Reverend Dr. Murray L. Edwards is a retired clergyman in the A.M.E. Zion Church. He served as a pastor in the Zion Church for 21 years and as a presiding elder of seven years. As a pastor he dedicated his ministry to restoring churches spiritually, financially, and physically. He began his ministry at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Jackson, NC, the church of his birth. Ordained in 1978, he pastored for 10 years in the A.M.E. Church before transferring to the A.M.E. Zion Church.
A native of Northampton County, NC, Dr. Edwards holds the Associate of Arts degree in early childhood education from Roanoke-Chowan Community College, the Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University, the Master of Divinity degree from Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC, and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University, Madison, NJ.
Before entering the ministry, he served as an instructor for disabled young adults in Northampton County; and during his ministry, he served in many capacities educating ministers and lay people. His most recent post was as Conference Director of Conference Studies, devoted to preparing beginning clergypersons for the ministry.
During retirement, Dr. Edwards has devoted much of his time to writing. He is the author of Bridging Theology and Practice: The Pastor at Work, a manual on church administration and pastoral leadership; and Pathway to Ministry: From Lay to Ordination, a step-by-step guide for aspiring clergy and their advisors. He has also written several articles for religious journals and newspapers. He presently teaches the Men’s Bible Study group at St. Mark.
Dr. Edwards is married to Dr. Joyce Perry Edwards.
The Rev. Brenda Joyce McCormick is an ordained elder in the A.M.E. Zion Church. She has been an active and loyal member of St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church since her youth. As a child, she was a member of St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in Red Springs, NC. Her mother, Sallie A. McCormick, was a member of St. Mark’s usher board and a faithful member of the Amanda Wallace Bible Class until her death in 2006. Rev. McCormick is the niece of the late Mr. William R. Parker and Mrs. Isabella McCormick Parker. Mr. Parker served as the chairman of the Building when our present edifice was built, and provided dedicated and principled leadership for this challenging undertaking.
Reverend McCormick has served St. Mark and the Zion Church in many ways. Notably, she brought to the Christian ministry her love for education by devoting her energies and abilities to Christian education for many years. She was St. Mark’s Director of Christian Education from 1979 to 1993 under the pastorates of Rev. Dr. Howard Haggler and Reverend Lloyd Burton. She served as Durham District Director of Christian Education from 1991-1993 and from 1995-2008. At both the local church and district levels, she instituted many initiatives. In 1990, she was elected as the president of the Assembly of Christian Educators and led this connectional level organization whose membership is composed of Christian educators throughout the A.M.E. Zion Church for eight years.
A 2003 graduate of Hood Seminary with a master of divinity degree, Reverend McCormick serves in many capacities as an assistant to the pastor at St. Mark. She is a member of the Women’s Day Steering Committee, teaches every third Sunday for the entire Church School, is a member of the R.L. Speaks Achievement Club, and serves communion each month to many of our sick and shut in. It is a rare church occasion when Reverend McCormick is not present, and she often fills in for the Pastor when he cannot be present.
Rev. McCormick gave dedicated and enthusiastic service to public education in North Carolina for 34 years as a teacher of the gifted and talented, and of high school history and other social studies. Presently, she shares her knowledge and interest in history with the church by teaching a class for St. Mark in African American History and by serving as the Program and Publicity Chair for the St. Mark Archives and History Project.
As the Archives and History Project planned for the celebration of St. Mark’s Quasquicentennial, the work that Rev. McCormick and others did for the Centennial Celebration in 1990 was helpful to their efforts. Rev. McCormick was a member of the Centennial Planning Committee and provided leadership for the development of St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church; 1890-1990, the Centennial Celebration souvenir book as chairperson of the Souvenir Book Committee.
Rev. McCormick is the mother of an adult son, Marcus McCormick, and the grandmother of three.
Rev. Dannie (Danie) Carr McClees was born and reared in Rocky Point, North Carolina. She grew up in Mt. Rena Missionary Baptist Church. While in second grade she loved her teacher so much that she wanted to emulate her; consequently, she matriculated to Livingstone College where she was awarded the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1974.
She moved to Columbia, North Carolina in 1974, she taught elementary school for twenty-three years. After moving there, she joined Salem Missionary Baptist Church. She met and married in Columbia. She later joined Mt. Moriah AME Zion Church where her husband was a member. She birthed two sons Ken and DaNeil (who is deceased). She participated in the North Carolina Rural Leaders program at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, NC. God called her to preach in 1989. She answered the Call in 1990. She was admitted into the Edenton District Conference in 1991 and the Albemarle Annual Conference. She was ordained a Deacon in 1994 by Bishop Herman L. Anderson and was ordained an Elder by Bishop Clarence Carr in 1996. She served as a pastor in the Albemarle, North Carolina,
and the Central North Carolina Annual Conference. She was awarded the Master of Science Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro, NC in 1994 and a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology in Richmond, VA in 1999.
