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Bishop James Marshall Whitaker, a Native of Scotland Neck, North Carolina, is the 6th of 7 children born to late Junious and Carrie Whitaker and raised in the Lambert's Point Section of Norfolk, Virginia.  He graduated from the historic Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk.  After completing high school, he matriculated at Virginia Union University where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree and a Masters of Divinity degree.  Bishop Whitaker continued his studies at New York University where he earned a Masters of Philosophy in Religion degree.

The background of Bishop Whitaker tells the story of a dedicated, bold, and courageous servant.  While a student at the School of Theology of Virginia Union University, Bishop Whitaker counseled inmates and taught biblical studies at the State Penitentiary in Richmond, VA.  Furthermore, Bishop Whitaker accepted the call to pastor Mount Vernon Baptist in White Stone, VA in Lancaster County in July of 1958, during his senior year at the School of Theology of Virginia Union.  Bishop Whitaker pastored Mount Vernon Baptist Church from July of 1958 to May of 1964.  After receiving the Masters of Divinity, Bishop Whitaker worked with the Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections as a Pastoral Counselor at the Lorton Reformatory, National Training School for Boys, the Washington D.C. Jail, Washington D.C. General Hospital, Laurel General Hospital, and St. Elizabeth Mental Health Center in Washington, D.C. from 1959-1961.  Furthermore, Bishop Whitaker was one of the courageous fighters in the Civil Rights Movement standing for justice, equality, and economic empowerment.

In March of 1964, Bishop Whitaker accepted the call to become the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church.  Bishop Whitaker preached his first sermon as Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church on June 7, 1964.  The sermon was entitled, "Love: The Love of God and the Love of Christians One for Another."  This sermon marked the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Pastor and People, which still continues.

Bishop Whitaker is blessed to have a family that stands with him.  Bishop and Mrs. Otelia Whitaker have been married for forty-three blessed years.  Mrs. Whitaker, a retired Elementary School Teacher, serves as the Minister of Music of New Bethel, whereby; she has given of her time and talent proficiently since 1964.  Through this union, the Lord has blessed Bishop and Mrs. Whitaker with 4 children and 9 grandchildren

In Bishop Whitaker, you see a family man, a dedicated man, a strong black man, and most of all “God’s Man.”  We praise God for Bishop James Marshall Whitaker.  Truly, he is a blessed man whose steps are ordered by the Lord.

  July 2022  
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