Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church is now accepting resumes to fill the position of Pastor. Please send resumes to:
Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church
Attn: Pastoral Search Committee
PO Box 161836
Louisville, Kentucky 40216
NOTE: The Pastoral Search Committee will not be responsible for travel and lodging expenses incurred by a candidate.
Resumes must be postmarked by Monday, September 15, 2014.
Vacant Pastoral Staff Position: Associate Pastor of Family Ministries, St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield, MA (Deadline July 25, 2014)
St. John’s Congregational Church
St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, MA is seeking a full-time Associate Pastor of Family Ministries. St. John’s, a predominantly African-American congregation, has been pointing souls to a better religious, social and economic life since it was founded in 1844. It is located in an urban, multi-ethnic community and enjoys growing ethnic and cultural diversity in its membership. Currently, St. John’s has over 1,500 individuals on its membership rolls and a weekly attendance of between 650-700. There are approximately 30 ministries that provide service, support, fellowship and outreach to the congregation and beyond. St. John’s is on the cutting edge of ministry in New England.
ST. JOHN’S CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
ASSOCIATE PASTOR OF FAMILY MINISTRIES
REPORTS TO: SENIOR PASTOR
HOURS: 40 PER WEEK
STATUS: FULL TIME
The Associate Pastor of Family Ministries shares in the basic functions of pastoral ministry with special emphasis in areas related to ministries directly related to the Family. The Associate Pastor will plan, organize and implement, along with ministry coordinators, a wide range of activities for those under their care. He/she will be responsible for recruiting and training adult and youth volunteers.
RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES
Primary Responsibilities involve, but not limited to the following duties:
- Participates in the leadership of worship in the congregation on a regularly scheduled basis.
- On an ongoing basis, plans for, organizes, and implements a youth activities program for school-aged youth and young adults.
- Plans, organizes, and implements special youth worship services, retreats, camps, trips, etc.
- Develops youth leadership to assist in ongoing and special youth programs.
- Recruits, orients and trains adult volunteers to assist in youth activities and special events.
- Advocates youth issues to the congregation with the objective of making the youth more visible to and involved with the congregation.
- Plans and promotes worship education and leadership skill development for ministries.
- Maintains regular contact with youth and young adults as may be required. Available on a limited basis for crisis intervention and counseling. Serves as a resource for those involved in ministries for the development of their own faith journey and to assist in coping with challenges of daily life.
- Works cooperatively with the church staff to coordinate activities with those of the whole church and to help achieve the church’s mission and goals.
- Supervises the following ministries and ministry volunteers:
Youth Ministry Coordinator(s)
Children’s Ministry Coordinator(s)
Married Couples Ministry Coordinator(s)
Single’s Ministry Coordinator(s)
Seasoned Saints Ministry Coordinator(s)
- Performs other duties as may be requested or required from time to time by the Senior Pastor.
QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will be a person who:
- Is gifted and is called to youth ministry and who can teach/preach, loves young people, and has a passion for evangelism and outreach, both personally and at the ministry level;
- Knows the Bible and can relate faith to the needs of children, youth and their families;
- Has the ability to communicate and demonstrate his/her personal life journey, faith, love and commitment to Christ daily;
- Has a minimum of 3 years’ experience working with, preferably leading youth, young adult ministries or family ministries;
- Must have strong skills to organize programs and activities and to activate responsibilities with minimum supervision and follow-up;
- Must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and is willing and able to take initiative and problem-solve when necessary;
- Has a high standard in attitude, outlook, and morals, with an awareness of the importance of example.
The successful candidate will have, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree. A theological degree (Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology) is preferred.
Commensurate with experience.
To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, 3 references (2 ministry and 1 personal), and a DVD or video clip demonstrating your preaching and teaching abilities.
Mail applications to:
St. John’s Congregational Church
Attn: Associate Pastor Search Committee
45 Hancock Street
Springfield, MA 01109
Deadline: Applications are due Friday, July 25, 2014.
