Bio: The Reverend Canon Willie (“Will”) H. Mebane, Jr.


BLN315 WILL MEBANE_A webWill Mebane was born and raised in Durham, N.C. His spiritual journey began in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion and Baptist Churches – the denominations of his mother and father respectively. He found his way to The Episcopal Church in his late teen years as a result of the anti-war activities of Episcopal Peace Fellowship. He was mesmerized by the liturgy of the Church and found himself stimulated and challenged by the sermons. Will was subsequently baptized, confirmed and joined Saint Titus’ Episcopal Church. He had wrestled since childhood with a call to ordained ministry and entered a formal discernment process just short of his 50th birthday. He was accepted into Yale Divinity School and earned his Master of Divinity along with an award for excellence in preaching. He received a Diploma in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale at that same time.

Will studied in programs accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. He completed an internship at Hartford Hospital and residency at Bridgeport Hospital. He was certified CPE supervisory candidate while affiliated with Griffin Hospital in Derby. Will served five years as a liturgical and pastoral care assistant to Christ Episcopal Church in Greenwich, Conn. where he began as seminarian. The Right Reverend Andrew D. Smith ordained him transitional deacon in The Episcopal Church in 2009 and to the priesthood in 2010.

Will had an eclectic business career prior to entering seminary and ordained ministry. It included managing 50th Anniversary Celebrations commemorating the entry of Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball, coordinating television coverage of the 1995 Special Olympics World Games, and promoting the 1998 Elton John World Tour. He is a founding board member and served as vice president of AMISTAD America, Inc. After receiving his B.A. degree in Radio, Television and Motion Pictures from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he held positions with several radio and television stations. He also founded and operated a management, media and marketing consulting firm. His professional experience includes a brief stint as a hospital vice president.

Will has volunteered for nonprofit organizations addressing HIV/AIDS, affordable housing, refugee resettlement, education of urban youth and other social concerns. He formerly chaired the Board of Education in Hamden, Conn. where he resided for 30 years until his relocation to Cleveland. He is a former college and high school football referee, and high school basketball official.

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, called Will as curate in 2009. He was appointed canon in 2011 and shares with Cathedral clergy as pastor, prophet and priest to the more than 900 individuals that gather there. He works with clergy, staff and laity on neighborhood ministry, congregational life and social justice programs. Will has been chaplain to the Wilma Ruth Combs Union of Black Episcopalians Chapter in Northern Ohio and served on the Strategy Leadership Team of Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC). He was elected to Diocesan Council and was appointed to its Executive Committee. Will chairs a committee of the Commission on Ministry and was a member of the Bishop’s Gun Violence Task Force in The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. He is chair of the board of directors of Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) and is a member of the board of trustees of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University. Will is active with the Congo Network Group of the Episcopal Church and was recently appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings to the church’s new Task Force on the Study of Marriage.

Will and his wife Paulette (aka “Ronnie”), a registered and master’s prepared nurse affiliated with University Hospitals Case Medical Center, have parented two sons during their 40+ years of marriage. Karreem graduated Yale Divinity School with Will in 2006 and is a faculty member of Albertus Magnus College. Blair attended Morehouse College and works for Bridgeport Bluefish Professional Baseball and Yale Athletics.