The Rev. Matthew L. Watley, executive minister to more than 6,000 members of the Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in Silver Springs, Md., will share the pulpit with his father, the Rev. William Watley, for Week Eight. William Watley is the senior pastor of the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, N.J.
Matthew Lawrence Watley will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service in the Amphitheater. His text is Ezekiel 24:16-18, and his title is “Don’t React; Respond.” Father and son will alternate preaching at the 9:15 weekday morning worship services in the Amphitheater.
According to official biographies, Matthew Watley has oversight of Reid Temple’s five corporations, 50-person staff, $6,500,000 annual budget and the 56 ministries of the church.
He recently led in the design and development of a $29-million facility, which was completed in December 2005 and houses a worship center, elementary school, credit union, bookstore, music and video studios and banquet facility.
Before his appointment as executive minister, Matthew Watley served as the youth minister at Reid Temple. In this capacity, he instituted SAT-prep classes, business training classes and an investment club and led a delegation to perform missions in the Republic of South Africa. He also established the College Outreach Ministry, which transports hundreds of students from the University of Maryland, Bowie State University and Howard University to Reid Temple for the evening worship service he preaches weekly. The attendance of this service has grown from 30 people to more than 800 during his tenure at Reid Temple.
Watley is an innovative thinker whose leadership has brought him beyond the four walls of the church into the halls of power and influence of the United States and the world. He was selected to serve on a special commission sponsored by the Ford Foundation to assess Non-Governmental Organizations in the Republic of South Africa. While serving as graduate assistant at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Watley also served on the board of trustees of Howard University. He also sat on the General Board of the AME Church, the Board of Directors of the Richard Allen Foundation and the Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council of Churches.
Before entering into ministry, Watley already had established himself as an accomplished writer. Before attending Howard University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in divinity, he co-authored Poems of a Son, Prayers of a Father, now in its second printing. His poetry also has been included in Dr. James Washington’s Conversation with God, The Flow, edited by Kwame Alexander, and most recently in Beyond the Frontier edited by E. Ethelbert Miller.
William D. Watley is the senior pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church in Newark, where he has served since 1984. During his tenure, Watley has established the St. James Social Services Corporation that, among other services, provides meals for 287,000 homeless people each year, as well as the Intergenerational After School Program and the Safe Haven Summer Camp. In addition to expanding the Be a Blessing Holiday Food and Toy Distribution Campaigns, Watley defined the vision for and founded St. James Preparatory School, a state-of-the-art middle and high school for students in grades seven to 12.
An innovative worship leader, Watley has made the Wednesday “Sweet Hour of Praise” Service world-renowned for its dynamic worship and inspirational messages. The service, now in its 14th year, has grown from one worshipper to nearly eight hundred weekly.
Before coming to St. James, Watley served as pastor of the Elberton Circuit in Elberton, Ga., from 1969 to 1971 and Union A.M.E. Church in Flushing, N.Y., from 1974 to 1978.
Teaching extensively over the same periods, Watley served as president and distinguished professor of religion at Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas, and later was a visiting professor at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, N.J., from 1983 to 1987. He served as adjunct professor of theology at the New York Theological Seminary from 1985 to 1986 and as a visiting professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary from 1988 to 1992.
A preacher par excellence, Watley has the distinction of having been invited to be the conference preacher at the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference for two consecutive years. A prolific author, he has written a dozen books and has authored several booklets and articles throughout the past two decades. In January 2002, he was the first African-American to be appointed chief executive officer and secretary of the New Jersey Commerce & Economic Growth Commission, responsible for implementing considerable aspects of New Jersey’s economic policy.
William Watley received his degree in theology from St. Louis University and a master’s degree of divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center. He received both a master’s in philosophy and doctorate in philosophy-ethics from Columbia University and the Ecumenical Institute in Céligny, Switzerland. He has done postdoctoral research at Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.