When Rev. Stacey Frazier, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, passed away last week at age 36, he left behind a long legacy of ministry.
Frazier, a Greensboro native, knew he wanted to preach from a young age and didn’t waste time pursuing his dream.
New Light Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Cardes H. Brown Jr. still remembers Frazier tugging on his coattails to request a meeting with him. During their chat, a young Frazier boldly proclaimed that he had been called by God to preach. With Brown’s guidance, he was delivering sermons at the Greensboro church by the time he was 10; he was licensed to preach by age 11.
“I knew what the Lord was calling me to do,” Frazier told The Chronicle in 2007, soon after being called to lead Friendship. “One man once asked me, ‘What’s the one thing that you would do in life that you would not mind not being paid for?’ and I can honestly say ministry. Every time I step into a pulpit, I know that I am impacting somebody and that somebody might be myself.”
As he matured, Frazier completed the New Light’s Ministers in Training Program and became an associate minister. He grew close with Brown over the years, so much so that the pastor considered Frazier one of his children. Brown said though Frazier had sickle cell anemia, a condition that restricts red blood cells from flowing throughout the body, he didn’t let it slow him down. It is believed that Frazier’s sudden passing was related to the disease.
“He was a gifted young man, 36 years old, and I guess accomplished more in 36 years than many people will in 100,” said Brown.
Frazier was named pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Pelham while earning a degree in religion and philosophy at Morehouse College, where he is the youngest pastor ever inducted into the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers. He earned a doctorate in divinity from Apex School of Theology while serving at Friendship, where a sixth pastoral anniversary service was held for him on May 26, a few days before his death. Brown spoke at the anniversary event and eulogized him Saturday at Frazier’s spirited home-going at Friendship.
“He was a spirit-filled man, God-sent,” said longtime Friendship member Mildred Griffin. “I think the Lord had something in him to send him to Friendship. At the time he came, the church was kind of split and it was without a pastor for two years and he sort of brought them back together.”
Griffin, who is involved extensively at Friendship in everything from editing the church’s newsletter, “The Friend-Ship,” to heading the church’s Women’s Council, became close with Frazier. They often talked after services or on the telephone. She too considered him a son.
In fact, after sermons, Frazier would ask “Ma Griffin, how did I do?” with her responding “You know you did all right.” She said she can’t recall a Sunday that Frazier didn’t come to the pulpit thoroughly prepared.
“To me, he was just a great minister,” said Griffin. “Since he’d been in the ministry for so long, I think he was well-seasoned.”
She said he was an energetic people person who would go around hugging and kissing congregants. He also helped grow the church and started numerous new ministries, including a dance and praise team, a neighborhood outreach ministry and the Warriors youth program.
One of Frazier’s proudest accomplishments, Griffin said, occurred just two weeks before he died, when the church celebrated the paying off of its mortgage.
Brown has an endless number of fond memories about Frazier.
He recalled a trip they two made last year to the Baptist Ministers Conference in Atlanta. Frazier drove the whole way, despite having lost sight in one eye as a result of sickle cell, and also paid for Brown’s hotel room, telling his mentor that he wanted to repay him for all he’d done for him. Brown said that Frazier’s ability to connect with people was among his greatest gifts.
“Everyone who really knew Stacey seemed to love him,” said Brown. “And with Stacey, everybody was somebody.”
Frazier told The Chronicle in 2009 that his calling commanded him to be people and community-centered.
“It’s not about building the church; it’s about building people,” Frazier said. “My desire and my vision is for Friendship to become a solid church … to empower the community. It’s not just about Sunday morning. It’s about what we can do to make a person’s life better.”