Rev. Herbert L. Lester, Jr.- Senior Pastor
Dr. Lester is an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He earned the BS degree from Tennessee State University (75) and the Master of Divinity (86) and Doctor of Ministry (94) degrees from Memphis Theological Seminary. Dr. Lester has served under appointment as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since June, 1977.
In 1994, Dr. Lester joined the faculty at Memphis Theological Seminary as an Adjunct Professor where he continues to enjoy participation in the academy. He has developed and taught classes in Community Organizing, Missions, and the writings of Rene Girard. He has served as a corporate consultant in staff development and worked with the Tacoma, Washington, Department of Health on issues of male violence from a cross-cultural perspective. As a consultant with Killebrew and Associates, Dr. Lester has done work in conflict resolution with union leaders and government officials in the Nigerian electric power industry.
From 1978 to 1986, Dr. Lester enjoyed service as a Mental Health professional, working with client populations in youth diversion, geriatric day-treatment, and emergency mental health services. While on staff at Whitehaven Community Mental Health Center, Dr. Lester developed a program of parenting skills training in a group therapy setting that facilitated family restoration at an exceptional level. After certification as a Professional Counselor in the State of Tennessee, Dr. Lester conducted a private counseling practice for several years.
Dr. Lester is a United States Navy veteran, serving aboard the USS Forrestal during the Vietnam War. A lover of travel, he has spent time in Cuba, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Aruba, Brazil, England, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, China, Puerto Rico, Zimbabwe, Israel, Austria, The Czech Republic and Hungry.
Dr. Lester has served his community as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Worker’s Interfaith Network (WIN), former Chairman of the Board of Directors at Case Management, Inc., as a member of the Alliance for Non-Profit Excellence, as a member of the Greater Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Rev. Lester began his appointment to Clark Memorial United Methodist Church on June 21, 2015.
Dr. Elizabeth Williams - Associate Pastor
Dr. Elizabeth Williams received her Ph.D. (2002) and M.A. degrees (1998) in Applied Anthropology with an emphasis in Medical Anthropology from the University of Kentucky (UK). She received her B.A. degree (1994), also in Anthropology, from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Williams also holds graduate reading certificates in Behavioral Science and Women’s Studies from UK. After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Williams served on the faculty in the Department of Anthropology and Geography at Georgia State University (GSU), as the inaugural Director of Disparity Elimination in the Commissioner’s Office, Tennessee Department of Health, and as a senior-level administrator with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Dr. Williams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health, Health Administration and Health Sciences at Tennessee State University. A Kellogg Foundation Emerging Leader in Public Health Fellow (2005-2006), she completed fellowships with the Cal Turner Fellowship for Moral Leadership, Vanderbilt University Divinity School (2009-2010) and the African American Mental Health Research Scientist Consortium, sponsored by Peabody College at Vanderbilt University and the National Institute of Mental Health (2009-2010). Pursuing a M.Div. degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School and a licensed pastor in the United Methodist Church seeking ordination as an Elder, Rev. Dr. Williams received the Faculty Engaged Scholar Award in 2012 from Tennessee State University’s Center for Service-Learning & Civic Engagement and the ESTHER (Effective Service Through Health Education and Resources) Award from Sisters Network Nashville. In 2010, Rev. Dr. Williams was recognized by Nashville Healthcare Magazine as one of “10 Women to Watch in Healthcare” for her work in eliminating health disparities and cultural competence.
Dr. Williams’ applied research interests focus on health disparities and health equity, cancer survivorship and community-based cancer prevention, cultural competence, and faith/spirituality and health.