Testimony and praise


The choir sings praise songs during “The Gathering: When All God's Children Get Together,” a Missionary Society program Sunday afternoon at Mount Olive AME Church in east Gainesville.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 10:14 p.m.

Prayers, singing praises to the Lord and testimonials were in abundance at a service billed as “The Gathering” Sunday afternoon at Mount Olive AME Church.

Facts

MOUNT OLIVE AME CHURCH

Pastor: The Rev. Richard Allen Brown IV.
Location: 721 SE 8th St.
Services: Sunday school at 9:30 a.m., followed by morning worship at 11 a.m. Bible study is 7 p.m. Wednesday for adults and young adults.
Phone: 352-378-9051.

Sponsored by the Susie Jones Women's Missionary Society at the church, the service included prayers of family unity, protection and thanksgiving. It began with a processional by the Mount Olive Mass Choir as Gainesville saxophonist Arvetta Hill played “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

As the processional came to an end, Hill shouted “Satchmo” before mimicking the voice of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, the legendary jazz trumpeter. The theme of the service was “When All God's Children Get Together.” The opening song of praise had the same title.

“We have come tonight for ‘The Gathering,'” said the Rev. AnneMarie Mingo, assistant pastor at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta and the daughter of G.W. and Cynthia Mingo, longtime members of Mount Olive. Cynthia Mingo is president of the church's Missionary Society.

“We have come to celebrate God through prayer, songs and testimonials,” said Rev. Mingo.

Cynthia Mingo said the namesake of the society was an evangelist and missionary who attended Mount Olive for years before she died. She also said the society does work in the community and will be donating shoes to elementary school students this month and socks and blankets to military veterans next month.

The highlight of the service was the testimonials given by several parishioners.

Margaret Sharpe, a member of Third Bethel Baptist Church in Rochelle, was one of the parishioners who shared her testimony.

“Seven years and seven months ago, I completely died and left this world,” Sharpe said. She said God brought her back to life and her doctors installed a pacemaker in her chest that was recently replaced. She said she feels good and celebrated her 80th birthday on June 3.

“I am thankful to be alive,” Sharpe said.

Ruby Mosley, a member of Mount Olive, said she thought she was going to die in 1996 when doctors told her she needed heart surgery. She said she agreed to have the surgery in 1997 after building up her faith in God. She said she has since had seven stints put in her heart and angioplasty surgery. She said she will be turning 71 on Tuesday.

Before she gave her testimony, she sang “I Don't Know What I Would Do Without the Lord.”

The Rev. Michelle Barton of Mount Pisgah AME Church in Archer said the prayer of thanksgiving, saying she is very thankful that her father finally got saved. She said she had been praying for her father to get saved, and when he finally did recently, she thanked God continuously.

Minister Babajide Osoba, pastor of Redeeming Faith & Anointing Church in Gainesville, said the prayer of family unity.

He prayed to God that young women will be able to find young men to marry who love God and that young men will be able to find young women to marry who also love God.

Valerie Wallace, a member of Bethel AME Church in LaCrosse, said the prayer of protection,

The service also included sisters Carla and Teresa McNeice playing “Bind Us Together Lord” on their violins. There also was a performance by the Mount Olive Fullness of Joy adult dance ministry, which danced to “My Testimony” by Marvin Sapp.

“Does anybody have a testimony that God has brought them through something,” said Rev. Mingo after the dance. “It doesn't have to be an illness, it could have been that he simply got you through yesterday.”

During his brief remarks at the end of the ceremony, the Rev. Richard Allen Brown IV, pastor of Mount Olive, said the service was what some people needed.

“Listening to somebody else's testimony can help somebody,” Brown said. “We never know what somebody else is going through, and sharing our testimonies teaches others that there is a God who will see them through.”

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