"Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us too, that God may open a door for the message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may make it known as I should." Colossians 4:2-4 (New Living Translation)
The Whitehead Family
Rev. Dr. Robert Ashley Whitehead, Sr., is the third of seven children born to the late James W. Whitehead, Sr., and the late Geraldine J. Whitehead of Portsmouth, Virginia.
Educated in the Portsmouth public schools, Dr. Whitehead received a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Masters of Divinity from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and Doctor of Divinity from Regent University in Virginia Beach, with an emphasis on Leadership and Renewal. He has also taken additional graduate courses in business from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond.
As Pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, Dr. Whitehead has overseen the expansion of church involvement in the broader community on issues such as education, mentoring, health and stewardship. He is a member of the Williamsburg Tri-County Pastor's Council, past board member of the Williamsburg Aids Network, past board member of Faith In Action, and past board member of Housing Partnerships of Williamsburg. Dr. Whitehead is currently on the Pastoral Advisory Council at Sentara Regional Hospital, a Silver Life Member of NAACP, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
While serving as part-time Pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, Dr. Whitehead also had a career in finance and accounting with the former Circuit City Stores, Inc., at their Corporate Offices in Richmond, VA. He worked for Circuit City for more than 14 years and was part of their management team.
Dr. Whitehead is married to Dr. Jocelyn Henry-Whitehead. They have two sons, Robert, Jr. and Matthew.
Several members of the Whitehead family are accomplished musicians. Robert Jr. plays drums and keyboard and directs the young adult group, “Infinite Praise”, while Matthew plays drums. Dr. Jocelyn Whitehead plays piano, harp, and bass and directs the Senior Choir.
Dr. Jocelyn H. Whitehead is Director for the Williamsburg-James City County Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program. Dr. Whitehead also serves as an Adjunct Professor for the College of Arts and Sciences at the Richmond Campus for the University of Phoenix.
Matthew Whitehead shown left, is a student at The University of Maryland - Eastern Shore, Virginia. Robert A. Whitehead, Jr. shown right, is a graduate of Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way . 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
The pleasant voice that you are most likely to hear when you call the church office, or the friendly face that will likely greet you when you visit the church on week days is that of LeAnne Wilson, the Church Administrator. In addition to being “Greeter-in-Chief”, LeAnne’s duties are many and varied. First and foremost, the mission of the Church Administrator is to contribute excellence in all areas of administration at New Zion Baptist Church by developing, coordinating, and maintaining an orderly environment which supports the Vision, Mission, and Values of the church.
As Church Administrator, the key areas of responsibility include the development, coordination, and maintenance of :
Financial Functions: projections, monthly and quarterly reports, and ministry budgets;
Membership Information: membership database and specialized reports;
Contributions and Donations: posting contributions, annual contribution statements, and reports;
Facilities: policies and guidelines, church calendar, church usage, events, fixed assets, facilities, and inspections;
Communications: weekly church bulletins, announcements, monthly calendar, correspondence, telephone, email, bulletin boards, and advertising;
Church Office: policies and guidelines, administrative support for Pastor, committees, and ministries, schedule appointments, Notary, and assist visitors.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
New Zion is truly blessed to have a husband and wife Ministerial Team to assist the Pastor in guiding New Zion congregants in our faith walk. Rev. Edward Christian and Rev. Dr. Brenda Christian joined the New Zion Family in 2009 and have been avid participants in the life, development and spiritual growth of our Church.
Rev. Edward & Rev. Dr. Brenda Christian
In addition to assisting the pastor with worship services, the Christians are often called upon to teach or serve in some other capacity for Church-sponsored programs. They also assist the Deacons as members of the Family Care Plan Team.
Dr. Thomas Theodore Shields Sr. completed his public education in Newport News, Virginia. He received an Associate of Arts Degree from Inter American University in San German, Puerto Rico; a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trenton State College, Trenton, New Jersey, a Master of Divinity from the School of Theology, Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia, a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia with an emphasis on educational counseling and a Masters of Christian Education from Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia.
Rev. Dr. Thomas T. Shields Sr
Dr. Shields is Pastor-Emeritus of the historic First Baptist Church of Williamsburg, Virginia, after serving faithfully for 20 years. He recently served for five years as the Interim Pastor of Zion Baptist Church, Portsmouth, Virginia before returning to Williamsburg and joining the New Zion Baptist family where he serves as a member of the New Zion Baptist Christian Education Ministry.
Dr. Brenda Christian was educated in the public schools of New Kent, VA. She received her Bachelor of Individualized Studies with a focus on Business from Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA; Masters of Divinity Degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Richmond VA; and, Doctor of Ministry Degree from Virginia University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, VA with an emphasis on Holistic Health and Wellness. Dr. Christian holds certificates in Lay Counseling from Beacon Counseling, Williamsburg, VA and Evans Smith Leadership Institute, Virginia Union University. Additionally, she is a graduate of the USDA Women’s Executive Leadership Graduate Program.
