Pastor Frederick LaMarr
“My passion has been in Columbus. I haven’t lived no place [sic] else. Born, bled, bred right here in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is the heart of it all. I love it here and I love serving here.”
Pastor Frederick LaMarr was born and raised in Columbus’ southeast side. A graduate of East High School, he then took Business Management courses at Columbus Business University (CBU), working for Big Bear post-graduation. During his 24 years at Big Bear, he obtained his pastoral education and in 1997 he became pastor at the Family Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor LaMarr’s advocacy appears in little ways. Purchasing his first home in the 1980s, where he still lives, he purchases housing in the community and makes sure that the community sees him. “I stay on the same street, just a mile and a half away from where I work at the church. So I walk to church every Sunday, I don't drive. So walking to church, people in the community see me as a vibrant part of the community. So just trying to stay connected to the community to try to bring about change”.
Pastor LaMarr has been married to his teenage sweetheart for 37 years. They have one daughter together. He even had a television program on Bounce television called, ‘Pulse of the City’ where he would highlight everyday people in the community promoting the good work they did. Pastor LaMarr’s church is a beacon for the South Side community; a place of connection and engagement. “I geared it [the church] into outreach because I felt that if a church has to be in the community. The church has to be actively engaged in the community and the church has to be like a lighthouse to the community. So since 2004, we started doing outreach and engagement similar to Min. Hopkins, we have always shared in both of the outreach. The main thing was to really engage a connection between the community because I saw a disconnect between elderly and young people. We've been trying to show that bring that connection back in, we have committed ourselves as the vanguard of the Southside community”.
An event hosted monthly by the church is the “Ministries 4 Movement” march. “So everyone comes back to the assembly, and then at the seminary, talk about what are the issues and concerns. We do that every first Sunday, and next Sunday  and it will be our 12th year doing it. Every first Sunday we march, we have drums and it really started to become effective because when someone would die in the community, that community was known as homicidal pain because so many young people were dying.” He was able to harness this pain to healing “because we will bring about healing. After being around for a couple of years, ‘homicide’ [as a title] still doesn't sound good. So we took it from ‘Homicide to Healing’ to ‘Ministries for Movement.’ It's a movement to change the conditions and the quality of life of those who are living in that Southside community. We advocate for them, and we give everyone these bands as a part of the family”.
Another initiative that started recently with the church is an after-school program. It is meant to target youth and encourage and monitor them in their educational life, as well as highlight the importance of education. “There's two types of modes that young people grow up in: success mode or survival mode. So depending upon where you live, it depends upon what mode you're in. So inner-city kids are in survival mode. You got to talk, we got to show them how to survive, and how important education is. It is showing the importance of education and trying to make sure they get to come through high school now in high school, into college, and into a career”.
So what does Pastor Lamarr love about Columbus? “Columbus has so many opportunities and is a lovely place to call home. As you can see so many people are moving to Columbus, so Columbus is the heart of it all. I just love it here, and I love serving here. My favorite thing about Columbus is the connectedness of community - I just like walking through the community and see elderly people sitting on porches and kids playing outside, their yard and all this stuff.”