Rev. Morris Shearin, Pastor at Washington D.C.’s Israel Baptist, Dies at 76

by: Hamil R. Harris. Special to the AFRO
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The Rev. Dr. Morris Shearin Sr., a community activist and civil rights veteran who served as the ninth pastor of Israel Baptist Church in Northeast Washington, D.C., died on Nov. 18. He was 76.

The Rev. Dr. Morris Shearin Sr., pastor at Israel Baptist Church in Northeast Washington, D.C., died on Nov. 18. (Courtesy photo)

Shearin was not only known as a preacher and a teacher but he was also a champion for social justice. He was additionally a past-president of the D.C. chapter of the NAACP.

“Rev Shearin was a pillar of the Christian community and was committed to community and social justice issues while at the Israel Baptist Church for nearly three decades,” the Rev. LK Floyd, president-elect of the Missionary Baptist Ministers Conference of Washington, D.C. and Vicinity told the AFRO.

According to his biography on the church’s website, Shearin was a native of Garysburg, N.C. He graduated from Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C., where he received both a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion and a master’s in divinity. He earned a doctorate of ministry from Howard University School of Divinity in D.C.

Shearin was installed as the pastor of Israel Baptist Church in 1988. Prior to becoming the pastor of Israel Baptist, Shearin served as the pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Lewiston, N.C.; Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Va.; Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Adam Grove, Va.; and as the associate pastor of Wake Chapel Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C.

During his tenure at Israel Baptist, Shearin established a Child Development Center, initiated the STEM Ministry (Stewardship, Training, Evangelism, and Missions), revitalized the Music Ministry and made provisions for an on-site commodity food bank.

Shearin has been the past-president of the National Baptist Convention of D.C. and Vicinity, chairman of the NAACP National Convention (2006), chairman of the Project Labor Agreement Task Force in D.C, past-president of the D.C. branch of the NAACP and past-president of the Howard University National Theological Alumni Association.

Shearin is survived by his wife, Bertha Cotton; children, Morris Jr., Felicia and Carolyn; grandchildren, Alana, Jualia and Jamel; and great-grandchild Simone. 

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