Disciples News Service

Rev. Dr. Ernest J. Newborn, Sr., former Reconciliation director, passes

The Rev. Dr. Ernest J. Newborn, Sr., died Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Pomona, CA. He was 92 years old. A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8, at First Christian Church, Pomona, CA.

“The Church is so grateful for the work of Dr. Newborn,” said General Minister and President Rev. Terri Hord Owens. “His gentle heart and manner, his care for the oppressed, and his leadership in the ministry of reconciliation leave an example of Christian love, giving and commitment that we can boldly emulate.”

After graduating from Tennessee State University in 1951 with a degree in sociology, Newborn continued his studies at Howard University School of Religion, earning his master of divinity in 1954 and his doctor of ministry degree from Christian Theological Seminary in 1983. He served as a pastor in Tennessee, Ohio, and Washington, DC as well as associate regional minister in Mid-America in the early 1970s. In 1978, he started a new chapter with the Church Finance Council as administrative director of reconciliation, where he continued until 1992.

“Dr. Newborn’s legacy is unparalleled in our Church and in Reconciliation Ministry,” said Rev. April Johnson, Reconciliation Minister. “He taught us the importance of relationship-building in ministry and development of this mission and this mission fund. I pray he is riding his bike in heaven today, rejoicing with the angels and reunited with his cycling buddy, Bill Fox.”

Newborn was the fourth director of Reconciliation Ministry, following Revs. John Compton, Thomas Griffin and William Fox.

The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations in Dr. Newborn’s name be made to the Christian Church Foundation for the Ernest J. and Janice Newborn Fund. Online gifts may be made at christianchurchfoundation.org/give.

He is survived by his wife Janice, who also worked in several general ministries, a son and a daughter. Memorial arrangements are still in progress.

2 Responses to “Rev. Dr. Ernest J. Newborn, Sr., former Reconciliation director, passes”


    What a privilege to have known the Newborns during my years in the General Church and then as Canada national minister. We talked seriously and as well laughed together. Both are in my opinion, leaders and servants of the church of the highest order..

  2. Ernest and I became fast friends in Washington, DC where we were both pastors- he in First Church, UCC and I in Mt Pleasat Church, UCC. And when he became blind I made sure to sit beside him at meals to help him eat. He always wanted to hold Janice’s hand to make sure she. Was near! I’ll miss his friendship very much indeed. We helped break the color line in old DC!
    Walt Davis