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Aenon’s New Pastor, Rev. Jonathan McReynolds: Connecting Church and Community

By Staff


pastor-mcreynolds_newphoto-e1472673255834The 1,500-member congregation at Aenon Missionary Baptist Church welcomed its new pastor, Pastor Jonathan McReynolds, with open arms last week, during his first Sunday as the church’s new minister.

“People were very receptive, and there was a lot of people here,” Pastor McReynolds stated. “It was a very large crowd, and everything went very well. The church received me with open arms, and they’re excited about the future.”

Aenon elected McReynolds as its new pastor on Aug. 6, following the retirement of former, longtime Pastor James Cherry Sr., over 18 months ago.

Cherry was a prominent religious leader in the community during his time at the church, which is located at 175 Genesee St., and, as a result, McReynolds said he realizes he’s got important shoes to fill.

“Pastor Cherry was here about 34 years,” he stated. “He put 34 years in, which was a long time, and a fruitful time. So, I’m going to try to build upon his legacy, very much so.”

McReynolds said he plans to make his own mark in the community going forward, by working hard to not only build a relationship with the members of the church, but to build one with the members of the community as well.

“I would define myself very much as a liberation preacher,” McReynolds stated. “So, I believe that my practice of ministry is to engage the community, and not just transform the church, but to transform the community as well. So, I want to try to bring some ministries to the community that will transform education, economics, and the total empowerment of society.”

According to McReynolds, he’d like to create outreach efforts at the church to help residents access high school equivalency programs, or to help those who may need to learn additional job search skills.

And, in the end, he said his goal is to create a greater connection between the church, and the community.

“I think Aenon’s a very balanced congregation,” McReynolds stated. “So, I think the one thing that I would add to the church is probably a more visible presence in the community. I’m very much a community-oriented type of pastor. So, I would like to bring a plethora of ministries to the church, that are both spiritual, and public. I would like to bring ministries that would help individuals who may need help getting their GED, or who may need help with employment skills. I think I would bring to Aenon a whole slate of ministries and initiatives that are community-oriented. So, I would look at the ministries we have at the church, and not just meet the needs internally, but also meet the needs of the surrounding community. I’m also big on families, too. So, I think that should be inclusive of these ministries and initiatives, and I will be on the forefront to work to strengthen our families in the Rochester area.”

McReynolds said his favorite passage from the Bible is Job 36:11, which he said is indicative of the approach he plans to use in order to accomplish the goals he’s set for his time at Aenon, as well as for his work in the community.

The passage states: “If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasure.”

“That passage of scripture is important to me because it speaks about obedience unto God, and faithfulness unto God,” he stated. “In my 45 years of living, I’ve learned that, if we are obedient to what the Lord calls us to do, that He’s faithful to bless us. And, I’m waiting with great anticipation to see what the Lord does in my life, based upon my obedience.”

Originally from Kentucky, McReynolds has been a pastor since 1991.

Most recently, he was senior pastor of the Oakley Full Gospel Baptist Church of Columbus, Ohio.

And, in the end, although he’s been on a journey he never expected to bring him this far north, McReynolds said he knows he’s here for a reason.

“I tell the funny story that, when I started in ministry 25 years ago, I always said I wanted to go further south, or further west,” he stated. “And now, the Lord has called me to come further north, twice to Ohio, and now here in Rochester, by Canada. I have a very strong personal relationship with the Lord, so I realize that the ministry that he’s entrusted to me doesn’t belong to me; it belongs to him. So, I fully believe it was ordained by God for me to be here in Rochester, and to be here at Aenon. And, since it was ordained, he wants to do some great things with me in the area, and at this church.”

Visit for additional information regarding Pastor McReynolds, and Aenon Baptist Church.

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