Rev. Rufus Smith

MCPN Executive Chairman - Senior Pastor - Hope Church

Rev. Rufus Smith, IV is the Senior Pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the largest 100 congregations in America. He joined Hope’s Staff in September 2010 as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and in November of 2013, was elected to succeed the Founding Pastor of 25 years, Dr. Richard Craig Strickland. For nearly12 years he was the Senior Pastor of The City of Refuge (COR) Church in Houston Texas, an inter-racial, inter-generational, biblically centered and socially active fellowship. Pastor Smith believes that the authentic and attractive gospel of Jesus Christ consists of three things equally necessary: preaching (the proclamation of a person); teaching (the explanation of principles) and healing (the mitigation of human pain).

Prior to being “called” to Memphis, he was the Founder and CEO of the FORGE for Families (FFF). The FORGE employed athletics, after-school enrichment, adult life-skills, and entrepreneurial programs as a means to empower “at risk” families. In 2010, they successfully completed a $6,000,000 million dollar capital campaign and built a 40,000 square foot Family Life & Educational Center debt free! For three years he was the Lead Chaplain for the NBA Houston Rockets and he continues to advise other local/national boards. He studied at Houston Baptist University majoring in Theology and Psychology and maintains an active traveling and speaking schedule. He loves baseball, reading and walking, but his claim to fame is his wife Jacqueline of 31 years and their three children: Ruth Abigail, 29 (Furman U. in SC; BA); Rufus V, 27 (Howard University in DC); and Rhoda Anna, 25 (Agnes Scott College, Decatur GA; BA). All of the children live in Memphis and have chosen to work in professions that empower those who are under-resourced.

Rev. Dr. George Robertson

Senior Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dr. George Robertson is married to Jackie and they have four children: Taylor, Anna, Abbey, and Caroline. Rev. Dr. Robertson earned his baccalaureate degree from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia; his Master in Divinity and Master in Theology degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis; and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Historical and Theological Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.


Currently he is the Senior Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, and serves as a council member for The Gospel Coalition. Prior to being at Second he served as the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia; pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in St. Louis; and as lecturer/adjunct professor at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Bishop Ed. Stephens Jr.

Senior Pastor - Golden Gate Catheral

Ed. Stephens Jr. is a native of Memphis Tennessee. He possesses a prophetic anointing innovative insight and courageous leadership. He is equipped for this church age with a unique gift for reaching people at their point of need. Together with his lovely wife Elder Beverly and their three sons Edward III Eron and Evan Bishop Stephens pastors Golden Gate Cathedral of Memphis. His pastoral ministry began in 1986 with 130 members. Today the membership exceeds 4000.

Under Bishop Stephens' leadership God continues to manifest His magnificent power. Golden Gate presently offers two worship locations and 40 extended ministries including S.T.A.R. Academy which is the only college preparatory elementary school in the state of Tennessee offering classes for kindergarten through fifth grade. He has received numerous civic governmental and religious awards including the city of Memphis naming a popular thoroughfare in his honor. 

Rev. Dr. Melvin Smith

Senior Pastor - Mount Moriah East

Reverend Doctor Melvin Charles Smith has been the Senior Pastor of Mount Moriah-East Baptist Church since 1967. He is a nationally and internationally recognized evangelist. He has preached and lectured across the length and breadth of the United States. He has also repeatedly been invited to speak in Nassau, Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Cancun, Mexico.

Dr. Smith was born and raised in Memphis, TN. A product of the Memphis City School system, Dr. Smith is a graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College, has a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from the Brewster School of Religion and an honorary doctorate from the Gospel Ministry Outreach Theological Institute. He is also a 2000 graduate of Leadership Memphis and a 2003 graduate of the Greek School.

