God’s image of Reverend Frederick George Sampson, II was made flesh August 9, 1928, in Port Arthur, Texas. He was the fourth child born to the late Frederick G. Sampson, Sr. and Florence Frisco Sampson. His love of the Lord and his commitment to family were nurtured as he communed along the gulf of Port Arthur. He started his formal education in the Texas public school system, but life and nature would become his extraordinary classroom.
His thirst for education caused him to excel at Lincoln High School, where he played football and became an athletic and academic scholar. He began teaching advanced mathematics at the local college while still in high school. He received a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science from Bishop College, a Master of Divinity from Howard University, Certificate in Medicine from Freeman Hospital and Howard University, Master of Arts Christian Education from the University of Louisville, and his Doctorate of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary, and other Doctorate degrees. He often used his discipline of medicine, philosophy, and sociology to bring into focus theological insights. He continued to expand the gifts that God has given him with further studies at Columbus University, University of Kentucky, and the Episcopal Theological Seminary of Virginia. Dr. Sampson served as Acting Dean of Chapel at Howard University, Interim Minister at College Hill Baptist Church in Texacana, Arkansas, and Associate Pastor for three years at Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. All of these assignments were preparing him for what God prepared for him; to be a Pastor to God’s people.
On June 10, 1950, Dr. Frederick G. Sampson, II joined in holy matrimony to Earlene Zane Harrison. The two became one and they were blessed with forty-seven years of marriage. This union was blessed with two children, Frederick G. III and Freda GeLene.
Pastor Sampson began his extraordinary journey as the undershepherd of High Street Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia. He expanded the church ministries, encouraged community activism, and developed an educational center. From 1960-1971, he served as Senior Pastor of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. It was during this Civil Rights era that Dr. Sampson’s commitment to Christ challenged the injustices of segregation and man’s inhumanity to man. He knew that as a Christian he was called to be challenged, challenged to be changed, changed because he had been claimed, claimed to be commissioned, and commissioned to correct man’s inhumanity to man. He joined Red. Martin Luther King Jr.. and other civil rights leaders as a drumbeat for justice. Dr. Sampson led hundreds of youth in a demonstration to integrate the downtown restaurants and movie theaters, where he was arrested along with his niece LeDita.
September 25, 1971 would begin a precious partnership of pastor and people. The Tabernacle Baptist Church Family would be blessed with a Pastor that exemplified Jeremiah 3:15, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” As a result of his leadership, the church expanded to over 21 outreach ministries that were Christ centered and community focused. Program he implemented included a Child Development Center, Autumn Fellowship food service, Rites of Passage, Collegiate for Christ College, Family Counseling Services, Christian Education Week, and “African American Male Spirituality” week. He was a dedicated servant and proud of Tab’s 5,000 membership, but committed to them being one discipleship to bring souls to Christ. His proclamation of the gospel encouraged all who heard him to see themselves with the divine design that God had in mind. He invested himself in Christ, church and community. He continuously searched for God’s face in all that he did for God and for the people of God. Dr Sampson’s vision to build a “Divine Campus” found favor on September 23, as Tabernacle celebrated its ground-breaking service for its new edifice to be located on the corner of W. Grand Blvd. and Grand River.
“Doc” as he was affectionately called, was a man claimed by God, committed to Christ, and commissioned by the Holy Spirit. He served Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church as Pastor for 30 years, but he served God all his life. To have a Sampson experience meant that you knew that you had encountered Jesus in the flesh. He visibly demonstrated the love of God through his role as pastor, mentor, friend, and father. He painted portraits of God the eternal father by using practical applications of himself as an earthly father. His signature tap on the forehead was a blessing of genuine love and authentic fellowship. He gave of himself unselfishly and unconditionally to anyone he encountered. He would often say you never know, you may be entertaining an angel. He loved serving all of God’s people, but specifically the people of Tab. He loved “Tab” and “Tab” loved him.
Dr. Sampson has a life-ling, God strong ministry that extended world-wide. He lectured at colleges and universities throughout the United States, and served as annual keynote speaker for various Congresses, Fellowships, Conventions, Councils, Coalitions, and Community Outreach Programs. He has preached in Germany, Rome, the Netherlands, five countries in Africa, Israel, Freeport, The Holy Land and other Islands. Dr. Sampson had the ears of presidents, kings, queens, mayors, and celebrities, but he has always had the heart of the people. His unshakable faith, uncompromising love, and unparalleled wisdom, deemed him the title, pastors’ pastor.
Dr. Sampson was a rare and precious jewel. There was never an obstacle or challenge that he could not meet with love, faith, wisdom, courage, and his belief in God. Doc know that his “vertical connection” would equip him to handle any “horizontal confrontation.”
Dr. Sampson was a member of numerous civic and community organizations. He served as a delegate to the United Nations, charter member of the Greater Opportunity Industrialization Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Former President of the NAACP of Detroit, Life Member NAACP, Chairman of Human Rights Commission, School Board Member-Louisville, Kentucky; Council of Detroit Baptist Pastors & Vicinity and Detroit Empowerment Zone Coalition. He is the author of “The Romance of Theology in the Black Experiences, 1980” and has written numerous articles and publications. His sermon, In this Moment, AT THIS DAWN was recently featured in the Summer 2001 edition of the African American Pulpit. One of his fondest accomplishments was a radio outreach ministry on WMUZ 1340 AM entitled Christians in Community: A Pathway of Power. Dr. Sampson was recognized twice by Ebony magazine as one of the 15 Greatest Black Preachers in America. His unique ability to make his sermons come alive by using poetry, imagery, and nature was one of brilliance. Dr. Sampson was named Pastor of the Year in 1999 by The Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Dr. Sampson was a gentle shepherd of wisdom, devotion, vision, faith, and love. His love of Christ, church, and family permeated his being. Dr. Sampson had a word of comfort for every occasion, and even today we are able to find comfort in his words. Listen and let the Holy Ghost breathe on your mind, and comfort your heart:
“Eventually one day they are going to pronounce your death, but they don’t know you are going to be more alive then, because your coming here is nothing but a release from eternity. And your presence when you took your first breath was nothing but the beginning towards your last breath. So time is nothing but an eternity, a parenthesis between two eternities. But somehow it got closed and you are just living between it. And since you came from eternity you are on your way back to eternity. Death is nothing but an instrument in the hand of the infinite that he used to break the parenthesis, so you can go back out of time into eternity. Death will be the last magnificent miracle.”
On October 10, 2001, God’s last magnificent miracle of triumph occurred in the earthly life of Reverend D. Frederick G. Sampson, II. He is now reunited in eternity with his wife Earlene.
Celebrating God’s last magnificent miracle of triumph in his earthly life and ministry are son Frederick George, II (Ruthie), daughter Freda GeLene (also known as Sugar Babe); grandson Frederik George, IV, granddaughters Eva Marie and Aaisha Jimerson; sister Evelynia, brother Samuel, sisters-in-law, Edith Sampson and Eulene James, brother-n-law, Lemuel Harrison, nieces, nephews, man other relatives, friends, Tabernacle Family, colleagues, and the Genesis Crew.