Aaron is new pastor at Providence Baptist ChurchSpecial to the Peacemaker / December 11, 2015
On Sunday, December 6, 2015, Providence Baptist Church, Greensboro’s oldest African American Baptist congregation, elected Dr. Darryl Warren Aaron to be the church’s new pastor and senior minister. The Providence pulpit has been vacant for the first time in almost fifty years following the death on March 12, of this year of its longtime minister, Dr. Howard Allen Chubbs, who had been a towering leader in the Greensboro community for many years.
Since 2008, Darryl Aaron has been pastor and senior minister at the historic First Baptist Church (Highland Avenue) in Winston-Salem. He is a native of Charlotte, N.C., the youngest son of Ethel Aaron and the late Rance Aaron. As a young man, he was a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, under the leadership of Rev. Coleman Kerry and now Dr. Clifford Jones. Following his graduation from North Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, Aaron enrolled at North Carolina Central University in Durham, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in dramatic literature in 1993. He received his certification to teach from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and pursued a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theatre at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. While a student at UNCG, Aaron regularly attended Providence and was called to the ministry under the guidance of Dr. Chubbs. In 2013, Chubbs invited Aaron to preach the sermon for the mortgage-burning service at Providence. In addition to Chubbs, Aaron has had several other mentors in the ministry, including Dr. Ricky Woods and Dr. Clifford Jones, both of Charlotte; and Dr. James Harris of Richmond, Virginia.
In his first comment on his election, Aaron said, “I am honored to accept the assignment to stand on the shoulders of my mentor, the late Dr. Chubbs, as the new pastor of Providence. It is difficult to leave First Baptist because we have come to love each other greatly. Yet, when God calls, we must answer. So, I come to Providence with God’s blessings, trusting that her rich heritage is filled with God’s grace to produce a promising future for generations to come.”
“Providence Baptist Church is a historic and special place. We have prayed mightily, and we are confident that we have found that special shepherd to lead us into the future,” says Henry Smith, chair of the Deacons at Providence. According to George Johnson, a church trustee and chair of the Pulpit Search Committee, Aaron was chosen from among more than 380 applications and nominations. “We were humbled by the overwhelming interest in the Providence pulpit from ministers across the nation and two foreign countries. Dr. Aaron embodies all the qualities Providence members indicated they were looking for in our new minister. We are excited at his coming to Providence and we look forward to working with him.”
Dr. Aaron was licensed to the ministry at Second Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, under the leadership of Dr. Harris, in 1996. He is an honors graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, from which he received the Master of Divinity degree in 1999. In 2000, while serving as Youth and Associate Minister, Aaron was ordained at First Baptist Church West in Charlotte, N.C., under the leadership of Dr. Woods. He received the Doctor of Ministry degree in Church Growth and Development from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, in 2012.
“This has been an emotional journey since the passing of our beloved pastor,’’ says Lisa Johnson-Tonkins, a member of the search committee and a third-generation member of Providence. “I am very excited about the possibilities going forward with Dr. Aaron. He is God-sent, and I am prayerful that he will lead us well.”
Seventeen-year-old Phillip McCall IV, whose family has been members of Providence for four generations said, “I am very excited and hopeful for the youth at Providence with Rev. Aaron by our side. I am sure he will keep us engaged, involved, and connected with God.”
During his time at First Baptist, the church strengthened its commitment to the Winston-Salem community with several ministries, including the Louise Smith Summer Adventure Camp, Kids for Christ (KFC), Operation Inasmuch, a food pantry and a clothes closet. The church also created partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where Aaron is an adjunct professor; CHANGE, and other institutions. Friday Noonday Service and Wednesday Bible Study provide opportunities for reflection and prayer for the church and the community. The Health/Wellness Ministry, tutoring program for school-age children, Communication Ministry, and Strategic Planning Committee are all part of First Baptist’s “view with a vision.”
Dr. Aaron and his wife Monica, who is a Director with Tata Consultancy Services, are the parents of two teen-aged children, Naomi Audrey and Noah Augustine. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, jogging, and the performing arts. Aaron expects to assume the Providence pulpit early next year.