Rev. Robert O. Simpson’s long association with Janes United Methodist Church began when his parents enrolled him in the Nursery Division of The Little Red Scholl House, housed in the church. Its founder and Director was Dorothy M. Bostic, a Trustee of the church.
A native Brooklynite, Rev. Simpson continued his education at the Brooklyn Ethical Culture School, Public School 161, Junior High School 61 and Brooklyn Technical High School. He took collegiate degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Yale University Divinity School in New Haven Connecticut.
On June 1, 1973, Rev. Simpson assumed the Pastorate of Janes United Methodist Church, a position he has held for forty four years, a history making length of service in the United Methodist Church, where pastoral appointments are reviewed annually.
Rev. Simpson has distinguished himself in the denomination and community. During his pastorate, the active membership tripled. Community Outreach has included tutorial programs for school-aged children, Vacation Bible School, a robust program including the Senior Citizen’s Friendship Club, ongoing Voter Registration and Information Projects, Meals-on-Wheels Program to the home-bound elderly or disabled in our community, “God’s Sheltering Arms” Jane’s ministry to the homeless who inhabit public places and international relief programs for nations of Africa and the Caribbean, Central and South America. The successes of the community Health Fairs and health screening events during Rev. Simpson’s tenure have been so effective the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), honored the work of Rev. Simpson and Janes Community Center with the 2000 Annual Beneficiary Services Merit Award “In recognition for your innovative educational programs, untiring outreach to Medicare beneficiaries and shared vision of a healthy community in partnership with CMS.” Most recently he added the first Community Service Award presented by Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams, to his innumerable list awards.
He has served the neighborhood as a member of Community Planning Board #3 and District 16 Community School Board; the community at large as a member of New York Methodist Hospital Board of Directors; numerous offices within the United Methodist Church including: Treasurer, New York Annual Conference Board of Trustees; Chair, Episcopal Committee; member, Council on Finance and Administration.
Rev. Simpson’s greatest challenge was put upon him on Saturday night, November 10, 1984 when fire completely destroyed Janes Church. After six years and $4,000,000.00, Janes Church was rebuilt. The last mortgage payment was paid in August 2014 and a Service of Thanksgiving with Mortgage Burning was held November 8, 2014.
Under his leadership, Rev. Simpson has insured that, for all but six years and four months of its 157 year history, Janes Church has maintained its reputation of providing the highest quality of music in a sanctuary that today houses a 52 rank organ to accompany a music ministry offering oratorios and anthems as well as a variety of concerts featuring international, national and local talent.
As Rev. Simpson would readily acknowledge, if it had not been for the Lord on Janes’ side and the faithfulness of many members and friends, he would not know where Janes Church would have been.
In a sermon entitled “Buried Talents,” Rev. Simpson emphasized the importance of using all the gifts and graces God has entrusted to us. His leadership and pastorate of Janes United Methodist Church is an excellent example of the strength, fortitude, faith and perseverance – most if not all of – the talents needed for an effective ministry in church or any leadership position.
Rev. Simpson is a leader who traverses this life where the Word is a lamp unto his feet and a light to his path, step by step.