St. John’s Congregational Church
45 Hancock Street
Springfield, MA 01109
Pastor Vacancy Announcement
Tabernacle Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is currently seeking a full-time pastor. We are a loving, historical church and we are affiliated with the East Zion Consolidated District, the Oklahoma State Missionary Baptist Convention, and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
The church is seeking a spirit-filled leader with sterling qualifications. A seminary-trained leader with a minimum of five years of experience as a pastor is p…referred. Tabernacle seeks a gifted teacher and an effective communicator. The applicant must be able to provide pastoral care to our multi-generational congregation. This leader must have a divine calling and fully embrace the Baptist Doctrine.
Click the link below to download an application package.
If you are unable to download this application, you may request a copy by calling the church office at 405-424-7767; between the hours of 10:00am – 2:00pm, Tuesday – Friday.
Applications and resumes will be accepted July 1 through July 31, 2014.
Please submit by U.S. Mail to:
Pastor Search Committee
Tabernacle Baptist Church
P. O. Box 721863
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73172
The committee will acknowledge receipt of all applications and resumes.
Questions may be referred to:
Deacon Roderick Bruner
Deaconess Ruby Harris
by Robert Earl Houston
I have never understood why some churches are adversarial with their pastors. To me, it’s akin to boarding an aircraft looking at the pilot and saying “I hope you crash” while you make you way to 28D and not understanding that if the pilot crashes, you crash.
Something happened at worship today that I want to pass along in the hope that it may encourage some pastor some where.
As I extended the Invitation to Discipleship, we had several members come for prayer. One member shared that her grandmother and herself were both having health challenges. Another member shared that he and his grown daughters were having health challenges. But there was a third individual (actually the second one who spoke) and I am paraphrasing was he came forward for:
The Lord had led him forward to ask the congregation to pray for Pastor Houston. He said that our pastor is busy, he preaches out his heart each week, he visits the sick, counsels with families about funerals, has multiple meetings and today, the Lord told him that the congregation needs to pray for him, and each other.
It was spontaneous, caught me off guard, and following prayers for the other concerns, then much church prayed for me. One of the Golden Girls of our church led the prayer by my request (and how she prayed). I sat there for a few moments in awe of what God had done that morning.
I think it goes without saying that many of us who serve congregations experience the congregation serving the server. My goal is to serve the Lord continually and my church thought enough of the ministry that I provide to them, and as he said, not only here, the community, the state and the nation. It was touching because I’ve had some experiences that were not always that pleasant in the past areas that I’ve served (and all of us in ministry have that), but I would hope that the people of God that I serve would appreciate the service of their pastor – outside of a calendared anniversary.
Sunday proved it.
This reminds me of an old adage: If you want a better pastor – pray for the one you have. If you want a more loving pastor – pray for the one you have. If you want a better preaching pastor – pray for the one you have. If you want a more blessed pastor – pray for the one you have.
Prayer sure beats argumentative, hostile and woundings from an out-of-control business meeting. Thank God, we don’t have those – because we are believers first and foremost.
YOUR COMMENTS WELCOMED
by Robert Earl Houston
I think it needs to be said that Dr. Melvin Von Wade, Sr. is DESERVING of the honor bestowed upon him at the “Living Legend Luncheon” and be inducted into the hall of great preachers in the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference and Pastor Bryan Carter. Last night, I walked through the exhibit of the Living Legends and I’m grateful that I have heard personally most of them.
I’ve known Dr. Wade since the 1970s when the late Dr. E.C. Wilder would bring him to preach for the St. Mark Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. I had never heard nor seen preaching like that and after I had been called to preach – I studied him (among several great preachers) because I marveled at how his handled a manuscript.
His support of several younger pastors including myself and my brother, Dr. Bryant C. Wyatt, Sr. and preachers all over the nation, pushed us into leadership positions in the State and in the National. Because of his labor, the four National Baptist Conventions met together twice . . . with his strong influence and input.
He’s been like the college professor that you both respect and revere. I will never forget, and he doesn’t do often (at least with me – smile), after I had gone through my season of storms, he very calmly and quietly said, “Houston . . . you never quit.” That meant much to me.
