On April 1 the Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn was laid to rest inside of the historic Sharon Baptist Church he pastored for decades in West Baltimore. Here, Governor Wes Moore shares a moment of silence with the late Rev. Dr. Vaughn. (Photo by James Fields)

By Aria Brent,
AFRO Staff

Hundreds packed into West Baltimore’s Sharon Baptist Church on the corner of Presstman and Stricker streets on April 1 to honor the life and legacy of the Baltimore legend, the Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn. 

“Don’t you hear the bells ringing? Don’t you hear the angels singing ‘Glory, Hallelujah? Jubilee!’ because Rev. Dr. A.C.D Vaughn has made it to see his Jesus!” exclaimed daughter Rev. Dr. Lynnette Vaughn, moments before the casket was closed. “He opened his eyes and saw Jesus! Bon voyage my dad! Bon voyage, my friend! Bon voyage, my mentor! We are happy you made it! You made it!”

The veteran preacher and community leader died on March 19 in the comfort of his home. 

Born on Aug. 3,1938, Dr. Vaughn was the twelfth of 13 children born to Robert and Mildred Vaughn in West Baltimore. Dr. Vaughn was a 1957 graduate of Douglass High School, and furthered his education at Virginia Theological Seminary and College, now Virginia University of Lynchburg. There he earned his bachelor’s degree before going on to earn his masters and doctorate degrees from Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. 

Dr. Vaughn grew up in Sharon Baptist Church, he was baptized there as a child and received a license to preach there as a young man. Prior to his time as senior pastor of the historic church, Dr. Vaughn worked as a mortician for a short amount of time, until he realized his calling was to work with the living. He also served at the Promise Land Baptist Church in Moneta, Va., and eventually made it back to his hometown of Baltimore in 1968. Once he returned to Baltimore, Dr. Vaughn served at Grace Memorial Baptist Church until 1986, when he accepted the calling to return to Sharon Baptist Church. While serving as senior pastor at Sharon Baptist Church, Dr. Vaughn simultaneously served at other churches along the East Coast.

“My father was the best mentor I ever had,” said Rev. Lynnette Vaughn. “He said to me ‘Let me tell you daughter, you preach! Preach in season, out of season, when you’re hurt, when you don’t feel like it and even when people don’t want to hear you. You keep preaching God, because that’s the only thing you have to do.’” 

A prominent figure within his community, Dr. Vaughn was known for wearing many hats and his unwavering commitment to his community.

“Father, husband, teacher, friend, pastor, mentor—those are all words that come to mind when we think about Dr.Vaughn, but when I think about his life and legacy, ‘servant leader’ is what comes to mind– a servant leader to God and God’s people,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott said during the funeral.

Dr. Vaughn served as chair of the advisory board for the Grace and Glory Magazine, the largest religious publication in the Mid-Atlantic. Beginning in 1992, he served on the board of the AFRO-American Newspapers. Dr. Vaughn furthered his involvement with the AFRO by helping host the first AFRO High Tea, held at Sharon Baptist Church. He also served as chairman of the Eastern Theological Seminary of Lynchburg, Va. since it began in 1991. The A.C.D. Vaughn International Network for Women in Ministry was named in his honor by Dr. Barbara C. Moore, and he was an advisor to the Greater Baltimore Fellowship Choir.

The recipient of many accolades and awards, Dr. Vaughn had over a dozen honorary doctorate degrees from a multitude of colleges and universities. A Senior Statesman’s Hour has also been named in his honor at the Hamptons Ministers Conference.The late Congressman Elijah Cummings awarded him the Congressional Record House Special Order and he was also named the Senior Chief Chaplain of the Sheriff’s Department of Baltimore City by Sheriff John Anderson in 2010. 

His service across the nation earned him national recognition from several institutions in June of 2006. Both the Hampton University Ministers Conference and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, honored him as a “Living Legend.”

He is the only person to have served as president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity for eight terms. 

“There was a man sent from God and his name was Vaughn–Vaughn the Baptist,” stated Rev. Dr. Dexter Wise, reflecting on Dr. Vaughn’s impact at the funeral. “He was a voice crying in the wilderness…and God sent him strategically in our lives when we were in the wilderness and when we needed a voice. Whether it was at the outhouse or the White House, he was a voice in the wilderness.” 

A mentor to many, and a friend to all, Dr. Vaughn was known for his diplomacy and was a well respected leader. 

“Along with his powerful preaching, Rev. Vaughn had the grace to be available —to be mentor, friend and pastor — to everyone who needed him.” noted Rev. Dr. Dorothy Boulware “He called every minister his son or his daughter, including myself, whether or not they came through his ministry.The faith community has lost a friend and guide and needs to find ways to come together in honor of his legacy.”

Dr. Vaughn received the President’s Award from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta in April 2009 in addition to this, he was recognized by the Progressive National Baptist Convention for 60 years in the gospel ministry, where he was one of the founding members.

Under his guidance the Sharon Baptist Church developed an outreach model where the church was seen as the base of the community.  Dr. Vaughn used his church as a food bank, a tutoring center, a place to get school supplies and resources. He also ran an “adoption” program that paired seniors with youth, an initiative that helped the church gain a reputation for progress and activism when faced with adversity. Over the last 50 years, Dr. Vaughn has been a constant advocate for issues like fair housing and race relations to women’s rights.

The Rev. Dr. Alfred Corrogan Daniel Vaughn is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Dr. Lillian Pernell Bowser Vaughn; his two daughters Dr. Lynnette Vaughn and Dr. Casandra Vaughn; two sisters, Carrieta Ivey and Alfredo’s Graham; three grandchildren, Lauren A. Atkinson (Khari), Crystal A. Thomas (Jeremiah), Caleel and one great grandchild, Chandon Josiah Corrogan Thomas. He is also remembered and survived by a slew of nieces, nephews, godchildren, church family, clergy, relatives and friends. Dr. Vaughn was preceded in death by his son Corrogan R. Vaughn in 2017.