Public Advocate for Social Justice, Liberation and Community Empowerment
Reverend Malcolm J. Byrd
The Reverend Malcolm J. Byrd has dedicated his life toward assisting all people in their search for inner wholeness. Theologically, Reverend Byrd considers himself a “Liberation Theologian” who believes wholeheartedly that the Gospel and Ministry of Jesus Christ provides all of the necessary ingredients for inner and social Freedom.
Reverend Byrd is a Long Island, New York native, yet he spent his formative years living in Detroit, Michigan and Gastonia, North Carolina where he completed his Secondary Education. Reverend Byrd entered the ministry in 1998 at age 15 and was licensed as an exhorter by Presiding Elder H.L. Hall at the Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church in Gastonia, NC.Reverend Byrd attended Livingstone College, a historically black college in North Carolina where he served as a Presidential Scholar, President of the Student Government Association, NAACP, and member of the Board of Trustees. Rev. Byrd received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York, at Purchase. He was also an Undergraduate Fellow with the Fund for Theological Education. Currently, he is completing graduate course work in Religion at Harvard University.
Reverend Byrd has served in various capacities in local and national leadership. From 1998 to 2002 he was the National Chaplain for the Varick International Christian Youth Council. He is the Chairman of the board of trustees of Woodson University. He served as Vice-Chair of the board for the Brockton Church and Community after School Program, Trustee of the Robert Perry Corporation, Leon W. Watts II Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the Barber Scotia College Foundation.
As an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Reverend Byrd enjoyed successful pastorates in Brockton, Massachusetts and Greenport, New York. Reverend Byrd also served as the Senior Pastor of the historic Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, (Founded 1818) the oldest continuous black church in Brooklyn, New York. Reverend Byrd currently serves as the Senior Pastor of the First A.M.E. Zion Church-San Francisco, California, the oldest African American institution west of the Mississippi, organized in 1852, where through his leadership the membership has increased by 32% and congregational giving by 45%. The physical plant has been completely renovated with a redesigned chancel, a three manual pipe organ, new carpet, paint, and other improvements. Also, First Church hired its first paid Assistant minister in its 159 year history. Since arriving in San Francisco, he has been engaged in social and ecumenical ventures that have once again made First Church the hotbed of social justice activity in San Francisco.
Reverend Byrd has been described as a master orator with a keen focus upon English prose and lore of yesteryear. He speaks to over 100 audiences around the nation each year. He has been featured as a headliner at various national conferences, colleges and universities, religious congregations and civic observances. He has lectured and preached at Harvard University on numerous occasions at the invitation of its university ministry, and its late minister The Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes at The Memorial Church in the center of Harvard yard. One such lecture was titled, “The Life and Faith of Rev. Benjamin Franklin Wheeler, D.D.”, an A.M.E. Zion clergyman of the 19th century. He participated in a widely publicized discussion at the Schomburg Center for African American Research in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY. He has shared panels and pulpits with internationally renowned luminaries as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Gerasimos II, Rev. Calvin Butts, Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Amos C. Brown, Rev. Cecil Williams and others. His areas of speaking interest are vast covering a territory that spans from African American Religious History, particularly A.M.E. Zion Church History to Youth and Young Adult Development. At the 2004 Fall Convocation at Livingstone College, as the President of the Student Government Association, Reverend Byrd approached the lectern and delivered his opening address to the trustees, faculty and students entirely in Classical Latin (Much like Harvard, Brown, and other institutions). This moment has been called one of the most memorable events in the recent history of the 130 year old institution.
Reverend Byrd is a member of the American Academy of Religion, NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and a 32nd degree Prince Hall Mason.Currently at age 29, Reverend Byrd has spent a considerable amount of his life fighting for causes aimed at assisting the plight of downtrodden and marginalized people. He is fondly regarded as the “Picketing Preacher.” He shares the sentiment of the great civil rights clergyman, The Reverend Vernon Johns, “When you see a good fight, get in it!” Reverend Byrd hopes that though his various talks, lectures, addresses, and sermons that dormant levels of consciousness will be awakened as a rose reveling its unfurled glory for the first time before the heavens.
Reverend Byrd lives in San Francisco, California along with his wife, the former Dominique Jackson, alumnae of Mount Holyoke College and a professional actress/model.
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