2012 MICAH Banquet Keynote Speaker

Reverend Dr. James Edward Leary, Founding President of MICAH

MICAH, Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope, an organization of more than 30 churches across denominational and racial lines, was inspired by Reverend Dr. James E. Leary in 1988. A native of Ashburn, Georgia, this son of the late Deacon John Henry Leary and Deaconess Ardelia Holmes Leary was the 13th child of 16, eight boys and eight girls. Their birth city was received its charter in 1891, less than 30 years after the United States emancipated the slaves. Their grandparents had been slaves.

Young James Leary first dedicated himself to arming his future by earning these degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Cum Laude, from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia; Master of Divinity (M. Div.) and a Wilmore/Roberson Fellow from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Between 1960 and 2001, Rev. Dr. Leary served as pastor to seven churches in five states. Between1983 and 2001, Rev. Dr. Leary was Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. That’s when he inspired his Milwaukee congregation to become a charter member of MICAH.

In addition to being the founding president of MICAH, Reverend Leary was the first President of Gamaliel Pastor Caucus, as well as the first Pastoral Director of the Gamaliel Foundation.

As president of MICAH, Rev. Dr. Leary was one of several clergy members who challenged 17 local banks to set aside more than $500 million for the development of housing for Milwaukee’s inner-city.

Also of note is that Rev. Dr. Leary interviewed Barack Obama for MICAH’s community organizer position.

As President of the Ministerial Alliance of Rhode Island, Rev. Dr. Leary led the Black clergy in agitating white congregations in Providence to donate $75,000 for an inner-city youth summer program.

As president of the Richmond, Virginia, Committee of Black Clergy, Rev. Dr. Leary led the group to hold the First Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthday Celebration in America.

Since the Reverend “retired” from his 17-year service as pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in 2001, he has held four interim pastor positions in local churches in Virginia. He lives with his wife, Shirley Fitzpatrick Leary, in Richmond. Mrs. Leary a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, and a Masters of Education. She retired from her position as Business Teacher at Milwaukee’s North Division High School in 2000.

Dr. and Mrs. Leary celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on September 2, 2011. They are the proud parents of three grown daughters and four grandchildren, two of whom are college students.

Click here to go back to Updates
Back to top

Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on August 01, 2012

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Emergency Digital. | Hosted by Steadfast Networks