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Pastor and Wife

Pastor's Bio



Pastor Henry L. Key was called to serve the historical (1868) St. John Baptist Church in May 2013.  Pastor Key and his wife of forty-seven years, Dr. Shirley G. Key, are Memphians who spent over three decades in Houston, Texas.  The Lord has blessed their union with one son George Anthony, and one daughter, Lorri Michelle who both matriculated at Prairie View A & M University.  Both are well traveled and live as productive and responsible citizens in the Houston metropolitan area.  George’s wife is Ms. Allison Davis Key who hails from Ft. Worth Texas, and Lorri’s husband is Trent Barrett of Palestine Texas. They too are productive and responsible citizens in the Houston metropolitan area.

Pastor Key’s vision for St. John includes revitalizing and sustaining those elements of the Church’s historically prominent position

in the development of spirituality at the local, state, and national level.  To that end, Pastor Key continues to support and promote participation in the West Tennessee Baptist Missionary & Education Association, the Tennessee Baptist Missionary & Education Convention, Inc., the National Baptist Convention, Inc.  and the Baptist World Alliance.

Pastor Key, ordained in 1981, is devoted to the development of  ”the generations to come” indicated by his commitment to the teaching ministry of St. John.  For example, he teaches the Sunday School preparation hour weekly, and provides the quarterly overview of the Sunday School quarterly.  Also, Pastor Key taught the Family Life Class for twenty years in his home Church—Sunny Side Missionary Baptist Church in Houston Texas.   Pastor Key’s education includes a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee State University, and a M. A. degree from Texas Southern University in Community Psychology.  His formal divinity education includes studies at the Houston Bible Institute, and the Houston Graduate School of Theology. Both institutions are located in Houston. Pastor Key is continuing his ministerial development by currently attending the Annunciation Greek Church where he is studying Classical Greek.


Dr. Shirley Key is also committed to the teaching ministry of St. John indicated by alternating with Pastor Key in presenting the quarterly overview of the Sunday School quarterly.  In addition, she is the Assistant Director of the Board of Christian Education,

Directior of Vacation Bible School and co-teaches the Young Disciples.

Dr. Key recently completed Phases I and II of the Certification of Completion Program (COCP) applied to the Sunday School Publishing Board for verification of completing the Certificate of Progress Program (COPP) offered by the National Baptist Convention, Inc. Her passion and projects are centered around education and educators.  Dr. Key is currently advancing the

coming generation by using her 40 years of education experience with middle schoolers in Memphis.


The Manna Pantry—this ministry was initiated by the late Reverend Marian F. Brown a life-long member of St. John.  The Manna Pantry is affiliated with the Metropolitan Interfaith Association.  MIFA issues vouchers to customers and those customers may come to St. John on a weekly basis to receive supplements for their food supply.  The source of the food supply for the Manna Pantry is the Mid-South Food Bank who serves thirty-three counties in the Tri-State areas of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee. 

RE-USE OF TEACHING MATERIALS—St. John donates their used and unused teaching and educational materials to other religious entities through the Tennessee Baptist Missionary & Education Association. These materials are combined with those of other Association Churches and delivered to the Big Hatchie Association in Covington TN for wider distribution.

MEN'S WEDNESDAY—This ministry is conceived to promote fellowship among the male population of the Church.  In addition, the Men's Wednesday events vary depending on the needs of the Church and congregation.  For example, projects may be under-

taken to reduce costs for goods and services by “teaming up” on Wednesdays to accomplish tasks such as lawn care, relocation of equipment, painting, etc.  Also, the elder men of the Church make themselves available to the younger men of the Church for counsel, interaction, and support.

COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM—St. John plans to begin collaborating with Project Whatever It Takes—PWIT—to support the productive re-entry of Americans into the larger society.  These resources are employed in various ways through St. John’s Men’s Wednesday Ministry for general maintenance, lawn care, and equipment restoration, and delivery of foods to the Manna Pantry.

THE ST. jOHN COMMUNITY CHORALE—Each year for the last two decades St. John has presented a Contata at Easter for the “Seven Last Words” sponsored by the St. John Music Department.  At Christmas, the St. John New Era Club sponsors the presentation of the Christmas Contata. These two events are presented by Choristers, Musicians, and young performing artists from various area Churches.

THE ST.  JOHN COMMUNITY GARDEN—The St. John Community Garden is a satellite planned to generate enthusiasm and participation of the neighbors who are gardeners, arborists, and interested in making the neighborhood aesthetically pleasing.


THE ST. JOHN VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL—The Vacation Bible School is continuing to have our neighbors view the Church as an avid supporter of community affairs-particularly concerning the spiritual education of the children.  Recently, thoughts have been considered to add a vocational element to the VBS since our children need skills so badly.



ST. JOHN CLUBS—The Church continues to support the LeMoyne-Owen College both within—through alumni-and without through the Church Clubs which sponsor events for the benefit of the College.

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