Rev. William Moses Summerville is the youngest of three siblings and grew up in a working-class family of public-school educators in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. He moved to California after concluding his tour of duty as an Air Force Reserve Chaplain in Great Falls, Montana. He has served bi-vocationally as Pastor of Kingdom Come Community Church and a Hospital/Hospice Chaplain throughout Los Angeles/Orange County for the past 15 years.
Involvement in public service has always been at the heart of his identity, dating back to the early childhood
years of his home church and being a Boy Scout. As a Scout, William took his first international trip overseas to represent the Midwestern region of the Boy Scouts of America at the World Jamboree in Seoul, South Korea, camping out on Mt. Sorak. He later attended the annual US National Jamboree held in Fort AP Hill, Virginia.
During high school, inspired by Illinois’ first Black Attorney General, Roland Burris, William participated in the “Boys’ State” political camp where he was elected as Attorney General.
Then off to college, Rev. Summerville involved himself in the Illinois Eagle Scout Citizenship Program where he was elected as the Governor. He later joined the internationally recognized fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, Inc., which is known for the ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service among the infamous “Divine Nine” of Black Greek-lettered organizations.
Upon completing college and acknowledging a call to professional ministry, Rev. Summerville went on to seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, on the campus of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. In his first year of seminary, he joined the Chaplain Candidate Program of the US Air Force Reserves commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. During his second year of seminary, he was assigned as Student Pastor of the Historic Liberty Baptist Church: one of the only two Black Baptist churches in Chicago, Illinois that accepted both the message and movement of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Throughout his three years of seminary, he was involved with the Trinity United Church of Christ Ministers in Training program led by, now Emeritus Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
Rev. Summerville’s mission to serve the people stems from personal hardships. After graduating from seminary, he was saddled with substantial student debt. Although he got married a year after seminary, shortly after moving to California three years later, they got divorced. The divorce led to William being homeless, unemployed, fathering a child out of wedlock, and losing his will to even exist.
The revitalization of Rev. William Moses Summerville began when he started working as a Hospice Chaplain. He observed how federal policies fully funded and positively impacted hospice patients and their families. It is therefore essential to William that we expand “Medicare-for-all-the-dying” to “Medicare-for-all-the-living”.
Rev. Summerville expanded his passions for service and justice by getting involved in Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid. William was elected as a delegate to represent Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. As a delegate, he championed progressive values such as a $15 living wage, free education from kindergarten through college, reparations, undocumented immigrant justice, ending forever wars, and health care as a human right in the form of Medicare for All.
At the close of the 2016 primaries, Senator Sanders made the clarion call to inspire his supporters to run for public office. At that moment, William decided to expand his advocacy beyond the confines and closed doors of one-on-one consultations in a hospice career. He joined various political groups and served as an Assembly District Delegate for the CA State Democratic Party, with the goal to not succumb to the apathy and cynicism often perpetuated by politics as usual. In the midterm elections of 2018, several congressional candidates sought out Rev. Summerville’s insights for their campaigns. And now is the time for Rev. William Moses Summerville to answer the clarion call himself to run for congress to serve the people.