She became an Assistant Principal in Beaufort County, Washington, NC in 1997. Later she moved to Durham to become an Assistant Principal at CIS Academy in 2001. She also joined St. Mark AME Zion Church.
She retired from Durham Public Schools in 2004. After retirement, she taught 2nd Grade in LaCrosse VA and Danville, VA. She taught Kindergarten, First and Third Grades in Henderson, NC and First Grade in Durham, NC. Currently, she serves as a Substitute Teacher.
Now at St Mark, Dannie serves as one of the Assistants to the Pastor, Probationer Class Leader, Chaplain in RL Speaks Achievement Club, President of Silver Leaf Club, Immediate Past President of Durham Chapter Livingstone College Alumni Association, Adjunct Chaplain Duke Regional Hospital, member of St Mark Public Relations & Marketing Committee, member of St. Mark Women Day Steering Committee, and Vice President St. Mark Missionary Society.
It is a wonderful, spiritual pleasure to serve at St. Mark under Dr. Coleman’s leadership because Dr. Coleman loves God, the church and he uses his assistants to help him.
Dannie also helps with her two granddaughters: Ma’Kynzie and Jordyn. Dannie says “she loves people in general, the people at St. Mark and she loves Jesus with all of her heart.”
Rev. Linda Russell Young is a native of Durham, North Carolina and the only child of Mr. Louis Russell and Mrs. Hazel Hudson Russell. St. Mark AME Zion Church has been her family church home for three (3) generations.
Rev. Young received her Christian nurture and foundation of faith at St. Mark following the footsteps of her grandfather, Mr. Clarence Hudson and her mother, being active and serving in many aspects of ministry from her childhood until the present.
Her education includes graduation from Hillside High School in 1968. In 1972, Rev. Young received her B. A. Degree, majoring in Sociology/Social Science from North Carolina Central University. Upon graduation from college, Rev. Young was employed at the Harriett Tubman Branch of the Y.W.C.A. as the Children’s Program Director. In this capacity she touched the lives of many children through activities set forth through the philosophy of the Y. W.C.A.
Later Rev. Young was employed with the Durham Public School System. Her last two years with the school system, she worked with children with special needs. This work was found to be very challenging, but rewarding.
On May 19, 1982, Rev. Young answered the call to Christian Ministry under the pastorate of Rev. Howard E. Haggler, Sr., to be better prepared to fulfill her calling, Rev. Young attended Duke University Divinity School, graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 1986. In 1987, she was an ordained Deacon and received Elders orders in 1988 under the late Bishop John H. Miller.
After graduation from Duke University Divinity School, Rev. Young was accepted as an intern in the Clinical Pastoral Education Program at Duke University Medical Center which trains in Pastoral Care and Chaplaining. Further Advanced Clinical Pastoral Education was completed at the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh, NC, and John Umstead Hospital, a state facility for patients in need for emotional, mental and behavioral health needs.
In 1991 Rev. Russell Young became the first African American employed at the then Durham County General Hospital (now Duke Regional Hospital) in Durham, NC as a Clinical Chaplain. She served for 25 years before retiring in March 2016.
As a Clinical Chaplain, Chaplain Young ministered to countless patients, their families and hospital staff members. She offered compassionate spiritual and emotional support Also in this position, she had the opportunity to supervise and mentor students from nearby Seminaries and Divinity Schools, including Duke Divinity, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Shaw University Divinity School and Apex School of Theology. Her professional affiliations included the Association of Professional Chaplains and the North Carolina Chaplains Association.
In 2000, Rev. Young, along with her husband Rev. Fred W. Young, Sr. transferred to the Wesleyan Church after being offered a ministerial opportunity. Upon the completion of this assignment, Rev. Russell Young renewed her membership at St. Mark AME Zion Church. In 2015, she was transferred into the Central North Carolina Conference under Bishop Kenneth Monroe. Back at her home church, Rev. Young serves as Assistant to the Pastor. Teacher for the Tuesday Night Women’s Bible Study, “Daughters of Deborah”, member of the Buie-Hudson Sunday School Class and the Zionettes Club.
Her life verse is:
Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.