Rev. Carlton D.M. Rutherford
The Reverend Carlton D.M. Rutherford, born in Ahoskie, North Carolina, was reared in a small town in northeastern North Carolina called Scotland Neck. It was the home the maternal side of his family, who trace their roots back to two slaves, Sylvia “Sylvester” and Ephraim Mutts, who have marked graves in the area. He received his elementary education at Brawley High School, the same local segregated school that his mother and her siblings attended. In 1971 he gave his life to Christ and joined Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, his mother’s church which stands on the same block that they lived. Reverend Rutherford attended Palmer Memorial Institute, a black prep school in Sedalia, North Carolina. After graduating in 1970 he attended Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1974. Reverend Rutherford furthered his formal education by receiving a Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University in 1990 and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University in 2005.
Reverend Rutherford has worked in the field of social work as a social worker at Central State Hospital, Petersburg, Virginia, as a foster care social worker at Richmond City Department of Social Services, Richmond, Virginia and Durham County Department of Social Services, Durham, North Carolina, and as a clinical social worker at Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina. His areas of interests in social work include children and families, HIV/AIDS, lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, people of color, and homelessness. He is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a certified social worker by the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), and a third generation licensed funeral director by the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service. While at Duke Divinity School, Reverend Rutherford engaged in ministry in Johannesburg, South Africa during the summer of 2004. He ministered to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and to the homeless. It was a transformative experience for him which intensified his interest in global issues. His passion in ministry is pastoral care.
From the very beginning of his residence in the Triangle, Reverend Rutherford has been an active citizen in the community. Organizations in which he has been active include Durham AIDS Network, North Carolina AIDS Service Coalition, Lesbian and Gay Health Project, OUTRIGHT (LGBT youth), UMOJA: A Community of Lesbians and Gays of African Descent and Their Friends, Association of Black Social Workers, Social Work Advisory Board at North Carolina Central University, and several student organizations while attending The Divinity School, Duke University. He is currently the chair for the Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the Duke AIDS Research and Treatment (DART) Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
This is Reverend Rutherford’s second time being a member of St. John’s MCC. He initially joined St. John’s in 1992 when the church rented space from Community United Church of Christ on Dixie Trail Road. In 1997, he left with Rev. Wanda Floyd to assist in birthing a new church in Durham, Imani MCC of Durham. While at Imani MCC he served on the advisory board and the Pastoral Care team. He returned to St. John’s in 2006 as clergy candidate and rejoined St. John’s that same year as a member. Reverend Rutherford credits St. John’s MCC as being the first church that allowed him to being open to the possibilities of God’s inclusive love. His faith in Jesus Christ has enabled him to become a long term survivor of HIV/AIDS having been diagnosed in 1986 and to be cancer free since January 2000. He is grateful for the grace, mercy, and favor that the Spirit of God has showered upon him.