ESSEX COUNTY, NJ - Church dignitaries and ministry leaders from across Essex County will gather for its 47th Annual Business Meeting and Rally on Saturday, June 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Bethany Baptist Church, located at 275 West Market Street in Newark, NJ.

The theme for this year’s event is “New Beginnings,” Growing Where God Has Planted You.” The annual program brings together Baptist churches throughout Essex County. The focuses this past year have been on immigration, domestic violence, foster and adoption care, and community outreach. Under the direction of Rev. Geraldine Clark, Essex Association Moderator, the association has expanded its commitment to various social issues and community outreach initiatives.

The keynote speaker for the occasion will be Rev. William Derek Lee, pastor of Imani Baptist Church of Christ in East Orange, NJ. He is a native of Brooklyn, NY and attended New York City public schools through high school. Rev. Lee earned his Bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey.

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Each year, the Association strives to have new speakers and fresh topics of interest. “The goals of our workshops are to identify potential pitfalls that hinder our spiritual growth with God, church community, family and friends,” said Rev. Clark.

Our workshop leaders include:

Mrs. Teresa Oniyama. The First Lady of Calvary Baptist Church, East Orange, NJ.

Rev. Dr. Valerie Griffin. An associate minister at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Newark, NJ.

Rev. Dr. Terry L. Richardson. The senior pastor of First Baptist Church of South Orange, South Orange, NJ

The event will also feature health screenings by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Registration is now open for the event. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 13-19) and free for children 12 and under, which includes all conference sessions, breakfast and lunch. The event is being sponsored by the Essex Association of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey and supported by New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Razac and Stop N Shop.

To register and for more information about the event, please contact Marsha Wilkerson at

About Essex Association of American Baptist Churches of New Jersey:

The Essex Association is the Essex County district of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ), which is one of the New Jersey regions of The American Baptist Churches (ABC)-USA. The Association helps to foster and promote meaningful relationships between pastors and laypeople of the covenant churches and serve as the “gateway” for new congregations to enter into ABCNJ and ABC-USA. Motto: “The local church is the fundamental unit of mission in denominational life.”