'We've come this far by faith'

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 3:21 p.m.
Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church was filled to capacity Sunday as the church marched into its newly renovated sanctuary and also celebrated the Rev. Dr. Freeman N. Gallmon's 24th year of service to the church's flock and the Gainesville community in general.
Local politicians, dignitaries and more than two dozen visitors joined in the march, led by the Rev. Gallmon and his wife, Wanda, along with members of the deacon and deaconess boards, as the combined choir sang, "We've Come This Far by Faith.'' The church also celebrated the completion of a new addition, which houses classrooms, meeting and conference rooms, an office and a dining hall/kitchen.
At the beginning of the service, Deacon Ralph Hilliard, who presided over the occasion, said, "We've come this far by faith, and we can't stop now."
The combined choir then sang another song before the praise team, which consisted of Annie Pearl Curtis, Leona Williams, Lelia Reed and Ashon Nesbitt, conducted the devotion.
"Give God some praise this morning," Curtis said. "God has been good to us. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!"
Curtis then took off her shoes, saying, "I need to stop playing and get me some slides because I know I can't run like I used to. I can still run, but not like I used to."
Curtis then led the congregation in singing, "I Came to Praise the Lord," as the whole church joined in and stood up clapping, stomping and singing along.
Several more songs were sung before the Rev. Gallmon was greeted by Gainesville officials.
"Every time I hear Rev. Gallmon preach, I think to myself that this is a man who could be in Atlanta, Detroit or some other big city in one of those big name churches," said Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan. "But he came to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida and decided to stay with us."
Alachua County Commissioner Rodney Long told parishioners that he remembers Gallmon from his early days.
"I knew you back then, before you had all of this and a bag of chips," said Long, as parishioners laughed. Long then talked about the importance of having a vision, and as a leader, making the vision plain so that the followers can envision it, too. He said he remembers when Mount Moriah had 25 members, and he said he also remembers Gallmon having a vision.f-z Long said Gallmon used to have a radio spot in the 1980s on Gainesville radio station WONE, where he would preach and reach the people.
Long, along with Alachua County Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut, presented Gallmon and his wife with a proclamation proclaiming Feb. 25, 2007, as "Rev. Dr. Freeman N. Gallmon Day" in Alachua County.
Gainesville City Commissioner Scherwin Henry thanked Gallmon for keeping the church in southeast Gainesville.
"When you decided to expand and renovate, you could have easily moved to another part of town, but you stayed true to your roots, and I thank you," Henry said.
The Mount Moriah Dance Ministry received a standing ovation after performing a dance routine, and Kristen Ware also performed an emotional praise dance to "I'm Still Holding On."
The sermon was delivered by Rev. Gallmon's older brother, the Rev. Albert Gallmon Jr., who is the pastor of Friendship Fellowship Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., which tried to recruit the younger Gallmon 10 years ago.
Gallmon Jr.'s sermon came from Revelations 5:11-14, and his message dealt with the need for people to praise God and say Amen.
"John mentioned the noise he heard going on around the throne," Gallmon Jr. said, explaining that the noise John heard was people praising God. "There comes a time in all of our lives when we must stop complaining and grumbling and start praising God," he said. He went on to tell parishioners that the reason Mount Moriah got a loan for the renovations and the addition "from a big bank" was not because the church's pastor looks good, or because he has a doctorate degree, but because "God showed up."f-z He went on to say that people need to sit down with their tired testimonies from yesteryear.
"People need to come with a new testimony," he said. "God doesn't have amnesia. He doesn't want to hear about what he's done for you a year ago, or last week. He wants you to tell people what he did for you yesterday or this morning."
He then preached about what it means to say Amen.
"If he (God) gave you something you did not have, you can say, Amen," he said.
At the end of Gallmon Jr.'s sermon, the younger Gallmon addressed the congregation.
"God has been so good to me I cannot tell it all," Gallmon said, as he thanked his wife for almost 30 years of marriage. "It takes a lot of forgiveness for people to stay married for 30 years. I've forgiven her, and will keep forgiving her," said Gallmon, as he and everybody else laughed.
He then thanked the entire Mount Moriah family for all they have done over the years.
"There were some people who said we couldn't do it," Gallmon said. "We couldn't, but God did."
With Gallmon's urging, Mount Moriah members began to cheer and celebrate like the Gator football players when they make a good play.
Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m., and morning worship is at 11 a.m. Noonday Prayer is at noon Wednesday and Bible study is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The church is located at 718 SE 11th St. The phone number is (352) 372-0505.

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