Rev. Greggory L. Brown, M.Div. ’80
What do you do?
I am Senior Pastor at Miracles of Faith Community Church (ELCA). I am blessed to serve a wonderful and diverse community in East Oakland, CA, with loving support and practical services that include, uplift, and unify all of God’s people.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Our community is extraordinarily diverse. We have church members representing a wide spectrum of countries, various social backgrounds, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and age. The young members of our church community know that diversity is to be embraced and celebrated rather than a cause for discord. These youths learn from the example of their church mentors that we can talk openly about our differences and conflicts, using compassion to elevate our understanding above violence. I know that the faith, love, and support of our church community have helped unite our neighborhood even when circumstances have been less than favorable. The work of our united church community carries on with future generations. Detrimental cycles have been broken, hope has been restored, and the youth of our church community are harbingers of the new East Oakland.
How did Union prepare you for this?
I came from Indiana where diversity was scarce. My 1978 Master of Divinity class had the highest numbers of women and African Americans to date. I was awed and personally moved to see so many minorities as students as well as in teaching and faculty positions. Having instructors and mentors at Union who were some of the greatest intellectuals, theologians, and activists for social justice of that time, many of whom were also African American and/or women, lit the fire within me to advocate for social justice. I learned how to execute liberation theology as a powerful instrument to uplift and transform people, congregations, neighborhoods, and society. My experience at Union set the stage for me to be open and inclusive as a leader in my own church and community.
How have you stayed connected to Union?
In addition to following Union events and publications, I enjoy collaborating with alumni/ae in my own Union class and beyond. Our shared experience of Union Theological Seminary helps to define us beyond being Christians and theologians. Union empowered us to be change-makers, uplifting God’s people through liberation theology and activism for social justice.
What would you say to someone considering going to Union?
If you have a desire to make real-world change and uplift humanity
in God’s love, then Union will prepare you in ways you can only begin