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First A.M.E. Church appeared in news headlines for the second consecutive week when members filed a civil lawsuit on December 4 to regain control of finances and nonprofits owned by the historic congregation.
A long list of charges highlighting gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duty were attributed to the former pastor, the Rev. Dr. John Hunter, along with his wife and several church officers.
Since then, both supporters and critics have offered opinions to the media on the matter, but FAME’s new spiritual leader, Pastor Edgar J. Boyd, is not distracted by the murmuring.
“I don’t intend to be involved in statements or presentations to the press on any side [of the issue] because I just don’t think it’s actually productive in getting down to the ministry that the church is supposed to be about,” said Pastor Boyd.
“The lawsuit will do what needs to be done in the legal arena. Within the family of FAME, we are focusing on the mission of the church. High on our list of priorities is to reach the spiritually lost and outreach to the ones who are homeless, helpless, hopeless and without resources.”
Pastor Boyd’s dedication to those in need has been evident throughout his ministry. As pastor of Bethel A.M.E. – Los Angeles from 1986 to 1992, he galvanized the Black church and community to address racial inequities in South LA. Also, he worked closely with Korean ministers to eradicate long-held animosities between the two cultures.
Similar activities marked his tenure as pastor of Bethel A.M.E. – San Francisco. The Rev. Boyd directed the church’s Allen Community Development Corporation as well as served as Board President of Bethel’s Housing Ministry which comprised several apartment buildings. In addition, he and local ministers established YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard), an ecumenical, multi-cultural lobbying effort to push for affordable housing in the Bay area.
“I am always where the people are. Whether there’s a need, whether there is hurting, whenever people are unjustly treated or injustice exists, I am there and always going to be where a need for the people exists,” Pastor Boyd said.
With his commitment and focus in check, the Rev. Boyd is optimistic about the future of First A.M.E., even during this ‘stormy’ time for the church.
“I’m glad to be at FAME. Along with ministry, there are expected challenges. Challenges and confrontations and ministry go hand in hand,” he said.
"But inside of the congregation, we are praising God, we're celebrating each other and we're going forward!"