j. edgar boyd*First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles celebrated the inauguration of its new pastor, Rev. J. Edgar Boyd.

The preacher delivered his first sermon as head pastor Sunday morning, igniting a new excitement in the congregation.

Addressing worshipers, a seemingly nervous Boyd used parables to talk about forgiveness, says the L.A. Times. But to the thousands in the packed room, the message was clear: A new leader was at the helm to restore the image of the oldest black pulpit in Los Angeles.

“Holding grudges cripples the soul,” Boyd said. “It makes you weak… The time has come to cleanse us and welcome us in the favors of God.”

A week ago, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland unexpectedly reassigned the former pastor, John J. Hunter, after a controversial eight years that included a sexual harassment lawsuit, a federal tax investigation and questionable use of church credit cards.

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