By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
BRIDGETON – God’s Mailman is still delivering in Bridgeton.
Rev. Albert Morgan has led 1,500-member Union Baptist Temple for more than 30 years as pastor and has embraced the historic role the church has played in the African-American community for centuries.
The current Bridgeton Board of Education member and former member of the Bridgeton City Council and Cumberland County Freeholder, Morgan said his community leadership roles came at the urging of his congregation and the wider mission of providing guidance to the entire community.
“My service to the Bridgeton community as a former councilperson, a former police chaplain and a current member of the school board resulted from encouragement from my membership and my relationship with other community leaders,” Morgan told Front Runner New Jersey. “There are problems or situations in all communities, including ours. I do believe if you have relationship with both sides, you can make inroads to finding a solution. I passionately believe, if you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”
First and foremost, Morgan is “God’s Mailman,” a nickname earned before leading Union Baptist.
“Even before I became Pastor Morgan, I carried the Word of God to many towns and cities – not only in New Jersey, but thorough out the country,” Morgan said. “I still have not stopped carrying the Word of God from town to town and city to city. I am a man that brings the mail, no junk mail. God’s Mail will change your life.”
Morgan knows Cumberland County well, graduating from Vineland High School in 1969 and earning degrees from Glassboro State College, which is now Rowan University, and Philadelphia College of the Bible, now Cairn University. He credits his parents, the late L.E. and Gloria Morgan with solidifying his spiritual foundation.
“Our humble, Christian home was built by my father,” Morgan said. “My family grew to include three brothers and four sisters. My parents were laborers. Therefore, hard work, determination and discipline was instilled at an early age. [Rowan and Cairn] provided me with the educational bases for my secular vocation, teaching and my spiritual call, preaching.”
Leading the Flock
Before becoming Union Baptist’s pastor, he served as its music minister under Rev. Dr. M. Marquette Peace.
“During this time, I was able to observe the commitment to the Word of God, commitment to the church and the commitment to the community,” Morgan said. “I knew the Temple was a dedicated body of believers upon my call to pastor. Our theme is ‘To know Him and make Him Known.’ Our underlying mandate is to evangelize the world; edify the body; and exalt the Savior. Temple members are eager disciples of Christ.
“We are willing to fulfill our ministries to accomplish our mandate. The members of the church make the Temple a wonderful place to preach and to worship God. I am grateful to God that He chose me to carry out my ministry by serving at the Temple,” Morgan added.
Church and Community
Members of Union Baptist’s flock said Morgan has maintained a standard of God’s love and grace among the congregation.
“My wife and I were some of his first members to join 34 years ago and we are very proud of the excellent job that he does as pastor of Union Baptist Temple,” Deacon John Dickerson, chairman of the church’s Deacon’s Ministry, said.
Cedric Holmes, who made history as the youngest person ever elected to the Vineland Board of Education, credited Morgan for providing inspiration for him. Holmes currently serves as Morgan’s administrator.
“Pastor Morgan represents excellence, humility, and grace wherever he goes,” Holmes said. “He is one of the most influential men in my life and I am honored to work alongside him.”
Morgan said he understands that the African-American church has always meant more to the black community. The church has long served not only as a spiritual sanctuary for the African-Americans, but a community sanctuary as well.
“The African-American church, like all churches, is a place to worship God,” Morgan said. “Historically, due to inequities in America, we have accepted the responsibility to be a voice for our community. We must voice our concerns in the realms of social and political injustice, education, unemployment and health care to mention a few.
“The method of how the African-American church addresses these situations may have changed, however our message remains the same. For the last 200 plus years, the African-American church is still the voice of the downtrodden,” Morgan said.
As one of South Jersey’s enduring role models inside and outside the pulpit, Morgan said true leaders must realize that they are being watched at all times – and young people are taking notice of their decisions and actions.
‘Talk Matches My Walk’
“During my thirty years of teaching, my thirty-four years of pastoring and over sixty years of living, I know I am a leader,” Morgan said. “I believe our young people live in a world that is difficult to navigate. They naturally look for people to show them the how they should live. Many young people do not have a male role model. I have chosen to be that positive role model in both of my professions.
“I have former students and their parents and former co-workers who are members of my church. My consistent actions at school, drew them to the church. They became integral in the ministry of the church. I have been retired for several years and thought many of my students had forgotten about my impact on their lives.
“Last year, I had a serious health challenge. One Sunday, many of them showed up for church service. They wanted to encourage and thank me. The young people at my church are observing me right now. They are watching to see if my talk matches my walk. I may not be perfect, no man is, but I strive to lead while living in a fishbowl. Being a role model and knowing that you have a positive impact on people lives is a blessing,” Morgan said.
Morgan said he has plenty of inspirations himself.
“If inspiration is defined as ‘being awakened to new possibilities to transcend the ordinary,’ there are multiple people, situations and things that inspire me. First on my list would be Jesus. I have patterned my life to be in alignment with Christ. Matthew 6:33 is my life scripture. The verse states, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ It also states my priority and inspiration for living. There are many global and national personalities that have inspired me, but there are many regional personalities that have also impacted my life.
“Here is an abbreviated list. My parents inspired me with their determination to get things done. In the field of education, the late Kermit Brunner, vice principal of Vineland High School and the late Naomi Boyer, a Philadelphia educator. In the field of preaching, Rev. Dr. Granville Seward, a charismatic preacher from Newark; community service, the late Rev. Edward Dorn, of Pedricktown; church life, Gladys Pierce, a Christian educator and the late Deacon Walter Martin, both of Bridgeton, Union Baptist Temple; church leadership, the late Callie Rattley, Christian educator, of Clayton, Dr. Ruth Wells, of Philadelphia, Christian educator and Dr. Marabeth Gentry, St. Louis, President of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.
“Those that know me well, know I love to laugh. I am inspired by my own Moms Mabley, Shirley Burns, of Salem. I am inspired by my young people and how they have adapted to social media platforms for their youth ministry. I am inspired by my seniors and how they are adjusting to conference call Bible Study and online church ministry. I am inspired how God uniquely uses people for his glory.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to cloud the future of many, Morgan said that neither snow, nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop him from delivering God’s Mail.
Photos courtesy of Rev. Albert Morgan
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