Considered a “preacher par excellence,” Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. is the retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ where he was pastor for 36 years, 1972-2008. His parents – Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Sr. and Dr. Mary Henderson Wright – were his earliest influences, instilling in him the possibility of balancing the intellectual with the spiritual. Armed with this philosophical upbringing, Dr. Wright pastored Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ since 1972, seeing its membership grow from eighty-seven adult members to a congregation of nearly 10,000. Dr. Wright’s early education took place in Philadelphia’s public schools. From there, he went on to earn a B.A. and M.A. from Howard University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in divinity from United Theological College, where he studied under the eminent late Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor.
Dr. Wright takes seriously not only the call to worship but also the call to take action as mandated by the Gospel. Wright, who began the “Ministers in Training” program at Trinity United Church of Christ, has been a national leader in promoting theological education and the preparation of seminarians for the African-American church. The church’s mission statement is based upon systematized black theology that started with the works of James Hal Cone.
Prior to his pastorate, Trinity had adopted the motto “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian” and Dr. Wright set out to make activism within and on behalf of the African American community a key aspect of the church’s mission. An outspoken community leader, Wright has been vocal in making once-taboo issues, such as AIDS, a priority within the African American church leadership and service. His commitment to political activism coupled with his dedication to the African American sermonic tradition has made him a highly sought-after speaker nationally and internationally.
Wright is the recipient of numerous awards, including three honorary doctorates and three presidential commendations. An accomplished musician and author, Dr. Wright has written four books, numerous articles and countless sermons and was voted one of Ebony Magazine’s top fifteen preachers. In addition to national and international ministry, Wright serves on several boards of directors and committees. Married to Rev. Dr. Ramah Reed Wright, Dr. Wright has five children and three grandchildren.