For generations of preachers, Dr. Wade has been the Rolls Royce of manuscript, expository preaching. For those of us who would have fallen into the trap of not challenging the congregation with our vocabulary, Dr. Wade taught us how to go behind words and get their meaning and sharpen our vocabulary when preaching. To use his words, “I learned a new word.” He taught me the way – he is an avid reader of all material, including Reader’s Digest. I think one of the things that any young preacher could learn from him is to read, read, and read some more. Alliterations don’t come without the benefit of feeding your mind and spirit.
He, along with his brother in the faith, Dr. E.K. Bailey, did not do what previous generations did when illness struck. Instead of being silent, Dr. Wade shared with his church, community, and the nation his illness, the procedures, and he walked Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, where he has pastored almost 40 years, through his season, and it became their season. In the process, it created a stronger bond between Pastor and Church, which is a testament to his transparency in illness.
Dr. Wade is a man of prayer. I remember that before he came to the Presidency of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America (and he appointed me as his special assistant and webmaster), he was the first one to say to a convention, we’ll rise up early in the morning and seek the face of God. On the national level, he appointed Dr. G. Thomas Turner of Columbus and the room would be standing room only. He made prayer not just a platform but a new paradigm for national conventions – most of whom now have early morning prayer sessions.
He got his spiritual training from his father, the late Dr. J.C. Wade, Sr. and his mother, “Momma Wade.” She is a woman of prayer. I never forget that during the NMBCA, I was also the photographer for the convention and at one of the first sessions of prayer, she called me on the carpet for walking during prayer. When I told her I had approval from Dr. Wade to take photos, she looked at me and said “all right . . . just don’t walk too much reverend.” What a joy it must have been for her, in her mid-90s be present to see her son receive this honor. She has seen him go from baby to child to college graduate to Texas pastor to California pastor, national icon, District Vice Moderator, State Vice President, National President, Delegate to the World Baptist Alliance, and now, inducted into the EKB Preaching Conference Living Legends.
When I found out I had cancer, I put in a call to Dr. Wade. I was scared. I was nervous. And just like I knew he would be – he was cool, calm, collected and after we talked about the procedure, etc., he said, “Houston, let’s pray.” When he prayed he didn’t just pray for healing, but he prayed that this would provide a testimony that only the Lord could give. He’ll never know how comforting his prayer, among many, was to me and my family.
He went to Mount Moriah about the same time that my father in the ministry, Dr. A. Bernard Devers, I, went to New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Portland. They were part of the young guns in the National Baptist Convention of America and Dr. Wade was a fixture at late night and evangelical board services.
When I had resigned my church in San Diego during a very painful divorce, I thought for sure that I would be removed from my post in the National, State, and District works. Dr. Wade didn’t ask me to quit or resign. It was basically, “do your job” and I did. As a result, when I moved to Nashville, I left the west coast as his National Special Assistant, the State Corresponding Secretary, and 3rd Vice Moderator of the Progressive District.
His family – his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his siblings, his parents have been through some much down through the years but his faith has never depleted. In his sermon at Concord during the conference, he related the story of challenges of health, church, and how at each point that would have broken him, that the Lord restored him.
His connections are vast. He is known in the preaching world (and I’ve met some of the nation’s best preachers through Dr. Wade), political world, and in the gospel music world. He’s a fixture at the Gospel Music Workshop of America and Board Member and knows most Christian artists. I met a young Houston school teacher through Dr. Wade, “Houston . . . meet Yolanda Adams . . . she’s major.” I was part of a panel of Pastors and Musicians at GMWA and he said, “Houston . . . meet Donnie McClurkin.” I’ve met more preachers and pastors and bishops and denominational leaders and musical artists. He’s one of the influences on me musically because he kept me on my toes and he influenced me to grab the old songs and introduce them to this generation.
True story: I went to the convention in 1990 after the NBCA/NMBCA split and Dr. Wade was on program. He took that old children’s song, “Everybody aught to know who Jesus is,” slowed it down, almost to a meter, and (forgive the linguistics) killed everything big enough to die in the room. I came back to Portland and was in revival and opened with his arrangement of that song and . . . the Lord was kind.
