Freedom in faith
The Rev. James LaFavor, Universal Christian Church of Christ, Oakland Park
He's pastor at Universal Church of Christ in Oakland Park. (Carey Wagner/Sun Sentinel / August 19, 2008)
September 14, 2008
Other job experience: Former chaplain, rehabilitation therapist and counselor at South Florida State
Pines; Vietnam War veteran, serving as an Army infantryman from 1965 to 1967.
Other community posts: Former minister for Broward Detention Center, Pompano Beach.
Education: Bachelor of science degree in community psychology from Nova University, Davie; master's degree in Christian counseling from South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary,
Personal: Born and raised in Louisville, Ga. Florida resident since 1964.
Family: Married to wife EllaRee LaFavor. Children: Evelyn, 44; Sharon, 41; Yolanda, 34; James, 37; Trahern, 28.
How did you get into your vocation?
My father, Frank LaFavor, now 97, of Louisville, Ga., inspired me to become a minister. He has served as a deacon for 76 years. At 26, I conducted my first sermon at the Church of Christ in Fort Lauderdale. When I became 28, I was ordained as a minister at the Church of Christ.
What's the one most mistaken impression about your faith?
People don't know the joy, support and freedom they will find in our faith.
If you couldn't be a minister, what would you be?
I would be a civil lawyer. I always loved justice and law. I love to try to help make the world a better place.
What do you do to relax?
I love road trips, exercising, walking, and listening to gospel and classical music. I also meditate and pray.
I like family gatherings, like picnics.
Do you have a treasured possession?
The book A Testament of Hope, by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It raises one's conscience on the meaning of true discipleship and universal love.
Favorite vacation spot?
Harlem and the Bronx. I enjoy the museums and historical places. I also like the feeling of New York, with its masses of people and everything moving fast. I love to walk the streets, shop, eat hot dogs and watch the people pass by. I enjoy New York City trains and subway cars. And I like the snow during the winter.
Favorite TV shows?
Court TV. I get knowledge of how the justice system works. I also enjoy watching debates between the lawyers.
The Ten Commandments. My favorite scene was when God provided a bridge so Moses and the Israelites could cross the Red Sea to make it to the Promised Land.
Favorite music and performer(s)?
Gospel music and Shirley Caesar. I feel her songs are anointing and inspirational for people. All of her songs promote righteousness and love for God.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
I could always be more patient with people and with God.
Is there one thing you can't stand?
I can't stand hypocrites or play actors, people who say one thing and do another. I like integrity, honesty and realness.
What would you like most to be remembered for?
To be known as a friend to all people and that I did my best to improve their lifestyles. I also want people to remember that I did my best to help the lives of the poor and downtrodden.
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