Rev. Dr. Brenda Christian
Dr. Christian was licensed to the Gospel Ministry in November 2000 and ordained in January 2005. She currently serves as New Zion’s Director of Christian Education, with responsibilities for providing educational leadership to enhance the spiritual growth of the congregants. Dr. Christian is co-founder of C&C Ministry, an outreach ministry designed to Construct Lives for Christ. In addition, she has been recognized by the NAACP as a Distinguished Black American Female.
Her heart’s desire is to remain faithful to God and humble before Him as she walks in the plans He has set in motion for her.
Rev. Edward Christian was educated in the public schools of New Kent, VA and accepted Christ at an early age. He was aware of God’s call to him for Ministry, but did not accept the calling until December 25, 1998, when his earthly father passed unexpectedly. On that Christmas Day, Ed fell to his knees and questioned God about why He did not heal his father. God responded, “I did”. Ed questioned God about how he could possibly tell people that God can supply all their needs when he believed God did not supply his need and keep his father from dying.
Rev. Edward Christian
How could he possibly tell people that God can make a way out of no way or work through the midst of all hurt? Before Ed got up off his knees from crying out to God, he had moved from darkness to instantaneous light and asked God for forgiveness.
On that day, Rev. Ed responded to God’s call and said, “Whatever you want me to do Lord, I will do.” As he reflected on the goodness of the Lord, he realized that God had taken care of his father. He did not know until his father’s death, that he had lived with cancer for seven years, without ever complaining. Rev. Ed received his Ministerial education at Evans-Smith Leadership Institute, Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA. He was licensed in 1999 and ordained in 2002 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, New Kent, VA. Rev. Ed’s unique Call to Ministry has resulted in his ability to usher the New Zion congregants into worship through reverent, fervent, and comforting prayers.
“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:3-4
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.” 1 Timothy 3:8-10
The Deacon's Ministry is scripturally based in The Book of Acts, Chapter six and 1 Timothy, Chapter 3. The primary function of the Deacon's Ministry is to assist the Pastor in carrying out the responsibility of ministering to the needs of the Church. A principle component of this Ministry as it relates to the congregation is the "Family Care Plan". Each household (family) of the Church is assigned a Deacon who belongs to one of four teams of Deacons. The Deacons are in regular communication with members under their purview to provide spiritual counsel, encouragement, prayer, and to assist them in their faith walk.
Dea. Robert Ashby, Jr. Chair, Deacon’s Ministry
The Deacon's ministry works in conjunction with the Pastor, Deaconesses and Ministerial Staff to address needs at all levels. The Deacons Ministry has initiated a Household Item Donation Program, whereby parishioners can donate household items such as furniture, electronic devices, appliances, etc., to others who might need these items.
New Zion Deacons are active in the Peninsula Deacon's Union.
The Deaconess Ministry at New Zion partners with the Deacons to serve the congregation and community in numerous ways. Primary responsibilities of Deaconesses include assisting the Pastor and Deacons in their work. They prepare the Table in preparation for the Holy Communion and also assist baptismal candidates before, during and after the Baptismal Ceremony. New deaconesses are recommended by the Deaconess Ministry and approved by the church.
New Zion deaconesses are currently partnering with the Missionaries to collect and distribute food to the needy. Deaconesses also lead or assist with various other community efforts such as coordinating volunteers for the annual Salvation Army Bell Ringing fund raising drive.
Jerolene Brown Willie Brown Bruce Evans, Sr James Jackson, Sr Preston Jones Martin, Mr. Robert Harold Mason Paul Merritt Herbert Rainey, Sr. Nancy Shackleford Karen A Smallwood Robert K. Taylor, Sr. Geneva Wallace Dianna Wade
Robert martin Trustee Chairman
TheTrustee Ministry is responsible for the purchase and maintenance of church properties and assets.Trustees hold legal title to the property of the church and are responsible for its financial affairs. Designated Trustees provide the official signature of the body on all notes, loans and official documents. They are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the cemetery, the supervision of the custodian and the upkeep of the church building and grounds. New trustees are recommended by the pastor and the Trustees Ministry and are elected by the church body.
The New Zion Baptist Church Vision Task Force was reactivated in January 2009 with the mission of developing a strategic five year development plan for the church. The Task force consists primarily of church ministry leaders but others members are welcome to join. The task force is charged to evaluate where New Zion seeks to be in several key areas within the next five years and how we expect to achieve our goals.
Currently the task force consists of five principle committees:
Identify, develop and train leaders to carry out the churchs’ missions
Plan youth development and training programs for the youth of New Zion
Address the music needs of a growing and increasingly diverse congregation
Assess transportation requirements to make the church more accessible to those in the community who otherwise may not be able to reach us
Support the efforts of other committees by providing demographic data as needed