Perhaps his modeling of pastoral ministry is worth mentioning. When Dr. O.B. Williams went home to be with the Lord, Dr. Wade was present at the service and Dr. Williams’ widow, Willa (Sister O.B.), was heavily mourning her husband at the service, uncontrollaby weeping and wailing. Dr. Wade, walked out of the pulpit, held her hand and would not let her go through the entire service. His presence in that spot spoke volumes and Sis. Williams was comforted.
I will never forget when he was on to preach at the NMBCA I believe it was in Houston or Dallas. Someone stopped by the Finance Office, that I worked in during Dr. Wade’s tenure as General Secretary. He was quietly meditating for the message. The gentleman kept on talking while Dr. Wade was spiritual preparing. He finally said when we told him that Dr. Wade was preaching, “what are you going to preach about?”
Dr. Wade looked up and said “the Lord.”
I think that sums up his preaching ministry over the past fifty years. “Dr. Wade, what are you going to preach about?”
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED
Dr. Harvey founded the New Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church and pastored previously the Harrison Street Missionary Baptist Church. He served New Greater Love until his retirement and was honored as the Pastor Emeritus by the congregation.
He held a lifetime membership of the NAACP and was the first African-American elected as City Commissioner.
The home going services have been announced by the family as follows:
Services will be held on Monday, July 14, 2014:
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Family Viewing
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Public Viewing
5:00 p.m. – Masonic Rites
7:00 p.m. – Homegoing Service
New Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church
1249 North 12th Street
Rev. LaRita Horton, Pastor
The preferred hotel is:
The Fairfield Inn and Suites
3950 Coleman Crossing Road
Paducah, Kentucky 42001
To fax condolences to the family (via Pettus-Rowland Funeral Home) please send them to (270) 442-0272.
by Robert Earl Houston
DALLAS, TEXAS – I went to Dallas last year on personal family business and came home empty-handed, broken-hearted, and at the end of my rope. It took months to even discuss it. That was even before I had been diagnosed with cancer and at the same time dealing with the responsibilities of pastoring a thriving church in Frankfort, Kentucky. I was shaken and stirred. I had prayed for success and the end result was humiliation, disrespect and a feeling of anger and resentment I had never experienced before. It made me to make post-life decisions to express my reaction. It made me understand the adage, “Life is too short . . . “
Fast forward to 2014. I’m in Dallas again, attending the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference and really, honestly, and truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I’m blessed, foremost, with a clear relationship with Jesus Christ. After watching Him repair my heart over and over and over again after the Dallas Debacle and seeing two of my best friends receive their commencement in Heaven, and going through the ups and downs of ministry – I trust Him more and more. Last night, Dr. E. Dewey Smith talked about the downs of ministry. A year ago, I would have been in tears, this year – no tears, but an appreciation of the repair apparatus of God. My heart has been healed.
Secondly, I have an amazing life in Frankfort. Note of disclosure: Kentucky’s state capitol was the one I could never get correct in school (always thought it was Louisville). My wife and I have been tremendously blessed since our marriage in 2005. We haven’t had five minutes of arguments in nine years that I have listened to (JOKE CREDIT: The late Rev. Dr. E.V. Hill) and we have an extraordinary church family. We live RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THE CHURCH, but they respect our privacy and we have walked together with our congregation in our highs and our lows. Our lows have been rough but it is in our lows that we discover that our God whom we serve is truly able.
Thirdly, my health is improving. I’m a tad skinnier than I was last year. Getting into some clothing that was headed to the Goodwill because of “lack of additional space.” Since my bout with cancer, I’ve developed an ulcer (open wound) on my foot, which my medical team now says should be completely healed this summer. I started my walking regimen this week in Dallas, wearing diabetic shoes with orthopedic inserts. I’m on a dietary routine . . . well, when I get back home, I’ll get back to it. Dallas food ain’t no joke and some of my favorite restaurants in the US are here – Pappasito’s, Pappadeaux’s, Catfish King, and even Church’s Chicken (hard to find in Kentucky). I’m walking this year without a cane, without a cast, and moving better than in a long, long time.
