The Rev. Jonathan L. Weaver, pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. Church in Bowie, was honored earlier this month with an honorary doctorate from Sojourner Douglass College in Baltimore.
“This is truly an honor because pastor does a lot locally, nationally, and internationally,” said Vida Lawson, Weaver’s executive assistant. “He really deserves this.” Weaver wasn’t available for comment.
Weaver is credited with increasing the church’s membership exponentially. When he took over the church in 1988, it only had 100 members compared to the current 1,600 members. The congregation was also able to build a new sanctuary on 87 acres of land it purchased off Route 301 in Bowie.
Lawson said the congregation submitted an application for Weaver to be considered for the honorary doctorate. . He also underwent a background check. On July 1, members watched him cross the stage at commencement at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore wearing a black robe draped with a Kente cloth. Dr. Charles Simmons, Sojourner Douglass’ president, and Dr. Marion Stanton, the school’s provost and vice president, oversaw the ceremony.
Weaver holds an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.B.A. from Harvard. He’s currently the national president of the Collective Empowerment Group, a group of church and business leaders who work to empower underserved communities.
The event was a proud moment for the congregation and the pastor, Lawson said.
“We all started laughing and joking with him because he calls himself doctor,” she said. “Well he’s a real doctor now.”