Trained in the sciences, Dr. Smith served as a senior staff member of the Virology and Immunology Research team and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for several. Even after Dr. Smith left St. Jude to pastor full time, he still was interested in the sciences and concerned about the health of his members. During the 1980’s, Dr. Smith started an awareness program in his congregation about hypertension in the black community. The program, Church and Community United to Fight Hypertension, was adopted by the National American Red Cross for African-Americans. As the program grew, Dr. Smith traveled to testify before Congress several times and became the spokesperson for Hypertension Preventive Programs sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Pastor Mundo Meneses

Executive Pastor - The Life Church

Pastor Mundo Meneses was born in Managua, Nicaragua and at the age of three he moved with his family to the United States. He attended Louisiana State University and graduated with a degree in business. He became a pastor in 2000 and moved to Tennessee with his wife in 2003. He and his wife live in Memphis with their four children. He serves Pastor John and Leslie Siebeling as one of the executive pastors at Life Church where people of all races, cultures and backgrounds can worship together and build significant, flourishing, God-centered lives. Life Church is a thriving, diverse body of believers committed to serving people, developing leaders and impacting generations. 

Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner

Senior Pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian

By the divine providence of God, Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner accepted the Call to serve as the Senior Pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Memphis, TN on January 13, 2013.  For seven years prior to coming to Mississippi Boulevard, his pastoral assignment was the Community Baptist Church in New Haven, Connecticut. 


A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University, was a 2001 United Negro College Fund/Andrew Mellon Undergraduate Fellow and a 2002 Fellow of the Fund for Theological Education.  He received his Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and was awarded the prestigious H.H. Tweedy Prize for exceptional promise for pastoral leadership.  In May 2018, Dr. Turner received the Doctor of Ministry degree in Transformative Leadership at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY.

He is married to the former Bridgett Nicole Bush of Baldwin, New York.  They are the excited parents of Josiah Lawrence and Savannah Grace Turner.

Rev. Marron Thomas

Senior Pastor - Innovation Church

A charismatic visionary and thought provoking leader, Pastor Marron currently serves as the Pastor of Innovation Church, which is located in community that he has served in for the past 20 years and he also the Executive Director of the Leadership Empowerment Center (formerly known as Youth Visions, Inc.); a non-profit organization that serves the youth of the North Memphis Frayser community.  A true 360 degree leader, Pastor Marron is often called upon to advocate for the poor, neglected and under-served throughout the city. Pastor Marron is a leader’s “leader” and has devoted himself to the betterment of man through the spiritual and educational process.

Pastor Marron is passionate about coaching and equipping God’s people towards excellence.  He has served as an adjunct professor teaching Urban Youth Evangelism and Culture, Discipleship Building, Evangelism and Discipleship and Old Testament Survey at MCUTS (Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies), Urban Youth Initiative and Crichton College (presently Victory University).

Rev. Albertha Bragg

Senior Pastor - Eastside Nazarene Church

Albertha Bragg is an ordained pastor in the Church of the Nazarene. She is currently pastor of Eastside Church of the Nazarene in Memphis TN. She has served there for the past 17 years. For 13 years the congregation has been predominantly Latino. Since 2008 Albertha has traveled annually to Guatemala preaching and visiting families of the Eastside congregation. She has participated on District and Pastoral Work and Witness trips to Costa Rica and Cuba. She has also preached in Mexico and El Salvador and  in 2016 extended her outreach to Honduras and Ecuador. She loves sharing her experiences and encouraging mission minded disciples to use your passport for the Kingdom of God. Albertha currently serves on the Nazarene Missions International (NMI) Executive Council and is NMI coordinator for the Memphis mission area. Albertha has been married for 32 years, divorced and now widowed. She has two children and three grandchildren. 

