On Thursday, November 14, all roads led to Charles R. Drew University as First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME), Drew University President David M. Carlisle, city officials, community leaders, ministers, friends and relatives gathered to welcome the Rev. J. Edgar and Mrs. Florence Boyd back to FAME and the city of Los Angeles.
The Boyds began their second year of leadership at FAME following Pastor Boyd’s reappointment on October 28 by Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church during the 89th Session of the Southern California Conference.
Pastor Boyd’s first year of leadership began with a season of challenges. However, he and the congregation adopted the theme, ‘FAME Rising,’ as the faithful and resilient members began making every effort to re-establish the fibers of faith, service and celebration that characterizes FAME’s motto, ‘First to Serve!’
Like the Phoenix that rises from the spent residue ashes, First A.M.E. Church, healing from its brokenness, deemed the time was right to show love and gratitude and officially welcome Pastor and Mrs. Boyd.
The community reception was held in the courtyard of the Charles Drew University. Ms. Edna Yohannes, chief of staff to the president, gave the official welcome to Drew University on behalf of President Carlisle.
Bishop Kirkland extended his blessings to the Boyds and happily announced that he had picked the “right man for the job.” Bishop Kirkland concluded his remarks with, “Hail to the Chief,” which was met with resounding applause in agreement. Eighth District Councilmember Bernard C. Parks and Jan Perry, general manager of Economic and Workforce Development Department, had the distinguished honor of presenting Pastor and Mrs. Boyd to the guests.
Many elected officials came out to the reception including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who shared greetings and expressed pleasure of having the opportunity to work with Pastor and Mrs. Boyd. Pledging his support to Pastor Boyd and the community, Mayor Garcetti reminded everyone that his “family has a longstanding relationship with FAME.”
Also in attendance were City Attorney Mike Feuer, Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis, and representatives of Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, Councilmember Curren D. Price, Jr., and Congresswoman Janice Hahn. A number of certificates and proclamations were presented that contained greetings and welcome from individuals who could not personally attend.
First Lady Boyd graced the stage with elegance and style, donned in a beautiful midnight blue suit. She thanked the attendees for their warm reception and support and her infectious smile brought raucous cheers of approval and love. Pastor Boyd, one of the A.M.E. Church’s most dynamic and eloquent messengers, expressed his appreciation to all who made the time to welcome his family’s return to the city of Los Angeles.
The Rev. Boyd proceeded to share a brief description of his vision for FAME’s responsibility to the community by serving the needs of the people through its ministries that extend “Beyond the Walls!” The Rev. Boyd also related how every department, group, auxiliary, commission and ministry will be deployed in 2014 to begin the final phase of his ‘Seven Phase Plan’ that was launched during his first year at FAME. Pastor Boyd’s remarks concluded with his declaration of excitement about the prospect of collaboration with the many entities and agencies in attendance.
Guests attending the welcome reception had an opportunity to view a video presentation depicting scenes of the Rev. Boyd from a variety of services and ministries held at FAME. The video also included a delivered by Bishop Kirkland during a visit to the church in 2012.
Guests also listened to the jazz sounds orchestrated by FAME Minister of Music Greg Jones. Caterer WP Miller prepared an array of delicacies and special drinks by Tene Harris.
FAME member and renowned actress, Mrs. Jackie Houston-McNeal, served as emcee. Photographer Austin Kwomo, also a FAME member, captured all aspects of the evening while members of the Media Department, under Peter Fenty’s direction, operated the audio as well as videotaped the event.
Members of the Reception Committee were Co-Chairs Marye Barnett, Karen Caffee, Ralph Dawson and Zna Portlock-Houston. Honorary Committee members included Clifton Albright, Esq.; David M. Carlisle, M.D., Ph.D.; Ludlow B. Creary, M.D., M.P.H.; Ruth V. Ceary, Ph.D.; the Rev. Dr. Cecil L. ‘Chip’ Murray, and former Councilwoman and General Manager Jan Perry.
The Committee is most appreciative to the many individuals who contributed in any way, large or small, to the success of the event.