Rev. Howard Haywood is Pastor Emeritus of the historic Myrtle Baptist Church of West Newton after serving as pastor for 24 years. Over those years Rev. Haywood guided the church through continued growth in membership and outreach programs.
Under his leadership an addition was built on the church and the parsonage was converted into a two family unit. He also led the church in the purchase of a two family house on Prospect Street that was converted into a condominiums.
Rev. Haywood has always been a champion of affordable housing and for over twenty years had a vision of a housing project that would be called Myrtle Village. After years of planning, fundraising and design, through the auspicious of the Myrtle Village LLC, and with the dedication of Rev. Haywood and many others who shared the dream, the construction of seven (7) units of affordable housing was completed in 2017.
Through Rev. Haywood leadership Myrtle has led the Newton community in raising funds to help rebuild a church in Arkansas that was destroyed in the southern church burnings and supplying food, clothing and Christmas gifts to the victims of hurricane Katrina. The church was also the originator of the annual Citywide Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration.
Rev. Haywood has been active throughout the years in many community organizations including the Council on Aging, The Foundation for Racial, Religious and Ethnic Harmony, Newton Community Development Foundation, Board of the YMCA, Newton Clergy Association, Board of the Newton Boys and Girls Club, and the Newton Human Rights Commission. In 2005 he was awarded the City’s Human Rights Award. Myrtle has truly been a community church hosting the local Meals on Wheels program, the Newton Head Start program for a number of years, training programs for Evercare Hospice.
Rev. Haywood, a Bi Vocational pastor, worked in the construction industry for over 50 years, starting out in the trades as a bricklayer. He retired from the MBTA in 2001 after a 24-year career in the Design and Construction Department where he held the position of Assistant general Manager of Design and Construction. After retiring from the MBTA, he worked for six years for A E. C. O. M. Corp. as a vice president of rail transit. He then went on to work for Klindfelder Corp as principle engineer. He closed out his professional career as a consultant for Triunity Engineering Corp.
Howard is married to Karen (Evans) Haywood, his life long friend, in their beloved “village.” Karen’s family like Howard’s has a long and distinguished history in Newton. Her ancestors were founding members of Myrtle Baptist Church. They were blessed with three children Georgianna (deceased) Kristen Smith and Howard Jr. both of Newton. They have three granddaughters Julia Haywood, Zoë Smith, Carmen Velez-Haywood and a great grandson Giovanni Morales.