Fourthly, I’m content. Look, I’m 54 years old – I don’t look like it (thank you to those who invented razors and Michael Jordan who made bald a fashion statement). I’ve had my challenges but God’s been good. I look back over my life and those stormy moments are nothing but history now and now worth repeating. I’m thankful for my beginning years in Portland. I’m grateful for my enjoyable years in Fresno. I’m grateful for the maturing and challenging years in San Diego. I’m grateful for the restorative years in Nashville. And now, I’m thankful for the blessed years. In the words of a pastor I spoke with this week, he said “Houston, it sounds like you are going to heaven from Frankfort.” We shall see. But these are the best times of my life.
At 54, I’m a card carrying member of the “Senior Sages” fraternity of preachers. This year it’s been 37 years since I’ve been called to preach. This year it’s been 36 years since I preached by first sermon at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. This year it’s been 25 years since I began a series of Pastoral assignments. I’ve been a member in all these years of all four national baptist conventions and the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. I’ve held convention office from Vice Moderator of a District to Congress Dean to State President to District General Secretary in two districts, President’s Special Assistant of a National Convention, Board Chair of one of the nation’s oldest black newspapers. It’s been quite the ride.
This week, I overheard a couple of ministers as I walked by. The younger one said to the older one “who is that?” He said, “man, THAT’s Robert Houston. You need to read his blog. He’s one of the best.” My friend Dr. E. Dewey Smith, made it a point to tell me, “Houston, you’ve been a blessing to the body of Christ and pastors everywhere.”
I’m in a good place in life. And not ashamed to say, as Dr. Smith, said, that I’m even holistically well – physically, spiritually, and mentally. I know when it’s time to find someone to talk to. Lord knows I’ve had enough to warrant that counsel this past year. I encourage Pastors – make sure it is well with your soul, your strength, and YOUR MIND.
I’m grateful that I did not become a statistic.
YOUR COMMENTS WELCOMED.
by Robert Earl Houston
DALLAS, TEXAS – I am here attending the E.K. Bailey International Expository Preaching Conference (EKB). I haven’t been since the home going of Dr. Bailey several years ago.
My conference career began by going to the Lacy Kirk Williams Ministers Institute sponsored then by Bishop College here in Dallas. It was at that conference that I had the opportunity to meet ministers from across the country in close vantage point and learn a few things along the way. Sadly, Bishop College closed, but several ministers have kept the Institute going, and one year I was invited to be on faculty. Very honored by that.
Then I found out about EKB. He had a Church Growth Conference that I had heard about and then he created the Expository Preaching Conference to share with the nation what the National Congresses could not or would not. While the Congresses were holding pastoral conferences which featured great preachers – but you left there wanting to be a great preacher, but nobody wanted to share what they knew on a broader scale.
Then along came Dr. Bailey. He called in some of his noteworthy friends, mentors, and yes, those he mentored. All of a sudden, you had a venue that taught you how to be a black expository preacher. He and his team taught you how to look at a text, dissect the text, make it palatable and how to serve it with a dash of soul. His conferences literally transformed the nation. You came to hear Dr. Bailey, Dr. Melvin Wade, Dr. Jasper Williams, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Dr. Timothy Winters, Dr. William Shaw, and other great masters of the pulpit.
The along came three preachers – Drs. R.A. Williams, Jr., George Waddles and the late Larry L. Harris, Sr., who produced another conference that dealt even deeper and became a crash-course on expository preaching using culture, syntax, original languages – it was a dizzying week. I went to that conference (it was closer to me when I lived in San Diego). In that conference it was early morning to late afternoon classes, evening worship and then a series of preaching using the original languages became another facet of black expository preaching.
Fast forward to 2014. Dr. Bailey is gone. God bless the procession of his memory. When you walked into the Fairmont Hotel, they have his sermons streaming on a screen. Before his death, his hand appointed a young man that most of us had never heard of – Bryan Carter, to lead the Conference. Eventually, Dr. Carter would work hand-in-hand to consolidate EKB and her S.T.A.N.D. Women’s Conference, which now meet congruently.
