A season for service

Members of the Deacon and Deaconess Board at Mount Moriah Baptist Church enjoy the service, where seven new deacons were ordained. Above: Deacon and Deaconess Angelo and Synester Rollins during devotion.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 4:37 p.m.

The Rev. Dr. Freeman N. Gallmon of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church isn't afraid to ask for help.

And on Sunday, seven new deacons were ordained as new members of the deacon board to assist Gallmon in carrying out the church's mission.

"I can't do it all by myself," Gallmon told the congregation near the end of the "Deacon and Deaconess Day" worship service. "I'm over 50 now, and I can't do like I used to do. Sometimes you have to say when you need some help."

The service began with Gallmon and his wife, First Lady Wanda Gallmon, leading more than 30 current and new deacons and deaconesses into the packed sanctuary as the choir sang "We Have Come This Far By Faith."

The new deacons and their wives are: Charles and Rebie Bryant, Donald and Margaret Crawford, Johnny and Dianne Cromwell, Damon and Mattie DeSue, David and Gloria Gordon, Jerome and Frankie Guilford and Willie and Geneva Saulsberry.

The service was marked by a lot of good old-fashioned gospel singing as the choir sung several songs, including "Encourage Yourself," which was led by church member Annie Pearl Curtis.

Devotion was led by Deacon and Deaconess Angelo and Synester Rollins as they led the congregation in singing, "I Know I've Been Changed."

Deacon Ralph Hilliard presided over the service, and he encouraged parishioners to not carry their burdens on their shoulders, and not to put them on the pastor's shoulders either.

"Take your problems to the Lord," Hilliard said. "You don't have to bring everything to the pastor. What we need to do is ask him how we can get closer to Jesus."

Deaconess Phyllis Hilliard welcomed members and visitors, Deaconess Brenda Howard led the responsive reading, which came from I Timothy 3:8-13, and Deacon Jeff Jones sang a solo.

The Rev. Dr. Willie G. Mayberry of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church delivered the sermon. He was introduced by Gallmon, who said he remembers meeting Mayberry 25 years ago when they both were younger preachers with no grey hair.

"I have seen God make him into what he is," said Gallmon. "He is an awesome leader."

After greeting the church, Mayberry immediately got into his sermon, titled, "I Hate That Deacon."

"Today, we have glorified the position of deaconship," Mayberry said. "In the early days, it was a position of service."

Mayberry said he has seen a lot of preachers come and go, but he has never seen deacons go as quick as preachers. He went on to say that deacons, who are appointed, need to find out the description of their title by reading the Bible.

"You ought to be able to find your job description in the Bible," Mayberry said. He also said that the qualifications for deacons and pastors are basically the same.

"The only difference is that there can only be one pastor," Mayberry said. "You have been called not to give orders to the pastor, but to take orders from the pastor. Orders come down, they don't go up."

His text came from Revelations 2:6, which deals with Nicolas, a deacon of the early church who decided to leave the church and start his own.

Mayberry said Nicolas had advised his followers to forget the laws of their former church and to do whatever they wanted to do.

He utilized the text to show how God's favor works. "We can certainly say that Mount Moriah has God's favor, and I want to proclaim today that Rev. Gallmon has been showered with God's blessings," said Mayberry.

He then talked about how people must wait until their season to be appointed to positions within the church.

"God has found favor in you to be deacons at Mount Moriah," he said. "Let your light shine. You are being ordained to serve."

Johnny Cromwell, who has been a member of Mount Moriah for 15 years, said he takes being ordained as a deacon very seriously.

"I think it is an honor that God has given me the opportunity to be put in this position," Cromwell said. "It is confirmation that I am doing what he wants me to do."

The church is located at 718 SE 11th St. Sunday School begins at 9:45 a.m., followed by morning worship at 11 a.m. There is noon prayer on Wednesday and Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The phone number is (352) 372-0505.

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