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The Reverend Doctor Alvin Edwards
The Reverend Doctor Alvin Edwards is a pastor, civic activist, advocate for marginalize people, trail blazer, educator, counselor, theologian, pulpiteer and leader in matters of public policy. He is also a past mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia and is well known for his commitment to his family. A friend of his described him as a “Man with many hats.” Another friend described him as a person who “Gets things done!”
Dr. Edwards was born and reared in Joliet, Illinois, the second of four sons. He grew up during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 70s, graduating from a newly integrated high school. His parents, pastor, and church family helped to instill in him and his brothers a strong respect and desire for education. All four of the Edwards boys attended/graduated from college. His older brother is a physician in Oklahoma. Alvin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Wheaton College in Illinois, a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University’s School of Theology, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Dr. Edwards often refers to his pastor, the late Reverend Doctor Isaac Singleton, as his father in ministry. Reverend Singleton later became his father-in-law when Alvin married Barbara Singleton following his graduation from seminary. The Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Joliet was a large church with a membership of over 2,000 and was a congregation that nurtured the 37 young people who went into vocational ministry over a 45 year period. Dr. Singleton became Alvin’s role model, especially in the area of social justice and Alvin emulated many of Dr. Singleton’s characteristics.
Dr. Alvin Edwards served in church positions while a student at Wheaten College as well as while a student at Virginia Union University’s School of Theology. Following Seminary, Dr. Edwards served as pastor of the Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Little Plymouth, Virginia.
Dr. Edwards came to Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, Charlottesville on July 1, 1981 wearing a dashiki, sandals and jeans to a church meeting. The Deacons looked rather “distinguished.” Pastor Edwards told the members that he was sorry they came dressed that way but he was NOT apologizing for the way he was dressed.
When reminded of this event later, some members of the congregation commented, “Not much has changed with our Pastor.”
Reverend Doctor Edwards has served on many boards including the Monticello Area Community Action Agency, Alliance for Interfaith Ministries, Charlottesville Redevelopment Housing Authority, Charlottesville Albemarle Boys and Girls Club, Planning Coordinating Council, Charlottesville City Council, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, and the African American Summit Committee. In addition, he has served as the teacher for the National Baptist Congress Christian Education, and he served as the Lecturer in the Youth Division. He was a charter member of the Ministering to Ministers Foundation, Inc., Board of Trustees when it was organized in 1994, and served as chair of the Trustee Board 2000-2002 and continues to be an active member. MTM’s mission is to seek to be advocates for clergy and their families in all faith groups who are experiencing personal or professional crisis due to deteriorating employment or congregation-clergy relationships.
Dr. Edwards has been the keynote speaker for association meetings and state conventions. He has served as a Christian Education Consultant for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, under the auspices of David C. Cook Publishing Company. As a result of this, he has performed workshops and seminars on leadership development throughout the United States.
Dr. and Mrs. Edwards have four children; Alvin Cahlief, Brianna, Isaac, and Brittany and they have three wards. They also have one grandchild and another on the way.
In 1981, the pastor search committee set out to find a person to be their “Psalm 1 Pastor.”
What is a “Psalm 1 Pastor?”
• One who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…
does not stand in the path of sinners…
does not sit in the seat of scoffers
• One who delights in the law of the Lord
• One who is like a tree planted by streams of water giving fruit in its season
• One who prospers in what he or she does
• One who knows the way of righteousness and walks in it
This Psalm has described the Reverend Doctor Alvin Edwards. He is truly a man of God. He has a deep trust in God and is committed to continue to grow in Christ-likeness by helping people reach their God-given potential.
New Testament Greek is one of Dr. Edwards’ passions. A few years ago he applied for and was awarded a three month sabbatical study at Samford University. He surprised the faculty and staff by choosing Greek as one area of concentration. To this day, they have a photo of Dr. Edwards on the bulletin board that advertizes their “Center for Pastoral Excellence” Sabbatical Studies Program. He is holding his Greek New Testament textbook in his hand. The director of the program states that Alvin is the only participant to have selected Greek as an area of concentration. He is driven by a desire for excellence in every area of Pastoral Ministry.
It is our privilege to present the Ministering to Ministers Foundation’s annual Henry V. Langford Award for outstanding service to the Reverend Doctor Alvin C. Edwards, pastor of the Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virginia.