CJ Rhodes, MDiv

In September 2013 the Reverend C. Edward Rhodes II became the Director of Student Religious Life. The son of famed civil rights attorney Carroll Rhodes, Sr, and being dedicated back to God by his mother Doris Rhodes when he was almost one year old (like Hannah did Samuel), Rev. Rhodes exhibited exceptional, visionary leadership from an early age. While in high school he was elected tenth grade class president, singlehandedly composed a new constitution and bylaws for the student government in the eleventh grade, and during his senior year served as the school board’s first student representative and as the sports writer for the Copiah Courier. Known for his gifted oratory, Rev. Rhodes frequented churches and civic organizations delivering motivational messages and famous Martin Luther King, Jr., sermons.

Rev. Rhodes received his call to Gospel ministry in July 2000, two months after graduating with honors from Hazlehurst High School. Under the spiritual mentorship of Bishop Arnold Stanton, pastor/founder of New Life Cathedral of Worship in Hazlehurst, he initiated a life of devoted witness to the Gospel.

Affectionately called CJ by family and friends, Rev. Rhodes continued to lead during his tenure at the University of Mississippi. There he served in various positions in the student government (namely, co-founding the Department of Minority Affairs), worked with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, and was appointed to the Chancellor’s Committee for Respect and Sensitivity. Ministerially, Rev. Rhodes co-founded two college ministries and was an associate minister to youth and young adults at two local Baptist churches. Though originally majoring in International Studies with an emphasis in Latin American society and culture, Rev. Rhodes graduated in 2004 with a BA in Philosophy.

After serving as religious affairs coordinator with Free the Slaves, a Washington, DC-based human rights nonprofit, Rev. Rhodes continued his education at the prestigious Duke Divinity School as both a Dean’s Scholar and a Fund for Theological Education Ministry Fellow. There he served as Vice President of the Black Seminarians Union, was elected by his peers to preach the coveted New Seminarians Orientation sermon, and ministered as a chaplain intern for Duke Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel and Wake Medical Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Respected by his peers, Rev. Rhodes earned the nickname “Bishop” for his charisma, character, and mentorship of fellow seminarians.

Upon returning to Mississippi, Rev. Rhodes worked for Mission Mississippi, a statewide Christian movement demonstrating and promoting racial and denominational reconciliation. Licensed into Gospel ministry by Bishop Arnold Stanton (New Life Cathedral of Worship- Hazlehurst, MS) and ordained in 2009 by Rev. Dr. Maurice Wallace (Cornerstone Church- Durham, NC), Rev. Rhodes’ formation by various Christian theologies — chief among them Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal — is evident in his passionate preaching and ecumenical vision.

In 2010 Rev. Rhodes became the youngest pastor of Mt Helm Baptist Church, Jackson’s oldest historically African-American congregation. Under his transformative leadership, Mt Helm regained its local and statewide status as a flagship church, became more engaged in evangelism and advocacy, and modeled adaptive paradigms that made the nearly two century old church more relevant and visible.  Denominationally, Rev. Rhodes serves in the Young Ministers Division and on the Education Committee of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention. He is also a popular instructor in the State Congress of Christian Education and serves as the Convention’s Liaison for Ecumenical and Civic Affairs.

Rev. Rhodes has traveled to two Latin American countries, ministered nationally, is a published essayist and columnist, and is a much sought after leadership consultant and strategist. He is also the host of The CJ Rhodes Show on WRBJ 97.7 FM and is the author of Thy Kingdom Come: Reflections on Pastoral and Prophetic Ministry. In 2013 Rev. Rhodes was one of fifty persons selected to participate in the Inaugural Institute of Black Theology and Leadership at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Rev. Rhodes is the blessed husband of his beloved Allison Corlese Thomas-Rhodes, the director of Human Resources at the law offices of Brunini, Grantham, Grower and Hewes, LLC. Together they are committed to glorifying God.

Innovative and visionary, Rev. Rhodes is one of this nation’s emerging transformative leaders.


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