By: Barato Britt
Thanksgiving is taking on a rather poignant tone in Martindale Brightwood.
The residents and community stakeholders remain in the midst of an exciting transition, marked by significant investments in educational options and housing, consistent with the community’s overall strategic plan.
As it trudges toward a revival, it does so on the shoulders of long-time residents and community leaders that have committed their lives to positive change.
This month, the community bid goodbye to one of those leaders, whose stalwart vision and passion helped improve countless lives.
With his transition to Glory on November 12, the community last week paid proper deference and respect to Pastor Frank Alexander, a man whose impact in Martindale Brightwood, and across the globe will be felt for generations.
The former Pastor of Oasis of Hope Baptist Church, his 40-year pastorate, saw the explosion of community development activities as part of the church’s Christ-centered caring ministries. Among them, the church via its community development corporations acquired housing for community families and built senior apartments that were connected not only to the church’s social service apparatuses but the larger community as well.
Commissioned as a missionary by the American Baptist Churches, USA in 1974, pastor’s global footprint was solidified via his service as the director for Missions for Rural Africa, and the co-founder of Oasis MODUC (Mission Orphanage for Disabled and Unaccompanied Children in Liberia.)
Ever keenly focused on positive youth outcomes, Pastor, and his wife sister Shirley Alexander, long lent their voices and influence to affect the lives of youth through a comprehensive wrap-around approach. Of this, I can speak from a direct example as I met Pastor first as an 8-year-old, via Baptist Youth Camp, a 5-day annual staple of my youth. To this day, Sister Alexander provides sage counsel via perspectives on education reform and the historical impacts of desegregation and displacement.
Along the way, I am forever grateful that I would follow the path he helped lay at Edna Martin Christian Center, where Pastor followed Mrs. Martin as the Center’s Executive Director. For those of us blessed by his counsel and unwavering support, continued service is our obligation as we walk behind such a large footprint.
True icons don’t toot their own horns; they don’t have to. The work they put in does all the talking. Community giants become such by the impact they make while on Earth, and the legacy they leave when they depart.
Pastor Frank Alexander embodied all that it means to be both.