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The Rev. Sean Tarkington is a young pastor with spiritual understanding, educational qualifications, and an equally prepared wife, the Rev. Johnetta Toodle-Tarkington.
Witnessing their vision and commitment, it’s understandable why Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, entrusted the Tarkington Team to serve as spiritual leaders at St. James A.M.E. Church, 655 West 70th Street in South Los Angeles.
“We are very much excited to be at St. James. The congregation has embraced us and want to move forward. They’re catching the vision and seeing what the church can actually become for the community,” said Senior Pastor Sean, who is serving his first pastoral assignment.
“I am also excited to serve with my husband and help undergird his ministry. It’s new and refreshing! We also have other support ministers as well,” said the Rev. Johnetta.
The Tarkington Team has already planned upcoming activities. According to Pastor Sean, “Our ‘Finish Strong Revival’ will be held on December 14, 15 and 16. Then beginning in January, we’ll have a ‘Friday Night Live’ service and mini-concert every 4th Friday.”
The Rev. Johnetta added, “We’re planning on re-establishing the church’s non-profit so we can reach out to our community to help children and youth, senior citizens, and those suffering with substance abuse.”
Pastor Sean, who grew up in First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles and licensed to preach in 1998, earned his undergraduate degree at Wilberforce University and Master of Divinity degree at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, he also serves as assistant chaplain for the National 100 Black Men in America.
The Rev. Johnetta received her license to preach in 2001. She also received her Master of Divinity degree from ITC after completing studies at Parker University. An accomplished pianist, she is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
Considering their accomplishments, it’s not surprising the Tarkingtons are married. Even before they wed, Bishop Kirkland knew them both; Pastor Sean from the bishop’s ministry in Los Angeles as pastor of Brookins Community A.M.E. Church and the Rev. Johnetta during his tenure as presiding prelate of the Ninth Episcopal District in Alabama.
Another interesting coincidence, said Pastor Sean, “Before we met, I was featured in Ebony magazine in an article called ‘30 Under 30’ and my wife featured in Ebony as a ‘Top High School Senior.’”
Working together, they are looking forward to a successful future with the members of St. James. “Many people in my age category want to take things extra fast, but you have to move ministry at the pace of the people. It’s not a one-man or one-woman show. The pastors need the lay and the lay need the pastor, not only for the ministry to grow but be relevant to the community,” said Pastor Sean.