I see very clearly why Dr. Bailey selected Bryan Carter. He’s likable, he’s comfortable in his own skin – he inherited one of the greatest pulpits in Dallas and he seems so down to earth, so friendly. I saw him work the hallway and it reminded me of E.K. – he would walk a few steps, shake hands; walk a few more, shake more hands; We’ve been Facebook and Twitter friends – but this week I had the opportunity to meet him. Matter of fact, we took pictures together (and I was honored that he agreed) with my phone and then he asked one of his assistants to get his phone, “I want to take a picture with Dr. Houston.” Man, I was trying not to blush.
Truth of the matter is that the baton has been passed. Those of us in our mid 50s and higher – we’re now the senior sages of preaching. There is a young group coming after us – led by people like Bryan Carter, E. Dewey Smith, Jr., H.B. Charles, Jr., who are not only keeping alive expository preaching but taking it to levels that are what were not available before in E.K.’s day, but certainly have his fingerprints all over it.
Dr. Carter’s team is impressive: Steven Lawson, Chuck Fuller, Lance Watson, James Allman, Clayborn Lea, Robert Smith, Jr., E. Dewey Smith, Jr., Melvin Wade, Keith Reed, Scott Lindsey, William Curtis, and others. To my remembrance, only Drs. Wade and Smith were there the last time I came to EKB.
The baton has been passed at EKB. The conference (and Concord Church) is in sound hands. By the way – he was the keynote speaker this morning. I sat with one of my contemporaries, Dr. Maurice Bates of California, and we marveled at the depth, stewardship, and preaching of Dr. Carter. Matter of fact, he preached so strongly today that Dr. Bates said “give him the mike” after he sat down very quietly while the congregation was praising God.
I walked up to him and said “there has to be some billy goats in Dallas walking around confused, because you just preached their horns off.”
The new generation is here.
YOUR COMMENTS WELCOMED.
RALEIGH, NC – Bishop Harold Ivory Williams went home to be with the Lord on July 4, 2014. His services have been announced by the Presiding Bishop, Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. of the Mount Calvary Holy Church of America as follows:
Please keep his wife, Pastor Shirley Caesar-Williams and the Mt. Calvary Raleigh family in your prayers. All services will be held at Mt. Calvary Holy Church Word of Faith, 3100 Sanderford Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27510, 919.832.1800. The arrangements are as follows:
Friday, July 11, 2013
Bishop Williams will lie in state from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Local/State Celebration of Life
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 12, 2013
Viewing – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
National Homegoing Celebration – 11:00 a.m.
(Choir Dress – Official MCHCA Robes)
This is Bishop Williams’ biography from the Church Web Site:
Bishop Harold I. Williams, Sr., is the Bishop Emeritus of the Mt Calvary Holy Churches of America. Bishop Williams pastured the Winston-Salem MCHCA church for more than 30 years, while serving as Senior Bishop Prelate of the Mt Calvary Holy Churches of America organization. As a disciple of Bishop Brumfield Johnson, Bishop Williams gleaned the essence of Johnson’s heart-similar to Elijah and Elisha. And as adamantly as Elisha refused to leave Elijah, Bishop Williams was faithful to Bishop Johnson until Bishop Johnson’s death on February 15, 1972. And just as with Elijah and Elisha, when Elisha sought a double portion of God’s anointing of his spiritual mentor, Bishop Williams embraced the torch of MCHCA and exponentially grew the church in which Bishop Brumfield Johnson had begun.
Bishop Williams founded a MCHCA church in Baltimore, Maryland, while he pastured a MCHCA church in Washington, D.C. as well as the original congregation he inherited from Bishop Johnson in Winston-Salem, NC. By today’s vernacular, one could say that Bishop Williams pastured “one church in three locations”. And he did all of that while holding down his secular job of tuning pianos for the now-defunct Hecht Company. Bishop Williams was as tenacious as his predecessor in seeking the advancement of God’s Kingdom through the MCHCA organization. By God’s leading, Bishop Williams appointed Hansel H. Henry to pastor the MCHCA in Baltimore and then merged with the then-pastor Alfred A Owens, Jr’s church; Christ Is The Answer Chapel with the MCHCA Washington, D.C., church. That is when the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church (GMCHC) was born. Bishop Williams’s relationship with these two men could continue to grow and he eventually installed them as 1st and 2nd Vice Bishops respectively- an idea first used by Bishop Brumfield Johnson. Bishop Williams was invited to speak overseas and his protégés were too. As the organization grew with its influx of new churches in search of a shepherd, Bishop Williams divided the global map into territories. Not only did MCHCA have presences in North America, but also its international representation grew in the countries of Barbados, India, Trinidad& Tobago, England and the Bahamas. Bishop Williams filled the need for more oversight of the growing church be elevating Bishops and creating District Overseer positions. Eventually, Bishop Williams named Overseer Daniel Russell as Senior Pastor over his beloved Winston-Salem church, and joined his beloved wife, Pastor Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams as Co-Pastor of the Mt Calvary Word of Faith Church, in Raleigh, NC.
