The Rev. Alfred Vaughn’s funeral packed with people and memories of transforming Baltimore

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Dr. Lillian Vaughn stands in front of the altar with a hand on the casket of her husband, Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn, senior pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, during his funeral.  They were married 60 years.

The organ blared and the congregation clapped to the beat of a drummer during one last service at Sharon Baptist Church for the Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn, whose legacy echoes far beyond the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood to not only the rest of Baltimore, but also churches nationwide.

The lifelong pastor, who also served as a commissioner of the city’s housing authority, died March 19. He was 84.


At his funeral Saturday, family, friends, Baltimore leaders and pastors from across the country shared memories of Rev. Vaughn uplifting and empowering those around him.

“The reverend has made it. We’re happy you made it,” daughter Cassandra Vaughn said at the start of the service from the altar, overlooking Vaughn’s coffin.


Alfred Corrogan Daniel Vaughn, son of Robert Vaughn, a Maryland Glass Corp. worker, and Mildred Vaughn, was born in Baltimore, one of 13, and raised near the church. In 1986 he was

appointed as the pastor of historic Sharon Baptist, where his grandmother first joined the congregation in 1894. He was baptized at Sharon and licensed to preach there when he was eight years old.

Mourners attending the funeral for Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn, senior pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, listen to final reflections from Rev. Dr. Walter S. Thomas, Sr., pastor of New Psalmist Baptist Church.

Because the main chapel’s two-tiered levels of pews were packed, some watched a livestream from a smaller chapel on a lower floor. During his turn at the lectern, Mayor Brandon Scott declared August 3, both Rev. Vaughn’s birthday and wedding anniversary, as Rev. C.D. Vaughn Day in Baltimore. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon recalled how Rev. Vaughn called daily to check in on her.

“We had a lot of good conversations, and what a person he was,” Congressman Kweisi Mfume, who represents Baltimore City on Capitol Hill, said. “Unawed by opinion, unseduced by flattery and undismayed by any disasters he encountered, he lived life with the courage of his convictions and then waited for death with the courage of his faith.”

Several speakers tried to mimic Rev. Vaughn’s deep, booming voice while telling stories about how he cooked for families in crisis and bailed out those in trouble. When one speaker asked fellow pastors in attendance to rise, a few dozen stood up as a symbol of Rev. Vaughn’s reach beyond Baltimore.

“He was Vaughn the Baptist. Every Baptist thing he joined, he ended up being the head of,” said Rev. Dexter Wise, who leads a church in Columbus, Ohio.

“He was a little different than John the Baptist who walked and wore camel hair. Vaughn the Baptist wore leather and he didn’t walk, he drove a Cadillac. When John the Baptist railed against the establishment, you know what they did to him. They cut his head off. But not Vaughn the Baptist. He had more nerve and more guts than anybody I ever knew in my life. The last time I talked to him he said I’m close to heaven, but I’m in no rush since I have a reservation,” Rev. Wise said.

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Rev. Vaughn was a longtime leader and organizer of the Hampton Minister’s Conference, which brought together Baptist leaders from across the country. One speaker noted that Rev. Vaughn could drive from Baltimore to the Virginia Tidewater remarking on the various church communities he knew like family.


While most donned the traditional funeral black attire, Rev. Vaughn’s wife, kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren sat in glowing white suits and dresses toward the front.

“I am so grateful because I was raised by the best set of parents anyone could ask for,” daughter Lynnette Vaughn, herself a preacher, said. “My mom stood by him until the very end. I remember a few weeks ago her calling and saying dad wants to hear your voice. He said a lot in that conversation, but one of the things he said was ‘I love your mother so much, and she loves me so much’.”

Lillian Vaughn, who was married to the Rev. for 60 years, spoke about how he called her family “in-loves” instead of “in-laws.”

Rev. Dr. Walter S. Thomas, Sr., pastor of New Psalmist Baptist Church, delivers final reflections at the funeral for Rev. Dr. Alfred C.D. Vaughn, senior pastor of Sharon Baptist Church.

To close the nearly three-and-a-half hour ceremony, close friend Bishop Walter Thomas had the congregation on their feet yelling “preach” as he recalled life lessons learned from Rev. Vaughn for close to 45 minutes.

“Nothing happened in this city without somebody making a call to Alfred. He knew every mayor, every governor, every politician, every congressperson, every business person and every community leader. He had a way of staying in touch, and because he did, he was able to bring about change in this city,” Thomas said. “I remember late on Friday nights we’d be on the telephone, and he would be barking out orders ‘I want you to do this, and I want you to do that’, and as his executive assistant Mrs. Vaughn had the Rolodex with everybody’s phone number from the President of the United States to the devil, and he used that power to transform neighborhoods.”

When the service started, rain fell from dark, overcast clouds. By the afternoon, Rev. Vaughn left Sharon Baptist one last time under clear blue skies.