November 29, 2012
By Brian W. Carter
LAWT Contributing Writer
On Wednesday, Nov. 21, the First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles’ new pastor, J. Edgar Boyd, along with fellow parishioners, met with the press to share with the public that “FAME rises.” Boyd stood poised and has already taken the helm to continue leading FAME as a positive influence in the community.
FAME has recently had its share of trials and tribulations. Former pastor, John J. Hunter recently stepped down from the church amid scandal and misuse of funds.
Boyd made it clear in his announcement to the media and public that he intends to continue in the tradition and the same spirit that the honorable, Rev. Dr. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray, established at FAME.
“I’m here to help, I’m here to serve, I’m here to heal,” said Boyd.
“I made the commitment to provide whatever I can to help FAME be what it needs to be to become. The financial challenges that lay ahead of us as a congregation will be faced amicably…and each of them will be responded to in time.”
Boyd was assigned as senior pastor to FAME October 20 and seems to meet with the approval of his new congregation so far. Church members and First Lady, Florence Miles-Boyd, flanked the pastor with love and support. Many of them feel that the recent incident has led to a revival of the church and stand ready to take the next step with Boyd.
Boyd’s Pastoral Assignments have included St. John A.M.E. Church, Pueblo, Colorado, 1971-1973; Pastor of Grace A.M.E. Church, Casper, Wyoming, 1973-1975; Pastor of Walker Chapel AME Church, Seattle, WA, 1975-1980; Pastor of Brookins AME Church, Oakland, CA, 1982-1986; Pastor and Bethel AME Church, Los Angeles, CA 1986-1992; Pastor of Bethel AME Church, San Francisco, CA, 1992-2012. He was appointed pastor of FAME, LA, By Bishop Theodore Larry Kirkland on October 28, 2012.
“So far, from what I’ve seen, I like [Boyd] very much,” said FAME member, Arshell Qualls. “He seems like a very down-to-earth, hands-on guy.
“I’ve already seen changes and I like it”
FAME member, Montel McClellan felt the announcement was, “very timely and it [needed] to happen.”
He continued, “We suffered through this long enough without being aware of what was going on. We believe that the new pastor will take charge.”
“It was important for our new pastor to begin to set the ground rules to identify anything that he sees that is out of order and to begin to put the house in order,” said FAME member, Carmen Hayward-Stetson. “I agree with [Boyd’s] position that it’s not about pointing fingers, or blame because we don’t worship any man.
“We worship Christ Jesus but at the same time—we are responsible to be good stewards and we have to clean up this house.”
“FAME still rises,” said Boyd. “And yet, out of the ashes of destruction all around us and the downturn of a bad economy, we are here to rise together today as a solid community of faith, to say to this community that, ‘we are here for you.’
“‘We are here for the needs of those who seek our help and our aid…God Bless you.’”
Recently, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church rejected the troubled Los Angeles pastor, Hunter from taking the pulpit. The presiding elder, Rev. W. Bartalette Finney Sr., urged Bethel members to focus on their personal relationships with God and not on the problems of the church.
Hunter had been transferred from the FAME Church in Los Angeles to lead the San Francisco church. But in an unprecedented move, leaders at Bethel AME drafted an emergency resolution barring him from taking control.
They stated that the reassignment could "impair the legacy, reputation, relationships and goodwill" of the church in the community.
“It’s going to take time and it’s going to work,” said FAME member, Cynthia Sam. “For that last three Sundays, church has been ‘old school.’”
When asked about former pastor Hunter, members said that they would keep him in their prayers, while some offered no comment.
“I pray for him [and the family] everyday,” said Sam. “When I pray to God, I don’t give no commentary.”
First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles is the oldest church founded by African Americans in the City of Angels. In 1872 Mrs. Biddy Mason (a former slave) received the vision from God to establish a church that would minister to the mind, body and soul of all who would join that small band of believers. That vision and small band of believers has grown to what is now a congregation of more than 19,500 members and several dozen ministries within 13 corporations that bless and reach tens of thousands of seekers in greater metropolitan Los Angeles.