Durham pastor reassigned to California church
The Rev. Philip R. Cousin Jr. has been reassigned from St. Joseph AME Church in Durham, where he has served since 1992, to a church in San Francisco.
Pamela R. Purifoy, president of P R Communications Group in Durham, said in a news release dated May 18 that Cousin, who leads the influential Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People in Durham, has been assigned to serve as pastor of Bethel AME Church in San Francisco, the city’s oldest African-American church, founded in 1852.
A former Durham County commissioner, Cousin also served on the Durham school board. In 2011, he was elected to lead the Durham Committee, a political-action organization formed in 1935, succeeding Lavonia Allison as chairman.
As a county commissioner in 2004, Cousin joined two other black commissioners in voting to fire County Manager Mike Ruffin. After that year’s election gave the county board a white majority, Ruffin was rehired and remains in the job.
Cousin could not be reached for comment Sunday. A man at the church who answered the telephone Sunday afternoon said he wasn’t there.
According to published reports, the Rev. John J. Hunter was fired in February from his post at the same San Francisco church. Hunter had been abruptly reassigned from First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest black church in Los Angeles, last fall.
Hunter was moved after a controversial, eight-year tenure in Los Angeles that was clouded by a federal tax investigation, a sexual harassment lawsuit and questionable use of $122,000 in church credit cards, news reports said.