Rev. Matthew Watley is the senior pastor and founder of Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. Rev. Watley delivered the invocation at the October 25 funeral of Rep. Elijah Cummings in Baltimore.
Rev. Watley is married to Shawna Francis. The couple was married in 2006. The couple has one daughter together, Alexandria Elizabeth.
Prior to getting up the Kingdom Fellowship church, Watley had been the executive minister at the Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland, for 20 years, according to his official website.
2. Watley Describes His Philosophy as ‘It’s Only What We Do for Christ That Lasts’
The Kingdom Fellowship has another location in Washington D.C. Watley performs four services per week between the Washington D.C. and Silver Spring campuses. Those sermons are streamed online by thousands of followers every week. A new church headquarters is in the process of being built in Calverton, Maryland.
Watley says on his website that the work of his ministry is subsidized in part by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who lease office space from the church. In 2009, Watley was named as IMPACT Person of the Year, IMPACT is a political and civic engagement activist group. Watley said of his philosophy in an interview with Black Men’s Dossier, “I believe that patience and consistency pay great dividends in all areas of life, and should never be confused with complacency. I believe that no one can lead from a place of fear – while no skill set, vision, or well-developed plan can take the place of the courage to move forward despite the challenges and obstacles that lie ahead. I believe that it is only what we do for Christ that lasts.”
2. Watley Is a Graduate & Lecturer at Georgetown University
On his website bio, Watley describes himself as a “third-generation preacher, author, businessman, lecturer, and professor” who is “globally recognized” for his work in the ministry. Watley is a graduate of Howard University, where he was also on the Board of Trustees. Watley graduated from the school with a degree in Political Science and had been a graduate assistant at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel at the school. In 2009, Watley attained an Executive Master’s in leadership from the Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business. While in 2015, Watley received a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University.
The reverend is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and has lectured at Howard University, Alabama State University, Wilberforce University, Cornell University, and Wesley Theological Seminary.
3. Watley’s Wife Has Worked With the Obama Adminsitration
Shawna Francis Watley is the senior policy advisor at the law firm Holland and Knight. According to her profile on the firm’s website, Shawna has worked with the Obama administration, leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate, moderate Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. Previously, Shawna was a legislative assistant to Democratic Senator Robert Kerrey of Nebraska. Francis is a graduate of Howard University and Johns Hopkins University. Francis is a guest lecturer at Howard, as well as Fudan University and Pu Dong Institute, both in Shanghai, China.
4. Watley & His Wife Are Activists for Children With Autism & Couples Who Suffer Through Infertility
On her official website, Shawna Francis Watley says that she is an advocate for children of color with autism. Francis says that another cause that she is passionate about is infertility in the African-American community. As a result of her and Watley’s own issues, the were featured in Uptown magazine. Francis is also an ambassador for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
5. Watley’s Produced an Award-Winning Movie at Cannes
Francis produced the Cannes Film Festival award-winning movie, “Colored My Mind.” The documentary dealt with autism in among African-American people. Together, the couple worked on the Tony-nominated play, “StickFly.” On her Twitter profile, Shawna says that she is a “Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, First Lady, Lobbyist, Producer and loyal friend. Life is short live and love to the fullest! To God be the Glory!!”