Reports out of Brighton are that the Rev. Dr. Richard Alberta died today.
The firebrand leader of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Brighton Township was known for his powerful, charismatic sermons, as well as never shying away from controversy.
“Abortion is the sin of our age; I believe it is genocide,” he said in a 2005 story in the Livingston County Press & Argus. “When I speak out against the homosexual lifestyle, I’m called a gay-hater, a gay-basher by people who don’t want to believe what the Bible says about them. But I don’t want them to live in misery and that is misery.”
One of the first pastors to preach at Cornerstone, Alberta retired in December 2018. The church grew tremendously under his leadership. Membership went from about 300 to over 2,000 at its peak; the facility grew from 22,000 square feet when it was built in 1991 to over 100,000 square feet today, and includes a school that goes up to the eighth grade.
Alberta’s well-known personal story chronicles the journey of a young law student in New York who abandoned Christianity in the 1960s in response to the horrors of the Vietnam War and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Alberta went on to regain his religious beliefs after he married and welcomed his first child; he then decided to become a minister to strengthen and support the faith of others.
Alberta came to Cornerstone in January of 1992 from Ward EPC in Livonia. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, a Master’s of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, Penn.
Alberta is survived by his wife, Donna, as well as four sons, and 10 grandchildren.
Visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at Cornerstone EPC, 9455 Hilton Road, Brighton. The funeral service is set for Friday, Aug. 2, with visitation at 10 a.m. and service at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon.
The family asks that memorial donations be made to Livingston County Right to Life and Pregnancy Help Clinic in Brighton
You can read The Rev. Dr. Richard Alberta’s blog by clicking here.