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Rev. Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray
Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman
Rev. Mark WhitlockRev. Dr. Cecil 'Chip' Murray to be an InstructorBy Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
The Rev. Dr. Cecil 'Chip' Murray will come out of retirement to participate in a new Bible Study called "Hope for the Helpless."The unique session will also feature the Rev. Dr. Clyde W. Oden, the Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman, and Rev. Mark Whitlock as co-instructors. The weekly study starts January 11, at 7 p.m., at Bryant Temple A.M.E. Church, 2525 West Vernon Avenue in Los Angeles.According to Rev. Whitlock, "We want to teach a relevant word of God so that a revelation is achieved that will lead to resources. That means not only will we teach a Word, but also provide information that will lead to debt reconciliation, home ownership and financial stability."The inspiration for the Bible Study came as Rev. Whitlock traveled the streets of South Los Angeles. "As I drive through South L.A., I am brought to tears by the circumstances I witness. People are hurting. They need help. I believe God can brighten the corner where we live and the answer is found in word of God."He said God gave him the vision for the study, but when he reached out to several churches, they didn't share his enthusiasm. Then, he asked Dr. Oden, who responded, "We must do this together. It's not enough to have our individual success. We must be united, tear down walls and begin to collaborate to bring change to our community."Rev. Whitlock added, "In this Bible Study, we will couple the Word with the resources of God. The Bible says, 'the cattle on a thousand hills are mine, saith the Lord.' God owns the hills and valleys. He will see us through our crisis and God will provide the resources to give us a celebration at the end."The study will include praise and worship by Rev. Dwayne Knox, music director at Christ Our Redeemer Church."We're excited and invite everyone to join us," said Rev. Whitlock. "We will have choirs singing, bands playing, and after we raise the praise, and we'll have teaching by three pastors and a scholar."About the InstructorsRev. Dr. Murray is currently Professor of Religion and holder of the John R. Tansey Chair in Christian Ethics at the University of Southern California. He also directs Passing the Mantle, a program to train up-and-coming black ministers in community development.Previously, he served 27 years as senior pastor of the historic First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, presiding over more than 18,000 parishioners and a staff of 180. During his tenure, FAME established more than 50 outreach ministries to aid the community.Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman is a scholar and activist committed to connecting faith and social justice. An ordained elder in the A.M.E. Church, she is currently Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions, and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology in southern California.As a survivor of rape, she founded and coordinated "The Dinah Project," an organized church response to sexual violence. Her expertise in religion and sexual violence has taken her around the country to speak at churches, colleges, seminaries, universities, and regional and national conferences.Rev. Dr. Oden is senior pastor of Bryant Temple A.M.E. Church. Under his leadership, the church has doubled its membership, purchased the Angelus Mesa YWCA building located next to the church, and developed several outreach initiatives such as Heath Ministry, Street Ministry, Prison Ministry, and a ministry focusing on the young people in the community called the Nexxt Generation Church.The Church also sponsors several community health fairs with a particular focus on men and women's health issues. In addition, Dr. Oden serves as founder and CEO of Cookie Nation, a faith-based weight management program also known as Cookie Congregation.Rev. Dr. Whitlock is senior pastor of Christ Our Redeemer (COR) Church which has 1,700 members and ministries on evangelism, community development, gang prevention and intervention, job placement, and health services. Rev. Whitlock is the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the A.M.E. denomination as well as Director of Community Initiatives and Executive Director of the Cecil Murray Center at USC.Before his full-time call to the ministry, he served as founder and executive director of FAME Renaissance, the economic development arm of First AME Church - LA; and as Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank and Chicago Title Insurance Company.For more information, email Rev. Whitlock at