Rev. Dr. Robert Ashley Whitehead, Sr., is the third of seven children born to the late James W. Whitehead, Sr., and the late Geraldine J. Whitehead of Portsmouth, Virginia. Educated in the Portsmouth public schools, Dr. Whitehead received a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Masters of Divinity from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and Doctor of Divinity from Regent University in Virginia Beach, with an emphasis on Leadership and Renewal. He has also taken additional graduate courses in business from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond.
As Pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, Dr. Whitehead has overseen the expansion of church involvement in the broader community on issues such as education, mentoring, health and stewardship. He is a member of the Williamsburg Tri-County Pastor's Council, past board member of the Williamsburg Aids Network, past board member of Faith In Action, and past board member of Housing Partnerships of Williamsburg. Dr. Whitehead is currently on the Pastoral Advisory Council at Sentara Regional Hospital, a Silver Life Member of NAACP, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. While serving as part-time Pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, Dr. Whitehead also had a career in finance and accounting with the former Circuit City Stores, Inc., at their Corporate Offices in Richmond, VA. He worked for Circuit City for more than 14 years and was part of their management team.
Dr. Jocelyn Georgette Henry-Whitehead is the second child born to the late Rev. George E. Henry and the late Susan V.C. Henry of Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Henry-Whitehead was educated in the public school system in Baltimore. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership K-12 from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her Master's degree in Educational Administration, her Educational Specialist degree, and her doctorate in Higher Education are all from The College of William & Mary.
She is active in both the church and community and her greatest desires are: to know and apply God’s Word, to follow God’s leading, and to do God’s will. She is striving to serve, help, mentor, and encourage others, by living the words, “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (I Peter 4:10, New Living Translation)
The whiteheads have two sons, Robert Jr. (Bobby) and Matthew (Matt), and a daughter-In-Law, Monica who was wedded to Robert Jr. in July, 2014,
The New Zion Ministerial Assistants
New Zion is truly blessed to have a husband and wife Ministerial Team to assist the Pastor in guiding New Zion congregants in our faith walk. Rev. Edward Christian and Rev. Dr. Brenda Christian joined the New Zion Family in 2009 and have been avid participants in the life, development and spiritual growth of our Church.
In addition to assisting the pastor with worship services, the Christians are often called upon to teach or serve in some other capacity for Church-sponsored programs. They also assist the Deacons as members of the Family Care Plan Team.
Rev. Edward Christian was educated in the public schools of New Kent, VA and accepted Christ at an early age.Â He was aware of God’s call to him for Ministry, but did not accept the calling until December 25, 1998, when his earthly father passed unexpectedly. On that Christmas Day, Ed fell to his knees and questioned God about why He did not heal his father. God responded, ”I did.” Ed questioned God about how he could possibly tell people that God can supply all their needs when he believed God did not supply his need and keep his father
from dying. How could he possibly tell people that God can make a way out of no way or work through the midst of all hurt? Before Ed got up off his knees from crying out to God, he had moved from darkness to instantaneous light and asked God for forgiveness.
On that day, Rev. Ed responded to God’s call and said, ”Whatever you want me to do Lord, I will do.” As he reflected on the goodness of the Lord, he realized that God had taken care of his father. He did not know until his father’s death, that he had lived with cancer for seven years, without ever complaining
Rev. Ed received his Ministerial education at Evans-Smith Leadership Institute, Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA. He was licensed in 1999 and ordained in 2002 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, New Kent, VA. Rev. Ed’s unique Call to Ministry has resulted in his ability to usher the New Zion congregants into worship through reverent, fervent, and comforting prayers.
Dr. Brenda Christian was educated in the public schools of New Kent, VA.Â She received her Bachelor of Individualized Studies with a focus on Business from Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA; Masters of Divinity Degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Richmond VA; and, Doctor of Ministry Degree from Virginia University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, VA with an emphasis on Holistic Health and Wellness
Dr. Christian holds certificates in Lay Counseling from Beacon Counseling, Williamsburg, VA and Evans Smith Leadership Institute, Virginia Union University. Additionally, she is a graduate of the USDA Women’s Executive Leadership Graduate Program. Dr. Christian was licensed to the Gospel Ministry in November 2000 and ordained in January 2005. She currently serves as New Zion’s Director of Christian Education, with responsibilities for providing educational leadership to enhance the spiritual growth of the congregants. Dr. Christian is co-founder of C&C Ministry, an outreach ministry designed to Construct Lives for Christ. In addition, she has been recognized by the NAACP as a Distinguished Black American Female.
Rev. Earl Wilson was born in Brighton, AL on August 2, 1941. When Earl was six, the family moved to Cleveland, OH. Where he attended and graduate from the Cleveland Public School System. After graduation he served in the U.S. Army as a heavy equipment operator, and was a combat photographer in Vietnam for one year.
Rev. Wilson married his wife, Yvonna, in 1975. The couple are the proud parents of three children, five grand-children, and two great grand-children. He Wilson was a self-employed upholsterer until the couple moved to Williamsburg, VA in 2013 where he still works part-time as an upholsterer.
Rev. Wilson attended Maranatha Bible School (then Temple College & Seminary) for several years. He was licensed to Preach by the Dean (Dr. Sterling S. Glover) at Calvary Hill Missionary Baptist Church where he served under Pastor John W. Ribbins III.
In addition to serving on the Ministerial Staff at New Zion, Rev. Wilson uses his beautiful Tenor voice as a member of the Senior choir, and serves as a teacher for the Adult Sunday School class..
The New Zion Deacon’s Ministry
The New Zion Deaconess Ministry
The New Zion Trustee Ministry