Pastor Debra Morton (affectionately referred to as “Co”) is the epitome of what every woman aspires to be. She gracefully balances the roles of wife, mother, grandmother, Pastor, entrepreneur, daughter, mentor, and friend with great finesse. Since the beginning of her ministerial work, Pastor Morton has continued to empower women starting with being one of the first female elders to preach in the Baptist pulpit. Alongside her husband, Pastor Morton diligently serves Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church- one of largest congregations in New Orleans—where she has most recently been installed as the Senior Pastor while also serving as Co-Pastor for Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church in Atlanta, under the ministry hand of Bishop Paul S. Morton. She has dedicated her life to making the world an easier place and truly exhibits the essence of being the ‘better half’, not just to her husband and family, but to the millions of people around the world that she continues to counsel. Her sincerity and self-sacrificing compassion for others exhibit her ultimate belief that one must “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Despite her very busy schedule, Editor-in-Chief Candie A. Price was able to ask a few questions about Pastor Morton’s ministry and her groundbreaking role at Greater St. Stephen’s.
Candie A. Price – Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us. I always like to first get a background about our interviewees. Tell us a little about your upbringing, where you were raised, family life, etc.
Pastor Debra Morton: I am from New Orleans. After my parents divorced when I was six, I went to live with her Granny, Zenobia Scott, and my father (My grandmother was one of the 69 founding members of Greater St. Stephens and was the president of the usher board.) I lived there until I married.
CAP: – How long have you and Pastor Morton been married and how many children do you have?
DM: We’ve been married for 31 years and have 3 children, Jasmine (Elvin), PJ, and Christy, and we have one grandchild, Elvin, Jr.
CAP: As the new Senior Pastor of Greater St. Stephens, you have made history once again. What impact will your new role have on the way others view women in ministry?
DM: I am so encouraged. For a lot of women that are saved. This is a dream for them. Women in ministry aspire to be here. This new role is encouraging for them. Some women believe that they can never reach this goal but if God can make it happen for me, He can do the same for them. In the secular world, women, see it as progress as it relates to how men see us. It still gives them hope to know that we are not stagnant. There is still growth going on. They see progress and hope and they are excited. Even those who do not aspire to be a pastor see it as progress.
CAP:Your spiritual roots are in Greater St. Stephens. Did you ever have an inkling you would someday influence it’s direction and destiny as you have along with your husband?
DM: Certainly not in my youth, certainly not as a pastor. I never dreamed I would be the senior pastor but I did provide leadership at the co-pastor level lead by Bishop for the church and the community. The church was still in the neighborhood that I grew up in and I did community outreach and I knew the needs of the people. It was the area I grew up in and it was special to me. I always thought I was his (Bishop’s) right hand and I didn’t know that God would call me to lead the church as Senior Pastor. It is like God gives us more than we can ask or think.Working hand in hand with Bishop, I learned so much to make a smooth transition. Senior Pastor requires more concentration and more thinking.
CAP:What would you say has been your most memorable moment as Mrs. Paul S. Morton?
DM: My latest is when Bishop Morton changed the ministry and it affected the members. The same man who made such an impact transferred the mantle to me as he repositioned on March 15, 2008. Bishop Morton came and shook up the church and then he transferred that vision to me. The church I grew up in, the church I was baptized in, the church I received the holy spirit, the church I was married in, the church I was called to preach in, and now the mantle was passed. “That was too much for me”. For the mantle to be passed by my pastor who is my husband.
CAP: What enables you to maintain your trademark poise and composure in the face of what has been some trying and difficult times for your family during Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath?
DM: Christ within and His Holy Spirit. That promise when Christ said I will keep you in perfect peace if you keep your mind on me. The Holy Spirit is a comforter. I must say that I am saved and I have a relationship and not a religion. It was the spirit of God that kept my faith reassured and with us no matter what.
CAP: What would you say was the best advice you ever received?
DM: To be respectful but don’t ever deny the gift that is inside and do not apologize for the gifts that God put on the inside of me.”
CAP: What is your favorite scripture?
DM:“Seek you first the kingdom of God”
CAP:: How do you want to be remembered?
DM: As a woman who loves God with all her heart soul and mind and loves his people.
CAP:– What’s next for Pastor Debra Morton?
DM: Church side-Rebuild the families and If I re-build the families I can re-build the family.Personal endeavor-launch Power Woman, a ministry that nutures female leadership. Last July I launched a fragrance called “Blessings in a Bottle”
For more information about Pastors Debra and/or Paul S. Morton, please contact Kia Jarmon, 615.277.1855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.