Dr. John Wright Coker, Jr., is life-long Presbyterian and native of North Carolina. He grew up in the Brunswick County community of Leland and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His Master of Divinity was received from the Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi. In 1989, he received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.
Dr. Coker was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister in 1979. He served as Associate Pastor of the Forest Lake Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina, and then, of the Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee. In 1985, Dr. Coker was called as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Pascagoula, Mississippi, until his move to the historic First Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1994. In August 2015, Dr. Coker began a new “chapter” in his ministry, beginning his work with The Outreach Foundation (www.theoutreachfoundation.org).
As Mission Advocate for The Outreach Foundation, Dr. Coker traveled six states, inviting Presbyterians to be involved in sharing the good news of Christ’s love throughout the world. In twelve months, Dr. Coker visited one hundred and forty Presbyterian congregations and at least that many individuals. Fulfilling his commitment to The Outreach Foundation, Dr. Coker served as transitional or “interim” pastor of the Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, concluding his duties on Easter Sunday 2018.
Dr. Coker is married to Sharon Beasley, of Houston, Mississippi. The Cokers have three grown children; John, a Certified Public Accountant, who lives in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, with his wife Megan and sons Matthew Himes Coker and John Thompson Coker; Joseph, a manufacturer’s representative, who lives in Fayetteville; and Margaret Ann, a marketing consultant, who lives in Raleigh, with her husband, Dr. David Kleisch. Their daughter is Anderson Doss Kleisch.