When he was a young man, Isaac R. Melton Jr. lived in the fast lane: he worked on Wall Street and partied.
But at a club one night with his friends, Melton had an epiphany. This was not the life he was supposed to live.
“I remember hearing him,” he said of God. Melton said he was dropping his head “and the tears just started falling because although it seemed like I was happy . . . I could honestly say I wasn’t happy.”
He felt the call of the cloth. Today, he is the Episcopal Bishop of the Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church. He is to be honored Thursday, Feb. 13, at an Episcopal Gala at Bridgeview Yacht Club in Island Park.
Melton, who is a resident of Freeport, has been part of the Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church for close to 12 years. On October 5, Melton was consecrated as the first Bishop for church and in the churches 70 years in Long Beach, he is only the third pastor to serve the congregation.
“The Lord blessed me to begin serving at Christian Light the same year that Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States,” Melton said.
Melton was born on April 16, 1960, and raised in St. Albans, Queens. At the age of seven, he was baptized at their local church, Gethsemane Baptist Church. He grew up in a working-class family as his father Isaac R. Melton worked all day while his mother, Alma Lee Melton, stayed home and took care of the household.
“We grew up a poor family. My father worked two jobs,” Melton said. “We were poor in the sense of economics, but we never knew it, in that our home was rich in love and we were a family that worshipped together.”
When Melton was a kid, he recalled his mother and his aunt telling him that one day he would become a preacher. After facing some trials and tribulations in his life, he accepted his calling in his late twenties.
Melton started to preach at his home church, Gethsemane Baptist Church, under Pastor Garland Liggon. “I realized later that you can run, but you can’t hide when God has a divine calling on your life,” Melton said.
He would go on to become the spiritual leader of the St. Paul Baptist Church and then eventually made his way to Long Beach. Melton is also one of the founding Pastors of the Sword of the Spirit Christian Fellowship, where they provide assistance and guidance for individuals and churches that seek a deeper sense of worship.
In an interview days before the ceremony honoring him, Melton reflected on his accomplishments and what the moment meant to him.
“I had people tell me that I would never be anything and that I would never go anywhere, so this is bittersweet,” Melton said. “It helps me to remind others that it doesn’t matter where you start, but if you believe and trust in God, you have no idea where he will take you and what your life will become.
Melton also thanked his wife, Elder Crystal Kaye Melton — they will celebrate 30 years of marriage in September — and their daughter, Loran Camille.