THE REVEREND DR.CARLTON WADSWORTH VEAZEY
The Reverend Dr. Carlton Wadsworth Veazey was born on Sunday, May 9, 1936 in Memphis, TN to the late Dolly C. and the Rev. Mertie G. F. Veazey, the last of their six children. He transitioned peacefully on August 10, 2021, at his home in Washington, D.C., with his daughter, Caron Veazey Robinson, by his side.
Reverend Veazey spent 64 years in the ministry, 55 years as a pastor, and is the third generation minister in his family. His grandfather, the Rev. George Franklin Veazey, who was born into slavery in 1860, established his first church in Arkabutla, MS in 1890.
Reverend Carlton Veazey was educated in the public schools of Memphis and graduated with honors from Booker T. Washington High School in 1954 where he was the president of the class. He later entered the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) where he received scholarships in both voice and instrumental music (trombone). During his matriculation there, he was a member of the outstanding UAPB Vesper Choir, directed by the renowned Dr. Ariel Lovelace, a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and President of the John B. Watson Memorial Sunday School.
After receiving his B.A. degree in Sociology, Reverend Veazey received a full scholarship from Howard University’s School of Religion (now School of Divinity) in Washington, D.C. While Rev. Veazey was fulfilling the requirements of his divinity degree, he interned at Zion Baptist Church under the guidance of Rev. Dr. A. Joseph Edwards who became one of the most pivotal persons in his life. Rev. Edwards introduced Rev. Veazey to key people at Zion and in the community. With the untimely death of Rev. Edwards, Reverend Veazey, at the young age of 23, became Interim Pastor and was later asked to become permanent Pastor of Zion Baptist Church.
After more than 35 years, Rev. Veazey left Zion, and in 1994 became the Founding Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church on Colorado Avenue in the District. He was offered strong support and encouragement by his good friend, Dr. Walter F. Fauntroy, Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church and the late Dr. Joseph A. Gilmore, Sr. Pastor of Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church. Reverend Veazey said that the name, Fellowship, was revealed to him and reflects the Baptist mission to create a fellowship of believers, where love is practiced in word and deed
Having a leader in Reverend Veazey whose heart was driven to outreach, Fellowship Baptist Church had a model whose sentiments and actions were congruent. Reverend Veazey was always one of the first to respond to those in need; he taught by example, treating the less fortunate with dignity and respect. In addition to the Food Pantry that he started, he engaged the church in a number of other "hands-on" outreach activities such as the One Congregation, One Family Program that was underwritten by the Washington DC government and established by the Mayor at that time, The Honorable Vincent Gray. One Congregation, One Family was a faith-based approach to ending homelessness and housing instability. In adopting a homeless family, Fellowship provided a dual role of helping to provide needed resources for the family, and empowering them with knowledge and confidence to negotiate resources.
Reverend Veazey was not a "poker-faced" preacher. He loved to laugh and would often incorporate humor into his sermons. Additionally, while he respected the sanctity of the church, Reverend Veazey was never a slave to structured, restricted rules. Reverend Carlton W. Veazey was one of a kind. A man who understood the spiritual concept of “One God,” and believed with every fiber of his being that humanity is united by ONE God, though called by many names. He likened our existence here on earth to a school of learning, for the soul to advance to a level where spiritual truth outshone the limitations of man’s finite mind.
After retirement from Fellowship Baptist Church following 22 years of service, Reverend Veazey completed one of his longtime goals — he wrote his book, Pilgrimage In Clay Feet, an autobiography which spans his life from his early years to his retirement. Much of it is devoted to the many years spent in the ministry.
During his career Reverend Veazey received many honors and awards including:
- Appointment to the Washington DC City Council by President Richard M. Nixon where he worked to implement legislation that would provide access to the City's resources for all citizens, especially for the youth.
- As the first Black President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), Rev. Veazey fought for women’s reproductive rights and a woman’s right to choose.
- Recipient of the Ms. Foundation’s esteemed Gloria Steinem Award for his work around reproductive rights:
- Recognition for his accomplishments as President and CEO of RCRC and as one of the “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” by Women’s E-news, where he was the first man ever to be honored.
- Received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Meadville Lombard Theological School
- In keeping with Rev. Dr. Carlton Veazey’s visionary and progressive stance, he was the first Baptist pastor in the Washington DC area to ordain a female minister.
Reverend Veazey’s inspirational, spirit-filled sermons have touched the hearts and souls of many. He has benevolently fed the hungry, clothed the stranger, comforted the sick, married the lovers, baptized the young and old, and buried the dead. His religious guidance and leadership have encouraged us to be better people. He has taught us how to pray and the power of prayer. He has taught us the importance of faith by example. He always said, “If you pray don’t worry, and if you worry don’t pray." Reverend Veazey was a pastor’s pastor. He is a man called by the Master to carry his message to the multitudes—the young and impressionable, as well as the mature and the wise.
He leaves to treasure his memory daughters, Caron Veazey Robinson and Katea Stitt, granddaughters Saudia Jenkins, Sheriece Veazey-McNally and Johanna Stitt Abow, grandson, Isaiah Veazey, great grandson Zion Veazey, son in law, Lou Robinson, Godson, Ron Bright, Goddaughter, Gina Briscoe, sisters, Audrey Shockley and Geraldine Greene, brother Weldon Veazey, devoted friend, Sonya Crudup, and a host of other loving family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Veazey, daughter Gayle Liggins, son Michael Veazey, and brothers, Melvin Veazey and Erwin Veazey.
Thank you, God, for giving us the life of Rev. Dr. Carlton W. Veazey who will live on in our hearts forever.
Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.
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