According to the Rev. Kirkpatrick Tyler, his appointment to St. Mark AME Church is the ideal match for his type of ministry.
The first-time pastor, now entering his third year in the position, dreamed of sharing God’s availability with others and believes he can fulfill his vision at St. Mark’s.
“God has always placed in my heart a passion for making the Gospel accessible, relevant and engaging as well as providing a place where folks can seek God, meet Christ and not be victimized by ‘church stuff’ and St. Mark was the perfect place to engage in this type of ministry,” said Tyler, who previously served five years on the ministerial staff at Second AME Church in Los Angeles.
His enthusiasm for spreading the Word and encouraging people to apply the teachings to their everyday life is apparent as he teaches youth and adult Bible Studies or promotes other St. Mark programs such as the Monthly Employment Readiness Workshops, the Daughters of Destiny Mentorship Program and the Healthy Church Healthy Community Health and Wellness Ministry.
Tyler is also looking to implement ministries focused on young adult men and mental health. He believes that offering these services in non-traditional setting will attract more participants and community members.
“Our men’s empowerment ministry will reach out to adult males between the ages of 25-to-40 with a strong mentorship component led by the men of St. Mark,” explained Tyler. “We have been blessed to have strong men from various walks of life who are great fathers, brothers, teachers and love God with their whole heart. God has really convicted my heart that, we return men to the godly state that He meant for us to live in.”
The emphasis on attaining that godly state will complement the pastor’s concentration on mental health and faith working together.
“We believe that the best servants are those who are also equipped to acknowledge, address and overcome mental health challenges, generational trauma and the stress of living in a world and country with systems designed to keep African people as well as people of color destitute,” insisted Tyler. “We will do that with the power of prayer and the Word of God in concert and partnership with our brothers and sisters in the mental health services community.”
In addition to the congregation, Tyler said that his wife, Khamille, will be a great help in achieving his goals for St. Mark to make a difference in the South L.A. area. He also intends to follow the sound guidance of his mentors who include his grandmother, retired AME Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry; his uncle, the Rev. Dr. Timothy Tyler; and the Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray as well as recall the advice shared by the late AME Bishops H.H. Brookins and C. Garnett Henning.
“With those types of influences, I feel extremely driven for my ministry and the ministry of St. Mark to be a congregation that connects our spiritual development to our social advancement, that as we grow closer to Christ, we are more compelled and convicted to take action to meet the tangible needs of our community and city,” Tyler said.
“Practically, that means creating sustainable partnerships with the social service community, developing economic engines that fund ministry to reduce the financial burden of ministry on the pockets of the people, creating jobs and opportunity for underserved communities and serving as a voice of moral clarity and accountability to our Black institutions, civic leaders and government officials.”
St. Mark AME Church is located at 12923 S. Avalon Blvd., in Los Angeles. To learn more, call (310) 329-3443.