February is Black History Month, and a perfect time to remember FPCH’s first pastor of spiritual formation and lover of Jesus Christ, the late Rev. Dr. Dorothy Cross, who passed to glory at age 79 in 2002. Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie was senior pastor, and said to the LA Times in 1991, “Dorothy Cross has been called to this position because she is the best in the field. It is an added plus that she is female and black.” In honoring her historic call, below is an excerpt of an article we published in First Press, the forerunner of ePres today (thank you to Kimi Walker for researching this). At the time, we were a congregation of 4,300, one of the 10 largest Presbyterian churches in the nation, and Dr. Cross was one of 8 ministers on FPCH staff. She had been a master teacher in Chicago Public Schools for 20 years before her call to ministry. We thank our Lord and Savior Jesus for her faithful service among us.
From First Press, December 1990:
“The Rev. Dr. Dorothy Freeman Cross is pretty excited about the congregation at FPCH…. ‘You seem very concerned about emptying out yourselves and filling yourselves with Christ,’ she says….
As much as she values FPCH people, they were not what drew Dr. Cross here first.
That distinction goes to Lloyd Ogilvie, whom she met two years ago when he spoke at an evangelism crusade in Chicago and she was the worship leader. Dr. Cross was very impressed with him.
She made an impression on him as well. After that first meeting, he began praying that God would bring Dr. Cross to our church.
Her introduction to FPCH came when, on a visit to the Los Angeles area, she delivered a prayer in the worship services and taught the Lamplighters class. This year, at the request of Pastor Mark Roberts, she was the speaker at College Briefing and our All Church Conference at Forest Home.
Through these visits, Dr. Cross has come to know and become quite fond of Mark, Pastor Scott Erdman and College Director Tod Bolsinger in addition to our senior pastor….
It’s a big challenge. There is no precedent at FPCH for the position — or for that matter, in any Presbyterian church in the United States…. She was born and raised in Little Rock, Ark., by Native American great-grandparents who’d left the Choctaw reservation in Georgia. Her great-grandfather was a committed Christian whose faith had a great influence on Dr. Cross.”