Our Pastor



Pastor Elder Dr. Vincent E. Stokes, II is 7th elected Pastor in the line of succession of Pastors of the New Sardis Primitive Baptist Church. Dr. Stokes is a life-long native of Cleveland and a committed community servant-leader. Pastor Stokes is the husband of one wife, Fannie B. Stokes, and the father of two children, Matthew and Vincent III.

Born and reared in Cleveland, Dr. Stokes overcame many adversities in his early life. He was abandoned by both of his parents by the age of two and reared by his maternal grandmother. By the time he was in high school, he became a drug dealer and gang member. Eventually he dropped out of high school, but returned to receive his diploma from Lifeskills Center of Cleveland, an alternative school.

The evidence of God’s hand on Dr. Stokes life manifested when he acknowledged his call to preach. After hearing the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III (RevOM3) eulogize one of Dr. Stokes' friend's and Rev. Moss' nephew, the word spoken by Rev. OM3 impacted Dr. Stokes and weighed on him so heavily that on the next Sunday, July 4, 2004 he accepted his call to preach. Dr. Stokes was mentored in his formative ministry by his Pastor, Elder Dr. Larry D. Tatum. Dr. Stokes was ordained as a full elder in good standing in the Primitive Baptist Church on June 11, 2011.
In 2005 Dr. Stokes journeyed to Nashville, TN where he matriculated at Fisk University and majored in Religion and Philosophy with a minor in History. Whlie at Fisk University Dr. Stokes busied his hand in works of advocacy and service. In 2007 he alongside other Fisk student's marched to the state of Tennessee Capitol Building in rally against the injustice of six African-American males who were harshly convicted in Jena. LA. and supported a new trial for the young men. He was a part of the Historic Fisk Race Relations Institution, was a part of the student leadership which brought former President William Jefferson Clinton, Poet Laureate Nikki Giovanni, and the late Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks to the Historic Campus of Fisk University. He was a 2007 initiate of the Eta Psi Chapter of The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and served as the Student Government Association President 2008-2009. Dr. Stokes graduated magna cum laude and was awarded the Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) from Fisk University in May of 2009.

While in Nashville. Dr. Stokes' served in ministry as the Assistant Minister to the Dean of the Historic Fisk Memorial Chapel, under the leadership of his mentor, Rev. Dr. Jason R. Curry. While in Nashville Dr. Stokes received more formal ecclesiastical training while working with the Ephesian Primitive Baptist Church, under the leadership of his beloved friend, the late Elder Dr. J. Lucius Fitzgerald, who encouraged Dr. Stokes to continue on to get his Master's and Doctorate Degree in religion. Dr. Stokes also served in ministry under watchcare at the Temple Baptist Church, and counts in all joy to consider Rev. Darrell Drumwright a friend, mentor, and Pastor.

Dr. Stokes continued his educational endeavors at Yale Divinity School where he excelled as a student leader and served as an integral part of the student body during his time there. Dr. Stokes served as the Secretary for Yale Black Seminarians and followed in the footsteps of Fiskite and Yalie, Rev. J. Lawrence Turner (Pastor of Mississippi Boulevard) as President of Yale Divinity School Student Council 2010-2011. As president of the Student Council, Dr. Stokes had the opportunity to serve on the Yale Divinity School Faculty Board as a student representative. Under Dr. Stokes' leadership as Student Council President, his cabinet undertook redrafting the then forty year old student constitution and handbook. The Student Constitution and Student Handbook was ratified and approved by the Faculty Senate and is still in use today at Yale Divinity School. Dr. Stokes was awarded the prestigious Two Brother's Fellowship and graduated with honors from Yale Divinity School in 2012 with a Masters of Divinity (M.Div).

While living in New Haven Dr. Stokes served as the first divinity school intern for Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Keith A. King. Dr. Stokes had the distinction to meet and be mentored by Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber and served as Assistant to the President of the Connecticut Missionary Baptist Convention during Dr. Kimbers presidency. Due to his faithfulness while in Connecticut, Dr. Stokes was able to preach the gospel in every town that had a Black Baptist Church in the state. Dr. Stokes served several churches in the state of Connecticut as Interim Pastor; Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Hartford, CT. and Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Norwalk, CT.

Dr. Stokes went on to complete his doctoral studies in ministry at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA.) in 2016 (D.Min) with a concentration in Christian Formation and Discipleship and successfully defended his thesis, With a Strength Not His Own: The Christian Background of Rev. Nat Turner and Its Impact on the Black Baptist Church in the 21st Century.
A true man of Omega, and committed to life-long scholarship, Dr. Stokes has achieved a number of degrees including a Masters in Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University; Certification in Administration and Supervision, Cleveland State University; and has credits towards a Master of Science in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. Currently, Dr. Stokes is pursuing a joint degree; Juris Doctorate and a Masters in Public Administration from Cleveland State University School of Law and the Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

Vocationally, Dr. Stokes serves as a middle education teacher in the second largest school district in the state of Ohio. As an educator, Dr. Stokes is able to be a positive influence to uplift, educate, and mentor young men and women through critical times in their personal development.

Dr. Stokes’ work in the community extends beyond his spiritual and professional background. He is a member of a number of fraternal and civic organizations including The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, where he serves as Chaplain for the Zeta Kappa Kappa Chapter; Fisk University Alumni Association of Cleveland; Yale Alumni Association of Cleveland; Mt. Pleasant Ministerial Alliance; Cleveland Clergy Alliance among many others. In 2021, Dr. Stokes was bestowed the honor of being named University Heights Citizen of the Year for his work with the University Heights Citizen Police Commission where he served as a member in helping write policy about the use of force policy for the city of University Heights.

Dr. Stokes' elevation to the pastoral office comes after decades of service and leadership in God’s beloved church across America. In every city that Pastor Stokes has lived— from Nashville, TN to New Haven, CT— he has found a plow to place his hand in the field of God’s harvest. In this season, God has seen fit to allow Dr. Stokes to lead his home congregation where he has faithfully attended and served since he was 12 years old.

Dr. Stokes is firmly resolved to let God lead as he, and the New Sardis Primitive Baptist Church, continue to build on their rich legacy and create change in the local and global community! He remarks, “Our call, command, and commission in this new season of our congregation is as old as our faith and remains just as steadfast — to preach the whole gospel, to the whole person, for the whole world!”