Major Black Church in Rochester Losing Its Pastor

Rev. Jonathan J.H. McReynolds, pastor of Aenon Baptist Church, one of the largest black churches in the city, is stepping down to take a new position outside of New York state.

“It has been an honor and joy to lead the Aenon Church for the last six years, ” he said, adding that he will officially announce the name and location of his new pastorate in a few weeks.

McReynolds preached his final sermon from Aenon’s pulpit during the church’s worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 26.

Reflecting on his tenure, McReynolds said “the church has experienced renewal, growth and has engaged in many community and social justice endeavors.”

He cited  what he considered his greatest accomplishments as, “the growth      of the youth ministries, community outreach, the training and development of new leaders and breaking the glass ceiling for women to serve in expanded roles of leadership.”  

Leslie Harvey, chairman of Aenon’s Board of Trustees, said he is “saddened by Pastor McReynolds’ decision to take on a new call of ministry outside of Aenon.  However, I understand his desire to do what he feels God wants him to do.

“Not only am I losing a pastor but a dear friend whom I have grown to love and respect.  Pastor McReynolds has done a wonderful work at Aenon and the Rochester community in a short period of time.”

Lawrence Floyd, chairman of Aenon’s  Deacon Board, also commented on McReynolds’ impact saying he “brought a new level of ecclesiastical training and preparation to the Aenon clergy and deaconate ministries.

“He also championed  new and improved use of Aenon’s audio/visual and virtual ministry  as a means of extending our ability to reach our parishioners and the world, especially during the pandemic season we are in.”

After McReynolds is no longer pastor, the Aenon Deacon Board  will appoint an interim pastor “as soon as possible,’ Floyd said. The goal is to have the interim pastor in place by August 1, he said.

After that the Deacon Board will begin the process of selecting a pastoral search committee from the congregation.

“Every member is welcome to ask to be a part of the search committee,” Floyd said,

Even after he’s assumed his new post, McReynolds said  he looks forward to “continuing ministry initiatives in Western New York through virtual and in-person ministry opportunities in the future.”