Q&A with Rev. Peter Wherry, Pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist in Charlotte, NC

Rev. Peter Wherry, Pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist in Charlotte, NC
Rev. Peter Wherry, Pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist in Charlotte, NC

The Rev. Peter Wherry, 53, came to Charlotte from Norfolk in March 2007 as pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, which had about 200 members.

Wherry calls Mayfield “the most remarkable group of people I’ve ever seen.” Among other ministries, members own and operate a HUD apartment complex for the elderly, and the church has been instrumental in North Carolina’s social-justice Moral Monday protest movement.

And they provide a Sunday music series, “Music at Mayfield,” in which Wherry, his wife, Wanda, and their son and daughter – both music conservatory graduates – gave a concert together.

Wherry grew up attending Catholic schools in the diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. In 1978, he enrolled at the Indiana University school of music in Bloomington, where he met his wife – “a prodigious lyric soprano” – while they worked together on a video about African-American composer Undine Smith Moore. The next year, they moved to Virginia, where both earned doctorate of ministry degrees from Virginia Union University.

Wherry paid his way through school as a performer in Broadway shows, including an international tour of “The Wiz,” where he played Tin Man.

He was ordained by the Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers’ Conference in 1983. His pastoral assignments included a country church in Southampton County, Va., where he “pastored all the descendants of Nat Turner” (who led a famous 1831 slave rebellion in the county), and almost 17 years at Queen Street Baptist Church in Norfolk.

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Source: Charlotte Observer | Erin Ryan

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