2013 The Root 100

The Rev. Howard-John Wesley is leading his congregation to social justice and modernity. 

  • Influence: 160.1
  • Reach: 9.54
  • Substance: 7.2
  • Media Mentions: 0
  • Internet Mentions: 1100000
  • Twitter Followers: 3171
  • Howard-John Wesley

  • The Rev. Howard-John Wesley is leading his congregation to modernity through his support for gay marriage and activism around Trayvon Martin.
  • Job: Pastor, social activist
  • Sector: Community
  • Twitter: @PastorHJW
  • Location: Alexandria, Va.
  • Age: 41
  • Bio:

    After being instated at the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., five years ago, the Rev. Howard-John Wesley said he had three objectives for his congregation: Be biblically literate, be socially aware and be active in the world. Wesley and his 5,000-member congregation at one of the oldest African-American churches in the country (founded in 1818) have been activists for social justice, with a special emphasis on the Trayvon Martin case. (Wesley preached a sermon last year wearing a Howard University hoodie.) A fourth-generation Baptist preacher, Wesley is an advocate for change around national issues including domestic violence and support of the Civil Marriage Protection Act, as well as local issues, like leading his church to purchase property to keep affordable housing in historic Old Town Alexandria. In addition, Alfred Street Baptist has put more emphasis on community awareness, mentoring programs and post-incarceration assistance. 

    Visit his website and like his Facebook page.

  • Fun Fact: Wesley is a summa cum laude graduate of Duke University where he doubled majored in biomedical and electrical engineering.