John Wayne Penton, Sr. was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. He currently resides in Tacoma, Washington with his wife (Linda Joyce Penton) of forty five years. Together they successfully reared two daughters and a son who are all high achievers and exemplify solid Christian values.
John believes that the family is high on God’s list of priorities and deserves a major investment of time, energy, and resources. Much of his time is spent mentoring young men; teaching them how to find their way in a busy and complex world. He believes that the greatest example of God’s love is found in how he lives out his faith in practical ways; beginning in his home and community.
John founded Outreach Church of God in Christ in Bremerton in, Washington in 1984. The name and pastor has since changed. He currently pastors Greater Heights (COGIC); with a membership of over 600 with more than twice that on the roll.
He organized and operated several businesses including his own Photography Studio, EMS (Essential Management Skill) Company and ME, F.P.I. (Fingerprinting, Photography, and Identification) Company which was the first agency (outside of law enforcement) to contract services to area school districts: Puyallup, Seattle, Tacoma, and University Place. ME have fingerprinted thousands since its opening in 1997 and continue to provide fingerprinting services for various applications.
As Executive Director of Church of God in Christ Charities (COGIC Charities) for the national church he was instrumental in coordinating fundraising efforts to provide both emergency help in crisis as well as academic scholarships. Since its inception in 2002, the organization has facilitated funding for Tsunami Relief victims; the Horn of Africa Relief and Development organization; Victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita; and the recent Haiti Earthquake Relief.
In the Washington State Jurisdiction of COGIC, he serves as Superintendant of District #3. In June 2015, he was appointed President of the jurisdiction's Urban Initiative; consistent with his calling and links to the national church and community.
John’s education is a coalescence of specialized training, whose subjects range from Police Science to Theology. The institutions he attended: Tacoma Community College, Olympic College of Bremerton, Washington, California State University of Long Beach, California and Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Tacoma, Washington where he received his Masters in Theological Studies.
John is a four-year Navy-Vietnam veteran. Three of those years were served on the USS Ranger CVA-61 as an Aviation Photographer Mate E-5. John was called to the Pastoral Ministry while serving in the Gulf of Tonkin. He was inspired to organize Bible Study groups for sailors aboard ship. As a result he was asked to broadcast the Bible Study weekly to 5,000 sailors over the Armed Forces radio station affording him the title “Preacher”. When there was racial unrest between “blacks” and “whites” aboard ship, John acted as mediator to establish peace.
With his commanding officer’s permission, John was allowed to exercise his humanitarian skills while in the Philippines; thus affording him an opportunity to reunite a hometown family member (who had lost their son during the war) with their relatives who resided there. During his search he ministered in villages at least 400 miles north of where he was docked.
For a quarter of a century John served the Tacoma Police Department as Photographer, Identification and Records Officer, and Forensics Specialist Supervisor. He retired in 1997. The skills and experience gained over the years has enhanced his personable approach to life and his charismatic nature.
Amid his busy schedule he recently took the time to complete his written work entitled "IAin’t Trying to Be Funny"; a powerfully delightful book about his many life experiences which included a daring faith walk that took him and his wife around the world in 22 days on less than three thousand dollars.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
- 2011- Kingdom and Community Trailblazer Award- Kingdom Servant Ministry
- 2006-Courageous Participation in Landmark Case: Anderson vs King Count Lawyers at Ellis, Li, and McKinsery PLLC
- 2005-“Serving Quietly, Making a Difference”- National Exchange Club
- 2004-Phi Beta Sigma Inc. Cultural for Service to Humanity-Oscar M Morgan
- 2002-Distinguished Alumni Award-Faith Evangelical Seminary
- 1984-Outstanding Young Man of America-Professional Achievement,
- Superior Leadership and Exceptional Service to the Community
- 1993 &1994-“Most Valued Citizen”-Tacoma Police Academy
- 1971-1997- Tacoma Police Department-Dedicated and Outstanding Service