Ministering to congregations and communities as well as taking care of themselves is the major thrust for the leadership of the Pastors’ Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity, officers of which were installed Jan. 12 at Perkins Square Baptist Church in West Baltimore where it regularly meets.

“We have been intentional about emphasizing the need for pastors to take care of themselves, physically, intellectually and emotionally,” said the Rev. Dr. Cleveland T.A. Mason II, president for the second time.

“It’s the only way we can give qualitative care to the churches and communities we serve.”

And that area, according to him, is the area pastors are most likely to neglect.

In addition to thanking member pastors and guests for their service, Rev. Mason expressed appreciation for their support of what he called “two historic changes that signaled a new relentless engaging of the clergy community.”

The conference is open to all pastors and second-tier leaders regardless of denomination, no longer Baptist only.

And, secondly, the conference extends membership and access to ministry support services to women who pastor. He noted that the Rev. Muriel Lockes-Walton is the first female pastor to break the traditional “men only” conference.

. The conference leadership team includes; the Rev. Kevin English, first vice president, Open Baptist Church; Joseph Lewis, second vice president, Greater St. John Baptist Church in Turner’s Station; James I. Lightfoot, third vice president; Luther Westbrook, recording secretary, Winston Avenue Baptist Church; Macie O. Tilman, treasurer, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church; Muriel Lockes-Walton, chaplain/devotional leader, God’s Grace Apostolic Faith Ministries and Ernest Santiful Jr., executive secretary, Kingdom Church and Ministries.

Pastor of Perkins Square Baptist Church for almost 21 years, Rev. Mason also serves on the National Baptist Convention USA’s Faith-Based Initiatives Committee and is a national instructor for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education which provides training for more than 65,000 delegates from around the country.

The Pastors Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity meets 10 a.m., Wednesdays at Perkins Square Baptist Church, 2500 Edmondson Ave. All are welcome to attend.