Controversial pastor to speak at Dallas church

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is scheduled to preach Sunday at a church in Dallas, following his cancellation of public appearances last month after the release of clips in the media of the pastor’s controversial comments.

Wright will be one of several guest preachers this month at the Friendship-West Baptist Church as part of the Rev. Frederick Haynes’ 25th pastoral anniversary celebration, said Veta Holt, chief administrations officer at the church.

“We have a relationship with Dr. Wright,” Holt said. “He’s been coming for 20 years.”

Wright cited security concerns for canceling an appearance at Friendship-West last month where he was to speak as the honoree of Brite Divinity School‘s fourth annual Black Church Summit. Wright also canceled a summit-event appearance at Paul Quinn College in Dallas.

Elizabeth Payne, executive assistant to Haynes, said the media frenzy surrounding Wright has waned. She said the church will provide security like it does for all guests and services, which includes the presence of Dallas police inside and outside of the church.

The Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Wright’s congregation, did not return calls seeking comment on the pastor’s visit.

Brite came under fire after reaffirming its decision to honor Wright following the airing of clips of the pastor’s sermons in which he condemns the U.S. government for promoting racism and terrorism. The Black Church Summit, originally scheduled to take place on the TCU campus in March, was moved to Dallas after the university’s Board of Trustees voted to move the event off campus citing security issues.

Wright will preach at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Holt said. The pastor will not be speaking to the press, she said.

Wright will give his first interview since the release of the sermon snippets to Bill Moyers, a journalist and fellow United Church of Christ member, according to the United Church of Christ Web site. The interview will air at 9 p.m. Friday on KERA/PBS Channel 13.

The Rev. Myron Cloyd, a Brite student and friend of Wright, said Wright’s Dallas visit is an opportunity for people who have not seen him preach before to listen to the pastor’s message firsthand.

“I think this provides an opportunity not only to look at different things, but to look at things differently,” said Cloyd, pastor of the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ in Houston. “We can look upon the experience of others with disdain, or we can look at it with interest.”