On days like today I turn to the mothers and fathers of my faith who lived through similar moments. In turning to Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980), a man who knew extraordinary political social upheaval, I remember the price he paid, including his life. He experienced a great deal of blowback holding to social implications he believed the gospel demanded of Christ-followers. He faced judgement from inside and outside the Church, contending with delusion, conspiracy theories, blame shifting, and alternative facts every day. He was branded by some to be a heretic. Many decades later his words and work would prove his critics unwise. Today I read one of his sermons. In it he says (and I will type it as printed):
“Those who have listened to me here in church on Sundays
without ill will,
without intending to defend indefensible interests,
those who have listened to me here cannot say
I am giving political or subversive sermons.
All that is simply slander.
You are listening to me at this moment,
and I am saying what I have always said.
What I want to say here in the cathedral pulpit
is what the church is,
and in the name of the church
I want to support what is good,
console the victims of atrocities, of injustices,
and also with courage
disclose the atrocities,
the disappearances of prisoners,
the social injustice.
That is not engaging in politics;
this is building up the church
and carrying out the church’s duty
as imposed by the church’s identity.
My conscience is undisturbed,
and I call on all of you:
Let us build up the true church!”
~ September 10, 1978
Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience.
Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas.
Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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FYI: I do print these & include them with the worship guide and message manuscript for those but I visit as well as for those that I drop off. Thanks for leading us this morning and Garrett‘s place. It was thought-provoking and good timingGiven the events of the past couple days. I am enjoying reading the psalm daily from the message version. I hope that G is OK. Peace, Dave
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I am grateful you do, bro. My hope always is that these posts are encouraging and at times, even thought-provoking. G had something going on this morning with his kiddos and asked me to cover. I’ve got to say, praying and reading a Psalm a day has been a sweet balm for my soul. It has also been good for us as parents. I am not sure I would have walked my son through the likes of Psalm 5, 6 and 7 had it not been our ‘assigned’ reading!