Mrs. Velma Louise Willoughby Kemp, the daughter of Rev. Jordan (deceased) and Mrs. Zenobia Willoughby, was born and raised in Arkansas as a daughter of the church. She developed a deep and abiding love for Christ as she regularly listened to her father proclaim the gospel as pastor of the Chapel Hill Baptist Church and the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Arkansas. This provided the controlling foundation for the rest of her life.
After completing high school in England, Arkansas, Sister Kemp earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing in July 1985 from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. One month later, she married her high school sweetheart who was then a medical student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
In 1988, she joined the Antioch Baptist Church with her husband Pastor Kenneth Kemp and eldest daughter. Over the years, she has remained an integral component of the Antioch Church family. Sis Kemp serves as Director for the Antioch Baptist Church Sisterhood Ministry. She works with the Church School, the Wednesday Word and Worship Service, the Ministers’ & Deacons’ Wives and Widows (MDWW) Ministry, the Rites of Passage Program, the Marriage Ministry, and the Women’s Choir.
In 2012, God gave Sis Kemp the vision to establish Antioch’s first city-wide women’s conference. This vision gave birth to the biannual “Being a Christian Woman” Conference, which serves to empower, equip, and encourage women from all backgrounds and denominations. As the Founder and Chairperson of the “Being a Christian Woman” Conference, Sister Kemp continues to provide vision, creativity, and inspiration for thousands of women throughout San Antonio and Bexar County. The 4th biennial “Being a Christian Woman” Conference will be in April this year.
Sis Kemp also led the “Bibles in the Pews” initiative of the Antioch Ministers’ and Deacons’ Wives ministry that provided Bibles for our sanctuary and she was integral in enhancing the library of the Antioch Christian Academy through partnership with the San Antonio chapter of the Links Incorporated. In 2016, Sis Kemp encouraged the MDWW Ministry to sponsor the Nursery located in the newly named Joe Ann Brown Annex, and in 2017, she started a “Tablecloth Drive” to purchase table linens for use at the various banquets and luncheons held at the Antioch Sports Complex. In 2018, Sister Kemp also established the Wednesday Family Meal Night, which provides a delicious meal for those attending Wednesday youth activities and Bible study. This allows families to attend Wednesday Word and Worship activities without having to prepare meals before or after service.
Along with her busy schedule of service in her church, Sister Kemp is involved in numerous civic and educational initiatives. She is a member of the San Antonio Chapter of the Links Incorporated, the NAACP, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She serves on the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund (SAAAACF) and is the chairperson of the SAAAACF Grants Committee. Through committed volunteerism, she also supports numerous community initiatives that enhance the lives of persons from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.
Sister Kemp enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and sharing her relationship with Christ. The latter, she accomplishes through various speaking opportunities, social media, and her daily walk with the Lord. She is a sought-after speaker for worship experiences, conferences, and seminars. In addition, Sister Kemp shares some of her moments with God during her regular “Mug Ministry” posts to Facebook (#mugministry). She states that the most important thing about her life is her love for Jesus Christ which is manifested by her love for people. While Sister Kemp has numerous accomplishments, the one of which she is most proud is that of being mother to her two daughters, Rev. Jessica who serves as Minister of Children, Youth, and Young Adults at Antioch and Dr. Joelle who is a pharmacist.