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 pursuing 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 is presently a candidate for the Doctoral Degree at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2018.
Pastor Slaughter has been afforded the opportunity to pastor several churches during his 20-year ministerial career. While still a junior at Paine College, he was appointed Pastor of Hickman Tabernacle A.M.E. Church (June 1999 – July 2002) 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 (May 2000 – July 2002), 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 (July 2002 – May 2007) 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 (May 2007 – June 2011) 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 Bishop Richard Franklin Norris appointed him on May 29, 2011.
In just under six years of ministry at Saint James A.M.E. Church, 980 souls have been added to the kingdom, over 700,000 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 has upgraded its sound system, installed a new lighting system to enhance the online worship experience, launched a more user-friendly website and introduced the Saint James App. 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 1700 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 Network ministries. In July of 2015, Saint James purchased the property across the street from its present main location for $375,000 without obtaining a loan or borrowing any money. The purchased property will be the new home of Saint James 42,000 sq. ft. worship facility in 2020. Pastor Slaughter firmly believes with all of his heart in Acts 5:39 "But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these people; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
During his career, Pastor Slaughter has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Most recently, Pastor Slaughter was inducted into the Bishop Henry McNeal Turner Alumni Class of 2017 Hall of Fame at Turner Theological Seminary and was elected as the Chairman of the Local Governing Board of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, NJ. Added to these honors, Pastor Slaughter was named one of the Top 40 African Americans Under 40 in Georgia by the Georgia Informer. He has been featured in the AME Church Christian Recorder as “evidence the AME Church is not dying” and was cited as “a rising star in Georgia.” Recently, he has been honored by Marion P. Thomas Charter School with a “Fathers for Our Children” Award in June 2014 and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in February of 2015 in recognition of his support and outreach to the citizens of Essex County New Jersey. 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. He also serves as the Chairman of Finance for the New Jersey Annual Conference of the First Episcopal District and is a board member of the Marion P. Thomas Charter Schools, the largest minority-led charter school in the State of New Jersey.
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 yet to come!”