Rev. Kenneth L. Simon
Rev. Kenneth L. Simon is the son of Mrs. Florence H. Simon and the late Rev. Lonnie K.A. Simon, the grandson of the late Rev. William Simon, and was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio.
He accepted Christ at the age of eight and was baptized in the New Bethel Baptist Church. He was called to the ministry in 1990 and was ordained in 1993. He served as Assistant Pastor and Director of Christian Education. In 1995 he was elected and called to the pastorate of the church where he currently serves after succeeding his father who was pastor for 33 years.
He is a graduate of East High School and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Youngstown State University. He received his Biblical and Religious Training from the Evangelical Training Association, Wheaton, Illinois, the American Baptist Theological Seminary Extension Unit and Christian Study Center, both in Youngstown, Ohio.
Rev. Simon is currently serving as the Chairman of the Community Mobilization Coalition,
Immediate Past Moderator of the Northern Ohio Baptist District Association, Worship Leader for the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, Worship Leader for Ohio Baptist General Convention Congress of Christian Education, Chairman of the Next Steps Coalition on Police Reform, a member of the Youngstown Warren Black Caucus, Co-Convener of the Youngstown/Warren Dr. Martin Luther King Planning Commission, School Board member of Southside Academy, a member and former President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Treasurer for the Baptist Pastors’ Council, Board Member of MYCAP (Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership), Board Member of the Greater Youngstown Crime Stoppers, serves as Facilitator of the Community Leadership Coalition on Education and coordinator of the Stop the Violence community initiative.
Rev. Simon has served as Vice-President of the 100 Black Men Organization (Youngstown/Warren Chapter), President of the Board of Directors for the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches, former Chairman and board member of the Mayor’s Human Relations Commission, a board member for the Western Reserve Port Authority, a past member of the Academic Distress Commission for the Youngstown City School District and is a graduate of Leadership Mahoning Valley Class of 2002.
Rev. Simon is married to the former Wendy Wainwright and they are the proud parents of three children; Keisha, Kenny, and David, and have seven wonderful grandchildren; Aria, Nia, Dayna, Mayia, Roman, Israel and Joseph.
His favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” His philosophy of life is – “the most important thing in this life is knowing and doing the will of God.”
Reverend Lonnie Simon
Reverend Lonnie Simon was born in East Mulga, Alabama in 1925 and came north with his family in 1928, settling in Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school in 1943, Simon joined the Navy and was honorably discharged in 1946. Simon came to Youngstown after his military service was over to work at US Steel. It was at this time that he met the woman he would marry, the former Florence Ware. Simon worked in the steel mill for nine years, then worked in the postal service from 1955 to 1965.
Simon’s life took a major turn in 1950, when Elizabeth Powell predicted that he would one day be a preacher. In 1951, Simon enrolled in Youngstown College, majoring in Philosophy and Religion. His first pastorship was at Elizabeth Baptist Church, where he was pastor from 1954 to 1959, when he resigned to attend Central Bible College in Cleveland. While pastor at Elizabeth Baptist Church, Simon ordained Powell, the woman who had inspired him to the ministry. Simon was called to a church in Canton in 1960 and then to New Bethel Baptist Church in Youngstown in 1962, where he preached for thirty-three years.
Reverend Simon also practiced social activism for civil rights throughout much of his life. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in Montgomery in 1965, but did not come to fully embrace activism as part of his ministry until receiving a grant to attend the Urban Training Center in Chicago for a 10-week training course in 1967. Here, Reverend Simon came to truly understand the blight many confront daily and was resolved to take action in order to effect change. Reverend Simon has remained committed to nonviolent protest for civil rights since this seminar, despite arrests and threats. He was also remained committed to contributing to the civic and spiritual life of Youngstown well into his eight decades of life.