The 2023 Leadership Awards Luncheon
Rev. Dr. Alphonso R. Bernard, Sr.,
He was born August 10, 1953 and is the spiritual leader of the New York Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York. In November 1979, A. R. Bernard, Sr. left a 10-year career with a major New York banking institution and together with his wife, Karen, went into full-time ministry. What started as a small storefront church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has blossomed into a 45, 000+ member church that sits on an eleven and a half acre campus in Brooklyn, New York.
He has served as the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York representing 1.5 million Protestants, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians. Rev. Bernard recently founded the Christian Community Relations Council (CCRC) which is a NY based not-for-profit that will serve as a central resource and coordinating body for congregations and community organizations. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Commission of Religious Leaders (CORL).
Dr. Bernard has a Master of Urban Studies and a Master of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary. He Has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Wagner College, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary. His wife Karen left her career with the Queens County Supreme Court to raise 7 sons and co-pastor with her husband. Together that have successfully experienced 48 years of marraige and 42 years of ministry.
The 2023 MLK Memorial Tribute Keynote Speaker, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr., is Senior Pastor of the Bethel Church, located in Jacksonville, Florida. McKissick returned to Bethel in 1995 to share leadership with his father, and has since succeeded him as the sole Senior Pastor of the church. Under our Bishop’s leadership, Bethel has become known as The Bethel Experience; a worship known for his vibrancy, energy and diversity.
His teaching has resulted in a church that has transitioned into a church where generations worship. Bishop McKissick is a powerful messenger of God who has been afforded many national platforms for proclamation,among them being the morning preacher at the prestigious Hampton University Ministers and Musicians Conference as well as the featured conference preacher in the evening; the conference preacher at the John Malcus Ellison Convocation at Virginia Union University (Now the John Ellison/Miles Jones Convocation) and being inducted into the Morehouse School of Religion Board of Preachers.
Bishop has also served as a professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in the capacity of doctoral mentor, where students have been selected to sit in a learning cohort, sitting under his academic mentorship as they work towards their earned Doctor of Ministry degree. In the United program, McKissick has graduated five doctoral classes.
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission
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Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-0155