Bishop Williams during breakfast one day in August 2008, deemed it time to pass the Baton of leadership of the MCHCA to his successor and the third Senior Bishop in the Mt Calvary Holy Churches of America organization to now Senior Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr.
Bishop Harold I. Williams, Sr., a true man of God, a great leader, a remarkable teacher, a wonderful husband, a devoted dad, and a black history phenom.
by Robert Earl Houston
Let me preface this blog by saying I don’t have conclusive statistics on this issue. I’m just sharing my casual, personal observation:
What happened to the female musicians in the church? As I visit churches and conventions across the nation (baptist), I’ve noticed that men have dominated the black church musician field in sharp contrast to when I started played in the 1970s.
Many churches utilize a band concept that resembles a band of brothers. All wear black to kind of “fade into” the background. There may be a female director, but the band and directors have become predominantly male.
If you visit various black megachurches you will find that to be true. If you watch carefully those who are on TV, the musicians are male. Even the tambourine player is male.
If you go to a Music Workshop, you’ll notice that most of the writers who present are male. Even most workshops are headed by men.
This is not a discussion about women in ministry. This is a discussion of women in music ministry.
At the church where my faith journey began, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, there were five choirs and only one man involved and that the choir director of the Inspirational Choir. All of the musicians were female. When I joined New Hope, most of the music ministry leaders were female with a couple of exceptions. The largest church in the city, Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, had only one male musician in their vast array of musicians and directors. When I first started pastoring, the first musician I had was female (my sister). In the 1990s when I moved to California, my musicians were predominantly female.
In the mid 1990s when I moved south to San Diego, that’s when I noticed a shift was taking place. Most of the churches had employed men as their lead organist. There were no female drummers. And choirs were becoming accustomed to male choir directors.
When I started attending GMWA it was dominated by female musicians initially, but that has changed dramatically. Even the National Baptist Conventions – most of them have now men leading their music ministries.
What does this say?
I think it says that we as a black church need to immediately invest in the music education of young females. After watching the BET Awards, there was an undercurrent that our females should be “on the pole” and “ain’t loyal” and that is farther from the truth. Our African-American males are in trouble across the land, but our young sisters are shying away from the instruments in droves.
I think it also says that there may sexism may play a part in this phenomenon. Some pastors are stuck in the “let the women be silent in the church” era. Sirs, that era is long gone. Sadly, I know some pastors who have said privately, “I’ll never hire a woman organist – she’ll be a distraction to my members?” That’s crazy talk from a bygone era.
I also think it shows that Music Departments need to redefine their mission. No only should they focus on the Sunday (or weekly) ministry in performance, but they have to identify the young men and young women who have potential (I’m talking 7-10 year olds) and encourage (and in some cases pay for) musical lessons for their children. Studies are stunning – those who have an interest in piano/organ/music have a higher GPA on average.
I’ve encountered tremendous musicians across the country – Margaret Douroux, Mamie E. Taylor, Lorene Wilder, Gilber Gill, Mrs. O.B. Williams, Virgie Carrington DeWitty, Dorothea Wade, Ruth Sauls, Patrice Turner, Twinkie Clark, Mattie Moss Clark, Willie Faye Inniss, Cheryl Houston, Helen J.H. Stevens, Patriece Reives, Letha Jones” (some who are gone home to be with the Lord. I pray that their collective legacy is not considered “back in the old days” when churches had female musicians.
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