FAME members surround Pastor Edgar J. Boyd during a news conference on Nov. 21.
For the past few weeks, rumors and speculation have surrounded the status of First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles. On November 21, Pastor Edgar J. Boyd decided to address the gossip.
During a news conference in front of FAME, Pastor Boyd defended the church’s image as well as vowed to “re-tool and reorganize.”
After first detailing the church’s accomplishments during the pastoral tenures of Bishop H. Hartford Brookins and the Rev. Dr. Cecil ‘Chip’ Murray, Pastor Boyd said, “Unfortunately, a period of fiscal insolvency and financial mismanagement followed thatseason of membership growth and spiritual prosperity.”
According to reports from church officials, FAME owes approximately $300,000 to various creditors. In addition, the Rev. Boyd said he hasn’t received any assistance with his move from the Bay Area where he served as pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in San Francisco.
“On October 28, I was appointed as senior pastor of FAME. I have made about five or six trips back and forth to San Francisco in the process of relocating. All of the airfare and lodging was borne by my wife’s and my pocket. I have yet to receive a salary, but I’m committed to this congregation,” he said.
Despite the hard truths shared at the news conference, the scores of parishioners in attendance vowed to support the pastor in moving forward.
“The leadership that Rev. Boyd has provided over the last 21+ days has been felt by the congregation. The church and community need transparency and that is what he is providing,” commented Michael Ellison-Lewis, a member of the Steward Board.
Marva Harris, who joined in 2002, added, “We’re so glad to have Rev. Boyd. The atmosphere is different when you walk in the church. He’s very open, accountable and seeing to it that everyone else in his administration is the same way. We’ve needed that.”
Shirley Wells, a 25-year member, shared, “I have been an A.M.E. since I was 15 and I think Rev. Boyd is starting out on the right foot. He’s giving everybody confidence and courage. It’s bad that churches have to go through this, but we’ll make it.”
Voicing similar thoughts, Vivian Hines, a member for 31 years, said, “I feel really bad we haven’t found housing for Rev. Boyd, but we should act immediately to find him a place to live and get him into a parsonage. He’s a good man and we support him. First A.M.E. has a great legacy and we want to keep that legacy. It’s up to us to make it happen.”
The Rev. Boyd concluded, “I’m here to help, I’m here to serve, I’m here to heal and I made the commitment to provide whatever I can to help FAME be what it needs to be to become what it needs to become. The financial challenges that lay ahead of us we will be faced, as a congregation, immediately in the days ahead.”