Dr. J. Lee Hill, Jr., Senior Pastor
Pastor, preacher, scholar, cultural critic, public theologian, social justice activist, husband and father are just a few words that describe the life, work and ministry of our Senior Pastor, the Reverend Doctor J. Lee Hill, Jr., who believes in exploring ministry at the intersection of the spiritual and social, the secular and sacred.
Dr. Hill has been involved in ministry for more than fifteen years. He is a licensed and ordained Baptist minister with full standing in both the Alliance of Baptists and the United Church of Christ. Since 1999 he has served in a variety of ministerial capacities in Virginia, North Carolina, the City of New York, and Southern California. Formerly serving the prestigious Riverside Church, he was mentored by the Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes Jr., before moving to San Diego to serve as the Senior Pastor of Christian Fellowship Congregational Church (UCC) in 2010.
Believing in the importance of preparation before proclamation, he attended Florida A&M University and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrative Studies from George Mason University where he received Distinguished Alumni Awards from the School for Integrative Studies (formerly, New Century College), and the Black Alumni Association.
As an undergraduate student at Florida A&M he toured with the University Gospel Choir, was in Army ROTC, and pledged the collegiate chapter of the National Association Pershing Rifles (C-16). At George Mason he was very active in re-launching the University Gospel Choir, the undergraduate of chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. , and was active in the collegiate chapter of the NAACP at the university.
In 2005 he earned the Master of Divinity degree from Wake Forest University where he was an Egbert L. Davis and Robert Forest Smith II scholar. Discerning a call to urban ministry he received the Dean and Dorothy Kaufman Urban Ministry Internship Award to complete studies at New Theological and Union Theological Seminary and serve in ministry at Metro Baptist Church. Upon graduation, he received the coveted John Thomas and Dorothy Porter Award in Vocational Formation and Community Ministry, given in honor of John Thomas Porter, who was one of the first African Americans elected to the Alabama legislature in the civil rights era, and his wife.
Dr. Hill earned his doctorate from Emory University in the field of Biblical Interpretation & Proclamation, specifically investigating the Narrative Lectionary's impact on biblical literacy, spiritual development and social actions within the Black Church; the title of his doctoral disseration was "A Black Narrative Pulpit: The Narrative Lectionary as a tool for Christian Transformation." Reverend Hill's other academic research interests include the life and ministry of post-reconstructionist Christian preacher George Washington Woodbey, 21st century African-American worship and liturgy, biblical languages, and emerging models of Narrative Leadership for the church and the world.
Additionally, Dr. Hill holds a diploma in biblical studies from the Howard University School of Divinity, a certificate in ministry from the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, several units of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), and a certificate from the center for Compassion and Altruism Resarch and Education at the Stanford School of Medicine. He has served the academy as an adjunct instructor at Wake Forest University Divinity School, guest lecturer at the Disciples Seminary Foundation and Point Loma University, and guest preacher at Campbell University. He continues to publish articles, sermons, and interpretive commentary series in various professional journals.
Dr. Hill is a strong and vocal advocate for missions and social justice. He has led mission teams to Viet Nam, New York City, Washington D.C., and several teams to New Orleans for the continued ministry of relief and recovery from Hurricane Katrina. He is active in several campaigns that seek to uplift those who are marginalized and oppressed in our world by sharing the Good News of God's transformative love through Jesus Christ.
Currently he serves as the Past President of the San Diego County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a collective of diverse Protestant churches and ministries, and Past Co-President of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice in San Diego, an organization that representes clergy, synagogues, churches, mosques, faith/justice organizations, and individuals who feel called by their respective religious traditions to work for justice and stand up for the poor and marginalized. He is a member of the New Generation Leadership Initiative--an elite pastoral development program of the Pensions Boards of the United Church of Christ for early career pastors, he is a 2012 Fellow of the prestigious Chautauqua Clergy Development Program, and serves as a founding board member of the Chautauqua Clergy Alumni Association, and is a 2017/18 College of Pastoral Leaders Fellow at the Martin Luther King International Chapel at Morehouse College.
Dr. Hill is civically active in the San Diego community as a lifetime member of the NAACP, the Black American Polictical Association of California(BAPAC), a raised and exalted Prince Hall Mason of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California, and Life-Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. where serves as the Chaplain of the Zeta Sigma Lambda.
Throughout his professional vocational ministry, Dr. Hill has stood as a voice for the voiceless, equipping and empowering believers to know and trust in the transformational power of a just God at work in their lives. In acclamation of this he was named by Ebony Magazine among "the Ebony Power 100" as an emerging leader in the field of religion in 2010. Additionally, he has numerous awards from local and national groups, and countless citations from city and state governement.
Dr. Hill is a native of Chesterfield, Virginia and the youngest born to the union of two Baptist Deacons, Jimmie and Shelley K. M. Hill. Reverend Hill is married to the former Christie N. Love of San Diego, California who in addition to being an outstanding wife and mother is a talented policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego Imperial County. Mrs. Hill is a graduate of the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley and Columbia Law. Together they share their home and life with their young sons.
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