Reverend Dr. James E. Terrell
Fourteenth Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Washington, D.C.
Rev. Dr. James E. Terrell is the fourteenth pastor of The Second Baptist Church of Washington, D.C., established November 12, 1848. Dr. Terrell became pastor of Second Baptist Church in 1997. He was Assistant to the Pastor of Second Baptist Church from 1991-1997. While at Second, he has inspired and led the members of Second Baptist. It was the vision and leadership of Dr. Terrell that has preserved our great church, an architectural gem, by petitioning and having it declared not only a local but also a national historic landmark. Dr. Terrell, along with the support and hard work of the members of Second Baptist Church, has consistently led historic Second Baptist Church’s commitment to service for future generations in downtown Washington, DC, by seeking new ways to reach out to the community. Second Baptist continues as a symbol of the vibrant African American community that has transcended over 170 years.
Dr. Terrell received his Master’s of Divinity from Howard University. He has also done extensive study in theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Dr. Terrell was ordained to the ministry in 1982. Since then, he has served as assistant and interim pastor at First Baptist, Georgetown, and he has served as Minister for Church Administration at Metropolitan Baptist Church. He continues to serve on numerous ecclesiastical boards and is presently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Washington Baptist Seminary and the Stoddard Baptist Home. Dr. Terrell also serves as a member of the Executive Board of the DC Baptist Convention, Vice President of the Joshua Community Development Group, and as a member of the board of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement Board.
As an educator, Dr. Terrell holds a B.A. from Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio; where he majored in journalism, a Master’s in Teaching from Antioch University; and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University.
Dr. Terrell began his career in education as a teacher in the District of Columbia Public Schools where he also served as a union representative, mentor teacher, and as an instructional supervisor. Dr. Terrell has taught at every grade level: elementary, junior high, senior high, and college. Currently, Dr. Terrell is Chair of the Board of the Ideal Academy Public Charter School, Chief Executive Officer of the Colin L. Powell Public Charter School, and Vice President of the Washington Baptist Seminary. Dr. Terrell served as a graduate professor in the School of Education at Howard University where he also served as Director of Teacher Education. Before joining the faculty at Howard, he served as Chair of the Department of Teaching and Educational Administration at Pace University in New York City and he served as an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of the District of Columbia. Preceding those experiences, Dr. Terrell served as Director of Alumni Affairs and Development, as an Adjunct Professor of Management at Southeastern University, and as an instructor in the School of Education at George Washington University. Dr. Terrell is published in the field of education and has worked in the area of professional development for teachers and school administrators. He has also trained teachers and administrators in East and West Africa.
As a community advocate, Dr. Terrell actively serves on various committees and civic boards. Dr. Terrell has served as an elected representative to the Democratic State Committee for Ward 7. In addition, he was elected to the Constitutional Convention for Ward 7 and chaired the committee for the Legislature for the DC Constitutional Convention. He is credited with crafting the bicameral legislature system for the State Constitution.
Most importantly, he is a Baptized Believer and a family man. Raised in Ohio, he came to Washington, DC to teach but decided to live in the District of Columbia. He is married to Judge Mary Ann Gooden Terrell. They have three children: Angela Terrell Heath (Paul Heath), Mariessa Terrell White (Richard White), and James Stephen Terrell, who is following in his footsteps as the Assistant to the Pastor of Second Baptist Church, and three grandchildren, Jeremiah, Jordan, and Joy Heath.
The foundational supports of our vision for the Second Baptist Church established since our inception in 1848 have arrived in the twenty-first century still strongly intact. We are committed to the substantive principles of our founders which include church growth, church and community development, membership education, and service to God.
The fulfillment of our church vision over the years is seen in our five areas of focus. These areas of ministry which are designed to help us to accomplish our mission and fulfill our vision are Worship, Fellowship, Membership Care, Christian Education, and Missions. These pillars of faith support our twenty-first century mission statement: “The purpose of the Second Baptist Church is to give visible form to faith and fellowship to which God has called His people”. Second Baptist Church has a mandate from God to continue to be a positive catalyst for social and spiritual progress in the local and national community by being a Bible-believing congregation for the divine purpose of community transformation.