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Rev. Charolyn J. Jones
March is Women's History Month
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
LAS: What is your name and what is your ministry?CJJ: I am Reverend Charolyn J. Jones and my ministry is spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching, witnessing, programming and community involvement. My ministry is saving souls for Christ and helping others, as well as myself, live a Godly lifestyle.
LAS: How long have you been in this ministry and how did you get started?CJJ: After many years of not answering my Call, I finally surrendered to the will of God in 2000. As a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, I began classes with the Examiner's Board in January 2001. I was ordained an Itinerant Deacon in 2003 and a Itinerant Elder in 2011 after completing my Master's of Divinity degree.
LAS: What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?CJJ: God's love for me is the reason I am in ministry. When I think of God's goodness and all that God has done for me, that ‘God is' the Creator of the Universe, the Author and Finisher of my faith, the very air I breathe, Who knows the very number of hairs on my head, Lord have mercy, I can't help but be His hands and feet to serve in His Kingdom. It is my faith that sustains me each day and is the soul of my ministry.
LAS: What is one of the most memorable moments during your ministry?CJJ: As a minister who likes the church and community to partner, several years ago I helped organize a Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform at Ward A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles.
At the time, health care reform was one of hottest topics across the country and in some cases, people resorted to violence to silence the discussion on Health Care Reform. But, over 500 church and community members attended as well as elected officials and there was no violence or disrespect. People debated the issue in an orderly manner.
What makes this such a memorable experience is that the people of God did not bow down to the pressures of fear and intimidation that had been seen and reported in the news. The Town Hall was a blessing in the House of the Lord and the people were served.
LAS: What are you doing now and what are some of your future goals?CJJ: I currently serve as an associate minister at Brookins Community A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Williams and I am a doctoral student at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH, working on my gift to the Body of Christ.
Pastor Sonja R. DawsonLAS: What is your name and what is your ministry?SRD: I am Rev. Sonja R. Dawson Esq., the pastor of New Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and the CEO and founder of Sisters in Ministry.
LAS: How long have you been in this ministry and how did you get started?SRD: I was born and raised at the New Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Los Angeles under my father, the Rev. Dr. Lonnie Dawson, and groomed by my mother, Lady Mamie Dawson, a supporter of women clergy.
I knew I was called to preach at the age of 13, but did not want to acknowledge the call because I feared the reaction by my father and local church. So, I ran, obtaining three college degrees including a law degree, and establishing a professional career as an attorney. However, I could no longer ignore the urging of the Holy Spirit and accepted my call to preach in May 2003.
I preached my first official sermon and was licensed in October 2003 and ordained in December 2009. In November 2010, I was appointed to serve as pastor-elect and in January 2011, I was affirmed and installed as pastor of this 3,000-member congregation and I committed to carry out the vision established by my parents so many years before.
In May 2003, the Holy Spirit gave me a vision to form a interdenominational fellowship for women in clergy. This ministry has since touched the lives of several hundred people through our annual events, our website, and newsletter.
LAS: What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?SRD: In my new role as pastor, I am continually amazed how the value of having faith and a relationship with God has impacted my ministry.
LAS: What is one of the most memorable experiences during your ministry?SRD: The most memorable experience, thus far, was during my pastoral installation. I was deeply humbled by the outpouring of love and support from my church family, the various pastors and bishops, and all who came to share in this historic occasion.
LAS: What are you working on now and what are some of your future goals?SRD: At New Mount Calvary, I am working on maintaining the fervor of a well-established ministry. I am doing that through my theme, ‘Blending the Traditions of the Past with the Promises of the Future,' and creating an intergenerational congregation through the basic Christian disciplines including prayer, fasting, Bible Study, and corporate worship. It appears that encouraging an individual's spiritual growth translates into developing a congregation focused on advancing the Kingdom of God in all areas.