The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson is the Executive Pastor of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY.
She is the sixth of seven children born to a single mother in Newark, New Jersey. The beneficiary of programs like the first generation of Head Start and free after school programs run by local churches in Newark, she knew early on that she wanted to live a life of service. She preached her first sermon at the age of 17 at House of Prayer Episcopal Church in Newark. She attended public schools in Newark and graduated from Arts High School in 1981 before going on to Fisk University in Nashville, TN as a “first- generation” college student.
While at Fisk, Rev. Dr. Jordan-Simpson was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Fisk University Choir, and the Black Mass Gospel Choir. She served the Fisk Memorial Chapel as Student Chaplain in the absence of an official Dean of the Chapel, and she served as chaplain to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Alpha Beta Chapter. She graduated with honors in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the double major – Religious and Philosophical Studies and Music. She graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York City with a Master of Divinity degree in 1988. When the Concord Baptist Church of Christ ordained her in 1989, she became the second woman in the church’s history to be set apart for the Gospel Ministry. She earned the Certificate in Not for Profit Management, Executive Level from the Columbia Business School Institute for Not for Profit Management in 1995, and earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree (with distinction) from Drew Theological Seminary in 2009.
The passions of her life are reflected in some of her writings, which include “Structural Poverty in Bedford Stuyvesant: Church and Community Challenge,” a lecture originally delivered on behalf of Union Theological Seminary in honor of Dietrich Bonheoffer in Greifswald, Germany that was excerpted in Global Black Woman Magazine; and a meditation entitled, “Loving Our Daughters,” for Sister to Sister: A Devotional for African American Women. The prayers for this meditation have now been adapted and published in “Standing in the Need of Prayer: a Celebration of Black Prayer,” by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Coretta Scott King.
Throughout her pastoral ministry, she has used her voice to speak up as an advocate for children and social justice. As Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York, she worked with advocates to name and bring attention to New York’s cradle to prison pipeline crisis, to close abusive youth prisons and to redirect resources to positive youth development. As Executive Director of Girls Incorporated of New York City, she led expansion of the first urban Girls Inc. model program, partnering with youth agencies in all five boroughs to expand gender equity training and quality gender specific programming. As Executive Vice President for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, she led the creation of the first Score @ Restoration Plaza and pioneered a partnership between Restoration and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) around DanceAfrica – a partnership that continues.
She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Community Connections for Youth and the Concord ChristFund. She is married to the Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Senior Pastor of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ. The have three children, Candace Yonina, David Michael and Jordan Elizabeth.