Meet our Staff
Bishop James E. Whitaker and his wife (of 31 years) have called Okinawa, Japan home for nearly three decades. Bishop Whitaker first saw Japan in April 1976 as a young Airman stationed at Naha Air Base (Kadena Air Force Base). It was not long before Pastor Whitaker fell in love three times in Japan; First, with Jesus, second with his wife “sweeter”, Gloria J. Smith and third with missionary work.
Missionary Gloria J. Whitaker, like her husband (James) was born in North Carolina and never expected to spend most of her life in Japan. Gloria is the force behind Zion Christian Ministries Church and Academy (K-12 grade school) as the co-founder of both ministries, all the while being a wonderful wife and mother to our two children (Jamie and Joshua).
In 1979, the Whitaker’s entered, Christian in Action Bible Training School in Long Beach California. Upon completion of this Para church organization’s one-year mission program – God miraculously supplied all their needs to return to Japan. With the assistance of men like Dr. E.V. Hill, Dr. Fred K.C. Price, Dr. Floyd Miller, and Pastor Tommy Barnett they made it back to the field.
Today Zion’s Ministry staff continues to grow, and Zion currently ministers annually in the USA, Philippines, and Jamaica and as far as South Africa with plans to extend internationally over the next decade. Zion Philippines founded by Pastor James in 1998 is composed of more than a dozen full time Churches with independent Pastors in Angeles City, Subic, Poroc, and Manila all banning together to for evangelistic outreaches in Leadership training , medical missions, and ministry opportunities.
Bishop Whitaker is known as the Black Japanese (ko-ko ni hon jin) in Okinawa and in the Philippines he is known as (kyuya James) or my Big Brother. He holds a B.A. in Asian Studies (UMUC-84); an M.A.in Bible and International Culture (CBS-90); an M.A.in Psychology and Counseling (BSU-88); and working on his DMIN. in Pastoral Leadership from Liberty University.
Mrs. Gloria Whitaker, holds a B.A. in Psychology (UMUC – 2001) and a M.Ed. Elementary Education (University of Phoenix- 2005), she is presently working on her PHD. In Education from Liberty University.
James is also a writer with two books to his credit “Black Japanese (2005) and Ravenous Wolves, in the Church, 2005 in the Church”, that can be obtained on our web based e-store or by contacting us directly.