Pastor Karen


"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

On May 4, 2003, Karen Jean Sykes publicly acknowledged her call to preach the Gospel.  God anointed and appointed her to deliver her first public sermon at Cross Word Christian Church in Riverside, California on January 25, 2004.  After giving evidence of the call of God to the Gospel Ministry, she received a Certificate of License.

She currently serves in the capacity of Associate Pastor of Administration. Although she administers the Word of God to the church body, she has a heart and calling for women and youth. Under the leadership of her husband, Bishop Lacy Sykes, Senior Pastor/Founder of Cross Word Christian Church, she manages staff and the daily administrative responsibilities of the church office. She also leads the Women’s Ministry and other areas of ministry as assigned.  In response to God’s gift, she has completed a certificate program of the American Association of Christian Counselors.  She has also furthered her ministerial education by taking courses through Moody Bible Institute Online and, most recently, at California Baptist University in Riverside, California. Her goal is to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Studies by the end of 2014.

As a missionary, she has been blessed to co-lead an educational workshop for high school girls in Ghana, West Africa and teach elementary students at the El Shaddai Preparatory School in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  In addition, Pastor Karen has been a speaker at various women’s events throughout the Inland Empire, including Empower 2 Purpose (a ministry of Abundant Living Family Church-San Gabriel Valley), Temple Missionary Baptist Church, Allen Chapel AME Church, and Mountain View Community Church. She has received awards from the National Council of Negro Women’s Bethune Recognition Program, Purpose Center International Ministries as a Kingdom Woman of Excellence, and in 2012 was nominated alongside her husband as a recipient of the Unsung Heroes award by the Riverside African American Historical Society. She has received numerous certificates including one from the Healthy Heritage Foundation for Community Service, a Certificate of Recognition for “2012 Woman of the Year” from the County of Riverside Commission for Women Fifth Supervisorial District Nominee, and was recently featured in Riverside Magazine’s article “Forces For Good” (June/July 2013).

Pastor Karen has been married to Bishop Lacy for 27 years. They have five adult children: two sons and three daughters. They are also the proud grandparents of one grandson. In her free time she enjoys cooking first Sunday meals for her family, walking and hiking outdoors, reading, and listening to many genres of music. She also enjoys traveling to new places with her husband. Many say she is truly a Proverbs 31 woman: diligent, compassionate, hardworking, loving, and shining her light in the places God plants her.