Mary Lee Talbot
The Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., will be the chaplain of the week for Week Eight at Chautauqua.
He seeks daily to extend Metropolitan’s nearly two centuries-long legacy of bearing witness to and ushering into this world the reign of the living God. Under his leadership, Metropolitan remains committed to worship, liberation and service.
Lamar will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship in the Amphitheater. His sermon title is “An Open Door.” He will also preach at the 9:15 a.m. Monday through Friday morning worship services in the Amp. His sermon titles include “Take Your Scroll,” “We’ve Got Some Difficult Days Ahead,” “Universalism?,” “The Fall” and “The New Jerusalem.”
On the night of Dec. 12, 2020, the Proud Boys attacked the “Black Lives Matter” sign outside the Metropolitan AME Church and destroyed it. In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, Lamar wrote, “The mythology that motivated the perpetrators on Saturday night was the underbelly of the American narrative — that white men can employ violence to take what they want and do what they want and call that criminality justice, freedom and liberty.”
Metropolitan AME was founded in 1872 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Frederick Douglass worshiped there; Ida B. Wells and Booker T. Washington spoke there.
“We tell people it is indeed the longest continuously held piece of property with unbroken African-American ownership in the District of Columbia,” Lamar wrote.
The congregation sued the Proud Boys and last month on July 3, a judge awarded the congregation about $1 million in compensation.
“The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church has a long, esteemed history of standing against bigotry and hate,” Lamar wrote. “Our courage and determination to fight back in response to the 2020 attack on our church is a beacon of hope for our community and today’s ruling showed us what our collective vision and voice can achieve.”
“While A.M.E. refused to be silenced in the face of white supremacist violence, that does not mean real trauma and damage did not occur – merely that congregants and the church have and will continue to rise above it. Our church is rooted in the theological vision that humankind is one family. Institutions like ours must continue to lead the way toward a new narrative and white supremacist institutions must be an erased element.”
Before becoming pastor at Metropolitan, Lamar was the managing director of Leadership Education at Duke University Divinity School, from 2008 to 2011. Through his association with Duke, he convened and resourced executive pastors of large churches, denominational finance executives, young denominational leaders, Methodist bishops, and the constituency of Lilly Endowment’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program.
He previously served congregations in Monticello, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; and Hyattsville, Maryland.
For 20 years, Lamar has been actively involved with Direct Action Research Training, Industrial Areas Foundation, and the Washington Interfaith Network to organize for justice in local communities. Most recently, he has collaborated with Repairers of the Breach, Poor People’s Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival, Center for Community Change, and People Improving Communities through Organization to enact social and economic justice and to exhibit a real embrace of the beloved community.
Lamar earned the bachelor’s degree in public management with a minor in philosophy and religion and a certificate in human resource management (magna cum laude) from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1996. In 1999, he earned a master of divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School. Lamar is currently a doctoral student in the inaugural cohort of Christian Theological Seminary’s doctor of philosophy program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric and has published articles in a wide range of outlets.