Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. Curtis Raines, Sr., Macon, GA

From, February 21, 2015

Dr. Curtis Raines Sr., a Macon pastor who led a large state organization for black churches, died Saturday. He was 67.

Raines was pastor of New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Macon and was president of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia. According to the group’s website, the convention is the largest black organization of any kind in Georgia.

Henry Ficklin, a former Macon city councilman, knew Raines for 40 years.

“I think anyone who knew him will remember him for his wonderful deeds,” Ficklin said.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said Raines was pronounced dead at Medical Center, Navicent Health, of an undisclosed illness. Jones knew Raines well, and remembered going to New Pilgrim many years ago when it was much smaller.

“He was a good person,” Jones said. “He was a person who thought community and he was a leader. That church came a long way.”

Ficklin said New Pilgrim has more than 700 members today. According to the church’s website, Raines served as pastor since shortly after it was founded in 1981 with 33 members. He was named president of the state convention in 2012, Ficklin said. Raines also pastored Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe County.

Ficklin said Raines died of “complications.” He said Raines had survived a kidney transplant, prostate cancer, heart bypass and back surgery.

“God had delivered him from a lot of things,” Ficklin said.

Bentley & Sons Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements, which have not been set.

Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. George Moore, Atlanta, Georgia

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 13, 2015

ATLANTA – George Moore was a jovial, humble pastor who spoke with purpose.

“He believed in what I was doing and encouraged me to be the best at what I was doing,” said his son George Moore Jr.

A Decatur native, Moore began working at age 9 as a delivery boy for a local drug store. He graduated from Atlanta’s Washington High School and went on to work for several restaurants including Lucas’ Grille in Atlanta. He co-owned the clothing boutique Vine City Village and became a driver for one of the first black-owned cab companies, The Atlanta Car for Hire. He eventually became part owner.

George Moore, 79: Pastor saw church membership reach 10,000 photo

Moore went to church with his grandfather and joined Cosmopolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1951.

“He became so attached and interested in the life of the church,” said his son. “One day the Lord called him to preach while he was a member of Cosmopolitan AME Church.”

Moore attended Turner Theological Seminary at Morris Brown College. He was ordained a deacon in 1958 and ordained an itinerant elder in the AME Church in 1960.

He was appointed the pastor of Woosley Mission AME Church in November of 1958 and Davis Chapel AME Church in November of 1961. In July 1962, he was appointed to Amanda Flipper AME Church, where he served for eight years.

In 1970, Moore was appointed to Saint Philip AME Church in the Reynoldstown community, and he moved the membership of 200 to its current location in 1977. The membership has since grown to more than 10,000, and the church has more than 50 ministries. He served as senior pastor for more than 42 years.

George Moore died Sunday. He was 79. A funeral will be held 10:45 a.m. Saturday at Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road SE, Atlanta. Gregory B. Levett & Sons is in charge of arrangements.

“He knew how to encourage and lift you up,” said Kevin Moore, his grandson. “He would always tell me, ‘I am encouraged just because you showed up. I love you just for being you.’ It means a lot for someone to believe in your gifts more than you do. He was always behind me saying ‘you can do it, you got it.’ ”

Moore received honorary doctoral degrees from Wilberforce University in Ohio, Morris Brown College and Turner Theological Seminary.

His grandson said Moore liked to help younger pastors. In 2002, Moore and his family established the George Moore Foundation, which provides mentoring for men and women in ministry and their spouses.

In addition to his son and grandson, Moore is survived by his wife Nettie Mae Lewis-Moore, daughter L’Tanya Moore-Copeland, daughter L’Tarra Moore, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. Joseph Roberts, Atlanta, Georgia

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

ATLANTA, GA – Handpicked by the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., Joseph Roberts led Ebenezer Baptist Church as its pastor for 30 years. Roberts died Sunday. He was 79.

Born in Chicago, Roberts attended that city’s public schools throughout his childhood and graduated from Knoxville College in 1956. He received a Masters of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City in the 1960s. He then attended Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned a Masters of Theology.

In the early 1970s, Roberts became senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Under Roberts’ leadership, more than 2,000 members were added to the congregation. He launched a community outreach program that included the Teenage Mothers Ministry, tutoring and counseling programs, a food co-op, and a daycare center for older adults.

Roberts envisioned a new sanctuary for the growing membership. In 1999, the building of the Horizon Sanctuary was completed. The 32,000-square-foot sanctuary seats 2,446 people.

He was a recipient of awards from Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2006, Roberts published a collection of sermons titled “Sideswiped by Eternity: Sermons from Ebenezer Baptist Church.”

20 Pounds (Less) Later . . . Pastor, You can too!

by Robert Earl Houston

LEFT: February 6, 2015; RIGHT: February 14, 2015

LEFT: February 6, 2015; RIGHT: February 14, 2015


At the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Wednesday, February 10, 2015.

On Friday I reached a milestone. I completed the first full week of my medically supervised diet. I’m now (unofficially) approximately 20 pounds lighter. Praise God! I’ve received a lot of emails, texts and tweets asking me to post how I was able to do so.

First, I have to say it’s all by the grace of the Lord. Any diet is difficult and for me, impossible without the Lord on my side. This is not my first diet, but this is the most successful one I’ve been on. I’m at my lowest weight in about two years.

My endocrinologist recommended that I check out Health Management Resources. They work in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky (and they have locations throughout the country). My doctor told me that their average results were 50 to 75 pounds and I frankly didn’t believe it. I went to their orientation and heard their program. Of course, asked a few questions, and decided this is for me.

