Essentino A. Lewis, Jr.

Essentino Lewis, Jr. is a visionary and progressive thinker guided by the conviction that authentic Christian faith is demonstrated not only through what one says, but by what one does. To that end, Essentino is a man of action. His well-respected civic and social leadership has extended into the areas of faith, law, business and the academy.

Essentino is the pastor of Clifton Park Baptist Church (CPBC), a vibrant ministry located in Silver Spring, Maryland, a diverse suburb of Washington, DC. Since being called to CPBC in 2008, Rev. Lewis' inspirational and accessible biblical teaching and preaching has focused on helping God’s people recognize and achieve their fullest potential through an ever-maturing relationship with the Lord. He believes in encouraging a brand of discipleship that equips persons to honor God and serve others. In addition to spiritual transformation within the congregation, under his leadership, CPBC established Project Neighbor Care, a rapidly-growing community market that provides over 100,000 pounds of food to local residents each year. In addition, the Clifton Park Baptist Church Christian Academy, an educational enrichment center for underserved elementary, middle and high school students was established in August of 2012. The Clifton Park Community Development Corporation has been established to support ministry partnerships with many community serving organizations addressing a broad range of issues including health, literacy, public safety and affordable housing. Information about CPBC can be found at

Rev. Lewis has always been burdened by issues of social justice and civil rights. Prior to his call to full-time ministry, he excelled as an attorney, working for almost a decade as the assistant general counsel at Morgan State University, one of the nation's premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also clerked at the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, helping to enforce protections against, race, age and gender discrimination. The broad scope of Rev. Lewis' legal work included advocacy in the areas of consumer banking, fair housing and employment discrimination, as well as desegregation efforts in higher education.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Rev Lewis holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Master of Arts in Biblical Exposition from Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Transformational African American Church Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.

Rev. Lewis has been married to Dr. Cassandra C. Lewis for 20 years. They are the proud parents of three wonderful children.

When he is not trying to change the world, Essentino likes to travel it. His passport includes stamps from 19 countries, including: Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Cuba, France, The Gambia, Greece, Grenada, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.

Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune

When she was growing up, Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune’s mother often warned her that one day her mouth was going to get her into trouble. “You always have to call a spade a spade, don’t you?” she would ask in love. Well, by the grace of God and her mother’s prayers, Dr. Copeland-Tune’s proclivity for truth-telling is now properly channeled to ministry work that gives a voice to the most vulnerable in our society.

Dr. Copeland-Tune’s passion for social justice is matched only by her desire to serve the Lord and her love for her family. In fact, she counts social justice to be a part of her family inheritance. Her grandparents risked their lives to help African Americans fill out the paperwork to register to vote in the back country of South Carolina at a time when doing so meant the KKK would burn a cross in front of their lawn.

Ordained into the Gospel ministry more than a decade and a half ago, Dr. Copeland-Tune has worked for a number of faith-based organizations as a communications professional, consultant, strategist, justice advocate and policy analyst. She currently serves as the director of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, an anti-poverty ministry with an active partnership of ecumenical leaders from diverse denominational, geographical, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, which adds a prophetic voice and collective action to the fight to end poverty.

In addition to her anti-poverty work, Dr. Copeland-Tune has also worked on a number of other issues including environmental stewardship, racial reconciliation, domestic violence, human trafficking, education and health care. Her doctoral thesis, “In the Public Eye and In Harm’s Way,” focused on clergywomen’s experience of domestic violence.

Dr. Copeland-Tune has taught numerous classes on leadership, discipleship, spiritual growth, evangelism and prayer. She has a chapter on Christian leadership in the book, Church on Purpose: Reinventing Discipleship, Community and Justice edited by Adam L. Bond and Laura Mariko Cheifetz.

Born and raised in Mt. Vernon, New York, Dr. Copeland-Tune earned a bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, a MBA from the University of Maryland with a concentration in marketing, and a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University. In addition, she has a doctorate in metro-urban ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She attended the Summer Theology Programme at Oxford University in England and took classes focused on the theme, “Religion, Ethics and Public Theology.” An article based on her Duke Divinity School thesis entitled, “The Black Church Is Silent on Abortion,” was published in the summer 2003 issue of the The African American Pulpit. She is also quoted and listed as a “transformed nonconformist” in the book Mobilizing Hope: Faith-Inspired Activism for a Post-Civil Rights Generation by Rev. Adam R. Taylor.

Dr. Copeland-Tune is blessed to have two wonderful children.