Anyone who has heard the late Rev. Vernon Dobson talk about the “Is-ness” of God or witnessed his sounding the alarm for justice for the community is convinced of his love for people and how that love motivated his life’s work.
That was the tone sounded at the Feb. 2 service held to honor his memory at St. Mark’s Institutional Baptist Church, founded by his father, the Rev. Spencer Dobson.
The overflow audience was treated to a lesson in Black history by the mere combination of speakers.
There were those that remembered Rev. Dobson’s involvement in establishing the Maryland Food Bank.
There were those who remarked about his involvement on every level of civil empowerment through various vehicles, including the storied Goon Squad of Baltimore clergymen and other community leaders who adopted an aggressive pursuit of justice.
And there are those who remembered the impact the “Pastor,” as he was affectionately called, had on an individual life on one street, a family around the corner and the congregation he served for almost 40 years.
Some testified to having been rescued from the streets by the towering figure who convinced them there was a better way. Others recall being drawn to the streets – skills in hand – to help lift someone beyond their present plight.
“We have lost a vital light and uncompromising spirit that has changed lives, stood by those who were accused unfairly and commanded attention from elected officials from the State House to local government,” said Carl Stokes, Baltimore City Councilman.
“We have lost an able statesman whose wisdom, experience and proactive leadership will be dearly missed at a time when cities like ours could benefit from his wisdom and expertise.”
His legacy exists in the work of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance he helped found, and in Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, another one of his cherished projects.
The city’s subset of justice warriors has been tremendously reduced with Rev. Dobson’s passing, following shortly behind Goon Squad compadre Rev. Marion Bascom and former Sen. Clarence Mitchell III.
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