The Reverend Craig Thomas Robinson, Jr., M.Div., S.T.M.

The Reverend Craig Thomas Robinson, Jr is the proud pastor of Israel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Albany, New York. His previous pastoral appointment was Bethel AME Church in Bay Shore, New York (Long Island) where he served for three years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Morehouse College. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology degrees from Yale Divinity School. Upon completion of his Master of Divinity degree, Reverend Robinson was awarded Merseck and Daggit prizes in preaching. He has a sermon published in The African American Pulpit journal and another sermon published in the book, 9 Marks of a Good Sermon (published by National Festival of Young Preachers). He also has a bible commentary published in the online African American Lectionary. In between Reverend Robinson’s pursuit of professional education, he spent two years as Pastoral Resident at the Historic Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts. At Charles Street, his pastoral sensibilities were nurtured as he provided spiritual and administrative oversight to several ministries. Reverend Robinson has additional training in hospital chaplaincy through the Lutheran Social Services New York Alliance Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. His year-long chaplaincy residency was based at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn. Reverend Robinson is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a preacher of the gospel, a teacher of preaching, AME liturgy, and church history. Reverend Robinson lives by the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”

Our Mission

“First” Church strives to maintain a standard of Christian living within the Capital District; through the Proclamation of the Word, Stewardship, Evangelism, Worship, Study of the Word, and Prayer. We are called to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth.” 

Israel Church Celebrates

190 Years “Walking with God Across the Generations”

At Israel we honor our past and use our great history as a foundation, a grounding for the work that we do in the present. Israel A.M.E. Church’s rich history, Pastor Craig believes “is built on a solid foundation of congregational faith and commitment to God; studying and living His word; and serving His people.”Israel has had a significant role and impact on African American history nationally and in the locally in the Capital District community.  Founded in 1828, Israelis the oldest African American Church located in Albany. Israel Church has enabled many people to achieve “new Beginnings” by: providing safe “transport”, as a part of the Underground Railroad; refuge and speaking platforms for Freedom Fighters like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas; a place where African American recruits trained before leaving to join the Massachusetts 54th to help fight in the Civil War; the site where the local chapter of the NAACP started. The church has continued its social justice agenda and advocacy through its ministries including  childcare/aftercare,  tutoring for children; feeding the hungry, homeless and seniors through our Food Pantry/Soup Kitchen/Senior Luncheon Ministry; voter registration and supporting public schools.  The actual Church has been rebuilt, and/or renovated several times over throughout its own history.