The Rev. Glencie Rhedrick, associate minister at First Baptist Church-West, is active in social justice work in Charlotte.
“If my brother and sister are not doing well, then I cannot celebrate any progress that I make,” she says. She works with the homeless, the underemployed, those without safe housing, affordable health care or voting rights – and tries to act as a “voice for the voiceless.”
Rhedrick, 60, grew up in Wilmington. She remembers the family moving to Charlotte “the same year President Kennedy was killed,” in 1963. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Johnson C. Smith University in 1976. Later, after a master’s in Human Resources Management and Development from National-Louis University in Chicago, she studied at Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology in Richmond, Va., traveling back and forth from Charlotte each weekend for three years until she received her M.Div. in 2007. Rhedrick is also a PRN chaplain on call for hospitals in Carolinas Healthcare System.
And she’s been a real estate agent for 13 years – a practice that is also a ministry for her. “When I started out in real estate, my primary focus were single mothers who wanted to own their own homes (and) provide their children with a safe place to live.” Rhedrick is immediate past president of Mecklenburg Ministries.
As associate minister at First Baptist Church-West, where she has served since 2005, Rhedrick acts as bereavement minister, leading a team that provides longtime support for families after they have lost loved ones. She also serves as a youth minister. One other “great passion,” she says, is her role as advocate for victims of domestic violence and for children. For nine years, she has been involved in a candlelight vigil to end domestic violence; she and a colleague have sponsored it with Beatties Ford Regional Library for the past five years. The 2014 theme is “Breaking the Chains.”
Q. When did you know you wanted to be in the clergy?
A. I don’t think that the question for me is when did I know I wanted to be in the clergy. For me, it’s a calling. When did I know that the call was on my life? I was very young … I would say 3. I knew that there was something different about me. When did I accept my call, however, was much later in life.
Q. What person shaped your religious philosophy the most?
A. My grandmother. I spent a great deal of time with her growing up. I watched her behavior. I learned how to read the Bible from her, and I did many of the mission projects that she did, and watched her love for humanity, her love for the least of these. My grandmother would be called today a great chef and a great baker, and she would always prepare enough food to feed the community. So anyone hungry would know that they could knock on her door and receive a hot plate.
Q. What sermon you would give if you could change the world?
A. The sermon … would come from Romans 12:1-2, which is my favorite scripture. It says, “Don’t be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If we take the time to continue to be open to learning and understanding, what a different kind of place this would be.
Q. What do you enjoy most about Charlotte?
A. I like the fact that we have many sports teams – I love sports, basketball being one of my favorites. And the people. We’ve grown from a simple city to a large, diverse city with different persons of every race, every faith and every culture.
Q. Your favorite quote?
A. The scripture I gave you, and one by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Q. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?
A. “Well done, my faithful servant, well done.”