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A New Pastor for St. Joseph AME Church
Social Justice Advocate, Author, Servant Leader, and Scholar
By: St. Joseph AME Church
Reverend Augustine is a scholar. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Howard University, while serving an activity duty commission as a U.S. Army infantry officer. Following four years of decorated military service, he earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Tulane University School of Law. His accomplishments and honors received as a practicing attorney are numerous. He served as a law clerk to the Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson (then she was Associate Justice). Rev. Augustine served as an adjunct professor at Southern University Law Center. He successfully represented a class of plaintiffs in Carter vs. St. Helena Parish School Board, one of the oldest desegregation cases in the United States, having originally been filed by Thurgood Marshall, while serving as a counselor for the NAACP. He served in the administration of Louisiana's 55th governor, as executive counsel and director of legislative affairs for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and in locally elected office as vice president of the East Baton Rouge Parish.
The trajectory of Rev. Augustine's life changed when Hurricane Katrina marked his life with profound loss. In the past, he had ignored his call to the ministry. Katrina convinced him to answer it.
He earned his Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary as a Beane Fellow and National Rainbow-PUSH Foundation Coalition Scholar before completing a fellowship at Princeton Theological Seminary. Rev. Augustine is currently writing his dissertation to obtain his Doctor of Ministry from Duke University's Divinity School.
The evidence of Rev. Augustine's passion for the law, civil rights and social justice is very clear when viewing his work and accomplishments. His life work of advocacy and leadership led him to author the book, The Keys Have Been Passed: Race, Law, Religion and the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, it was created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Rev. Augustine, Pastor Jay as he is affectionately known, shares his life and ministry with his wife Michelle Burks Augustine, and their two teenagers, Mason and Jillian.
As his first of many initiatives at St. Joseph AME Church, Rev. Augustine has created the Social Justice Sunday. program The first such program will take place, Sunday, June 23rd at the 11:00 am service. June 23, 2019 is the 62nd anniversary of the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In. that took place in Durham. Ms. Virginia Williams, an original protestor at the Royal Ice Cream business, and long-time St. Joseph church member will talk about the event during that time. The Honorable Anita Earls, Associate Justice of the NC Supreme Court will be featured, as well as, organizations Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Beta Theta Lambda Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Beta Phi Chapter, and the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. All of the individuals who comprised these organizations played a pivotal role 62 years ago in the desegregation efforts of that time.
The entire community is welcome to attend Rev. Augustine's inaugural #SocialJusticeSunday, and are encouraged to use it as a hashtag for the June 23rd event. http://www.stjosephame.org
Pamela R. Purifoy