Pastor Sonya T. Ellerbe

DSC_0020nPastor Sonya T. Ellerbe is a native of Wadesboro, NC, born to the late Wade T. and Mary Ellerbe. She is the youngest of ten children.   She attended Anson County Public Schools and is a graduate of Wingate University, Wingate, NC, with a Bachelor Degree in Music Education. She is also a graduate of North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC with a Master of Arts Degree in Music, as well as a graduate of Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury NC, with a Master of Divinity Degree. She is widely known for her role in the movie “The Color Purple” as the church musician, which featured the song, “God Is Tryin’ to Tell You Something.”   Before accepting her call into the preaching ministry, Pastor Ellerbe faithfully served as choir director and church musician at her home church, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, Wadesboro, NC, as well as many other churches during her youth and young adult years.   In 1992, Pastor Ellerbe was licensed as a minister at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Wadesboro, NC under the leadership of the late Dr. W.W. Williams. Later that year Pastor Ellerbe joined Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in Salisbury, NC under the leadership of the late Pastor James L. Stowe. In October she was ordained in the Rowan Baptist Association.   In November of 1992 Pastor Ellerbe was appointed to serve as College Minister/Chaplain of Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC.  During her appointment a campus church was organized and over two hundred souls were won for the Lord. Also, in 1992 she enrolled at Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury, NC to pursue her Master of Divinity Degree. As a beginning seminarian, staff and faculty recognized her for her effectiveness in youth ministry and the promotion of Christian values in the community. She received the Wilether D. Faust Award, the Roberta Flack Christian Education Award, the Soldiers Memorial Women and Overseas Missionary Award and the Church Music Award. Pastor Ellerbe was crowned Miss Hood Theological Seminary (1993-94); and graduated with honors (cum laude) when she received her Master of Divinity Degree in 1995.   In 1997 Pastor Ellerbe began teaching in Rowan-Salisbury Schools at Knox Middle School where she and her advanced chorus were honored by the former Mayor of Salisbury, NC, Susan Kluttz, former Senator Elizabeth Dole, and former Governor Jim Hunt for their choral musical excellence. Additionally, in 1999 she became the first woman in Greenville, South Carolina’s history to preach the annual prayer breakfast for the Baptist Minister’s Fellowship of Greenville and Vicinity. In 2000, she served as adjunct professor of Old Testament at Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC. In 2004, Pastor Ellerbe completed her teaching career at Salisbury High School and entered into full-time pastoral ministry.   In 1997 Pastor Ellerbe met Dr. Steven T. Miller by divine appointment. Dr. Miller became her trusted mentor and advisor in ministry. His guidance and unselfish sharing of church planting experiences helped to equip Pastor Ellerbe to plant a church in Salisbury. In August of 1997 United Christian Fellowship Church International held its first service in the auditorium of Knox Middle School, where Pastor Ellerbe was the choral music teacher.   Pastor Ellerbe remains committed and passionate about souls and ministry. In the future she plans to obtain a doctoral degree in the area of Naturopathic Medicine.