“A message from Otis Moss III always teaches about love, justice and commitment to the community,” according to Common, hip-hop artist, actor and a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. “It’s good to have a pastor who’s real and relevant.”
One of Chautauqua’s favorite preachers, Moss returns as chaplain for Week Five. He will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday Ecumenical Service of Worship and Sermon in the Amphitheater, and will share some of his faith story at the 5 p.m. Sunday, July 21 Vespers in the Hall of Philosophy. He will preach at the 9:15 a.m. Ecumenical Service, Monday, July 22 through Friday, July 26 in the Amp. His Sunday sermon, drawing on Luke 5:17-26, is “By Any Means Necessary.” Sermons for the rest of the week include “This Is Us: Part 1,” “This Is Us: Part 2,” “Repairing the Jericho Road” and “A Liberation Ministry.”
In his Twitter biography, Moss describes himself as “a Jazz-influenced Pastor with a hip-hop vibe. Saved by Jesus, Inspired by Zora Neale Hurston, blessed by Howard Thurman & Amazed by August Wilson.”
Moss is senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and has built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. At Trinity, Moss preaches a black theology that calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice and economic inequality.
An ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ, Moss is the former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia, where, in his first pastorate, the church grew from 125 members to over 2,100 during his tenure.
“The church has a unique location of being a village,” Moss told Tyler Sit for Ebony in 2017. “I know of no other institution that has the ability to bless a baby, care for an elder, fund a scholarship for a teenager, work with a couple on the verge of divorce, organize a neighborhood after a shooting, visit people in jail, advocate against mass incarceration, have a farmers market, employ people who come out of prison, and help people understand how all of that is related to what (theologian Paul) Tillich calls ’the ultimate concern,’ the love of Christ.”
Moss is on the boards of Auburn Seminary and the Faith-In-Place/Action Fund, and is chaplain of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference and a senior fellow in the Auburn Seniors Fellow Program. He was named to the inaugural “Root 100,” a list that “recognizes emerging and established African American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions,” according to The Root’s website.
Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College, earned a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the author of Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair; Redemption in a Red Light District and The Gospel According to the Wiz: And Other Sermons from Cinema. He co-authored The Gospel Remix: How to Reach the Hip-Hop Generation with three other contributors, and Preach! The Power and Purpose behind Our Praise, with his father, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr.