Sunday, July 24, 2011

Russell Tabernacle Usher Board Presents 'Then Sings My Soul'
           On May 15, 2011, the Usher Board of Russell Tabernacle CME Church, 326 Ledbetter Rd., Spindale, NC, Winston Salem/Greenville District, presented  "Then Sings My Soul," a program of hymns, authors and their stories.
          Other CME churches in the area participated on the program, as well as Wells Spring United Methodist and New Zion Baptist churches. Several songs included the participation of the congregation.
          Tying in with the theme of the program, the opening song was “How Great Thou Art.”  Before each hymn was sung, someone from the choir would read the story behind the writing of the hymn. Some of the stories were very heart warming and some were written as results of a tragic incident or accident.
Front row (l-r): Elbert McDowell, Joyce Lynch, Shirley McNeil, 
Timothy Harris; back row (l-r): George (Bill) Green, 
Ricky Head, Visanskeslappy, J.T. Abrams. Not present, Caroline Poole.
          One of the highlights of the program was the soul-stirring rendition of “It Is Well With My Soul,” sung by the Gospel Choir of Russell Tabernacle. The program ended with “Power in the Blood,” by the congregation.
         The program was well received by the audience. Some of the comments were “unique,” “very interesting.” “I really enjoyed that;” “I have never been to a program like this before.”
         The president of the Usher Board, Shirley G. McNeil, recognized all ushers present. She also read the stories for the congregational songs.
         The pastor of Russell Tabernacle, Rev. Nathaniel J. Poole, gave the closing remarks and the benediction.
          Most of the stories were taken from the book “Then Sings My Soul,” by Robert J. Morgan. It contains 250 of the world’s greatest hymn stories.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The "Truly Magnificent" Miami-Tampa District Conference
              This year the district conference of the "Truly Magnificent" Miami-Tampa District of the Florida Region convened in the beautiful city of Ft. Lauderdale, FL on April 15, 2011.
              The conference, hosted by Rev. Calvin Hopkins, his wife, Jackie, and the Williams Memorial Church family, and their generosity and hospitality exceeded our wildest imagination from the back door to the pulpit. “The Will” showed how much they love God and his people by their dedicated service during our stay at their place of worship.
Presiding Elder and Mrs. Lionel Walker
             This year's theme, “The Essential Church: Poised for the 21” Century,” is the heart and core of the Miami-Tampa District, which added horizontal and vertical movement across the district, and the result of the movement produced a sense of pride which we elequently called the "SWAG."
           It is Presiding Elder Lionel G. Walker's vision as our presiding elder that we re-evaluate how we do ministry and concentrate on ministries that matter. His core philosophy is that relationship building has to be the number one priority if we are going to move forward in the 21st century.
           In doing so, we must focus on the commandments that God left us, according to Matthew 28:19-20 —“Go therefore and make-disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have command you ..."
           It is out of this commandment that this year’s vision was formed for the Miami-Tampa District of the Florida Region, given by God to our presiding elder, Dr. Lionel G. Walker, and his wife, Terry Walker, and SWAG was born.
          SWAG stands for “Soul Winning and Growing for Christ." It is our reminder that although we are individual churches, together we make up a body of churches and as a body of churches we can depend on each other as we carry out God’s mandate for building up the kingdom. Our compassion for each other has allowed us to do the work that Jesus has ordained us, and as a result, souls were saved and disciples have been created and we all have grown spiritually as we come to the end of another conference year.
         The plenary session of the conference opened with a welcome from Yvonne Sumlin, Williams Memorial CME Missionary president.
          The devotion was led by “The Mighty Men of Valor” of Trinity CME, of Tampa, Florida. Their gifts of singing inspired all of us with the variation of voice tone which shone through from tenor to bass. It is always a blessing to see the old and young men of the church leading worship which such passion for their Lord and Savior.
          We moved from the devotion to roll call which was taken by Sis. Paula Kay, president of the Women's Missionary Society of the Florida Region in the absence of Linda McNair, Miami-Tampa District secretary.
            Rev. Sharon Mitchell presented our first workshop, “It’s a family Affair. Her presentation was inviting and exhilarant, as it challenged her peers to re-think some of their perspectives on ministry. She explained that if we are going to be an essential church in the 21st century "...and effect change in our community, church and families, doing the traditional things will not attract people to our churche." It is not enough to effect change, but transformation is the core of the change.
           Our second workshop was presented by Rev. Alex Bess of Dominion Ministries of West Palm Beach, FL. His mission is to help others reach their full God-given potential. As executive director and founder of Dominion Ministries, Inc, it is his desire to facilitate the coming together of faith-based organizations, churches, and secular service organizations for the purpose of meeting the challenges that face us as a community. His goal is to solicit as much physical and spiritual help possible in accomplishing God’s mandate of unity.
            As Rev. Bess presented his workshop, he called our attention to the music of Marvin Gaye as he presented “The gospel according to Marvin Gaye.” He used Marvin’s music as a way to focus our attention on his presentation. We could all relate to the time and era of Marvin Gaye. It was in these times that we were revisiting our pride in our culture and we were fighting for our basic human rights. While these struggles were going on, music became our outlet to mask the pain. For this very reason the beat of Marvin Gaye’s music out weighed his lyrics and most of us did not hear what he was saying. We missed the message that was ahead of its time. It was in his lyrics that Marvin was presenting the gospel for the modern day society.
