Senior Pastor

Pastor Howard E. Heard retired from the United States Navy on April 4, 2003, after 20 years of honorable service, and was installed as the Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church April 6, 2003. Pastor Heard accepted his call into the ministry in December 1989, while attending Second Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and preached his initial sermon on December 31, 1989. In February of 1990, Pastor Heard was licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ by his pastor, Dr. Odell Smith, Jr., Senior Pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church, and he served the ministry faithfully as a Sunday school teacher, Outreach minister, Young Adult leader, and was a vital part of the jail ministry.
In June of 1990, Pastor Heard and his wife, Mrs. Shirlyne McCray Heard, moved to Newport News where they joined New Beech Grove Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Dr. James W. Lawson. Under Pastor Lawson’s leadership, Pastor Heard started a Community Outreach Ministry in the Cypress Terrace community. This ministry consisted of a weekly tutorial program, weekly Bible study, and Sunday morning worship services in the local community center. Pastor Heard served as the Young Adult Pastor and Assistant-To-The-Pastor while at New Beech Grove Baptist Church. In February of 1991, Pastor Heard was ordained by Dr. Odell Smith Jr. Pastor Heard continued to serve the Lord at New Beech Grove until the Navy transferred him and his family to Albany, Georgia in August 1995. 
In April 1998, while in Albany, Pastor Heard was called to serve as the Pastor of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Leesburg, Georgia. He served them faithfully for four years until his return back to Newport News in October 2001. During his pastorate at Mt. Pleasant, Pastor Heard started a mission ministry to Haiti, a community “After School” program which focused on personal development and specialized tutoring, and a jail/outreach ministry; just to name a few.
Pastor Heard is the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia. Under his leadership the church founded EHouse, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit Community Outreach Organization committed to addressing the social ills that affect the community, and a Missionary Development & Foreign Mission Training Ministry which prepares those interested in serving the foreign mission field. He has also developed a Discipleship Training Program for the members of Emmanuel Baptist Church to encourage spiritual growth of the membership as well as a greater involvement in personal evangelism and community service.
Pastor Heard received an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Opticianry from Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, Virginia and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Care Management from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois. He received a Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Hampton University. Pastor Heard has the distinct honor of being the inaugural student in this field of study at Hampton University. He received a Doctor of Religious Philosophy in Leadership and Organization from Logos University, Jacksopnville, FL., and an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Eastern Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Virginia. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Virginia University of Lynchburg.
Pastor Heard has served as a missionary in Cap-Haitien and Les Cayes, Haiti since January 1998. He and the Emmanuel Baptist Church family have led efforts to provide multiple wells for clean drinking water, and have built four churches and one school. Pastor Heard has served as a missionary to Kenya since July 2007 and he has worked to provide leadership & pastoral training along with other pastors and leaders from the Hampton Roads area and other communities in the United States. They have taken multiple medical teams over to Kenya and provided quality medical care for several thousand Kenyans, as well as ministered the gospel of Jesus Christ. Under his leadership and on behalf of the Virginia Baptist State Convention the first full-time missionary was placed in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2013. Pastor Heard serves as the Chair of the Tidewater Peninsula Baptist Association Foreign Mission Board and Chair of the Virginia Baptist State Convention Foreign Mission Board. He is a Board member of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.
In February 2013, Pastor Heard was awarded a Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities for his work throughout the Hampton Roads community and abroad. In May 2013, he was honored as the Virginia Baptist State Convention Pastor of The Year, in November 2013, he received a Community Service Award from the Tidewater Peninsula Baptist Association and in May 2017, he received the Virginia Baptist State Convention Humanitarian Award.
Pastor and Sister Shirlyne Heard have been happily married for 30 years and they have two wonderful daughters: Tesia (pronounced Tesha) & Elizabeth Heard.