New Pastor of Los Angeles’ First AME Church, J. Edgar Boyd Preaches 1st Sermon
The Rev. J. Edgar Boyd is the new pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in L.A. He delivered his first inaugural sermon on last Sunday in hopes to unite and heal a congregation that had become fractured over the troubles of its former leader.
Pastor Boyd spoke on forgiveness at the oldest black pulpit in Los Angeles.
“Holding grudges cripples the soul,” Boyd said. “It makes you weak… The time has come to cleanse us and welcome us in the favors of God.”
Only a week ago, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland unexpectedly reassigned the former pastor, John J. Hunter, after a controversial eight years that included a sexual harassment lawsuit, a federal tax investigation and questionable use of church credit cards, news reports say.
Pastor Hunter has moved to Bethel AME San Francisco, and Kirkland appointed that church’s pastor, Boyd, to take the helm in Los Angeles.
The Presiding Bishop Kirkland of the AME church has remained quiet on the reassignment. He told worshipers at the 10 a.m. service on Sunday that despite receiving a threat to “destroy my family” for removing Hunter, he had to find someone who would move the church forward.
“This is our flagship church,” he said to a thunderous crowd. “And we cannot afford to let it go down. We have worked too hard for too long to bring the First church to where it is.”
The LA Times states:
But critics had complained that the church’s attendance, tithings and social activism had declined under Hunter’s tenure. Others expressed concern with Hunter’s use of personal security guards, his inaccessibility and his refusal to live in the church’s South Los Angeles community.
Kirkland reassured congregants that Boyd was different. While serving at the largest AME church in San Francisco for two decades, Boyd increased its assets from $12 million to more than $80 million, Kirkland said.
We see, it really boils down to dollars and cents!
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