After 100 Years, Allen Temple Elects its First Woman Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline A. Thompson with Unity Choir members standing behind her as she celebrates in the sanctuary with a word of love for her congregation after being confirmed on April 7, 2019, as the first woman Senior Pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA. Photo by Sue Taylor

Beaming with pride and overwhelming humility, Emeritus Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., watched as more than 2,000 parishioners stood patiently to cast more than 90% of their votes for Rev. Dr. Jacqueline A. Thompson as their ninth Senior Pastor.

Allen Temple Baptist Church members lined up around the block to cast their historic vote. Photo by Rev. Dr. Martha Taylor

Baptists in the Bay Area broke through the stained-glass ceiling on Sunday, April 7, 2019, as history was made at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland.

Rep. Barbara Lee casts her vote. Photo by Rev. Dr. Martha Taylor

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is also an Allen Temple member, arrived in time to cast the final ballot. Dr. Thompson’s father, Dr. M.T, Thompson, stood with her as she accepted the church’s call to service and leadership.

Next week: The epistle of Dr. Smith, Sr., and the acceptance sermonette by Dr. Thompson will appear. For updates and responses visit, and Dr. Thompson’s “thank you” video can be viewed on the ATBC Facebook page at

Left to right: Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, Rev. Dr. Jacqueline A. Thompson, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-13). Photo by Sue Taylor


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