Rev. Dr. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray served for 27 years as pastor of the historic First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME) in Los Angeles and guided Angelenos through the trauma of and recovery from the 1992 civil unrest. After retiring from formal ministry in 2004, Rev. Murray became a senior fellow of USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture and chairman of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. In this capacity, Rev. Murray oversees a training curriculum that has prepared hundreds of ministers and laypeople to make vital contributions to improve their communities.
During his 27 years as FAME’s pastor, Rev. Murray transformed a small congregation of 250 members into an 18,000-person megachurch with multi-million dollar community and economic development programs that brought jobs, housing and corporate investment into many South Los Angeles neighborhoods. Many politicians, including President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, visited Rev. Murray’s pulpit and spoke to the congregation. Rev. Murray remains a vibrant force with a passion to ensure that the legacy of African American church leaders of the Civil Rights era is transmitted to the next generation community leaders.
This video was produced as part of “Spiritual Exemplars: A Global Project on Engaged Spirituality” at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, with support from the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton Religion Trust. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the supporting organizations.