The progressive spiritual leader and author of The Gospel of Inclusion will speak on his dramatic journey from Evangelical mega-church pastor to a leading voice of reason in a world of religious extremes.
His First Unity visit comes on the heels of the Sundance Film Festival world premiere of Come Sunday, a film based on the actual events of his life starring Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor as Pearson.
“a groundbreaking African-American televangelist of the late 20th century” – The Boston Globe
“…a bold step in the right direction.” – Arun Gandhi
January 8, 2018 – ST. PETERSBURG, FL – “Trailblazing minister” (Dallas News) Bishop Carlton Pearson will be at First Unity Spiritual Campus on Sunday, February 11th as the guest for both Sunday services at 9:30am and 11:30am, followed by a Question & Answer session at 1:30pm that is free and open to the public.
“Knowing Bishop Pearson for 25 years,” says First Unity’s Minister of Interfaith, Reverend Richard Boggs, “I have always known that he was a loving and gifted man of God. The Gospel of Inclusionopened my eyes that there are others who are also examining and challenging mainstream religious ideals.” Bishop Pearson’s story is testimony of how spiritual awakening both robbed and set him free of mainstream ideology. “He and his beautiful wife Gina are true fire-walkers, and demonstrated their love to us on the mountain top, as well as in the valleys.”
A protégé of Oral Roberts and once the pastor of a Tulsa, Oklahoma Pentecostal mega-church, Pearson experienced a spiritual shift in 2000 when he had an epiphany: there is no such thing as eternal damnation. Adopting a Universalist theology, he lost his congregation and found himself branded a modern-day heretic. The story of the actual events of his life have been made into a film, Come Sunday, premiering in January 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival and starring Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor as Pearson and Martin Sheen as Oral Roberts.
“I was at the top of my game,” says Pearson. “My logic about God changed. I stopped believing in a God with an anger management problem.” From this, he developed The Gospel of Inclusion, and nearly two-decades later, Pearson has rebuilt his ministry and is as popular as ever, now preaching about discovering one’s self and making spiritually correct and moral decisions.
“Belief compelled through fear is not belief, it is blind and forced obedience,” Pearson asserts.
Pearson’s frank and often controversial take has earned him appearances on television programs such as NBC and MSNBC’s Dateline, Good Morning America, 20/20, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and The Monique Show on BET, among others. Bishop Pearson was recognized as one of America’s 10 Most Influential Black Ministers by Gospel Today and Belief.net.
ABOUT BISHOP CARLTON PEARSON
Bishop Carlton Pearson is a native of San Diego, California, where he spent the first 18 years of his life with his parents and five siblings. After studying at the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he served as Associate evangelist for the Oral Roberts Association and the ORU Board of Regents for 15 years on its Board of Regents. He has received several honorary doctoral degrees.
In 1977, Pearson founded Higher Dimensions Inc, and in 1981 a church in Tulsa, which grew to a 5,000 membership that met weekly. It operated a home for single mothers, one for ex-offenders returning to society, a full service licensed Counseling Center, prison and nursing home outreaches, a national Purity With Purpose Discipleship Program for men and women, with graduates nationally and internationally, a 645 acre horse Ranch for troubled Youth and Teens.
A Stellar Award winning vocalist, Pearson has sold into the millions of CDs and videos with his recording contracts with Warner Brothers, Atlantic Records, and Tommy Boy and has also been nominated for the Dove Award.
After a shifting to what Carlton calls “Expanded Consciousness”, his ministry changed dramatically, causing the re-inventing, re-positioning and re-branding of himself and his focus. He likes to call himself a Sacred Activist and Spiritual Progressive and is a strong proponent of Justice and Peace issues.
He serves and has served on the boards of several charitable and humanitarian organizations, including the Interfaith Alliance, an organization which celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) of Washington DC, an organization promoting the civil rights of America’s GLBTQ community. The fellowship of Affirming Churches and Ministries (TFCAC) and is on the adjunct pastoral staff of the All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has authored a variety of books and booklets, two published by Simon and Schuster.
He has also founded the Metacostal Network of Churches and Ministries bridging the gap between his Pentecostal roots in spiritual transcendence and embracing a Metaphysical approach to ministry and progressive spirituality.
He currently splits his time between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Chicago, Illinois, where he is Founder/Executive Director of New Dimensions Chicago, building a local multi-cultural and radically Inclusive spiritual community and includes a cyber ministry reaching a global Internet audience of thousands.
For more information about Bishop Carlton Pearson, visit www.bishoppearson.com.
ABOUT FIRST UNITY SPIRITUAL CAMPUS
First Unity Spiritual Campus is a spiritual community who welcomes all, committed to teaching a positive, practical, and progressive approach to spirituality. The St. Petersburg campus features a sanctuary which also serves as a performance venue, spiritual education classrooms, chapel, meditation garden, gallery and visual art center, thrift store, bookstore, coffee shop, and is home to Spice Routes restaurant. In addition to weekly Sunday and Wednesday services, First Unity Spiritual Campus continually offers support groups and a variety of events, activities, and classes. This thriving community is under the leadership of internationally-recognized minister / author / speaker Temple Hayes. For more information, visit firstunity.org.