continue their Education in the United States

First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG), in coordination with NoirUnited (NoirUnited) International, is actively leveraging its internal resources and ...

Expanding Skincare into Total Wellness: Microbiologist Erin White Takes Therapeutics to Sisterhood

 Erin White knew nature worked and botanical extract would stop inflammation. To that end, Thomas ...

AFFLICTION WAS GOOD FOR ME!

By Glenda Cadogan For two years, Fountain Baptist Church Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. J. Michael ...

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey President and Chief Executive Officer Darrell K. Terry Sr.,

Receives the Integrity House 2022 Outstanding Leadership Award From Left to Right: Darrell K. Terry, ...

A Progress Report on Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s

The excitement is building in Newark’s South Ward as the historic $150 million expansion project ...

You Are What You Eat

“You are what you eat.” Hearing this as a youth, I had visions of myself ...

From HOUSE to HOME

Tracey Phillips is grateful that she finally has a place to call home. Once homeless ...

2022 Governor’s Conference on Housing
and Economic Development

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA), New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency ...

Newark 360 Shaping Our City Together

The Master Plan To develop Newark’s 10-year Master Plan, 10,000 voices spoke and what they ...

Revitalizing Newark’s Revitalizing Newark’s Black Barbary Coast

Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District’s 20th Anniversary By Barry Carter | Photos By Tamara Fleming ...

SEEDING A COMMUNITY IN THE COAST

Key Funders and Partners Light the Way Beans, snow peas, sugar snap, cabbage, and zucchini–more ...

Wells Fargo’s Rulon Washington on Homeowner Assistance Fund

Q&A: Wells Fargo’s Rulon Washington on Homeowner Assistance Fund Available for Homeowners with COVID-Related Financial ...

Documenting Good News Happening in Newark And Beyond

By LaMonica McIverPresident, Newark Municipal Council On a warm, autumn evening, downtown Newark’s arts and ...