Biography Of Rev. Dr. Frederick O Murph
Frederick Ormonde Murph was born in Los Angeles, California to Rev. Henry Wendell Murph and Mrs. Geraldine Stiles Murph. He is the youngest of four siblings: Henry Wendell Murph Jr.; Jacqueline Murph Hajes; and Ronald Weston Murph. Frederick's father was elected and consecrated the 86th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1968. Bishop Murph served as a Bishop for 38 years. Upon his death on October 26th 2006, Bishop Murph was the longest serving Bishop in World Methodism.
Dr. Murph is a graduate of Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California. He holds degrees from the following schools: The American University Washington D.C., Associate of Arts Degree; B.S. Degree in Sociology; B. S. Degree in Religion. Howard University, School of Divinity, Masters of Divinity Degree. Monrovia College, Doctor of Humanities Degree.
Dr. Murph entered the Ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1977. He was assigned to his first church, St. Stephen's A.M.E. in Elkridge, Maryland in 1978. Dr. Murph served at St. Stephen's for three and a half years during which time he renovated the entire church in a span of three months and paid for it in full. In 1982, Dr. Murph was assigned to St. Stephen's A.M.E Church in Essex, Maryland during which time he established a Radio Station Broadcast Ministry which reached over 100,000 people, in addition to making renovations and negotiating contracts which benefited the church greatly.
In 1986, Dr. Murph was assigned to First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland, California where he served for ten years. During his tenure at First AME Church, Dr. Murph completed numerous renovation projects. He rebuilt the church sanctuary following the Loma Preita Earthquake of 1989 at a cost of two million dollars. Dr. Murph built the Anderson-Murph office Building, purchased a new parsonage for the church, reorganized the music department, usher boards and created numerous organizations. Dr. Murph took over 1800 new members into First AME Church. He was also a very popular television personality in Oakland. Dr. Murph was the host of "Community Awareness Forum," which was a live one hour call-in talk show which aired on Sundays at 4:00pm on Channel 37 KSBT T.V. Oakland, California.
In 1996, Dr. Murph was assigned to Brookins Community AME Church in Los Angeles, California. After an extensive nationwide search for the replacement of former pastor T. Larry Kirkland, who had been elected a Bishop in the AME Church, Dr. Murph was chosen to be Kirkland's replacement. Dr. Murph is only the second pastor of Brookins Community AME Church, Los Angeles. During Dr. Murph's twelve year tenure at Brookins Community AME Church, he completed the following: renovated the main church building at a cost of 1.8 million dollars; renovated the Brookins Community Development Center at a cost 1. 1 million dollars; renovated three other church properties at a cost of 1.5 million dollars; created The Maxine Waters Emancipation Home for Women; The Florence Brothers After School Program; The Mesearu-Ephriam-Villaraigosa Free Legal Clinic; The Vernon R. Byrd Child Development Center; was interviewed by NBC Nightly News numerous times on various issues affecting our nation.
Dr. Murph took into the church over 4,000 new members during his pastorate at Brookins Community AME Church, Los Angeles California. He has received numerous awards and citations from national, state, county and city governments as well as from many organizations throughout the United States. Dr. Murph is known as an inspirational spirit-led preacher and motivational speaker who is in demand all around the world.
Honoring My Father - The Late Bishop Henry Wendell Murph: His Story, His Life, The Greatest Man I Know
Many Thanks to Jocelyn Stewart, Staff Writer of the L.A. Times for recognizing my Father and his many contributions to society.
The Sunday after the Watts riots, as the community around him lay burned and smoldering, the Rev. Henry W. Murph opened the doors of Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church and again ministered to the congregation's needs.
Throughout the riots, the church had been a calming force, distributing food and other assistance, negotiating with National Guard troops. Now the doors of the church were open to acknowledge the anger, the heavy hearts -- and to require more of its members and the community.
"I recognize there are many injustices heaped on people of color," Murph told the 200 congregants, according to a 1965 Times article. "But no amount of discrimination ought to cause a man to break into a liquor store. No amount of police brutality should cause a man to steal guns and beds."
