White Wheaton pastor, who spoke out about social justice issues, leaving church to spread message

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ByWill Jones via WLS logo
Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Reverend Doctor Jay Moses is packing up after seven years at Hope Presbyterian Church in Wheaton.

WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- Reverend Doctor Jay Moses is packing up after seven years at Hope Presbyterian Church in Wheaton.

"I feel a call to go to a different community and bring my gifts there. I think when you are in a community you plant the seeds, you water them, you help them grow and then you have to give them to somebody else," he said.

As a white pastor in a predominately white suburb, Moses felt a responsibility to speak up about injustices.

"It is the job of the white clergy, of white folks, however, you want to define that, to stand up and speak with your privileges," Moses said.

Back in September 2020, vandals damaged Black Lives Matter signs and set fire to a church sign that included a show of support for the LGBTQ community.

"Down in Englewood on the South Side, saying Black Lives Matter, that is not too controversial. Saying it here got us attacked," he said.

Just days before that, someone stole a Black Lives Matter sign from the church.

Despite those challenges, Hope Presbyterian never wavered from its mission of supporting social justice causes and building bridges between people of different backgrounds.

"We are called to work together for a common purpose," Moses said.

With his kids off to college out of state, Moses knew it was time for a change after 20 years in Wheaton.

He's going to lead a church in the DC area.

Moses prays that Hope will continue to be a voice for good in Wheaton.

"I hope that they continue to grow that they have lived into. I hope that they rise to the occasion,' he said.

Moses will deliver his final sermon at Hope Presbyterian on August 21. He hasn't decided what his parting words will be to the congregation.