Honorary street sign to recognize Bishop Melvin Williams Jr.

Hazel Trice Edney/Free Press contributor | 3/14/2024, 6 p.m.
For more than 50 years, Bishop Melvin Williams Jr., pastor of the Temple of Judah at 2120 Venable St. has ...
Bishop Williams

For more than 50 years, Bishop Melvin Williams Jr., pastor of the Temple of Judah at 2120 Venable St. has made his mark on Richmond and Virginia – primarily through giving. For years, his words of wisdom through his daily radio show; Christmas bicycle giveaways for children; care packages for incarcerated people; Thanksgiving giveaways; daily prayer at 5 a.m. at the church and now online; housing for the homeless and marches against crime and for community safety are just some of the services the church has provided over the years.

Now, the city of Richmond is recognizing that service in a major way.

On Friday, March 15, at 11 a.m., the Richmond City Council, Bishop Williams, members of the church and the community will gather to unveil an honorary street sign – Melvin

Williams Jr. Way – as a designation of the 2100 block of Venable Street. The celebration will continue 9 a.m. Sunday with a special worship service to commemorate Bishop Williams’ 75th birthday and his 50th year in ministry.

Bishop Williams, who last year retired from the office of chief chaplain at the city of Richmond Justice Center, has pastored the Temple (formerly the True Apostolic Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ) since 1983. The church had been previously pastored by his father, Bishop Melvin Williams Sr. for more than two decades.

In addition to the pastorate, Bishop Williams currently serves as presiding bishop of the Judah Ecumenical Covenant Fellowship, a position in which he was enthroned in 2017. He is a graduate of the Virginia Union University Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, where he assisted now retired Dean John Kinney in founding and establishing the Center for African American Pentecostalism and Leadership Development and was appointed by Dean Kinney as co-chair of its board.

The citation for the work of Bishop Williams by the Richmond City Council is a culmination of dozens of honors by public officials over the years. His work also has been recognized with awards and citations by Gov. Chuck Robb, Gerald Baliles, L. Douglas Wilder, James “Jim” Gilmore and Tim Kaine.