          Rev. Bess challenged all of us to explore new avenues to reach other segments of our population. It will take us getting out of our comfort zone to reach others through non-conventional methods. His bottom line was that we need to just let go and let God open doors of opportunity for us to reach Christ. We finished this session with a conscious mandate to rethink how we do ministries in our modern society and how we can better serve fellow man with new concepts of reaching the lost, un-churched, and the secular world.
          In keeping with the spirit of ministries that matters Sister Paula Kay, president of the Miami- Tampa Women's Missionary Society and the Women's Missionary Society of Williams Memorial CME Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, presented gifts cards and cell phones to Mr. Deferrari and Ms. Gargotta on behalf of the Women in Distress Organization located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
           Unfortunately, the history of the anti-domestic violence movement has meant that women have been recognized as victims long before men. In 2009, women in distress saw a significant increase in male survivors seeking services and as a result, they began to provide support group for men who are survivors of dating violence or domestic abuse. It seminars and small support groups allows a safe space for men to talk openly and without judgment about their unique experiences, so that they can better understand their situations and find the tools necessary to positively impact their future. This is an example of how we as a district can partnership with various organization and focus on ministries that matter. The donation of the various gifts card will help several women to purchase much need personal items and they will have the added resource to buy air time with the cell phones that where donated. In times of crisis being able to connect with the right authority to seek safety is an all-important task of the victims of domestic violence. If you desire to volunteer and would like to present a monetary gift, please contact this organization through their website at  We ended the morning session spiritually uplifted and emotionally recharged as we dismissed for a brief intermission.
          Our evening service began at 7 PM. The host church, Williams Memorial, “The Will,” uplifted our spirit with their selection of praise and worship songs followed by Gray’s Temple choir's medley of songs. But the treat of the night was watching Rev. Jeffery Whitmore of Gray’s Temple CME of West Palm Beach Florida use his gifts as he not only directed his choir but also preached, “You need a spiritual tune-up.” It was a word of wisdom and encouragement that we all will remember because his sermon convicted our souls to examine ourselves on a regular basis when it comes to spiritual matters.
             The second day of the conference opened with a hearty breakfast served by the special events team members led by Mary Alice Foster. Their hospitality was beyond measure and we were speechless to say the least. Movement progressed into praise and worship as we prepared for part two of “the gospel according to Marvin Gaye.” Rev. Alex Bess kept it simple as he condensed an eight-hour workshop into four hours. His approach was direct and straight to the point. His model was no need to sugarcoat, it is what it is.
              We were also blessed by Shaunda Kidd Wilkins' workshop, “I CAN SWIN: Encourage Me!” Her program is designed to introduce water safety along with Christian principles in a fun and interactive way. The whole goal of the plan is to reduce the number of non-swimmers in the African American culture, especially those who reside in Florida. Increasing the number of swimmers can also reduce hypertension, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and poverty by using the water as a therapeutic tool as well as a venue for exercise just like every other ethnic group in America.
            If you desire additional information concerning this program or you would like to be part of this ministry, contact Mrs. Wilkin at Camp Lifesavers Foundation, inc. 1200 Foxfire Drive, Apopka, Fl  32712 or call 407-694-6168. To request information by internet info@camplifesavers.comand or
           After Mrs. Wilkins' presentation we moved into celebrating Jamboree with the children, youth and the young adults of the district conference. Carter Temple CME of Bradenton, FL led the devotion with its fabulous youth choir follow by Stephanie Gadson extending a welcome on behalf of the Youth of Williams Memorial CME Church.
    The presiding elder gave the introduction and Rev. Anita Williams preceded him with the occasion. The praise and worship jamboree shifted into high gear and Williams Memorial CME of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida dazzled us with African dancing that featured all age groups. They followed their ensemble with giving dance lessons to all who would participate.
            In the young adult category Aryk Bingham competed in the oratorical contest with his speech on discipleship and why we are disciples of Christ. His passion for what it means to him to serve as a disciple of Christ set the atmosphere for all of us to practice a new approach to the invitation to discipleship in that we are inviting people to become disciples first as they also accept Christ as our Lord and savior. It was Rev. Anita Williams of Bryant Chapel CME Church of Tallavast, FL, who was able to put onto practice this new approach to extending an invitation to discipleship.
            While the anointing was high and the spirit uplifted we moved to the presentations of gifts followed by an apprecialion brunch for Presiding Elder Lionel G. Walker and our lovely first lady Terry Walker. We were giving opportunities to present gifts individually and by the churches we represented as we fellowship by nurturing our bodies with the meal that was prepared by the special events team of Williams Memorial. Remarks were made and the benediction was given as we all migrated back to our respective locations to reflect on the revelations we all received during our gathering in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
            Submitted by Rev. Lavetta Pope, pastor of New Birth CME Church, Ft. Myers Florida; Rev. Dr. Lionel G. Walker, presiding elder of the Truly Magnificent Miami-Tampa District; Bishop Teresa Snorton, presiding prelate of the 5th Episcopal District.

