Church Leadership

“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Jeremiah 3:15

Reverend Dr. William J. Shaw

Administrative Assistant to the Pastor
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

Minister to Youth and Children
Reverend Jay Gardner

Ordained Minister
Reverend Wayman Rucker

Ordained Minister
Reverend Donna Jones

Chair – Board of Deacons
Marshall Lyons

Chair – Board of Trustees
Lottie Washington

Reverend Dr. William J. Shaw

William J. Shaw was born in Marshall, Texas, the youngest of six children. At a young age, he dedicated his life to serving God. He was baptized at age seven and preached his trial sermon by age eleven. Growing in faith, he served as supply pastor to his home church at the age of fifteen and was ordained as Pastor of the Oak Hill Baptist Church in Harrison County, Texas at seventeen.

He attended Bishop College graduating Summa cum laude at age nineteen with a major in Philosophy and Religion and a minor in World History. Dr. Shaw received his Bachelor of Divinity Degree (now known as the Master of Divinity) from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1957. He earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York in 1975 with an emphasis on Biblical Interpretation from the Black Perspective. A Doctor of Human Letters was conferred upon him in 2000 from Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina.

Dr. Shaw was called to serve as Pastor of the White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia in 1956. He considers his work as Pastor his highest calling. He has led White Rock through a period of strong growth with the establishment of several outreach ministries, including a science and math after school program, and a substance abuse ministry.

In addition to his work as Pastor of the White Rock Baptist Church, Dr. Shaw is a recognized leader in Pennsylvania and across the nation. He serves as Chairman of the Trustee Board for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is a member ex officio on the Board of Penn Medicine.. His other civic affiliations include a seat on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Delaware Valley, Inc., and membership in the Philadelphia Rotary; Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows in Black Church Studies; Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and the Airport Advisory Board. Dr. Shaw has also served as Executive Director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center.

Dr. Shaw has been a religious leader on the local, state and national levels. He served as President of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention, Inc.; Dr. Shaw has also served as President of The Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity, The Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia, and Union Theological Seminary National Alumni Association. From 1981 through 1994, Dr. Shaw served as Director of the Ministers’ Division of the National Congress of Christian Education. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including most recently, the Unitas Award, given by the Alumni Association of the Union Theological Seminary and the T. B. Maston Foundation Christian Ethics Award from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

On September 9, 1999, Dr. Shaw was elected the sixteenth President of The National Baptist Convention, USA. Inc. During his first term, he led the Convention to become a more Christ Centered body. With Dr. Shaw’s focus on Vision, Integrity, Structure, and Accountability (VISA), the convention reached several milestones including burning the mortgage on the Baptist World Center, paying more than $1.125 million dollars of inherited debt, implementing a retirement plan for Pastors and church workers, establishing fiscal accountability and increasing the role of technology in the Convention. Dr. Shaw was re-elected to the Convention presidency in September 2004.  Dr. Shaw completed his second term as President of the Convention in 2009.

In 2009, President Barack H. Obama appointed Dr. Shaw to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and, in 2010 appointed him as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Dr. Shaw was reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2013 to serve a second term as a Commissioner on the USCIRF Committee, where he currently serves as Vice President. 

Dr. Shaw is married to Camellia L. Shaw. They are parents to one son—Timothy, grandparents to two granddaughters—Lillian and Brittany, and great-grandparents to two great-granddaughters — Zanaira and Nyela.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

Administrative Assistant to the Pastor

Reverend Steven Brett Lawrence is one of three children born to Lucille and the late Steve O. Lawrence. He began attending White Rock‘s Sunday School at the age of five and accepted Jesus as his Savior and was baptized at age twelve. In the following years he was active in the life of the church, participating in the Excelsior Choir, the Youth Council and the Prideful Youth Preparing for Christian Leadership (PYPFCL). He professed a call to the ministry in high school. He continued his education by earning a bachelor’s degree from Eastern University in St. David’s, PA and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. In the fall of 1978 he was ordained and appointed Administrative Assistant to the Pastor at White Rock. In 2002 he assumed the duties of the Minister of Adult Programming and Technology.

Reverend Lawrence is known for his insightful and inspiring teaching and preaching. He has a unique gift for bringing the Bible to life and relating biblical issues to everyday living, thus challenging people to be better Christians. He is intimately involved in Christian education at White Rock and teaches the Bread of Life Fellowship, a midweek Bible Study. He also serves the West Philadelphia Baptist Congress of Christian Education by planning, staffing or teaching the monthly Learning Conferences.

Reverend Lawrence loves music and shares his gifts with White Rock’s Church Chapel Choir, the Inspirational Choir, and, on occasion, with the “Praise the Lord Players” drama group.

In addition to his work at White Rock, Reverend Lawrence has served as an adjunct faculty member of Palmer Theological Seminary, in its School of Christian Ministry, since 1992. He serves as the Board Chair of the Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia and convenes its Dismantling Racism Team. He also is Board President for the New Conversation on Race and Ethnicity (NewCORE).

Reverend Lawrence is married to Cheryl Baker Lawrence..