For his efforts at reconciliation, Murph was awarded the governor's Distinguished Service Award. To those who knew him, it was just one example of an approach that defined Murph's career: In the most difficult of situations, he looked for the best in people.
The Right Reverend Henry Wendell Murph, who became one of the longest-serving bishops in the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, died Oct. 26 at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. He was 95. The cause of death was believed to be complications of congestive heart failure and other illnesses, said his son, the Rev. Frederick O. Murph.
"He saved so many people in terms of their ministry by not giving up on them, extending himself and believing people could excel," said Murph, pastor of Brookins Community AME Church in Los Angeles.
A beloved figure in the city, the senior Murph served 18 years as pastor of Grant, before being elected to the episcopacy in 1968. Bishop John R. Bryant, who currently presides over the district that includes Los Angeles, called Murph's legacy in the city tremendous, not only because of his role in building Grant, but also because of the guidance he offered a long list of ministers.
"He really had patience with young ministers and was a father figure to many of us," Bryant said. "Not only did he put us in positions of leadership and authority, but then he taught us how to succeed in those places."
Murph was born Dec. 29, 1910, in Orangeburg, S.C., the son of an AME minister who taught his children the ethics of hard work and striving for excellence. Murph earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Oberlin College in 1937 and a master of sacred theology degree from the college's graduate school in 1938.
Oberlin opened its doors to African American students at a time when many other institutions of higher learning would not. But Murph came of age in a nation that was segregated, in which institutionalized racism was rampant.
Injustices in society and within the Christian church deeply concerned Murph. In his master's thesis he wrote that such discrimination had no foundation in the words of Christ. It stands "in bald contradiction to his most cherished teachings and daily dream of a world of peace and brotherhood, in which the gift of divine love would hold sway in the hearts and lives of all men."
After graduating, Murph served as professor at several colleges, but his desire was to pastor. He headed a number of churches and in 1941 was chosen to lead St. Philip AME Church in Savannah, Ga., becoming one of the youngest ministers in that church's history. He succeeded, an online church history reads, because of his "ability to get the full cooperation of the membership."
In 1945, Murph married Geraldine Stiles; the couple would have four children. In addition to his son Frederick, the bishop is survived by his wife of 61 years; his daughter, Jacquelyn Taylor-Hadjis; and two other sons, Henry Jr. and Ronald.
The Murph family arrived in Los Angeles in 1950, when the membership of Grant was small and the church building at 108th and Compton Avenue was badly in need of repairs. On a rainy day it was drier outside than it was in the church, Murph said when recalling those early days.
The members then were hesitant to embark on a building campaign, so, using his own money, Murph paid the $50 non refundable deposit on land at 105th and Central Avenue for a new church structure.
Four years later the land was the site of a 1,000-seat sanctuary, which was paid for in five years, according to a 1968 Times article.
Among his congregation, Murph's aim was to build up the spiritual lives of men and women, said Frederick Murph. That required him to exercise patience, forgiveness and selflessness.
He said, “God will do the spanking."
In a community where housing projects were plentiful, Murph carried the message of the church into the neighborhood. He also reached those unable to attend church with his distribution of audio taped services.
In 1968, at the 38th General Conference in Philadelphia, Murph was elected a bishop, the 86th in the denomination's history. His new role took him across the nation and to southern Africa.
In 1975, while presiding over the district that includes Baltimore, he selected a then-31-year-old Bryant to head one of the city's leading churches—the opportunity of a lifetime.
"He just wanted the best for us," Bryant said, referring to Murph's willingness to assist others. "He was a very bright man who cared much about the development of the black church."
In the days before his death, when he was ailing and clearly exhausted, Murph instructed his youngest son to care for his wife. He said his goodbyes. He offered opportunities for closure to those who needed them most. It was one final act of preparing others to give their best, even in the most difficult of times.
"He invested in people, because he believed people were the means by which God transformed the world," Frederick Murph said.