At 30 years old, the the Rev. Reginald Sharpe Jr. is only the third pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, which was founded by the late civil rights icon the Rev. Dr. Clay Evans.
As CBS Chicago reports, Sharpe understands that leading from the pulpit also means addressing what’s happening in the streets:
“To look around at all of the young people who are losing their lives – not just from racism, not just from police brutality but so many young people are losing their lives because of violence in our own communities,” Sharpe said from the pulpit.
Indeed, Sharpe doesn’t have a problem bringing politics into the pulpit.
“Well, I come out of the African-American church tradition – and part of that is you don’t separate the spiritual from the social,” he said.
He’s also known for giving feet to his concerns about what happening in the community. Like his fellow Morehouse College graduate, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sharpe is known for his participation in nonviolent protests:
“We were dealing with a double pandemic,” Sharpe said. “One pandemic, systemic racism, could take your breath away, literally. And then the other pandemic which is COVID-19, it can take your breath away.
“So me going out and protesting, me preaching a social gospel, me using my platform and privilege as a pastor to help bring awareness to some of the social ills, it’s because I’m connected to a revolutionary and I’m connected to a people who throughout history have been revolutionary,” Sharpe continued. “Even outside the church I see you guys have made a statement, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it means something here at Fellowship.”
He added: “The church and political leaders, spiritual leaders – our work is to help direct that anger, because anger is an energy. We’ve got to direct that energy towards something that can be positive and productive and helpful for our communities. ‘We shall overcome someday. Is that day coming soon, that we’re going to overcome? I pray. That is my hope.”
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