Our Founder



Bishop Stewart Reese, Jr. is the ninth of fourteen children born to the late Lula and Stewart Reese, Sr. on February 22, 1938 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He quit high school and got married December 22, 1956 to Navoria Irene Jackson at the age of 18 and was enlisted into the United States Armed Services, where he acknowledged his call to the ministry while stationed at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas.  He was transfered to Fort Lewis, Washington, where he was awarded an honorable discharged.  He made Seattle his home and attended Bethel Christian Church under the pastorate of the late Bishop Benjamin T. Moore.

After moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1968, Bishop Reese continued his pursuit of education by attending Beulah Heights Bible College.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Church History in 1978.  He also attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University and later enrolled at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1986.   On May 16, 2003, Bishop received his Doctorate in Ministry (D. Min.) from Luther Rice Seminary, Lithonia, Georgia.

In 1969, Bishop Reese founded Bethesda Cathedral in Decatur, Georgia and served as Senior Pastor until November of 2011.  Because of his leadership and vision, Bethesda Cathedral is a source of strength, inspiration and refuge, ministering to the whole person, and in addition serving as a beacon of hope in the community.

Bishop Reese constantly gives credit for his accomplishments and success to his wife of 59 years in December, Navoria Irene Reese, who assists, encourages and gives tremendous support in his education and ministry.  He is the proud father of five children: Suffragan Bishop Stewart Reese, III,  Evangelist LaVoria Reese, and Bernita A. Reese.  Two sons preceded him in death, Bernard Isaiah Reese in 1991 and Norman Elton Reese, Sr. in 1995.   His son, Sufffragan Bishop Stewart Reese, III, currently as the Pastor of Bethesda Cathedral, along with his wife, Minister Wanda Reese.  Bishop Reese is the proud Grandfather (“Papa”) of six lovely grandchildren: Cassia, Carma, Stewart IV, Norman, Jr., Nicole and Naomi; and two great grandsons, Devin and Zaiden.