Spirtuality

Empowerment time at revival


The LaVern Porter-Mitchell Dancers perform a praise dance during the Alachua County Empowerment Revival held at Greater Bethel AME Church.

Brad McClenny/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:10 p.m.

The inaugural Alachua County Empowerment Revival ended with parishioners being told that victory is guaranteed.

The three-night revival held at Greater Bethel AME Church came to a close last Friday night, and featured the inspirational and charismatic preaching of Pastor Wendy Smith Martin of Greater Victory Christian Center in Atlanta.

Martin preached from Joshua 6:1-9.

The title of her sermon was "It's a Promised Victory."

The service included performances by the Empowerment Revival Mass Choir, which consisted of members of several Gainesville area churches.

As the choir sang "How Great is Our God," liturgical dancers from Fullness of Joy at Mount Olive AME Church, Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Grove Park Community Church and the LaVern Porter-Mitchell Dancers also performed.

The performance was so moving that almost everyone in the packed church stood to their feet to praise God with the singers and dancers.

Leanetta McNealy of Hope to the World Church presided over the service and Evelyn Mickle of Mount Carmel Baptist Church offered the consecration prayer.

The welcome was given by First Lady Deandra Caison of New Macedonia Baptist Church.

The Rev. Robinsky Reed, pastor of Hope to the World, read the scripture, which was taken from Psalm 150.

Dr. Marie Herring, pastor of DaySpring Missionary Baptist Church, introduced Martin and psalmist Minister Henrietta Telfair of Jacksonville.

"I call her the queen of the hymns," Herring said of Telfair.

Before she sang "There is Power in the Blood," Telfair said she was happy she was a part of the revival.

"Come on and let's give God some praise in this place," Telfair said. "I thank God for my two nights here. Some of you had three nights, but I thank God for my two nights. My life will never be the same."

Martin preached after Telfair sang, and she began by saying that she was very impressed with the revival.

"I am going back to Atlanta to tell people that some churches in Gainesville came together as one," she said. "This has been a memorable affair."

She talked about how one of the first things students are taught when they begin school is how to form a straight line.

She said teachers often tell students not to make the line crooked and not to break the line.

She said the text shows that the walls of Jericho fell down because Joshua got the people to line up straight without anyone breaking the line.

She told parishioners the same thing will happen in their lives if they are obedient.

She then talked about how line breakers can be found in many churches.

"They come in and push folk out the way and push their own agenda," Martin said.

She told stories about her childhood that many older parishioners could relate to, such as being raised in a neighborhood where anybody's mother could discipline a child for bad behavior and nobody looked down on anybody for "borrowing some sugar."

She said those days are long gone.

"We're living in a day now where grandmas are selling weed," Martin said.

She ended her sermon by lining up several preachers, an older gentlemen, two young men, two women and several children.

She said the preachers represented leaders and the older gentleman and the young men represented the old and new covenants, respectively.

She said the women brought up the rear of the line because they pray in a mighty way.

"You bet not mess with a praying woman," Martin said.

She said the children came last because God wants them to see what he has done for everybody in front of the line.

"When they grow up, they will be able to tell God that ‘I know you can do it for me because you did for my pastor... and my mama,'" she said before urging parishioners to hug somebody while telling them, "You have the victory."

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