What matters to Reverend Cecil “Chip” Murray? History, education, faith, people. But most of all, understanding.
Murray, holder of USC’s John R. Tansey Chair in Christian Ethics and a senior fellow at the university’s Center for Religion and Civic Culure, spoke the above topics in the “What Matters to Me and Why” speaker series on Sept. 7, 2011 at Ground Zero Cafe on USC’s campus.
“The best symbol of our nation, our best understanding would not the melting pot, but the salad bowl,” he said. “In the salad bowl, everything has its own value. In the salad bowl, everything contributes to the whole. Let us not allow our difference to make a difference.”
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Rev. Murray also trains up-and-coming black ministers in community development through the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement at USC, which is named for him.
For 27 years, he headed one of Los Angeles’ most visible churches, the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church, which grew under his leadership from a small congregation of 250 to an 18,000-person church with multimillion-dollar community and economic development programs that brought jobs, housing and corporate investment into many south Los Angeles neighborhoods.
“What Matters to Me and Why” is a speakers’ series that bridges the separation between intellectual life and personal and spiritual issues by having featured USC faculty and administrators spend about 20 minutes addressing the topic “What Matters to Me and Why,” followed by an informal dialogue rounding out the hour.
The program is sponsored by the USC Office of Religious Life and the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics.