Rev. Jasper Williams Jr, Pastor of Salem Bible Church East is standing in front of the newly built church located on Hillandale .(Renee' Hannans Henry/AJC Staff)
Photo: RENEE' HANNANS HENRY/AJC
Photo: RENEE' HANNANS HENRY/AJC

Meet the Atlanta pastor who will give Aretha Franklin's eulogy

The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. is the Atlanta megachuch pastor who was handpicked to eulogize Aretha Franklin.

Williams also preached during the service for the Rev. C.L. Franklin, his longtime mentor and family friend.

Franklin, an award-winning  singer, musician and composer, recently died at age 76 at her home in Detroit.

Here are 7 things to know about Williams:

  • Pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church, formerly Salem Baptist Church, with campuses in Atlanta and Lithonia.
  • The membership for both churches is 10,000
  • Williams was born in Memphis and has known the Franklin family nearly all his life. His uncle, Alton Roosevelt Williams, and C.L. Franklin were best friends.
  • Williams, 75,  is also an author and award-winning gospel singer. He is currently writing his autobiography.
  • He preached his first sermon, “The Living Waters,”  at age 7 at Lane Avenue Missionary Baptist Church  in Memphis
  • He graduated from 1972 Morehouse College with a major in sociology with a minor in religion.
  • He is the son of a pastor and his two sons, the Rev. Joseph L. Williams and the Rev. Jasper Williams III, are pastors. There are four generations of pastors in his family.

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