Twenty years ago, Cedrick Bridgeforth was drawn to Claremont School of Theology CST by its commitment to openness, diversity, and scholarship, and he treasures his years at Claremont. “My time at CST as a Master of Divinity student (1997-2000) and then as Director of Alumni and Church relations (2001-03) exposed me to the great connection our seminaries can have in the life of local churches and in developing a culture of call within our broader culture.”
Claremont School of Theology is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.
Further, the opportunities Cedrick had to explore beyond Eurocentric and classic theological texts redefined his call as an ordained clergyperson. “Doing work in the intersections of conflicting theologies, warring identities, and yet-to-be-voiced perspectives have become my ministry’s hallmarks,” he said.
Today, Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth has taken on a new role as Director of Innovation and Communication for the California-Pacific Annual Conference. In his new position, Cedrick looks forward to “the adventure of coming alongside laity and clergy in various communities who have dreams that need champions and voice to bring them to fruition.”
He is eager, he said, to share stories of new and innovative evangelism, mission and administration going forward. “The art of sharing testimonies is deep in my soul, and I see the merging of these roles of innovation and communications as a perfect place to revive and refine that art in our context. We have great stories to bring into being, and we have great stories that need a platform from which to share them. I get to be a part of that process and all the possibilities they bring to the world.”
Cedrick’s seminary relationships continue to nourish his life and clergy connection. “The value gained from exploring multiple theological perspectives prepared me for ecumenical and interfaith work and deeper community relations work in urban and rural areas. Being exposed and remaining open to what is before me has made the difference in ministry and in life,” he said. He added, “The educational tools, social relations and theological exploration gifted to me at CST have served me well. Though the specifics of every situation faced in a local church or extension ministry setting were not addressed, I gained the confidence to know it can be solved and that no matter how I choose to go at it, I am not in it alone.”
Born in Decatur, Alabama, Cedrick served four years in the United States Air Force. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and a Doctor of Education in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.
He served as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, and directed academic programs and outreach at the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies, University of La Verne. In addition to heading California-Pacific General and jurisdictional conference delegations, Cedrick founded 20/20 Leadership Lessons Inc.
Claremont School of Theology website, Claremont, CA
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Ministerial Education Fund is at the heart of preparing people for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The 13 United Methodist seminaries help students to discover their calling through the challenging curriculum. The fund enables the church to increase financial support for recruiting and educating ordained and diaconal ministers and to equip annual conferences to meet increased demands. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment at 100 percent.