The Rev. Gerald "Jay" Williams is the 2009 recipient of the David H. C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award given by Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY. He is pastor of Glendale United Methodist Church in Everett, Mass., and a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University.
Gerald Lamar "Jay" Williams, Jr. is the 2009 recipient of the David H. C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award given by Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.
Jay is a provisional elder and pastor of Glendale United Methodist Church in Everett, Mass. Before his ministry at Glendale, he was the assistant pastor of Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church in Harlem, NY.
Jay is a Ph.D. candidate in the Study of Religion at Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where his research in theology and ethics focuses on Spirit and the church. He has particular interest in African religions and black identity in diaspora. He received the Master of Divinity degree with top honors from Union Theological Seminary in New York (2009) and a B.A. magna cum laude in the Comparative Study of Religion from Harvard College (2003). Prior to Union, Jay was an assistant vice president in the private banking division of Merrill Lynch.
As an activist and public speaker in the modern-day abolitionist movement, Jay has twice traveled to Sudan, Africa, to help free slaves and document the effects of genocide. He is also involved in numerous community, United Methodist, African-American, and ecumenical ministry initiatives.
Allow me to go directly to the heart of the matter: At the core of the Christian faith is an irrational exuberance--a sense of profound goodness that defies human cognition. For example, the Bible is full of fantastic stories that boggle the mind and stir the heart; and as people of faith we consider them to be true. When you think about it, you can't help but chuckle to yourself at the thought of Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt or Jonah being swallowed up whole by a whale--and living to tell the story! I mean it is somewhat of a crazy thought--foolish even--that as Christians we believe in a Supreme Being that we cannot see or touch or smell. And yet, because of our belief in the unseen, we are happy.Read full transcript...