PERTH AMBOY – The small red brick church in Perth Amboy named Second Baptist Church had a membership of 125 in 1983 when Rev. Donald Hilliard, Jr., was called to the helm as pastor. It is now 30 years later and the senior pastor, Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., is celebrating a journey encompassing achievements and challenges that positions him as one of New Jersey’s notable leaders.
This year Root Magazine, a division of The Washington Post Company named Hilliard as one of the nation’s 20 top African American Preachers.
“When I became pastor 30 years ago, my focus was on being a faithful pastor,” said Hilliard. Along with being a faithful pastor, Hilliard’s dynamic leadership has led the church’s growth from 125 members in 1983 to more than 5,000 today.
The church has three locations and 50 ministries serving three New Jersey areas: Perth Amboy, Asbury Park and Plainfield. American Baptist Churches, USA cited the church as a model for church growth.
Hilliard is the presiding bishop and founder of the Covenant Ecumenical Fellowship and Cathedral Assemblies Inc., serving as spiritual adviser and mentor for several pastors and churches in the United States and West Africa. He has authored over 10 books, he is a theatrical producer and a painter.
His wife, Pastor Phyllis Hilliard, serves as a staff pastor at the church and they both are the proud parents of three adult children.
On Sunday, Nov. 24, 4 p.m., the Rev. Dr. DeForest Soaries, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, will be the guest speaker at Bishop Hilliard’s 30th Pastoral Anniversary service at Cathedral International, 277 Madison Avenue, Perth Amboy.
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