Last year, nationally renowned pastor and gospel singer Bishop Paul S. Morton announced he would step down as senior pastor of the Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church megachurch in Atlanta and the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in July on his 70th birthday. But with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the award-winning singer and founder and past president of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship subsequently postponed his retirement, stating that he would stay on until there was a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Now—a year later and with three vaccines in circulation—Morton has announced that both he and his wife and co-pastor, Debra Morton, will indeed retire in July. He has also named his successor son-in-law Tyron Robinson, senior pastor of the Los Angeles-based Pilgrim’s Hope Baptist Church and the Compton-based Zion Baptist Evangelical Temple.
Robinson and his wife, Jasmine Morton Robinson, say they were both thrilled and surprised by the decision, although there has not yet been an official statement.
“If you had told me that this is where I would be in 2021 back in 2011, I would have laughed. I’m still numb at the news,” Robinson said. “I’m still processing. It’s surreal. I signed up for Jasmine and nothing more. I had Jesus and I wanted Jasmine. This has come with the anointing and the assignment, but this is a complete surprise to me.”
The L.A. native, however, insists that he is ready to take on the helm of one of Atlanta’s largest Black congregations along with one of the biggest churches in New Orleans, adding that he had already learned a great deal from Morton.
“Intense integrity and character,” he says of Morton. “How to build sustainability. He’s 46 years in pastoring. I’m 25 years, so I’m getting an up-close and personal view of how to maneuver the next chapter of my pastorate and what really makes longevity.”
The couple will be relocating to Atlanta and New Orleans this summer. While Bishop Morton and Co-Pastor Debra Morton will stay on as overseers and continue to preach intermittently at both churches, they will make their home base in New Orleans and will be relieved of the administrative and daily operational responsibilities of the churches and the weekly long-distance commutes.
For Jasmine Robinson, it will be a homecoming.
“All of my family is in New Orleans, so it will be great to be back home, and that will be home base for my parents,” Robinson explains. “At the same time, it is bittersweet. We had to meet with our churches last night to tell them we were leaving, and that was tough.”
What won’t be tough— according to First Lady elect Jasmine Robinson—is adjusting to their new congregations in Atlanta and New Orleans.
“They know Tyron and they know me, so they’re excited,” she said. “They’ve all been following us on social media, so they are really familiar with our ministry.”