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      Dr. Mark Micaiah Whitaker is the third of four children born to the late Bishop James M. Whitaker (April 7, 1931 -  July 21, 2022) and Otelia McIntyre Whitaker of Portsmouth, VA and the grandson of the late Deacon Junious and Carrie Whitaker of the Lambert’s Point Community of Norfolk, VA via Scotland Neck, NC and the late Deacon Joseph and Etta McIntyre of the Mount Hermon Community of Portsmouth, VA.  He is married to Dr. Ingrid Whitaker, who serves as a Tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at Old Dominion University.  They are the proud parents of four children – James (3rd Year Law Student at North Carolina Central University; 2019 Master’s Degree graduate of Georgetown University; 2017 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University – Full Basketball Scholarship), Naomi (1st Year Ph.D. student in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, 2022 Master of Public Health Program at Emory University; 2020 graduate of East Carolina University – Full Track Scholarship, Dean’s List), Nathaniel (Senior, Morehouse College) and Rachel (Freshman, Howard University).    

     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, was named the Most Valuable Basketball Player in the City of Portsmouth, Tidewater’s Most Valuable Player by the Virginian Pilot and First Team All-State Boys Basketball Team, and was elected as President of the Student Government Association.  He 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, member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Virginia College Brother of the year 1987), 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 Smeal College of Business. 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.

     In 1992, Dr. Whitaker was licensed as a minister and ordained in June of 1995 at New Bethel Baptist Church in Portsmouth, VA where his father, Bishop James M. Whitaker, served as the Pastor since June of 1964 and his mother, Otelia McIntyre Whitaker, is the Minister of Music. For 25 years, Dr. Whitaker taught on the collegiate level at Virginia Tech in the R. B. Pamplin School of Business from 1993-1999 and Hampton University from 1999 – 2018 where he earned Tenure and the rank of Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business.  

     In May 2002, Dr. Whitaker was elected to the Portsmouth Public 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 a culture of fairness and respect for all.

     On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, Dr. Mark and Dr. Ingrid Whitaker made history by becoming the first married couple elected to Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth School Board respectively.  They speak TRUTH TO POWER advocating for Social and Economic justice.

    Upon the passing of his father, Bishop James Marshall Whitaker on July 21, 2022, Rev. Dr. Mark M. Whitaker became the 25th Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church and the installation was celebrated on October 2, 2022.  Under the pastorate of Dr. Mark Whitaker, the church renovated the sanctuary, administrative building, old building; installed new audio/visual technology; upgraded the computer lab with 11 new computers; increased the Missions Giving to over $30,000; restructured the Missions Ministry, ordained 6 new Deacons and bestowed the honor of Deacon Emeritus on 4 Deacons; Appointed 7 new Stewards and bestowed the honor Steward-Emeritus on 8 Stewards; sponsored a Farmer's Market in the church parking lot; partnered with Portsmouth Public Schools to provide GED and Computer/Digital Learning classes in the church's computer lab; renovated the 3 townhomes and 2 single family homes for family occupancy; instituted a weekly Fellowship meal after church on Sundays; and continues to preach, teach and baptize in the name of Jesus the Christ, through the Grace God, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rev. Dr. Mark Micaiah Whitaker is one who believes that, through Christ, we can do all things and no weapon formed against us shall prosper. To God be the GLORY!



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Dr. Ingrid Phillips Whitaker


Dr. Ingrid Phillips Whitaker was born in Trinidad and Tobago West Indies to the late Margaret Estelle Phillips and Colin Brathwaite. At the age of 4, she immigrated to the United States with her family and was raised on the South Side of Chicago where she completed her elementary education at William H. Ray school and high school education at Kenwood Academy. She continued her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology (1988). Dr. Whitaker was then awarded a minority graduate fellowship at the University of Michigan where she earned a Master’s degree in Sociology (1990), a Master of Social Work (1992), and a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Work (1997). Dr. Whitaker began her career as a college professor at Old Dominion University in 1997. She currently serves as a tenured Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University where she teaches a variety of courses including, Minority Families, Minority Groups, African American Studies, and Social Welfare.

Dr. Whitaker served on the Portsmouth Public Schools School Board from 2014-2018 and was re-elected to the School Board on November 3, 2020. In this capacity, Dr. Whitaker uses her voice to advocate for the full funding of our schools, additional career and technical educational opportunities, and increasing support services for our students.

At New Bethel, Dr. Whitaker is active in several ministries. She is the Co-Chair of the Christian Education Ministry, a Church School Teacher, and a member of the Stewards Ministry, and The Voices of Praise Music Ministry. Dr. Whitaker counts it a blessing to be able to serve New Bethel in these capacities.

The Drs. Whitaker were joined in marriage on July 30, 1994, at New Bethel Baptist Church.  Together, they have been blessed with four children: James, who is in his 3rd year of Law School at North Carolina Central University, Naomi, who is a Ph.D. student the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, Nathaniel, who is a Senior at Morehouse College, and Rachel who is a Freshman at Howard University.  



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Otelia Wainwright McIntyre Whitaker
First Lady Emeritus & Minister of Music


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.



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Administrative Assistant


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).




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Assistant Minister of Music


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.



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Deacon Robert Davis is one of the most talented musicians in the world.  He serves faithfully at New Bethel Baptist Church and assist other churches and groups when they worship and fellowship at New Bethel.  Deacon Davis is also a gifted artist having graduated from Norfolk State University.   Deacon Davis served as an art teacher in the Norfolk Public Schools until his retirement.  Over his tenure as a teacher, his students received many awards at art shows throughout Virginia.  Deacon Davis also serves as a Trustee of New Bethel Baptist Church   


We have several who serve as percussionist for the church:

Tyler Fontinella

Deacon, Phillip Whitaker

James "JP" Whitaker

Nathaniel "Nate" Whitaker