Rev. John Wesley McVicker, Sr., is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been preaching the gospel since October 1975. He is the founder and pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church that was organized in 1985, with 47 worshippers, and now has grown to a membership of over 2,000.
Under Rev. McVicker’s visionary leadership, Christ The King built a new edifice in 1997 and a Quality of Life Center in 2005.
Pastor McVicker earned his Bachelor of Ministry degree and Associate degree in theological studies from the Milwaukee Theological Institute.
He received his Bachelor of Arts (graduating cum laude) and Master of Theology degrees from Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Pastor McVicker currently serves in the community as follows: Board member of School Choice of Wisconsin and Clergy for Educational Options as well as Finance Chair on the Board of Directors of CEO Leadership Academy.
As founding pastor of Christ The King Baptist Church, Pastor McVicker is committed to the cultivation of Christian growth within his congregation, preaching the acceptable year of the Lord to the unsaved, while providing support to community efforts that strive to make available programs and services that enhance the quality of life for people living in the Milwaukee area.
He is married to the former Marilynn Johnson and they have two children, Kasia and John, Jr.
In 2002 Stella Love and her husband, Henry, were bold enough to venture where no other Blacks had gone before: opening a Ponderosa Restaurant franchise in Milwaukee’s central city.
It was a life-long dream of Love’s to open a restaurant and it was also the first non-fast-food chain restaurant on Martin Luther King Drive, a main drag way in the central city. The business thrived for several years, until the recession hit. Love said the franchise fees to Ponderosa made it difficult to continue as a unit in the national chain, so Ponderosa allowed the Loves to drop the affiliation, in an effort to keep the business open.
The 32-employee restaurant switched its cuisine from the Ponderosa menu to what Love called “soulful food,” including such Southern staples as fried catfish, fried chicken, greens and black-eyed peas. The Loves also switched the restaurant’s name to Stella’s, but after more than eight years, the restaurant finally had to close under the weight of the economic recession.
Even though the restaurant eventually closed through no fault of its owners, Love has come a long way from the cotton fields of Mississippi. After more than 20 years of operating a profitable liquor store business—Love’s One-Stop Liquor– with her husband in Milwaukee’s central city, at the peak of her career Love employed more than 63 full and part-time employees, and her business ventures have been a stabilizing force for Milwaukee’s central city.
An entrepreneur and compassionate community-minded individual, Love’s restaurant may have closed its doors, but her legacy, determination and fulfillment of her dream make her a shining Milwaukee legend.
Editor’s note: We recently learned of the passing of Academy of Legends nominee Vincent Toran, who was profiled in our July 20 edition. The Community Journal wishes to extend our condolences to the Toran family.
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