Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr.
Senior Pastor, First Corinthian Baptist Church
“Being the largest church in Harlem means we have the largest responsibility
to deal with community concerns.”
Michael A. Walrond Jr — affectionately known as Pastor Mike — is the Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC), is a prolific and sought-after teacher and preacher.
He is seen as a visionary and cultural architect by his peers, shifting the purpose of much of church activities to community services. Within two years of his leadership, FCBC experienced exponential growth, tripling its membership, and over eleven years, membership at FCBC has grown from 300 to 10,000 members, largest in Harlem.
Walrond created a FCBC community development corporation which has The Dream Center, a transformative space focused on dozens of creative arts, leadership development, and economic empowerment programs.
With a desire to deeply engage the issues of the community, in 2016 Pastor Mike opened the H.O.P.E. (Healing On Purpose and Evolving) Center, the first faith-based mental health facility in Harlem, services that he sees have plagued many communities of color because of stigmas.
As with food, help, creativity and mental health, Walrond sees the church as serving a basic need to assess what the community, especially the young, need from this institution, something that he does not see among national churches.
Other church’s community and social justice initiatives include community food programs, the Micah Clergy Roundtable of NYC, A.C.T. Social Justice Ministry, anti-“stop and frisk” campaign and helping to get the “New York City Living Wage” legislation passed through the City Council. In 2014, he ran a spirited congressional campaign. He is a board member of the National Action Network (NAN) and was appointed the first National Director of Ministers Division.
He serves as a Trustee and adjunct faculty member of Chicago Theological Seminary and served as weekly columnist for the Amsterdam News. Pastor Mike has received numerous honors, accolades, and recognitions include induction into Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers as a “Distinguished Preacher.” In 2014 Pastor Mike was a recipient of The Root 100 Award, a list of the top 100 most influential African Americans under the age of 45.
Walrond is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Duke University School of Divinity as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar. He was the Duke University Minister and Director of the African American Campus Ministry for eight years. Pastor Mike served as the Senior Pastor of Zion Temple United Church of Christ in Durham, North Carolina for eight years.
A native of Roosevelt, N.Y., he is married to the Rev. Dr. LaKeesha N. Walrond, who serves as the Executive Pastor of FCBC.