When the Rev. Gordon Cosby founded Church of the Saviour in the late 1940s, it was one of the first interracial churches in the still-segregated District of Columbia. Cosby, who died last month at the age of 95, is remembered not only for his work as a pastor, but also for his commitment to social change.
“Many people have never heard of him, but he shaped the vocations of so many of us that he shaped the church more than any pastor of his generation,” says Jim Wallis, a prominent Christian writer and evangelical leader, and one of the many pastors whom Cosby mentored over his life.
Cosby was born in Lynchburg, Va., and raised Southern Baptist. When he was 16, he and his brother, P.G., were walking through the African-American part of town and came upon a small church.