USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

September 16, 2001: Rev. Murray’s post-9/11 Sermon

September 16, 2001: Rev. Murray’s post-9/11 Sermon

September 16, 2001: Rev. Murray’s post-9/11 Sermon

In a sermon titled “Above the Madness,” Rev. Cecil Murray of First AME Church (FAME) in Los Angeles admonished his congregation not to partake of the toxic stew of hatred and rage that had bubbled up in some communities after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As the choir hums the hymn “Healing for the Soul,” Rev. Murray says, “You’re caught up in madness–don’t let the madness be caught up in you. You’re caught up in poison–don’t let the poison be caught up in you.”

During his 27 years as the pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME), Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray transformed a small congregation into a megachurch that brought jobs, housing and corporate investment into South Los Angeles neighborhoods. After the 1992 civil unrest, FAME Renaissance, the economic development arm of the church, brought more than $400 million in investments to L.A.’s minority and low-income neighborhoods. Rev. Murray remains a vibrant force in the Los Angeles faith community through his leadership of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement.

The Murray Archive preserves Rev. Murray’s sermons and interviews in order to inspire the next generation of pastors, activists and scholars.

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