This is a story only half told of a millennial minister who has risen in stature and wisdom to dwell amongst God’s highest echelon of workers in His vineyard.
The Rev. Rashad Raymond Moore became the third pastor of Brooklyn’s prominent First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, located at 450 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
Most appropriately, the pastoral installation was held on the weekend celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., exemplifying the presence of youth and wisdom in the 29-year-old Moore, as he takes on the role of leading the 66-year old church in this 21st century.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Moore’s spiritual upbringing began at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, under the late Rev. Dr. V. Simpson Turner Sr. Formal education included The Clara Cardwell School (P.S. 308) and Brooklyn High School of the Arts. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, minor in Religion from Morehouse College, Atlanta and Master of Divinity degree in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Currently, Rev. Moore is completing a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the Academy of Young Preachers and Phi Sigma Tau Philosophical Honor Society.
Rev. Moore served seven years as Assistant Minister at The Abyssinian Baptist Church, under the tutelage of the Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. Among many clerical and civic duties, Rev. Moore serves on the UNCF-New York’s Faith Initiative Council, Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services, Inc., and the Morehouse Manhattan Alumni Association. He is also a member of Prince Hall Masons (Boyer Lodge No. 1).
January 19th proclaimed Moore’s entrance into pastoral service. It took mere minutes to pray and lay hands on him in the installation process. However, the Order of Service leading to the appointed moment was laden with laypersons, liturgical dancers, the Mass Choir of FBCCH, the United Voices of Abyssinian and official board members. Four hours on the clock were barely enough for the expressions of love and respect that showed up and showed out on that auspicious occasion.
Rev. Dr. Adolphus Lacey, pastor of Brooklyn’s Bethany Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley, regional executive minister, American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, presided. Seventeen Reverends came in purpose, praying and blessing, advising and uplifting. Those in other capacities shared their relationship: Dr. Yvette Wilson-Barnes, reverend and associate dean, student affairs of CUNY School of Law and Mrs. Jacklyn Charles-Marcus, principal, Stephen Decatur School 35. Deaconess Gertrude Moses of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church told of her first siting of God’s call on the young Rashad’s life. She was sitting with his grandmother, listening to him speak about Dr. King on a church program. She nudged his grandmother and said, “Boy preacher.” Truth has been marching on since then.
The guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, pastor of The Abyssinian Baptist Church, addressed several subjects found in II Timothy 4 of the Bible (“Saved from a selfish, self-filled spirit. Preach the word! Be ready in and out of season.”)
Rev. Dr. Violet Dease Lee, exec. minister, Christ Church, NYC, gave the CHARGE TO THE PASTOR (“Live, love and lead. Take care of yourself.”); former pastor, Reverend Dr. Daryl G. Bloodsaw in the CHARGE TO THE CHURCH reminded members that he was obedient in recommending God’s selection of Rashad Raymond Moore to lead The First Baptist Church onward; and Rev. Willie Dwayne Francois in the CHARGE TO JUSTICE admonished him to (“Follow the real Jesus. Call out the sin, not the sinner.”)
Rev. Nicholas L. Richards arrived from South Africa to speak on “Helping You to Get Ready.” Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond and Veronica Moore assisted in the PRESENTATION OF THE ROBE. Three individual pieces, three symbolic colors joined in majestic silk brilliance, explained by Rev. Richards, to incorporate fire (light), black (power) and green (becoming.) No stripes, no cross or religious emblem, just a devout look of wisdom, as a sage of old or magi would have worn.
The legacy of The First Baptist Church of Crown Heights began in 1953, under the leadership of its founding pastor, the Rev. Dr. Clarence Norman, Sr., who served dutifully for 62 years. At the passing of Dr. Norman, the second pastor, Rev. Dr. Daryl G. Bloodsaw served diligently from 2015 to 2019. He recently accepted the invitation to pastor The Ebenezer Baptist Church in Athens, Georgia.
Finally, with the same humble warmth and welcoming spirit he has always presented, Moore stood on the pulpit to thank and acknowledge. Under his newly received God-given right, he is henceforth entitled to be recognized as the Rev. Rashad Raymond Moore, pastor of The First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. And, the church said Amen!