Oakland’s historic Allen Temple Baptist Church has added another first to its long list of accomplishments.
The progressive baptist congregation officially installed Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Thompson as senior pastor – a first for any woman in the 100 year old churches history.
Installation Sunday kicked off with morning worship services with special guest speakers Dr. William Epps of Los Angeles (Senior Pastor, Second Baptist Church) and Dr. Warren H. Stewart of Phoenix, AZ (Senior Pastor, First Institutional Baptist Church).
The 3 p.m. installation service was met by long lines of members, family, friends and the Bay Area’s interfaith community. The joyous occasion was filled with worship, prayer and celebration.
Following the procession of clergy, Dr. Jacqueline Thompson made her way down the isle to the cheers and noticeably emotional tears of a standing room only crowd. She was met at the end of the isle by her mother, Deaconess Easter Green.
Rev. Kenneth C. Curry and Rev. Sonja Dawson presided over the installation service, which included resolutions from Allen Temple’s own Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CD-13), Dr. A. Wayne Johnson (Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.), Rev. Barbara Smith (American Baptist Churches – California Pacific Coast Northern Assn) and Dr. Dante R. Quick (Friendship Missionary Baptist Church).
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Councilmember Loren Taylor, and former Assemblymember Sandre Swanson were in attendance as well.
Dr. Gina Stewart, Senior Pastor, Christ Missionary Baptist Church (Memphis, TN) preached a message full of passion and purpose, signaling the shifts away from hurtful patriarchal traditions that have held women behind.
The passing of the mantle by retiring Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. and Pastor Emeritus Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. was an experience of humor and humility. Shepherding the Allen Temple Baptist Church family and deep East Oakland community is no easy feat. Each were bridge builders and committed to diverse dialogue to solve pressing issues.
Following the charges to the church, ministers, leaders, and Dr. Thompson – the prayer of installation was administered by Archbishop Alfred A. Owens and Co-Pastor Susie C. Owens.
A week before the installation services, Dr. Thompson’s father, Rev. Dr. M.T. Thompson passed away. During her 2010 Assistant Pastor installation service, Dr. M.T. Thompson performed her memorable charge before the congregation, while expressing how proud he was, stating:
Lest I submit to my emotions, I am the happiest man. I have more joy. I’ve been preaching all my life, pastoring 50 some odd years. But, I’ve learned across the years that happiness is predicated on happenings. But joy is not predicated on happenings. Joy is something planted in you. When you don’t have no happenings, you can reach and get a little joy. I want to be prompt…short…I want to be halfway decent. But you just don’t know how I feel!Rev. Dr. M.T. Thompson (Allen Temple BC – Assistant Pastoral Installation Service, 2010)
The entire service was full of memorable moments that will go down in the heart of Allen Temple Baptist Church forever.
Congratulations Pastor Thompson!