In this episode Rev. Dr. Clarence Thornton, Rev. Danita Waller-Paige, and Rev. Dr. Dwight Townsend share their perspectives as Black faith leaders in Arkansas. We spend time learning from these pastors about what the Black church wishes the white church knew. You can see a live video of the conversation on our Facebook page.

Rev. Danita Waller-Paige is a native of Little Rock Arkansas where she attended public schools. She is the proud mother of Leah Paige age 18.

A graduate of Philander Smith Collegewith a degree in Organizational Management, she has sung in choirs and groups since the age of seven. A member of the National Gospel Workshop of America, Danita sung with the Philander Smith Collegiate Choir where she served as Student Conductor. During her matriculation at Philander, she had the pleasure to perform the famous “Amen” with the late great African American composer and actor Jester Hariston.  For more than 20 years she has sung with a local gospel group Triumphant!. Danita served as the Worship and Music leader for the National Black Clergy Women’s Conference (UMC), the past four sessions of the National Youth Harambee (UMC), and the Worship and Music leader for many years with the National Black Methodists for Church Renewal Convention. As a singer, she has also shared the stage with many recording artists such Michael Bolton, Jennifer Holiday, Dr. Bobby Jones, Karen Clark-Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Douglas Miller, Gaye Arbukle, Gerald Thompson, and many others. 

A founding member of Datule’ Artist Collective, Danita specializes in leading ecumenical workshops in blending gospel and contemporary music in order to reach youth and young adults with the message of Jesus Christ. She has preached, led worship, and served as a clinician for workshops for: the Christian Methodist Episcopal District in Little Rock, Fellowship Bible Church, Antioch Full Gospel Church, several Baptist and United Methodist Churches.  Danita has worked with Mission U (formerly known as School of Christian Mission) since 2003 where she has served as Jr High, High School, Music Leader and Adult Study leader. She has most recently served on the national level as a Regional School facilitator for the mission study on Covenant Communities and as a result, has served as a study leader in different district schools throughout the country. She is also a radio personality, affectionately known as, “Pastor Dee” on the JC Loves’ Morning Show on

Some of the recent honors Pastor Paige has achieved are the Humanitarian Award in the field of Religion from Designing Women’s Ministry – 2016, and the Distinguished Young Alumni Award in the field of Religion from Philander Smith College 2016. She is a gifted biblical preacher/teacher who is currently furthering her knowledge at Memphis Theological Seminary as she works toward a Master of Divinity. A passionate worshipper and lover of the Gospel, Waller-Paige believes that all things are possible in Christ Jesus and has adopted the quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

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Reverend Clarence D. Thornton is the Pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1723 East Third Street in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He has served as Pastor and overseer of this flock for thirteen years.  He has been married to Chyrel Thornton for 29 years and they have six children. 

Pastor Thornton is also known as “JC Loves”, and is the former Program Director and mid-day personality for 106.7 Hallelujah FM.  

Rev. Thornton serves as Vice moderator of the Union District Association, of the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention.  He also served as Pastor of Happy Home Baptist Church in Jefferson, Arkansas for ten years, and is the past President of Jefferson Springs District Congress of Christian Education.  Rev. Thornton was also selected to teach in the 1st Union District Mini-Congress in 2003; served as President of the Young Ministers Division of the Arkansas Consolidated State Convention, and was the Instructor for Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention Youth Department.

His Community Service includes being a foster parent since 1993, speaker for Little Rock School District Abstinence Program, and motivational Speak for Little Rock School District Teachers.  He also served on grief counseling staff at Hall High School and Pulaski Heights Middle School, as well as being the speaker for the 1998 graduating seniors of the Future 500 Program.

Rev. Thornton attended Capital City Junior College where he received an Associates’ Degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting.  While there he was a member of the RTV Club, received the Perfect Attendance Award, and was on the Dean’s List.  He also attended Memphis Area Vo-Tech School where he majored in Drafting (Civil Engineering).  He annually attends the E. C. Morris Institute, the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., and Congress of Christian Education.  He enrolled in WHW Bachelor of Art Theological Degree Program and completed Phase 1, and attended the Missionary Baptist Seminary.

Rev. Thornton has been Program Director for Clear Channel Communications (Hallelujah FM); Citadel Communications (Power 92 FM); Operations Manager for KLRG and KMZX, as well as on-air personality for KITA, KABF, KCHB, KWTD, and KMZX.

He is now owner of Thornton Broadcast Communications; JOYNETRADIO.COM, a 24 hour internet gospel station, and is the host of the JC Loves Morning Show.

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Dr. Dwight Demone Townsend is the anointed pastor of the Longley Baptist Church of Little Rock, Arkansas. He was born and raised in a rough neighborhood in East Little Rock, Arkansas. He and his eleven brothers and sisters had to overcome many obstacles and hardships. Despite the adversities that he encountered, Pastor Townsend did not ignore the calling on his life. He accepted his ministry calling at the age of 18. Within a year he was licensed and ordained. In 1996 he was called to serve as pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Four years later, he went on to serve as pastor of Greater Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Van Buren, Arkansas. Both congregations experienced phenomenal growth, numerically, financially and most importantly spiritually.

Pastor Townsend is a 1993 graduate of Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas. He holds an Associate, Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Theology from Slidell Baptist Seminary. As well as a Masters of Theology and Doctor of Ministry from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

Pastor Townsend is a gifted preacher, teacher and dedicated community servant. He is actively involved in the Union District Baptist Association, where he serves as 2nd Vice Moderator. He is president of the Young Pastors & Ministers Division of the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention of Arkansas and was elected as Trustee Board member in 2011.  He is the past Moderator of the Antioch Consolidated Baptist Association. 

In addition to his district work he also serves his community as he has been appointed to the AR State Board of Health by Gov. Mike Beebe. He has served as partnering pastor of the Four Church Fellowship, a local fellowship of churches purposed to strengthening the body of Christ through worship and educational services. 

Pastor Townsend came to Longley in May 2005. Since coming to Longley the church has experienced phenomenal growth in the areas of Ministry, Evangelism, Education as well as Finances. Physically Longley has undergone many improvements to its structure as well. Longley has grown from a membership of 900 to over 2700 to the glory of God and is vastly becoming a beacon light in the Southwest Little Rock area.  Pastor Townsend has a heart for reaching the lost and strengthening the saved through expository preaching and intensive bible study classes. He is affectionately referred to as, “The Quiet Storm”, by his colleagues. In 2009 Pastor Townsend recorded his first CD and uses his gift of song to further his call to the ministry.

Pastor Townsend is the proud father of two adult children: Dacimber and D.J.

Follow Pastor Townsend on LinkedIn.

Show Notes:

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Jesus & John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

Race, Religion, & Racism by Frederick K.C. Price

When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett

Surrounded by Lasha’ Knox

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