Pastor Ronald Slaughter, a native of Orlando, FL, an adopted son of Georgia is now the youngest pastor in history to serve as Senior Pastor of Saint James AME Church in Newark, NJ. Following in the footsteps of deep family traditions, Pastor Slaughter accepted the call to preach on June 7, 1996 under the spiritual leadership of Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr. The call on Pastor Slaughter’s life was both challenging and rewarding. It was rewarding as the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church gave him an opportunity to spread the good news of Jesus at a young age and it was challenging because he was forced to wrestle with what God has called him to do.
God, in God’s infinite wisdom and grace, has deposited into Pastor Slaughter’s mind, body, and soul a passion for Kingdom building, through teaching and preaching. He has a genuine love of people and his goal in spreading the Gospel is to not only enlighten people, but also to educate them. God has prepared him intellectually by guiding him through Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Florida, where he was a stellar athlete and earned a college scholarship to Paine College in Augusta, Georgia earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. Through the encouragement of his spiritual Episcopal parents, Bishop William and Dr. Pam DeVeaux, Pastor Slaughter earned his Master of Divinity Degree with Honors from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia on May 5, 2007.
Pastor Slaughter has been afforded the opportunity to pastor several churches during his 17 year ministerial career. While still a junior at Paine College, he was appointed Pastor of Hickman Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Augusta, GA by the late Bishop Donald George Kenneth Ming. The following year, Bishop Ming appointed him to Butler Creek A.M.E. Church, also in Augusta. In 2002 under the Episcopal leadership of Bishop Frank Curtis Cummings, another spiritual father, he was appointed Pastor of the Greater Jordan Chapel A.M.E. Church in Haddock, Georgia. For the next five (5) years Pastor Slaughter called Haddock his home and God blessed his ministry to be productive and fruitful. On May 11, 2007, Bishop William P. DeVeaux, appointed Pastor Slaughter to Saint Paul A.M.E. Church in Macon, Georgia.
Pastor Slaughter credits his season at Saint Paul with helping him better develop his business and financial practices as well as his conflict resolution and negotiation skills as he and the Saint Paul team lead the church out of a construction and financial crisis. God was up to something, as he did not realize then, that God was preparing him for the role of Senior Pastor of Saint James A.M.E. Church in Newark, NJ, where he was appointed May 29, 2011 by Bishop Richard Franklin Norris.
In two years of ministry at Saint James A.M.E. Church, 420 souls have been added to the kingdom, over $300,000 in debt has been liquidated, a $65,000 parsonage and $12,000 vestibule renovation completed, and a $15,000 renovation on the exterior sidewalks and courtyard making the edifice more accessible for those with mobility challenges. In an effort to create a more seamless worship experience, Saint James is currently upgrading its sound system and has launched a new more user-friendly website. Pastor Slaughter along with the great people of Saint James have been working to develop a family oriented atmosphere, embracing the vision of God, and living out the “giver’s confession” established by Pastor Slaughter. The ministry continues to grow with an average attendance of 1600 worshippers weekly at our Newark Campus and over 200 worshippers weekly at our South Orange Campus located at South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC). Saint James has evolved through the development of the Stewardship and Finance Commission, the Hospitality, Marketing, Singles, and Social Action ministries. Below are a few initiatives introduced by Pastor Slaughter to support the vision for Saint James by embracing its Core Values of Discipleship, Spirituality, Family, Education, Stewardship, Service, and Evangelism:
- Twice a year during the holidays, the sick and shut-in receive “Love Gifts” from the Saint James Family
- The Lenten Worship Series, which occurs every Tuesday night during Lent, exposes Saint James to dynamic preaching from guest preachers from around the world.
- Law Enforcement, Fire Department, and Paramedics Sunday celebrates the dedicated service of first responders in Essex County and its surrounding communities.
- Developed a partnership with the American Cancer Society serving as a host location for the Cancer Prevention Study – 3 (CPS – 3) opening the gateway for area churches and businesses to join the study and increase awareness.
- Every September, Saint James celebrates Family Emphasis Month and the month culminates with Family and Friends Day Worship and Block Party.
- In an effort to embrace the educational core value, Saint James sows into the lives of its college students twice a year with a monetary gift of love to encourage their academic pursuits.
During his career, Pastor Slaughter has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was named one of the Top 40 African Americans Under 40 in Georgia by the Georgia Informer. Added to these honors, Pastor Slaughter has been featured in the AME Church Christian Recorder as “evidence the AME Church is not dying”, and he was cited as “a rising star in Georgia”. He is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and was awarded the 2012 Scholarship Brick Award by the Eta Pi Chapter. Under the leadership of Bishop Ingram and Rev. Dr. Jessica Ingram, Rev Slaughter was appointed the Chairman of the New Jersey Annual Conference Board of Examiners, making him the youngest to serve in this capacity in the First Episcopal District.
In spite of all of his wonderful accomplishments, Pastor Slaughter admits that without a loving, supportive, and understanding family, none of this would be possible. He is eternally grateful and extremely appreciative of his wife, Kyla Trinette Brown Slaughter and their children: Kellyn Skyla, Kylynn Rona and Ronald Levant “R2.”
According to Pastor Slaughter, God has done all of this to prove that He can use someone who is yet “a work in progress” and believes with all his heart that “the best in Christ Jesus is still yet to come”!