The Rev. Jason Lawrence indeed will be the new senior pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.
Rev. Lawrence was chosen over the weekend during a special congregational meeting. He was selected by a majority vote totaling 94.2 percent.
Turner, 32, is a Yale University alum who currently pastors a church in Connecticut while completing doctoral studies. He and his wife are expecting their first child this month. Members of the Search and Transition Team of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, in conjunction with the Vanderbloemen Search Firm, selected Turner to present to the congregation last month.
Following a weekend of meetings and speaking opportunities with the congregation, Turner was invited to preach a sermon Sunday morning before the congregation was allowed to vote.
Turner's first sermon to the congregation was entitled, "When Grace Is Enough" and it was well received. No date has been provided for when Rev. Turner will officially begin pastoring Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. He returns to Connecticut where he will assist his current church, Community Baptist Church, in its own transition as he prepares to exit.
Turner succeds the Rev. Dr. Frank Anthony Thomas, who announced his retirement last July and stayed with the congregation to assist in the transition. He officially retired on December 31, 2012 and sent his blessings to the church as they welcomed their candidate, Rev. Turner, two weeks after his departure.
In 2013, Dr. Thomas will be joining his wife, Dr. Joyce Thomas at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Ind. as a tenured professor of homiletics and as the director of a new preaching institute focused on the rich history and culture of the African-American Church.
The BLVD will continue to meet for worship at both of its campuses each Sunday under the leadership of Interim Pastor Denise Bell, a former pastoral staff member of the church who returned to ensure a successful church transition. Bell brings a wealth of knowledge and is nearing the completion of a doctoral program. Upon his official return, Rev. Turner will work in partnership with Bell for a brief on-boarding process as he becomes acclimated to the church and the city of Memphis.