Dr. Richard Wills Sr., Pastor, Friendship Baptist Church
Richard Wayne Wills, Sr., Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, has been professionally active as an architect, educator and minister. He is a graduate of New York Tech, Old Westbury, Long Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. He received the Master of Divinity Degree (Cum Laude) from Virginia Union University, School of Theology, Richmond, Virginia and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. He was a Doctor of Ministry Student, Urban Studies at Howard University Divinity School, Washington, DC and completed the degree with a dissertation in the area of "Effective Pastoral Leadership by Social Activist Pastors", at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Ethics at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Prior to accepting his call to Friendship Baptist Church, Dr. Wills served as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Hampton Virginia, Assistant to Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, Harlem New York; Senior Pastor of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama; and Pilgrim Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. During his years at Dexter he co-authored a work entitled “Reflections on Our Pastor: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1954-1960”. In addition to having published several sermons, his essay “Annihilation, Retaliation, Reconciliation and the Pursuit of Justice: An Ethical Reflection” was published in a collective work entitled “9-11-01: African American Leaders Respond to an American Tragedy”. A celebrated work entitled “Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Image of God” was released by Oxford University and was followed by a contribution to the Fortress Press publication entitled “Bonhoeffer and King: Their Legacies and Import for Christian Social Thought”. He is currently engaged in the completion of his next publication entitled “The Pastor King” to be published with Abingdon Press. Former teaching tenures include assignments at Selma University, Selma Alabama, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and Ethics at Virginia Commonwealth University and Hampton University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Ethics and Theology on the faculty of the Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia. He is an inductee to the Morehouse College, Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers and as a delegate of the Progressive National Baptist Convention he has lectured and preached in London, England on the occasion of their annual European gathering. He has served on numerous Boards including the Advisory Board of The African American Pulpit, our nation’s most prominent Black preaching journal. Richard is the husband of Sheila D. Martin, and they have four children Richard Jr., Whitney, Michelle and Reginald. An ordained clergy person, he is a member of the American Baptist Convention, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the American Academy of Religion, Alpha Phi Alpha, Sigma Pi Phi, and is a life-long advocate for justice and equality.