Pastor Morris became the Pastor of the Kelsey Temple Church of God In Christ in January 1993. He is only the second person to pastor this Church, commonly known as the “Mother Church;” because Bishop Kelsey started the Church of God In Christ in Washington, D.C., here in 1923. Under Pastor Morris’ leadership, the name of the Church was changed from Temple Church of God In Christ to Kelsey Temple Church of God In Christ and the 1400 block of Park Road was ceremonially named Bishop Samuel Kelsey Way in honor of the founding Pastor, Bishop Samuel Kelsey.
Pastor Fred D. Morris, Sr., was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, to the late Deacon and Sister Thomas C. Morris, Sr. He was one of seven siblings, 5 sisters and 1 brother. His parents along with Bishop Riley F. Williams and other spiritual pillars played a significant part in the life of Pastor Morris. With this spiritual foundation, Pastor Morris was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost at the age of 12. The Lord called him to the ministry in 1964.
He was educated in the Birmingham, Alabama, public school system. He also attended institutions of higher learning, i.e., Federal City College, Letcher Art Center and the University of Maryland. He graduated from the National Academy of Art with a major in architectural drafting. Pastor Morris served in the U. S. Military from March 1953 to March 1955. His work experience includes employment in the U. S. Postal Service as a Mail Carrier, the Veterans Administration as a Computer Operator, and with the D. C. Fire Department as a Fire Fighter.
Pastor Morris relocated from Birmingham, Alabama, to Cleveland, Ohio, on May 31, 1950, where he thought he would make his home. But, in July 1950, the Lord sent him to Washington, D.C., to eventually become the spiritual leader of Kelsey Temple.
In 1955, the Lord blessed him to meet and marry, Sister Martha Joan Smith, the daughter of Deacon David and Mother Hattie Smith. The Lord blessed this union with two sons, Fred D. Morris, Jr., and Ronald D. Morris, both members of the Kelsey Temple Church of God In Christ and supporters of their Father in the Ministry. He is the proud grandfather of six and the great grandfather of two, Jason and Ajayla Stovall.
Pastor Morris served as an Associate Minister under Bishop Kelsey and was elevated to Assistant to the Pastor in August 1968. Pastor Morris has held and continues to hold a number of positions in the Church of God In Christ, including serving as Vice President of Y.P.W.W., in Birmingham, Alabama; in Washington, D.C., President of the Y.P.W.W.; President of the Youth Department for 14 years and 9 months; Sunday School and Y.P.W.W. teacher; Chairman, Junior Deacon Board and Ministerial Board; Assistant to the Pastor; Assistant and as Co-Pastor. Pastor Morris started the Samuel Kelsey Scholarship Foundation where he served as Presidents. He also founded and chaired the State Youth Scholarship Foundation and served on its Board of Directors.
Pastor Morris has and continues to be involved in many community and civic organizations. He was a member of the Mayor Anthony Williams’ Interfaith Council.
Pastor Morris lives the life which he preaches. He firmly believes and expounds to any who will listen, that “Holiness is the best life!” Often from the pulpit he cites Romans 12:1 – “ I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”