The Reverend Doctor Earl D. Trent Jr. currently serves as the Senior Pastor of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church. He was installed on Sunday March 26, 1995 and is the 4th pastor in the 101 year history of the church.Dr. Trent is a native of East Orange, NJ. He is a graduate of Cornell University with a BA in English Literature and holds a MAT degree in English from Monmouth College. Following his call to ministry he obtained a Masters of Divinity in 1983 from Andover Newton Theological School where he was a Benjamin Mays Fellow. In 1994 he graduated from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio with a Doctor of Ministry degree concentrating in Afrocentric Pastoring and Preaching. Ordained as a Progressive National Baptist and American Baptist, Dr. Trent has been active in both conventions and held offices in both. From 2005-2008 he was on staff as the Executive Director of Missions for the Progressive National Baptist Convention directing the response to Hurricane Katrina and consolidation of the international missions. The focus of ministry at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church is on discipleship that makes a difference. It is a ministry focused on five pillars: Stewardship, Education, Evangelism, Missions and Social Justice. Each year goals are set for each of these areas and all programs, activities and ministries focus on those goals underneath these pillars. Dr. Trent is fond of saying, “We do not try to do everything, but we make sure quality is in everything we do. We are here to make a difference in the lives of men women, boys and girls in this church, this community, and even throughout the world. We are a mid size church striving to have a mega size impact.” To that end the church helped to revitalize the LeDroit Park Civic Association which resulted in a multi-million dollar investment by Howard University, Verizon and Fannie Mae in the LeDroit Park neighborhood renovating and building 50 homes and becoming a national showcase for cooperative neighborhood improvement. Under Dr. Trent’s leadership the nearby Gage Eckington School was adopted and a mentoring program for black boys was established. A nonprofit community development corporation Florida Avenue Renaissance Project was formed instituting summer and after school enrichment programs. Most recently Our House-a Saturday school for bible study and arts enrichment, has been established with an annual Black history production featuring original script and young people from 4 through 17 years of age. Significant renovations and property acquisitions have taken place as part of the mission of the church to remain in the core of the urban community. Mo than Jazz, a music and cultural arts series, is one of the unique monthly ministries started by Dr. Trent in celebration and preservation of our music as Black Americans. Each Sunday worship service is designed to incorporate the wide variety of our church music with hymns, anthems, spirituals and gospel. The recent purchase of a Rodgers digital pipe organ has greatly enhanced the musical offerings. Both nationally and internationally the church has made a difference. When the oldest black township in the United States, Princeville, North Carolina was nearly destroyed in 1999, Dr. Trent led building teams in five trips to help in the reconstruction. Building teams have been sent to the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas in response to Hurricane Katrina and worked with Habitat of Humanity in Charlotte, NC and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dr. Trent has traveled extensively in missions to South Africa, Liberia, the Bahamas and Haiti. He has served on many boards most notably The Minority Organ Tissue Transplant and Education Program; National Cathedral School for girls; president of the Harvest Institute-a think tank for social and economic reform of Black America, and founding chair of the Community Advisory board of Reynolds and Associates (formerly the Washington Halfway Homes) – a reentry program for women ex-offenders.
Dr. Trent made history recently as the first African American to be elected as Chairman of the Board of Church World Service (CWS), a U.S.-based global relief, sustainable development and refugee assistance agency representing the 37 mainline denominations including all the African American denominations.
He is the author of A Challenge to the Black Church-a book of essays, and several articles in The Journal of Religious Thought, a study guide to How to Interpret the Bible and several op-ed articles.Prior to coming to FABC, Dr. Trent served from 1983-94 as Senior Pastor of the St. Paul’s Baptist Church in West Chester, PA where among his many accomplishments he led the congregation in the purchase of a new building and a 7 acre site for a new worship complex. Dr. Trent is married to Dr. Janice Ray Trent, owner of Hearing Healthcare Services – a full service provider of audiological services, hearing aids and assisted listening devices located in Bowie, Md. She is also a former faculty member and clinical director of Howard University Speech and Hearing Clinic. They are the proud parents of three adult daughters Noelle, Andrea, and Jessica Trent.