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Leadership

Rev. Ritney A. Castine,
Pastor & Senior Servant

Advocate. Activist. Leader. These are three words that come to mind when describing the Rev. Ritney A. Castine. Pastor Ritney has led initiatives across the country that educated youth and mobilized communities around the dangers associated with drugs and substance abuse. He’s created several innovative campaigns that has empowered others to be change agents and model citizens.

 

Pastor Ritney received his first ordination in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in October 2016 and was appointed the pastor of Trinity AME Church in Gonzales, LA in 2017.  Under his leadership, he has dramatically increased the visibility and viability of a church once slated for closure.  He has held various leadership positions within the 8th. Episcopal District, to include Dean of the Theological Institute for the Louisiana Annual Conference and Director of the Eighth Episcopal District’s Social Action Ministry.

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Through intentional ministry, Pastor Ritney led Trinity through transformational change. Under his leadership, the congregation purchased a modern building and five acres of land in one of Louisiana’s fastest growing cities. He later completed a debt-free major renovation of the facilities that positioned the church for 21st century ministry in a post-pandemic world. Pastor Ritney possesses a unique gift of connecting the church to the broader community, and has leveraged relationships to facilitate partnerships and increase the church’s budget through grants, corporate giving, and by cultivating individual donors outside of the church’s membership.

Pastor Ritney has an infectious personality, possesses the gift of preaching, and has strong administrative skills. Professionally, he is the Principal and Chief Strategist at Imagine Greater, Inc., a consulting firm he created and designed to assist nonprofits and other organizations to become more focused and effective agents of change. He sits on various boards and commissions

and serves as Chair for the State of Black Health National Conference.

In November 2021, Bishop Julius McAllister appointed the Reverend Ritney A. Castine as the pastor of Mt. Pisgah. He immediately began the process of reopening the church after the COVID-19 pandemic and undertook a massive renovation and restoration project. Within the first year of his tenure, he led the church into a renovation of the church and fellowship hall, with the project’s costs in excess of $215,000. The improvements included an updated Fellowship Hall, a new roof, and much-needed repairs to the sanctuary. During his second year, the parking lots were resurfaced and  a multimedia center was installed in the church to better manage our church audio visual and livestream needs. 

 

Pastor Castine is building a great fellowship within the congregation by leading trips to worship in Washington DC and New Orleans LA, his home state. These trips, combined with a strong emphasis on community service, outreach, and evangelism has brought forth a fresh wind.  During his administration, the Ruth Missionary Society’s monthly Food Pantry continues to thrive, and a Bi-weekly Community meal, serving approximately 200 meals bi-weekly has been added to address the area’s pressing food insecurity crises.

With an emphasis on community engagement, Pastor Castine has elevated Mt. Pisgah's standing as a leader within the Jersey City Community.  Under his leadership, the church has facilitated convenings with elected officials and community leaders.  Additionally, he has been a key organizer in leading the community response to unjustified police shootings within Jersey City.  Pastor Castine has regularly contributed to the press regarding clean drinking water in schools, livable wages, affordable housing, and other issues that plague Jersey City.  

Pastor Ritney is a member of the Sigma Chi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. and is engaged to Ms. Darsheena Lastrapes of Louisiana. 

More than everything, Pastor Ritney is a firm believer in the power of God, and he gives God the glory for all he’s been fortunate enough to experience.

 

His favorite scripture is Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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