Senior Pastor


Rev. Dr. Lydia Jackson Waters

Dr. Waters was born and educated in Texas.  Her undergraduate studies were done at TexasTechUniversity, Lubbock, Texas.  Her graduate studies were done both at Southern Methodist University/ Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas and the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California.  She graduated from The Claremont School of Theology with a Master of Divinity Degree and received the Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Southern California School of Ministry.

Pastor Waters has a diverse background.  Prior to her full-time pastorate, she was active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960 and 70’s, being among the first eight African American students who integrated Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and being the first African American female, in North Texas, to become a ministerial candidate, mentored by Dr. Zan Holmes, Jr.  She was also a member of the Domestic Peace Corp in Harlem, New York.  Prior to leaving Texas, in 1984, she was a Human Development Consultant for the Foundation for Educational Skills, and an Account Executive for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), Channel 13 in Dallas.

In 1984 Dr. Waters moved to the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.   In her conference, Dr. Waters was a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry, Chairperson of Ethnic Scholarships and Recruitment for the Board of Ordained Ministry, member of the Episcopacy Committee and Long Beach District Chairperson for Urban Ministries.  Nationally, Rev. Waters, was a member of the National Board of Black Methodist for Church Renewal and she was elected National President of the Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church for two terms.

Rev. Waters was appointed to Enterprise UMC in Compton, California in 1985.  She merged Enterprise with St. Peters UMC and the two became Crossroads/Njia Panda UMC in Compton, California in 1991.  She enjoyed a long term pastorate of twenty years at Crossroads.  Under her leadership the church grew, spiritually, numerically, financially, and programmatically.  In those twenty years a successful merger was conducted, a new sanctuary was acquired and paid for and the congregation purchased a new parsonage.  The church also completed a building project that included classrooms, administrative offices and a fellowship/training hall.  Crossroads/Njia Panda was named among the first twenty-five churches chosen as Resource Centers for the General Conference initiative, “Strengthening the Black Church for the Twenty-first Century.”

Dr. Waters retired in the summer of 2005 and continues to be a sought after preacher/teacher/mentor.  In the summer of 2007 and 2008 she was on teaching staff for a two-week seminar at Kebler College, Oxford University, London, England.   From 2008 until 2010 she was appointed the Executive Pastor of Administration for St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas.   In 2012-2014 Dr. Waters joined the staff at Keller United Methodist Church, Keller, Texas as Pastor of Discipleship and Community. Presently she is appointed as Senior Pastor of Pacoima First UMC in Pacoima, California.

She is the mother of three adult children; and, the grandmother of nine.