The Reverend Dr. Jawanza Karriem Colvin is the 6th pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH. As servant-leader of this 4,000 member congregation, Reverend Colvin follows in its historic tradition of community builders, preacher-scholars and social activists. Reverend Colvin is a cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Religion and History. He earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where his thesis, The Hermeneutics of History: An Examination of Roger B. Taney and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Appropriation of the Declaration of Independence, received distinction honors. He also holds a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Organization and Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Reverend Colvin has been a voice in the pulpit and the community on matters of race, equity, tolerance and justice in the city of Cleveland and across the nation. He has been an advocate for voting rights, criminal justice, health care, immigration and public school reform. He serves as co-chair of Greater Cleveland Congregations, an interfaith, multi-racial coalition of churches, mosques, synagogues and temples working to address issues of health care, criminal justice, hunger/sustainability, job-creation and education in northeast Ohio. He was lead coordinator of the convening of African-American Church Gun Control Coalition, a meeting of faith leaders, members of Congress, administration officials, community organizers and activists to discuss and strategize on national comprehensive gun safety reform.
Committed to service in both the public square and within sacred walls, Reverend Colvin continues to serve on numerous community and faith-based advisory boards, committees and working groups, including the board of Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Food Bank, The Martha Jennings Holdings Foundation and the Cleveland Transformation Alliance. He also serves as the ecumenical officer and chair of the Committee on Interfaith Affairs for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc (PNBC). As ecumenical officer, Dr. Colvin was a member of the PNBC delegation to 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches. The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive association of Christian churches bringing together 345 denominations and fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories, representing over 500 million Christians worldwide.
Reverend Colvin has distinguished as preacher and leader, having been the recipient of numerous honors and citations noting his commitment to Christian ministry, scholarship and service. Among these recognitions, is his being named as one TheGrio 100 History Makers, Cleveland’s Power 100: Top 10 Leaders under 40, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. Reverend Colvin is also a member of Sigma Pi Phi (Tau Boule).
He is married to the lovely Allison Jaynes Colvin, a partner in life and ministry. They are the proud parents of two sons, Asher and Philip .