Here’s the program:  All outside foods – from the store, on the shelf, restaurants, church dinners, home cooked meals, no fresh fruit or vegetables, no beef, no chicken, no fried fish, no soul food – done. Finis. Over. No more fast food on the fly. No more interrupting my phone calls with: “Hold on . . . Yeah, let me have some hot wings, some wedges, and a large diet drink.”

I’m on the 3+2 plan – three milkshakes (they provide the base for it, which you can make with water or a diet soda and you can add sugar-free jello. And then there are two meal entrees, pre-packaged and pre-prepared which only take one minute to microwave (and don’t require prior refrigeration). These are minimums. Plus you take two vitamin tablets a day and yes, drink a lot of water or soda (64 ounces per day). You are required to do some exercise (I choose walking, which I do about 30 minutes each day). They want you to be full – and if your 3+2 daily minimum turns into 5+2 or 3+5 – it’s okay.

The food runs about $100 a week. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider take-out and sit-down meals, it balances out. Also, when you consider the cost of insulin, pills, etc.  I’ve been able to reduce my insulin from the max of 80 units of Lantus at night and already I’m at just 15 units. I have gone down on my with-meal insulin from 30 units to 5 units. No more Invokana.  I’m off of two other medications.

I went to the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky Pastors’ Conference last week in Louisville and actually I saved money because I wasn’t dining out and when I was hanging out with ministers in the restaurant after hours – they had food and I was content with being there, drinking water and a diet drink. No pretzels. No chips. No chicken fingers. No fries.

My health is important to me. I spent the week speaking privately to some preachers and sharing my story with them. As I’m approaching my 55th birthday this year I owe it to my wife, my family, my congregation, and most importantly, the Lord to do my best to live in good health (longevity is up to the Lord). My goal is simple: to lose about 100 pounds (yes, a whole other person) and then maintain the weight from that point on.

Here’s what was cool. To be at the General Association and wearing a suit that I packed (by accident) and hadn’t been able to wear in two years and being able to wear it with joy.

Interestingly, I’ll be celebrating my Sixth Pastoral Anniversary here at First Baptist Church. The committee has been planning and I’ll be in the closing stages of Phase One (which is a 15 week program). While those who choose to join us to dine will be on the selected meal, I’ll be there with my meal, my shake and some water.

We’ve all been to national baptist conventions and seen walking train-wrecks. Ministers who have allowed pastoral stress to send them headfirst into food. Ministers who preach and eat. Ministers who go to late night service and eat at 1 or 2 a.m. after worship and their health is jeopardized by lack of exercise, eating right, and sleep.

Pray for me on this journey. Pastors – I beg you! Please consider this.  Members – I beg you! Please consider and support your pastor in living in good health.


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The Last Supper (for a while)

Photo on 2-4-15 at 1.40 PM

Robert Earl Houston February 4, 2015

by Robert Earl Houston

Baked Potato.
Arnold Palmer.

And tonight, my wife Jessica and I observed the last supper. As of tomorrow evening, I will be undergoing a medically supervised diet. I will be sharing my journey here on The Wire to help encourage someone who has been struggling, as I have, with weight and weight-related complications.

I’ve seen preachers . . . no . . . GREAT preachers, OUTSTANDING preachers, PROLIFIC preachers, only to see their lives cut short by obesity. When I started in ministry in 1978, preaching my first sermon, I wore a size 28 suit. Today, I wear a size 48. It’s time for a change.

I’ve been a diabetic since I was 23 (I’m 54 now). I’ve had high blood pressure issues, physical issues, etc. especially in the last 3 years. I don’t have anyone to blame but myself – and that church pastor dining lifestyle that has claimed and shortened the life of many a pastor.

Late night eating.
Fast food eating.
Church dinners heavy in cooking oil.
Soda pop, soda pop, soda pop.
Sweet potato pies and cakes.
Luncheon meetings.
Dinner meetings.
Breakfast meetings.

So, as of tomorrow, I am becoming proactive about my health – with the support of my wife, family, church family, and extended family and friends. With a combination of medical supervision and exercise (in stages). One of my best friends, Pastor Christopher Waters, pastor of the Thankful Baptist Church in Augusta, GA, has been on a journey of good health in the last year. He has lost 60 pounds and has a goal of losing another 40 pounds this year. He’s challenged many of his friends (me included) to begin a regimen of healthy living.

I’ve tried the diets, cut back on sweets, stopped the soda. So now I take the next step, a physician-supervised regimen based in Lexington, KY provided by Health Management Resources. It means I will be exclusively dining on their shakes, foods, health bars, and vitamins, for the next 15 weeks.

If all goes well, I will lose somewhere between 60-100 pounds.

I shared my plan with the wonderful people of First Baptist Church. After church they were so encouraging. One member in particular said: “Pastor, I am so proud of you. We want you around for many years.”  That’s the goal.

The good news is that as this process starts, after meeting with the physician today, I’m already off of three medications and a serious reduction in my insulin medications (by at least half). Tomorrow I have my first extensive session and education – a four hour intensive.

So by the time I hit 55 on May 16, 2015, I will experiencing great health!  Your prayers and support are appreciated!  I encourage other pastors and preachers to join me in a journey toward good health – and church members, I encourage you to encourage your pastor on a journey as well.


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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

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