As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., click on the links below to listen to some his prophetic preaching.
If you would like to read some of Dr. King's speeches, click on this link: King Speeches
CLICK ON THE TITLE OF EACH SPEECH TO LISTEN:
1. Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence
(April 4, 1967 - Riverside Church - New York)
2. But If Not - Sermon on Civil Disobedience
(November 1967) 24 minutes
3. Our God Is Marching On (March 25, 1965) 2 minutes
4. I Have A Dream (August 28, 1963 - Washington, DC) 17 minutes
BISHOP JAMES MARSHALL WHITAKER, PASTOR
NEW BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH – PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA
Bishop James Marshall Whitaker, a Native of Scotland Neck, North Carolina, is the 6th of 7 children born to late Junious and Carrie Whitaker and raised in the Lambert's Point Section of Norfolk, Virginia. He graduated from the historic Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk. After completing high school, he matriculated at Virginia Union University where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree and a Masters of Divinity degree. Bishop Whitaker continued his studies at New York University where he earned a Masters of Philosophy in Religion degree.
The background of Bishop Whitaker tells the story of a dedicated, bold, and courageous servant. While a student at the School of Theology of Virginia Union University, Bishop Whitaker counseled inmates and taught biblical studies at the State Penitentiary in Richmond, VA. Furthermore, Bishop Whitaker accepted the call to pastor Mount Vernon Baptist in White Stone, VA in Lancaster County in July of 1958, during his senior year at the School of Theology of Virginia Union. Bishop Whitaker pastored Mount Vernon Baptist Church from July of 1958 to May of 1964. After receiving the Masters of Divinity, Bishop Whitaker worked with the Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections as a Pastoral Counselor at the Lorton Reformatory, National Training School for Boys, the Washington D.C. Jail, Washington D.C. General Hospital, Laurel General Hospital, and St. Elizabeth Mental Health Center in Washington, D.C. from 1959-1961. Furthermore, Bishop Whitaker was one of the courageous fighters in the Civil Rights Movement standing for justice, equality, and economic empowerment.
In March of 1964, Bishop Whitaker accepted the call to become the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church. Bishop Whitaker preached his first sermon as Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church on June 7, 1964. The sermon was entitled, "Love: The Love of God and the Love of Christians One for Another." This sermon marked the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Pastor and People, which still continues.
Bishop Whitaker is blessed to have a family that stands with him. Bishop and Mrs. Otelia Whitaker have been married for forty-three blessed years. Mrs. Whitaker, a retired Elementary School Teacher, serves as the Minister of Music of New Bethel, whereby; she has given of her time and talent proficiently since 1964. Through this union, the Lord has blessed Bishop and Mrs. Whitaker with 4 children and 9 grandchildren
In Bishop Whitaker, you see a family man, a dedicated man, a strong black man, and most of all “God’s Man.” We praise God for Bishop James Marshall Whitaker. Truly, he is a blessed man whose steps are ordered by the Lord.
REV. DR. MARK MICAIAH WHITAKER
ASSISTANT PASTOR OF NEW BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH, PORTSMOUTH, VA
Dr. Mark Micaiah Whitaker is the third of four children born to Bishop James M. and Otelia McIntyre Whitaker of Portsmouth, VA. He is married to Dr. Ingrid Whitaker, who serves as a Tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at Old Dominion University. Dr. Mark and Dr. Ingrid Whitaker made history on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 by becoming the first married coupled elected to Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth School Board. They are the proud parents of four children - James, Naomi, Nathaniel, and Rachel.
Dr. Whitaker was educated in the Portsmouth Public School System. In 1983, he graduated 4th in his class with honors from the great Manor High School and was named to the First Team All-State Boys Basketball Team. Dr. Whitaker furthered his education at Virginia Tech where he was the recipient of a full-athletic scholarship in basketball, served as President of the Black Student Alliance, was listed as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and graduated from Virginia Tech in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science. In 1989, Dr. Whitaker received a Masters of Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. Moreover, in 1993, Dr. Whitaker received the Doctor of Jurisprudence (Law Degree) from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law where he served as President of the Black Law Students Association in 1992 and 1993 and served on the College of Law Honor Council. Dr. Whitaker has done further studying in the R.B. Pamplin College of Business Doctoral Program at Virginia Tech and the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union in the Masters of Divinity program.
Dr. Whitaker presently serves as a Tenured Associate Professor of Management at the historic Hampton University. In 1992, Dr. Whitaker was licensed as a minister and ordained in June of 1995. Moreover, Dr. Whitaker serves as the Assistant Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Portsmouth, VA where his father, Bishop James M. Whitaker has served as the Pastor since June of 1964 and his mother, Otelia McIntyre Whitaker, is the Minister of Music. Under the direction of his father, Dr. Whitaker initiated an endowment fund ministry at the church, computerized the operations of the church and church credit union, received over $1 million from the Virginia Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant for after-school tutoring and summer enrichment programs for elementary and middle school students in the Cavalier Manor neighborhood, expanded the catering business of the church, coordinated the purchase of the former Bona Villa 15 acre apartment complex, created the New Bethel Development, LLC , reorganized the Diaconate Ministry, and developed the Wednesday night Christian Development Institute.
In May 2002, Dr. Whitaker was elected to the Portsmouth School Board as the youngest person ever elected and served until December 2014. As a School Board Member, Dr. Whitaker served as chair of the Minority Contracting Committee and the Corporate Sponsorship Committee. Moreover Dr. Whitaker was very instrumental in the School Board implementing a Minority and Women Business Enterprises Program, Middle School Athletics Program, Pay Equity Study, and in advocating for social justice and respect for all.
Dr. Whitaker is one who believes that, through Christ, we can do all things.
Wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, educator, musician, and our First Lady, Otelia Whitaker has served as Minister of Music since 1964 assisting her husband, Bishop James M. Whitaker, in ministry. A gifted musician, she started in music at the age of four and plays both the piano and organ. Mrs. Whitaker received a BS in music from Norfolk State University. She was employed as a music teacher in the Portsmouth and Newport News Public School systems. She became certified in elementary education and taught music and fourth grade unitl she retired in 1995.
Cynthia T. Baxter-Ferguson was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. She has been in New Bethel since she was born in July 1977. She has been a member of New Bethel Baptist Church for over 20 years. She is the Administrative Assistant and Notary Public, a member of Voices of Praise Musice Ministry, Carrie Hardy Missionary Ministry, Couples' Ministry and Jubilant Dancers.
After graduating from I. C. Norcom High School in 1996, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with emphasis in Information System from Norfolk State University in 2001.
She is the daughter of Deacon Richard & Ruby Baxter and the youngest sister of Sylvia Alston, Keith Baxter and Darlene Baxter. She has been married to Lamont A. Ferguson for 13 years. They have three daughters Imani (10 years old), Adrianne (7 years old) and Riona (20 months).
Robyn Alexander enthusiastically serves as our Assistant Minister of Music sharing her gifts on the keyboard, piano, and organ. Mrs. Alexander is emloyed as a Music Teacher with the Virginia Beach Public Schools System.
Robert Davis serves as the guitarist for the church , as well as, a Deacon and Trustee. A dedicated musician, Deacon/Trustee Davis retired as an Art Teacher in the Norfolk Public Schools. Many of his students have won local awards and Deacon/Trustee Davis still displays his artwork at local venues.
We have several youth who serve as percussionist for the church:
James "JP" Whitaker
Nathaniel "Nate" Whitaker
Jarrod Willie is a talented musician who comes from the great musicians in the House in Prayer. Mr. Willie is the cousin of our late saxaphonist, Deacon Cleveland Walton.