Celebrating vets, family, friends

Taylor Owens, center, of Dancing with a Purpose from Transformation Bible Vision Ministries, performs during Family and Friends Day Sunday afternoon at Emanuel Baptist Church in northeast Gainesville.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.

Emanuel Baptist Church celebrated Family & Friends Day with a candle-lighting tribute to military veterans and a sermon from a visiting pastor who delivered a straightforward message as he defined what the words "family" and "friends" should mean to Christians.



Pastor: Interim pastor Missionary Keith Smith.
Location: 1203 NE 8th Ave.
Services: Sunday school is 9:30 a.m., and morning worship is 11 a.m. Noonday prayer is 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and prayer meeting and Bible study is 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Phone: 352-377-0990.

The tribute to veterans included church member Thai Jache (pronounced Ty-Jay) Debose lighting five candles as Arvetta Hill, a Gainesville saxophonist/soloist, sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" before Missionary Keith Smith, interim pastor of Emanuel, asked veterans to come and stand at the altar during the service Sunday, which was Veterans Day in the U.S.

The veterans who made their way to the altar were Brenda Brooks of Gainesville, an active duty U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class who has served for 23 years; Ernest Howell of Alachua, who served in the U.S. Army from 1967-1983, including two tours of duty during the Vietnam War; Bernard Quarterman of Gainesville, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and Willie Smith Sr. of Archer, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Hill, who sang "Thank You, Lord" while the veterans stood at the altar, also thanked them for their service. The tribute also included an original poem by church member D'Eitra Bryant titled "A Veteran's Day Prayer."

The Rev. Tony B. Perryman of Transformation Bible Vision Ministries International Inc. in Gainesville presided over the service and delivered the sermon.

Perryman began the service by setting the atmosphere and repeatedly saying that he is all about worshipping and praising God. He told parishioners to get rid of anything in their lives that will keep them from praising God.

Perryman, also a veteran, served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He told parishioners to hold hands as he sang "Jesus," informing parishioners that he was inviting the Lord into the sanctuary.

The Transformation Vision Ministries Choir sang "We Worship You" after Perryman set the atmosphere and the Dancing with a Purpose liturgical dancers of Transformation danced to "Never Wanna Leave This Place" by gospel recording artist Valencia Lacey.

The primary scripture Perryman used was I John 3:1-3, 10. The title of his sermon was "Do You Qualify to Be Called Friend or Family."

As he delved into his sermon, Perryman said Family and Friends Day programs mean a lot to different people.

He said to some it means going to a church and getting a free meal, while also telling parishioners they would be surprised at how many people go to Family and Friends Day at churches just to eat.

Preaching with a very serious tone, Perryman also said just because people share the same DNA doesn't make them family and just because somebody does something for somebody "one or two times" doesn't make them friends.

He quoted I Corinthians 12:27 before saying, "If you're not in the body of Christ, you're not my family and you're not my friend."

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