Our Pastor

Bishop Calvin Rice

Bishop Calvin Rice, a native of Union, South Carolina, was educated in the Union County public school system where he graduated in the last segregated class from the historic Sims High School. Additionally, Bishop Rice is a New York State Certified Chaplain and served as the Protestant Chaplain at the South Beach Psychiatric Center, Staten Island, New York.

On July 14, 2004, Bishop Rice was overwhelmingly elected to succeed New Jerusalem Founder, Rev. James C. Kelly, and began his pastorate on January 2, 2005. Since his installation, he has overseen the completion of construction and renovation of the Church’s multi-million dollar edifice. The Church’s membership has steadily grown; the result, the church has increased to two worship services on Sunday morning, instituted a monthly leadership development training series and expanded ministries that are committed to go “beyond the walls” to address the immediate needs of the community.

Bishop Rice is a “uniquely” gifted preacher and teacher and a highly respected civil, political and religious leader in New York City where he is active in many community organizations. He served as the Executive Director of Staten Island Communities United (SICU), a not-for-profit tasked with distributing State and City funds to five impoverished neighborhoods on Staten Island. He is/or has held leadership positions on the following organizations and boards. Second Vice President of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater NY and Vicinity, The New York Urban League, The American Red Cross, The College of Staten Island Advisory Board, The American Baptist Churches of Metro NY, The Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Boy Scouts of America, Sisters of Charity Medical Center, Vice Moderator of Eastern Baptist Association, Vice President of New York State Progressive Baptist Convention, Chairman of Finance PNBC Eastern Region, A member of Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Economic Development Task force and Staten Island Borough Presidents Anti-Bias Task Force.

In 1997 Rev. Bishop Rice received the distinct recognition as the only living African American to have a New York City street in the Borough of Staten Island named in his honor. At the same time, he was inducted into the Staten Island College “Hall of Fame”. Dr. Rice has received nearly 100 plaques and certificates. He has also received proclamation from the Governor of New York, three NYC Mayors, one US Senator and two NYC Councilmen. In addition he is the only Staten Islander to receive recognition from The New York Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators for Community and Economic Development for his work, while leading the eminent FCBC, New York from 1985 until December 2004. He along with Father James Dorney were designated Staten Island chairperson of President Bush’s Faith Based Initiative by Congressman Vito Fossella. In 2012, Dr. Rice received the Vernon M. Dougherty Distinction in Ministry Award; the highest award given by New York Theological Seminary to alumni who have distinguished themselves in lay or ordained ministry for at least fifteen years.

Rev. Rice has been featured in more than thirty Newspaper and magazine articles. He has appeared on ABC television and received their coveted “Living the Dream” Award. He was also featured in the Oxford Book of “Who’s Who” registry. He has preached throughout the north and southeastern states of America as well as in the Middle East. In September of 1999 Rev. Rice established the Genesis Bible Institute a school dedicated to the training of ministers and lay people for effective work in ministry. The school is an accredited satellite of Virginia Union Seminary of Richmond, VA via Eastern Baptist Association of Brooklyn, NY. In addition Rev. Ricehas licensed, ordained and mentored 33 ministers, nine of whom are pastoring churches. He also helped to organize and establish two Liberian congregational churches. In addition he has published a booklet entitled “This Is My Story”, excerpts and highlights of a unique and successful ministry spanning twenty three years along with selected sermons.

In 2007, Dr. Rice was one of the original pastoral organizers of Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership (EQUAL) a citizen’s power organization made up of congregations in South East Queens, Sunnyside and Woodside. Initiated through the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation), EQUAL is a broad-based, multiracial, non-partisan, grassroots organization whose purpose is to assist people to engage in public decision-making- empowering them to improve the quality of life in their communities and strengthen their member institutions. EQUAL has won important victories in the areas of leadership development, social security service and road safety. EQUAL’s greatest accomplishment has been in the area of education, successfully organizing a charter school for children and families in Southeast Queens.

In September 2010, Dr. Rice opened the doors to and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School (REACS). REACS provides an Early College Preparatory program for students from Kindergarten through Grade 5 and is committed to a balanced multi-literacy approach, educating each student to “stand out from the crowd” intellectually, historically, culturally, digitally, economically, physically, artistically and civically, in an increasingly diverse and fast-changing global society. Driven by the principles of PURPOSE, PASSION and PROFICIENCY, REACS offers each student a challenging, college-bound education that develops character and critical thinking ability infused with family and social values to support life-long learning, leadership and productive citizenship.

Dr. Rice is a highly sought after teacher. In 2011, the New York School of Divinity engaged him as a professor of expository preaching. He served in that capacity for two consecutive semesters.

In 2013, Dr. Rice travelled with a delegation of other distinguished clergy to the Republic of South Africa and Swaziland. The two-week missionary assignment coordinated through the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. included theological and pastoral care training for ministers of the gospel hungry for the Word and seeking education and resources to strengthen their ministries.

Pastor Rice’s academic achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the College of Staten Island and a Master’s in Religion from the New York Theological Seminary. He completed his graduate studies at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health of NYC in conjunction with Hebrew Union Seminary. He has also attended The Catawba Bible College of Rock Hill, SC, and the National Theological Seminary of Baltimore, MD, and holds a certificate of study from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel.

Dr. Rice is married to Willie Mae Rice and together they have three adult children and five grandchildren.