Rev. Wade Bryant

MCPN Law Enforcement Chair - Senior Pastor - Monumental Baptist Church

Reverend Bryant accepted the call of God into the ministry at Monumental Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Samuel B. Kyles.  In May of 1994, He preached his introductory sermon and was licensed and ordained in October 1996.  While serving under the leadership of Reverend Kyles, Reverend Bryant made an impact in the helping profession in Memphis and across the state.  His passion for alleviating human suffering and strengthening families and communities led him to become involved in many initiatives over the years.  He became director of outreach at The Positive Mental Attitude Association during the rise of the AIDS epidemic.  His work earned him state and national recognition as an expert in outreach and community interventions. He designed and developed intervention programs that were replicated across the region.  Reverend Bryant continued his work and continues to address the need of Gods people.  His abilities afforded him the opportunity to manage programs at Midtown Mental Health Center, Delta Medical Center Behavioral Health Unit and others.  In 2003 he became Director of the psychiatric emergency room at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.  His expertise and passion for helping people afforded him the opportunity to work as a consultant with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was invited by the Association of Black Psychologist in Washington, DC to work as a consultant to help develop Afrocentric Behavioral Health Programs for communities of color.  He was invited as a guest lecturer at Miles College in Birmingham, Alabama and the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama.  Articles about his work were published in the Association of Black Psychologists newsletter titled, “Memphis beyond the blues” and “A case for behavioral change”.   

Rev. Richard Rieves

Senior Pastor - Downtown Church

Richard is the Lead Pastor at Downtown Church.  Richard is married to Rachel and they have three daughters, Whitney Hale, Ashley Powell and Amy Katherine Power. They moved to Memphis from Fort Collins, CO where Richard planted Grace Church PCA. Prior to this the Rieves spent ten years in Olive Branch, MS planting and pastoring Christ PCA. The Rieves moved back to Memphis to start a new church in downtown Memphis that proclaims the gospel and witnesses its power to reconcile Memphians to Jesus and each other. Richard is a 1983 graduate of CBHS and a 1986 graduate of the University of Memphis. He has his Master of Divinity Degree from Reformed Theological Seminary.

Richard enjoys running, fishing, skiing (on snow or water), grilling and smoking ribs, turkey or just meat in general, college basketball, the beach and lake, duck hunting, good music, mountains and rivers.

Pastor James E. Kirkwood

MCPN Executive Director

Pastor James Earl Kirkwood is a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, friend and most of all a servant.  He, along with his wife Beverly Kirkwood, has been assigned by God to pastor Ambassadors for Christ Fellowship Church, which is located at 653 Wells Avenue in a North Memphis neighborhood, colloquially known as Scutterfield, where he grew up with his mother and four siblings.  


Pastor Kirkwood envisioned being a pastor and a police officer while living in his childhood community.  After graduating from Mitchell High School in 1978, he attended Memphis State University. He joined the Memphis Police Department in 1985. Pastor Kirkwood rose through the ranks of the department to Colonel before retiring after serving the community for 31 years and 11 months.  In that role, he established relationships with neighborhood churches with a dutiful intention to address many of the problems that plague our community.


On June 2, 2017, Colonel Kirkwood retired from the Memphis Police Department. He also stepped down from being the Senior Pastor of Ambassadors for Christ Fellowship Church to become the Executive Director of the Memphis Christian Pastors Network.  He currently works to unify and encourage collaborations among the churches of our great city to be the Salt and Light our city needs.  


God is awakening His people to work so that those that are in need of a savior may find Him.  Pastor James Kirkwood has journeyed in this life for 57 years. He has come to know and understand that God has given His people many gifts; however, the most precious of the gifts are salvation, family, and purpose.  

On June 2, 2017 Colonel Kirkwood retired from the Memphis Police Department and stepped down from being the Senior Pastor of the Ambassadors for Christ Church to become the Executive Director of the Memphis Christian Pastors Network.  In this position he works to bring unity and collaborations among the churches of our great city to be the Salt and Light our city needs.  God is awakening his people to work so that those that are in need of a savior may find Him.  Pastor James Kirkwood has journeyed in this life for 57 years and has come to know and understand that God has given us many gifts but the best of the gifts are Salvation, Family and Purpose

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