Pastor and First Family

Pastor and First Family



Rev. John Foster, Ph.D.

Senior Pastor of the historic Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA.

Dr. John Foster has a distinguished career, both as a clergy in the AME Church and as an educator at several colleges and universities. He has served as pastor in the 2nd, 10th, and 6th AME Episcopal Districts. During his tenure as pastor, Dr. Foster has held the positions as Dean of the Board of Examiners, Conference Trustee Board Member, Episcopal District Accountant, Technology Officer and Chief Statistician. He has served as pastor of the following AME Churches - St. Stephens (Mt. Gilead, NC), Williams Chapel (Hempstead, TX), Hope (Prairie View, TX), Pleasant Hill (Atlanta, GA), Rock Temple (Conyers, GA), St. Philip (Savannah, GA), Allen Temple (Atlanta, GA) and Big Bethel (Atlanta, GA).

Dr. Foster’s higher education tenure includes being a faculty in electrical engineering and computer science at Tuskegee University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Morehouse College, Savannah State University, University of South Carolina and the University of Phoenix. In addition to being a faculty member, Dr. Foster also held several administrative positions including Vice Provost, Dean and Department Head at these institutions.

Dr. Foster is a profound preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has preached at Episcopal District Meetings, Annual Conference opening worship and Ordination preacher, District Conferences and wherever he is invited. He has a unique ability to combine the preaching and teaching elements to unveil a fresh presentation of the “Word from the Lord.”

Dr. Foster has been blessed to combine his technological prowess to bless the ministries of the church. Over the past decades, he has successfully implemented and completed projects including i) Database Development for Annual Conference Support, ii) After School Youth Technology Programs, iii) Network Design and Implementation of Episcopal Office, iv) Episcopal District Electronic Mailing System, v) Local Church Network Design and Implementation, vi) Design and Implementation of Local Church Video Streaming and Multimedia and vii) multiple webpage designs. Dr. Foster has made a tremendous contribution to the Church of Allen!

Dr. Foster has served as both a member and officeholder for several prominent organizations for more than twenty-five years.  His experience includes working on and/or having worked on the boards of the National Science Foundation, the Army Science Board, the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina, Allen Hills, Sweet Auburn Works,  Bethel Towers, Morris Brown College, and Turner Theological Seminary. 

Dr. Foster graduated from Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended the Ohio College of Applied Sciences where he began his college education. He received the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tuskegee University and a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center.  He received his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Dr. Foster is married to Sis. Mary Ann (Mackey) Foster. They are the proud parents of Kristina Foster Richmond (Dewey), John Foster Jr. and Jessica Rose Foster and have one granddaughter – Zoey Elise RIchmond. Dr. Foster is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sis. Mary Ann Foster

Mary Ann (Mackey) Foster was born and raised in Ashburn, Georgia (30 miles east of Albany, Georgia). She was the 1st grandchild of Ned and Jessie Mae Mackey who raised her with a strong religious foundation. She matriculated through the Turner County school system and graduated Salutatorian of her senior class at Turner County High School. Although Sis. Foster loved to read and excelled in many academic areas, she chose to pursue the field of Electrical Engineering at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. Mary Ann Foster graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

Sis. Foster married Rev. Dr. John Foster in 1985. God’s journey has taken them to work and live in various locations including Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Alabama), North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, North Carolina), Prairie View A&M State University (Prairie View, Texas) and Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia). In May of 2013, Sis. Foster and Rev. Foster moved to Atlanta, Georgia where they now serve as 1st Family at Big Bethel AME Church. 

Sis. Foster has worked in professional capacities for businesses including Naval Surface Weapons Center, Tuskegee Research Institute and Community Total Solutions. She currently works as Assistant to the Chair at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sis. Foster has a special love for children and has years of experience in developing after-school programs and youth-church ministries. She has served as the Youth Church Director and loves working with adult volunteers who work with young people. “Young people are indeed our future” is one of her favorite sayings.

Mary Ann Foster has faithfully served in the Minister’s Spouses and Widow’s Alliance (MSWA) for many years. She has held or is currently holding officer position(s) at the Conference and Episcopal District levels. Sis. Foster served as the MSWA Connectional Spouse of the Year for the entire AME Church during the 2011-2012 timeframe.

Sis. Foster and Rev. Foster are the proud parents of Kristina Foster Richmond (Dewey), John Foster Jr. and Jessica Rose Foster and have one granddaughter – Zoey Elise RIchmond. 

Our First Family

Seating Arrangement

Back Row (Left to Right) – Dewey Richmond, John Foster, Sr., John Foster, Jr.
Front Row – Kristina Richmond, Mary Ann Foster, Zoey Richmond, Jessica Foster