Friday, May 11, 2018

From Prison to Princeton to Priest

From Sewanee-

This is the story of the incredible journey the Rev. Ricardo Sheppard, T’16, has taken. At nine years of age, he immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago with his Baptist minister parents to the inner-city of Brooklyn, New York. At 17, Sheppard enlisted in the Marines. “I joined to get away from the church,” he recalls. For two decades he has run, marched, and paced to get away from the call to ordained ministry. Just like how gum sticks to a shoe, no matter what he did “the call” stuck.

Serving as an infantry man in the Marines gave Sheppard a ticket to travel the world. Even in the military, however, the call to minister to others kept coming. “Marines kept coming to me with their problems and I would help them out. I just could not get away from it.” Pastoring people is not a choice for Sheppard, as he is most comfortable and the happiest when helping and serving others.  

Honorably discharged, Sheppard returned home to Brooklyn married, with children, and within a year was incarcerated for what he calls “robbing drug dealers.” “It sounded good, we were trying to clean up the neighborhood and get the drugs out.” But Sheppard admits that illegal drugs became a lucrative business and some of his choices led him to incarceration for 12 years, three months, and 26 days.

More here-

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