Monday, July 04, 2011

More Images - 17th Women's Missionary General Assembly

Save Our Sons Scholarship Recipients

Regional Apple Awards Winners

Four Presidents: Dr. Judith Grant, Mrs. Princess Pegues,
Dr. Elnora P. Hamb, and Dr. Sylvia Faulk

Bishops' Wives Mrs. Clarice Cunningham, Dr. Elfreda Lakey,
Mrs. Carmen Williams,  Mrs. M. Earline Stewart and Mrs. Windy Reddick

Carolina Region Receives clickers for the crucial votes.

Mrs. Deresser Armstrong elected
Phillys H. Bedford Dept. Secretary.
Mrs. G. Bernice Richardson elected
Spiritual Life and Message Secretary

Mrs. Sue Alexander elected
Secretary of Dept. of Overseas Mission
Dr. Elnora Hamb receives compilation of eight years
of Messenger President's messages
Mrs. Lillie Lockett and daughter Nicole.

New WMC Council Executive Committee (l-r) Theresa Duhart,
Carol Ferrell, Jacqueline Scott,  Princess Pegues,
Daisy Banks, and Rita Washington

Phyllis H. Bedford Young Adults "Old School Meets New School.

Outgoing WMC Council Executive Committee
and Past Presidents

Friday, July 01, 2011

It's Princess!
Princess Ann Pegues Elected
President of the Women's Missionary Council

Mrs. Princess A. Pegues, vice president of the WMC, is congratulated
upon her election by Dr. Louise Brown, first lady of the 4th Episcopal District.

Vice President-Elect Jacqueline Scott
Mrs. Jacqueline Scott of Memphis, TN greets
Women's Assembly delegates and guests upon her election as vice president.