The Reverend Brandon Thomas Crowley (pronounced kroh-lee) is the proud Senior Pastor of The Historic Myrtle Baptist Church of West Newton, Massachusetts. As a prodigious church added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, Myrtle Baptist Church was founded by freed slaves in 1874 and exists as one of the oldest black churches in New England. During Reverend Crowley’s short seven years as the Pastor of Myrtle, the church has paid off its mortgages, launched an affordable housing project, hired part-time employees, appointed 15 new staff members, started eighteen new ministries, developed partnerships with the Brookview House of Dorchester and the Boston City Mission, created the Myrtle Institute for Christian Learning which offers seminary and collegiate level courses to parishioners for free, and initiated the Open and Affirming and the Trayvon Martin/Michael Brown Task Forces for Human Right and Justice. Prior to his third year as pastor, Reverend Crowley established a free pastoral care and counseling center with credentialed directors and a seasonal lecture series, which has proudly featured the works of world-renowned researchers, scientists, and theologians. In addition to all of this, Reverend Crowley has exponentially increased Myrtle’s membership making it Newton’s and one of Boston’s fastest growing congregations.
An alumnus of Morehouse College and Harvard University’s Divinity School (HDS), Reverend Crowley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Morehouse College, graduating magnum cum laude and garnering the honor of being his graduating classes’ top ranking scholar in religion. Morehouse College named him the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Scholar in 2008. He earned a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Sociology and Religion from HDS where he was a Presidential Scholar, the National Baptist J.H. Jackson Scholar and the Hopkins Scholar for Religious Diversity and Parish Ministry. He wrote his thesis on The Demonization of Honesty: How the Black Church Subconsciously Deifies the Closet. In the spring of 2012, Reverend Crowley graduated with a second masters in sacred theology from the Boston University School of Theology. While completing this second masters, Reverend Crowley was granted two Springboard Fellowships to study in Israel/Palestine and Turkey. While in Turkey, Reverend Crowley’s research analyzed the social and religious contexts of nascent Christianity in ancient Ephesus by examining the city’s extant material culture. While in Israel/Palestine, Reverend Crowley conducted research with Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders on the negative affects of Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rev. Crowley completed a second thesis for his second masters entitled Unveiling Secrets: A multidiscipline academic examination of Bishop Eddie Lee Long’s Homophobic Sermon “Back to the future”.
During his tenure as a graduate student, Reverend Crowley has been named the Charles E. Jefferson Scholar, William and Anna Lowstuter Fellow Roswell Robinson Fellow, Springboard Fellow, and The Harvard Hopkins Scholar. Rev. Crowley’s written works, paper presentations, and theses include: A Methodological Case Study Examining the Sociological Dimensions of Religion and Society in Israel/Palestine, A Row of Dark String Puppets: An Afro-Centric Liturgy Commemorating the Cross and Lynching in the Antebellum South, The Oppressive Nature of Biblical Narratives: A Sociological and Feminist Critique of Hosea, Chapter 2, A Mosque of Misconstruction: Why the Ground Zero Mosque Debate is Unnecessary, Supersessionism: The Quandary that Christianity Produced, Uncovering the Mysticism in Pentecostal Healing Rituals, and most recently , The Demonization of Personal Spirituality: A Commentary on the French Decision to Ban the Burqa / Niqab, and The Queering of Black Pentecostalism: An Ecclesiological Examination of the Vision Church of Atlanta.
Reverend Crowley’s desire to bridge the gap between the academy and the church and the practical aspects of Christian ministry gave him a greater vision that manifested itself in 2003 as Brandon T. Crowley Ministries, a non-profit organization focused on social justice thru collaborative ministry. Known for his soul-inspiring sermons, melodious singing, and empowering teaching, he has served as a revivalist, musical clinician, lecturer, workshop facilitator, consultant for youth and young adult ministries, and motivational speaker for churches, universities, colleges, and non-profit organizations across the nation.
As a recipient of numerous awards and the youngest board member of the Rebecca Pamroy Foundation which assist worthy charitable organizations with substantial grants, Reverend Crowley was ordained in the Progressive National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. and has written for the African American Lectionary. He is presently continuing his academic studies on full scholarship at Boston University pursuing a Ph.D. in Theology with a concentration in Religion and Society.