Rev. Mark Whitlock Named to Orange County’s List of 100 Most Influential People of 2016 for Bringing Together Faith Groups and Law Enforcement

Pastor Mark Whitlock of Aliso Viejo, right, his office at Irvine's Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church. "Take his picture," Pastor Whitlock says pointing to friend/board member Mark Reed. Images of famous African Americans, including President Obama, grace his church. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: ocheroes.0508.cy – 05/06/14 – CINDY YAMANAKA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Pastor Mark Whitlock of Aliso Viejo founded the Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine in 1998. Whitlock built COR into one of the largest predominately African American congregations in Orange County with a reputation of speaking truth to power and reaching out to the multi-ethnic community.
Pastor Mark Whitlock of Aliso Viejo, right, his office at Irvine’s Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church. “Take his picture,” Pastor Whitlock says pointing to friend/board member Mark Reed. Images of famous African Americans, including President Obama, grace his church.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: ocheroes.0508.cy – 05/06/14 – CINDY YAMANAKA, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Pastor Mark Whitlock of Aliso Viejo founded the Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine in 1998. Whitlock built COR into one of the largest predominately African American congregations in Orange County with a reputation of speaking truth to power and reaching out to the multi-ethnic community.

Age: 62

Role: Senior pastor, Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Irvine

Bio: Whitlock serves as the executive director of USC’s Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement and president of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies at the University of La Verne. He received his bachelor’s degree in religion from La Verne and his master’s in social entrepreneurship from USC. He lives in Aliso Viejo with the Rev. Hermia Shegog Whitlock, his wife of 33 years. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Why he is an influencer: Whitlock and his church spearheaded the Solidarity March in August, bringing together organizations of faith and law enforcement. He also was instrumental in starting the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Interfaith Advisory Council in January.

Biggest challenge: “Help police hear the voice and cry of our young people, and to help them see the implicit bias many of us have when it comes to African American men.”

Thoughts on community organizing: “Community organizing is a must, and the church must lead the way.”

Inspiration: “It’s always been Jesus Christ. He was a community organizer, social entrepreneur, freedom fighter and peacemaker.”

Can’t live without: “My wife. She keeps me focused. She supports me when I’m not feeling great and corrects me when I’m on the wrong path.”

What’s next: “We (Christ Our Redeemer) are working to start a school (preschool through middle school) to meet the needs of our children in Orange County so they have better opportunities than their parents had.”

Source: Orange County Register | DEEPA BHARATH

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