Vernon C. Walton, D.Min.
Age: 38, Senior Pastor
Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Englewood, N.J.
A clergyman and elected official, the Rev. Vernon C. Walton sees no conflict between his religious and political activism, arguing instead that they complement each other. “My faith informs my politics and when we look at our lives, politics is really about public policy,” he says.
Inspired by the late Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the powerful U.S. representative of New York City’s Harlem community, Walton aspires “to make a difference in the community and be a light of hope for the world.” He is the senior pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Englewood, N.J., served from 2003 to 2006 as councilman-at-large in the City of Englewood and recently completed a two-year tenure as the first African-American Freeholder for Bergen County, N.J. He is immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees for Ramapo College, director of Christian education for the North Jersey Missionary Baptist Association and a member of the Black Clergy Council for Englewood, Teaneck and the Teaneck vicinity.
Walton received a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University, a master’s in divinity from New York Theological Seminary, and a doctorate of ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Among his numerous awards and accolades, he was voted among Gospel Today’s “Most-loved pastors” in 2001 and was named one of the “20 to Watch” under forty by The African American Pulpit Journal, Black America’s definitive journal on preaching.
His immediate goal is to establish male leadership academies throughout Bergen County to address achievement gaps among men of color. “If we are the village that we say we are, then it is incumbent on all of us to share in the development of our young people,” he says.
Favorite food: Hawaiian ribs
Favorite book: Good to Great by Jim Collins
What actor should play you in a movie: Cedric the Entertainer
Countries visited: South Africa, Jamaica West Indies
Sport you play best: Bowling