Second Baptist Church of Detroit Installs 24th Pastor in its 185 Year History

Second Baptist Church of Detroit Installs its 24th Pastor in its 185 Year History

Sunday, September 19, 2021, Second Baptist Church of Detroit will install its 24th Pastor, Rev. Lawrence Whitfield Rodgers. The Pastoral Installation preacher at 2 p.m. will be Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III, Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Baltimore. The 10:30 a.m. worship service preacher will be the former pastor, Rev. Dr. Williams S. Epps, Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church, Los Angeles.

After the retirement of the 23rd Pastor, Rev. Dr. Kevin M. Turman, and a two-year “call process”, Second Baptist’s invitation was accepted by Pastor Rodgers and he preached his first pastoral sermon on December 20, 2020. Devoted to his wife, Bettae and their three children, the Rev. Rodgers and family were happy to move to metro Detroit on this new journey. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, Pastor Rodger’s installation service was postponed. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Pastor Rodgers has been busy working with the congregation organizing virtual services, committee meetings and church activities. Pastor Rodgers has been connecting with leaders in Detroit and beyond and is learning how Second Baptist can be of service in our communities.

Second Baptist Church of Detroit is the oldest African American congregation in the State of Michigan and the Midwest. Second played a pivotal role in the history of the City of Detroit and has a rich legacy spanning all the way from the Underground Railroad to the fight for Equal Rights and opportunities. For additional information, visit

Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown, III is the Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. For nearly two decades, Dr. Brown has demonstrated a deep commitment to and advocacy on a myriad of social justice concerns at every level of government, business, and at the grassroots level as well. Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III earned his B.S. degree in Psychology from Morgan State University, a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, D.C.)

Rev Dr. William S. Epps is Senior Pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Los Angeles, since October 1987. Prior to becoming pastor in Los Angeles, he was senior pastor at Second Baptist Detroit from 1983 to 1987. A graduate of Bishop College, Dr. Epps has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, a Master of Education from Columbia University and a Doctor of Ministry from St. Mary’s Seminary and University.

Rev. Lawrence W. Rodgers is Second Baptist Church of Detroit’s 24th Senior Pastor. Pastor Rodgers comes to Detroit having led the Westside Church of Christ of Baltimore through immense and impactful growth during his pastorate. He is an Honor graduate of Harding University and earned a master’s degree in Divinity from Howard University’s School of Divinity. Reverend Rodgers has been a prolific lecturer, author, panelist, and Adjunct Professor at Abilene Christian University. He serves as a consultant for the Carl Spain Center for Race Studies and Spiritual Action. He is a certified trainer with Healing Communities, an advocacy group for re-entry citizens. Pastor Rodgers also is an ambassador for the Black Church Food Security Network.

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