Reverend Dr. Dennis Leach, Sr.
Dr. Leach was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the late Mr. and Mrs. Guy Heartwell, and Irene Williams-Leach. He comes from a large family, and is the third of ten siblings. He received his early Education in the public schools of the city of Philadelphia. After receiving his GED he entered the United States Army where he served for twenty years, retiring in 1993 as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. Over the course of his career he received numerous awards and decorations to include the Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Accommodation Medals, seven Army Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, and the South-East Asia Service Medal before retiring. He is a Vietnam era veteran as well as a Gulf war veteran.
While in the military he received his call to the ministry; was licensed in 1981 by the C.O.G.I.C. In 1984 he was licensed by Pine Hall Baptist Church, and ordained in 1984 by the Rowan Baptist Association of NC. He served in various capacities with churches around the world. He was a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, served in prison ministries, nursing home ministries, senior citizen ministries, and mental hospital ministries. He served as pastor of the Zion Baptist church for two and a half years (March 1985-September 1978) while stationed in Mannheim, Germany before being transferred. During that pastorate he was a part of the founding member churches that formed the first Baptist Association in Europe.
After retiring he enrolled as a full time student, and received his Bachelor degree from Fayetteville State University, majoring in Criminal justice graduating Cum Laude in December 1995. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in May 1998 with honors and was inducted as a Benjamin Elijah Mays Fellows; his concentration was pastoral care and counseling. He is a graduate of Drew University where he received his Doctor of Ministry Degree (class of 2012), and his dissertation was on developing a governing document for the church that keeps it connected to its Baptist doctrine, and tradition.
After his seminary studies he went on to serve as the Assistant to the Pastor for Congregational Care, and Pastoral Counseling at the Lewis Chapel Baptist church in Fayetteville, North Carolina under Dr. John D. Fuller Sr., who was then the President of the General Baptist State Convention. He subsequently served as the Assistant to the President & Executive Secretary Treasurer of The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Inc., for three years. He temporarily served as the Acting Executive Secretary-Treasurer for a period of three months. Additionally, he performed duties as an associate editor of The Baptist Informer an organ of the General Baptist State Convention. He along with his wife lectured for the General Baptist State Convention Congress of Christian Education. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP, a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the CEO of Spirit, Body & Soul Inc. a non-profit 501c3. He formally served on the board of Habitat for Humanity.
In April of 2003 he was called to serve as the Interim Pastor of First Baptist Church of High Point, North Carolina the oldest Black church in the city organized by former slaves. He served in that capacity for six months and was formerly elected to serve as its senior pastor. He subsequently had the church placed on the National Historic Register. He briefly served as the third Vice-Moderator, and as Co-Chairman of the Ordination Council of the Rowan Baptist Association, and he now serves as its Treasurer. In October of 2009, he accepted; and assumed the position of Senior Pastor of the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Winston Salem, NC. Under his leadership the church started a renewable Scholarship Fund awarding up to $4,000.00 to undergraduates over the course of four years, a community garden, partnered with Kimberly Park Elementary school in the back pack feeding program, and also partnered with Forrest Park Elementary School in the Book Worms reading program. Dr. Leach currently serves as the treasurer for the Ministers’ Conference of Winston Salem & Vicinity, and the treasurer of the Rowan Baptist Association. He is happily married to the former Ms. Charolette Geraldine Hagan, who is an ordained minister. They are proud parents of 5 children, (Malisha, Christopher, Denise, Jason, and Dennis Jr.) and doting grandparents of 3 grandchildren (Jaeylyn, Jermaine, and Chloe).