Reverend Jay Gardner

Minister to Youth and Children

Rev. Gardner grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He acknowledged his call to the ministry while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He studied Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. In preparation for the Lord's calling he attended Golden Gate Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California for one year. He was ordained in 1992 at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Oakland, California and returned to Michigan where he served as pastor of The House of Prayer Church in Cassopolis. Sensing the need for formal theological education he resigned from the House of Prayer to attend the Princeton Theological Seminary.
Reverend Gardner came to White Rock in 1998 while a student at Princeton Theological Seminary. While completing his fieldwork at White Rock, he worked closely with our Christian Education Ministry. After graduating from Princeton in 2000 with a Master of Divinity, Reverend Gardner continued with us as Minister to Youth and Children. He has a passion for ministering to youth, and firmly believes that as Christians it is our responsibility to nurture discipleship in children in order that they may live out their vocation as ordained by God. In addition to working with our youth, Reverend Gardner also assists in the worship services.

Reverend Wayman Clenton Rucker, Jr.

Ordained Minister

Reverend Wayman Clenton Rucker, Jr. is a native of the state of West Virginia.  He is the first of 8 children born to the late Wayman and Annie Rucker of Powhatan, West Virginia.  He was baptized as a youth at the Mercy Seat Baptist Church in Powhatan, West Virginia

Reverend Rucker became a member of the White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1983, under the pastorate of Reverend Dr. William J. Shaw.  In 1987, he accepted GOD’s call to the ministry and, upon the advice of his pastor, sought to prepare himself for his vocation by pursuing a seminary education.  After seven years of attending seminary on a part-time basis, Rev. Rucker received his Master of Divinity Degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, in Philadelphia, Pa. in May 1994.  He was ordained a year later.

In addition to the Master of Divinity Degree, Rev. Rucker also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from West Virginia State University and a Master of Public Administration from Marshall University.

Presently, Rev. Rucker serves as an Associate Minister at White Rock Baptist Church, and is involved in various ministries at the church.  He serves as an instructor in the Christian Education ministry.  On the third Saturday of each month he preaches at a Philadelphia nursing home.  He is involved in the Church’s ministry to Families Affected by Substance Abuse.  He also serves on the Board of Deacons, the Board of Men Ushers, and is a member of the Masters of Song, a male choir at White Rock.

For the past 33 years, Rev. Rucker’s secular vocation has been enforcing civil rights laws in the areas of employment, education, housing and places of public accommodation at the state and federal levels.  He has worked with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission in Charleston, West Virginia, and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education in Philadelphia, Pa.  He is currently employed as the Chief of Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Philadelphia where he is responsible for enforcing the fair housing laws in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Reverend Rucker and his wife Kim are the proud parents of one daughter, Cheyenne.

Reverend Dr. Donna Lawrence Jones

Ordained Minister

 The Reverend Dr. Donna Lawrence Jones currently serves as founding pastor of the Cookman Community Baptist Church in North Philadelphia. Prior to 2011, she served as United Methodist Clergy for 20 years.  For 18 of those 20 years, she served as pastor of Cookman United Methodist Church at 12th and Lehigh Avenue.

The people of Cookman are very active disciples of Jesus Christ locally, nationally and internationally in the areas of education and restorative justice, impacting vulnerable adolescents and their families. With Rev. Jones, Cookman has developed personal and community empowerment ministries, including an alternative high school for youth (ages 14 to 20) who have experienced truancy; a youth and young-adult led entrepreneurial and leadership development initiative; and a unique program of family group decision making which enables families and their young people to avoid court and other punitive sanctions. 

While a Methodist, Elder Rev. Jones served as: Chair of the Children and Poverty Partnership, the Nigeria Partnership, Chair of the Community and World Issues Resource Team, member of the Urban Ministry Task Force; and Board President of United Methodist Neighborhood Services. In addition Rev. Jones has been a public policy advocate in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., on issues related to welfare reform, livable wage, and restorative practices for juvenile offenders and ex-offenders, as well as juvenile survivors of crime. She also serves as a special consultant and Jr. Elder for the Veterans of Hope - Ambassadors of Hope project: an initiative of spiritual and democratic renewal headquartered in Denver, Colorado. She has taught Urban Youth Ministry as an adjunct professor at the ILIFF School of Theology, in Denver.

Since 2011, in addition to her work with Cookman Community Baptist Church Rev. Jones has served as a minister at White Rock Baptist Church.  She is a member of several White Rock Choirs and has been a leading presence in several White Rock ministries.

Rev. Jones is married to Mr. Kim Jones and they are blessed with wonderful Christian children and their families, including: Jason, Mark, Jennette and Kelvin Jackson (with Harmony and Jada); Robert and Faith Jones (with Jason and Josiah). 

Rev. Jones holds a Doctor of Ministry in Renewal of the Church for Mission from Palmer (formally Eastern Baptist) Theological Seminary, a M.Div. from Lutheran Theological Seminary and a B.S. in Biology from Temple University. 

Prior to entering the full time ministry, Rev. Jones was a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep for DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company.
She truly enjoys her vocation, family, church and community, and knows that “a work is being done in our day that we wouldn’t believe even if we were told” (Habakkuk 1.5).