Rev. Carlton D.M. Rutherford (Rev. Mother)

Rev. Carlton RutherfordRev. Carlton D.M. Rutherford (Rev. Mother)

b. November 10, 1951 d. July 15, 2017


Rev. Carlton Rutherford 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, NC, and as a clinical social worker at Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina. His areas of interests in social work included children and families, HIV/AIDS, lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, people of color, and homelessness. He was a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a certified social worker by the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).


From the very beginning of his residence in the Triangle, Rev. Rutherford was an active citizen in the community. Organizations in which was active included Durham AIDS Network, NC 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 NC Central University, and several student organizations while attending The Divinity School, Duke University.


He initially joined St. John’s MCC in 1992 when the church rented space from Community United Church of Christ on Dixie Trail. 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 MCC in 2006 as clergy candidate and rejoined St. John’s that same year as a member. Rev. 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.


The Rev. Carlton D.M. Rutherford was born in Ahoskie, NC, and reared in a small town in northeastern NC 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. Rev. Rutherford attended Palmer Memorial Institute, a black prep school in Sedalia, NC. After graduating in 1970 he attended Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1974. Rev. 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.


He was the chair for the Community Advisory Board (CAB) for the Duke AIDS Research and Treatment (DART) Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.