SOMERSET, NJ – First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens will bid farewell to a longtime senior pastor at the end of June, welcoming Reverend Danté R. Quick to the Somerset congregation he attended as a student of the seminar.
Rev. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. originally planned to step down from the church in November 2020, but delayed his departure to lead First Baptist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Soaries will deliver his farewell sermon on June 27, officially retiring on June 30 to be replaced by Quick.
“Pastor Danté Quick is a bright and talented young preacher who knows how to meet people where they are and help them come closer to God,” said Soaries. “He is extremely thoughtful and deliberate. He will be a great asset to First Baptist and to all of New Jersey.
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Lawrence M. Hibbert, chair of the church’s pulpit search committee, announced Quick’s election as senior pastor in May after Soaries extended his term beyond his retirement date .
“Pastor Quick is laser focused on the word of God and is absolutely the best person to guide First Baptist in these times of societal transition and to build on the extraordinary success of Pastor Soaries,” said Hibbert. “It has been a long journey, as we started this process in 2019, but a successful journey. We are excited about Pastor Quick’s many gifts and his ability to take our church to the next level.
Quick, who has been pastor at the Baptist Missionary Friendship Church in Vallejo, Calif. Since 2010, received his doctorate. in Philosophical and Systematic Theology with an emphasis on African American Studies at the Graduate Theological Union. He received a Masters of Divinity with a Theology concentration from Princeton Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a Pre-Law concentration from Morehouse College.
He said God does not allow his servants to get too comfortable where they are, but rather challenges them to grow.
“I wasn’t looking for a new opportunity, but I can’t wait to join First Baptist in their next chapter,” said Quick. “Just as I expect Friendship Missionary to continue to thrive without me, I know we can build on the strong foundation of First Baptist built by Pastor Soaries and those who came before him.
Pastor Quick is originally from Washington, DC and has served in a secular fashion in the offices of Mayor Marion Barry, Congressman John Lewis, and Governor Zell Miller. He was also the legislative representative for the Atlanta Board of Education. His scholarship focuses on the theology of Howard Thurman and the political philosophy of Ralph Bunche on his way to building an African-American political theology.
Soaries, who served as New Jersey’s secretary of state from 1999 to 2002, is a past chairman of the US Election Assistance Commission and has led First Baptist as senior pastor since 1990.
Her ministry focuses on spiritual growth, educational excellence, economic empowerment, and faith-based community development. Soaries is the founder and CEO of the dfree® Global Foundation and author of several books including “Say Yes When Life Says No”. Soaries is currently an independent director in three companies: Independence Realty Trust, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Ocwen Financial Corporation.