Who is Pastor CJ Rhodes

Compared by some to Martin Luther King, Jr., Pastor C. Edward Rhodes, II, is the youngest pastor in Mt Helm’s history. A native Mississippian, he is the son of famed civil rights attorney Carroll Rhodes, Sr., and the former Doris Williams. When he was about one year old, his mother dedicated him back to God, like Hannah did Samuel, and his life seemed to be marked for greatness ever since.

Affectionately called CJ by family and friends, Pastor Rhodes attended Hazlehurst City Schools. While in high school he exhibited great leadership by re-establishing the student government and composing its new constitution, and serving as the first student representative on the school board. It was also during this time that he embraced his public speaking gifts by delivering famous MLK speeches at his school and local churches.

After graduating with honors from Hazlehurst High School in 2000, the same year he received his call to Christian ministry, Pastor Rhodes began his higher education career at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Under the spiritual mentorship of Bishop Arnold Stanton, pastor/founder of New Life Cathedral of Worship in Hazlehurst, Pastor Rhodes initiated a life of faithful witness to the Gospel. During his college years, Pastor Rhodes served in local Baptist and nondenominational churches and led campus ministries. Though beginning his studies in International Studies, he graduated in 2004 with a BA in Philosophy.

In 2009 Pastor Rhodes graduated from the prestigious Divinity School at Duke University with his Masters of Divinity (MDiv) as a Dean’s Scholar and Fund for Theological Education Ministry Fellow. There he served as Vice President of the Black Seminarians Union, an intern chaplain for both the seminary and a hospital, and was voted by his peers to preach the 2008 student orientation sermon. Having travelled nationally and to two Latin American countries, Pastor Rhodes is a much sought after preacher, consultant, and ministry strategist.

Ordained in 2009 by Rev. Dr. Maurice Wallace, pastor of Cornerstone Church, Pastor Rhodes’ formation by various Christian influences — among them Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal — is evident in his ecumenical spirit and commitment to the global Church’s renewal and relevance.

Pastor Rhodes currently serves on the board of the Urban League of Greater Jackson, is a member of the National YALT Advisory Committee (Children’s Defense Fund), and is the President of the Farish St/Main St Project. Denominationally, he is a member of the Young Ministers Division and the Education Committee of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention. He has been recognized by the Mississippi State Legislature, the Jackson City Council, several civic organizations, and local media for his bold, Spirit-led church and citywide leadership. Innovative and visionary, Pastor Rhodes is one of this nation’s emerging transformative leaders.

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