- Faith & Family
Rev. Eric Readon, 36, has recently been recognized in local media as one of the most involved community activists in the fight against violence and crime.
In many pictures he’s seen, shaking hands with police officers and speaking out against the violence, but there was once a time when he robbed and stole cars, sold drugs and contributed negatively to the community’s crime.
Although he grew up as a pastor’s child, Readon lived a life of crime, which he plans to share in his upcoming memoir called, “From the Streets to the Pulpit: My Life.” He said living in a broken home after his parents divorced, and his desire to help his mother with finances was the reason he started breaking the law at the age of 12. Readon didn’t consider turning his life around until he had a nearly fatal car accident that prompted him to change.
“When death knocked on my door, I realized that I wanted to live and not only live, I wanted to live for God,” he said.
After surviving the crash, he joined the choir and helped out around New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church, where his father, the late Rev. I. H. Readon, pastored.
Readon’s Life In Christ
Later, he heard God’s call and became the associate minister, after that he became the youth pastor.
And for the past nine and a half years, he has been the senior pastor of New Beginning MBC. He says his old lifestyle has helped him to be an understanding and approachable pastor.
“I understand because I was once the other person,” Readon said. “A lot of young people have come. A lot of lives have been changed and a lot of hope has been given.”
While living his old life, Readon didn’t think he would ever become a pastor. Instead of him believing that his life would change, it was his family and church members who believed in him and always offered him encouraging words, according to Readon.
“They saw more in me than what I could see,” he said. “The same church I pastor now; they were praying for me then.”
Presently, Readon is focused on creating “hope in hopeless situations,” “letting people know they can be saved and still have the best of what God has for them” and helping stop the violence and crime in the community.
New Beginning MBC has an upcoming event called, Block Out the Violence Day on Dec. 31 at 11a.m.- 3p.m.
The event will encourage people to “press towards breaking the code of silence,” according to Readon.
“If they see things in their community that shouldn’t be happening, they need to report it to the police, get tag numbers and identify people,” he said. “It starts with the police, as well, as the people. Don’t be silent out of fear.”
By Malika A. Wright