Photo caption: Reverend Adrienne Terry, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Southwest DC.
Friends, colleagues, and members of the Southwest community are advised of the passing of Reverend Adrienne Terry on June 25, 2016. Pastor Terry was born on Nov. 6, 1950 in Detroit, Michigan. She was the eldest of two children in the union of Willie L. and Nettie M. Terry. At age 16, Pastor Terry received a full scholarship from the Martin Luther King Foundation to attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She became the first person in her family to receive a college degree, graduating from Western Michigan with a degree in special education. She began her career as a special education teacher in the Royal Oak Michigan school system, where she met and married Edsel Goode. The couple was blessed with one child, Casey Lynnette.
Pastor Terry was passionate about issues pertaining to women, children, poverty, and HIV/AIDS. At age 29 she became the principal of Edgemeade School for troubled youth. She later served as a program director at For Love of Children and City Lights. During this time, Pastor Terry received her master’s degree in education from The George Washington University. She then joined the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There, Pastor Terry planned and implemented the first faith-based conference and encouraged the faith constituency to address issues of HIV and AIDS. While working full time, she obtained her master’s degree in divinity from the Wesley Theological Seminary and later became an ordained elder and deacon in the United Methodist Church.
She was an active member in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. Pastor Terry trained church leaders and served as a member of the Commission on Race and Religion, the Committee on Children and Poverty, and Black Methodists for Church Renewal. She also served as a colloquy leader on the faculty of Wesley Theological Seminary-Urban Ministry Program in the Practice in Mission and Ministry program. At Wesley she served on seminary committees that supported the Urban Ministry program, led mission trips to orphanages in Haiti, and established partnerships with nonprofits focused on assisting teen prostitutes and homeless women.
As a Pastor, Rev. Terry served at the following churches: She was appointed in 2000 to West River/Churchton: Oakland/Franklin Cooperative Parish, in 2001 to Franklin United Methodist Church, in 2003 to Asbury United Methodist Church, in 2004 to St Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Baltimore, and in 2009 to Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC) in Southwest DC.
At CUMC she fostered a number of ministries including the youth mentoring program for boys, the godmother’s program for the Glory Girls ministry, the noon day prayer service with Greater Works Ministries, the AYA Farmers Market with the Dreaming Out Loud nonprofit organization, the Amidon School food distribution effort, the annual school supplies drive, and a host of other community based ministries.
James 1:22 urges: “You must be doers of the word and not only hearers.” Reverend Terry was a doer of the word and she encouraged the CUMC congregation to be doers in our church and community. Within the Southwest community, Rev. Terry was a staunch advocate for Greenleaf Gardens, represented the Southwest community to the DC government related to new building plans and other projects, collaborated with members of the clergy in Southwest to host joint services, and eagerly opened CUMC for community meetings and events. She believed that CUMC was uniquely situated to bring all parts of the Southwest community together in the same space to worship and hold dialogues about the ways in which we are more alike than different. She ended service each Sunday with the charge “You are dismissed to serve.”
She drew ministries out of people that did not know they had them and nudged individuals in the direction of God’s plan for their lives. Rev. Terry was passionate about working with children and youth and guided her congregation to establish mentoring and tutoring programs for the youth in our community, included bi-monthly youth messages on Sundays, monthly youth leadership of Sunday service, building support for a youth summer camp and an annual youth conference, and arranging the distribution of supplies. One of the young people with whom she worked shared: ”She was driven to help the youth in our church and community to educate and provide us with the exposure to empower youth to become future leaders for Jesus Christ.” Music was one of her inspirations and she loved it all—from R&B to gospel to country to Caribbean beats. Pastor Terry also loved pets, especially dogs and cats, and included them lovingly in her weekly bible study at the Church.
Pastor Terry responded to anyone in pain, whether or not you were a member of her church. If you were suffering, she would not let you bear it alone—offering prayer, listening, and talking with you. Galatians 6:2 calls on us to bear one another’s burdens and Rev. Terry honored that call throughout her life.
Pastor Terry’s passion for public service extended beyond her appointment at CUMC. She was a strong advocate for affordable housing in Washington DC as a community leader in the DC Inspire project. She was a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., in the Nu Xi Zeta Chapter in Northern Virginia. In 2004 she became a research advocate for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Since 2009, Pastor Terry served as a volunteer in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence.
Most of all she was the keystone for her family and a loyal friend to many. Pastor Terry was preceded in death by her grandmother Rosie Gordon. She is survived by her daughter Casey (Kelvin Stewart); two grandchildren, Kelvin “Charlie” and Vivian Cara; her mother Nettie Mae Terry; and her sister Sylvia Fleming (Keith Fleming).
Charitable donations may be made to Beyond Borders (www.beyondborders.net), located at 5016 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington, DC 20008.