Daughters of Joy mark 13 years

Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

Just as praise and worship is the focal point of the Christian faith, it is also the focal point of the members of the Inspirational Daughters of Joy whenever they perform and also in their everyday lives.

On Saturday night at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church T.A. Wright Family Life Center, the group was honored for its praise and worship at a banquet during its weekend-long 13th annual anniversary celebration. The keynote speaker was the Rev. Dr. Marie Herring, pastor of Dayspring Baptist Church, who talked briefly about each member of the group. She said each member has a favorite song.

"Missionary Mary Harrison enjoys singing ‘There is Power in the Name Jesus,' " said Herring, adding that Harrison's favorite scripture is Psalm 34, which begins with "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth."

Along with Harrison, the members of the group are Minister Queen Hayes, Lillie McDonald, Cenia Merriex, Janet Merriex, Minister Helen Rogers, Minister Carolyn Ross and Pam Richardson.

Leanetta McNealy, a longtime supporter of the group, presided over the banquet. She informed the more than 200 people attending the banquet that although this was the 13th annual anniversary celebration, the group was actually founded 20 years ago by Cenia Merriex, along with Harrison, Hayes, McDonald and Janet Merriex.

Besides the sermon by Herring, the banquet featured songs by a group of Cenia Merriex's grandchildren known as NTKY, Men of Praise of Ocala and Dancing with a Purpose praise dance team from Transformation Bible Vision Ministry in Gainesville.

The banquet began with McNealy saying how amazing it is the group has stayed together for 20 years.

"Even Mary Mary (a gospel award-winning duo of sisters) has taken a break, but not the Inspirational Daughters of Joy," McNealy said.

Prophetess Angel Muhammad introduced the group individually, and all of them sported bright smiles and happy faces as they strutted to their seats.

During her sermon, Herring talked about how praising and worshipping the Lord will bring the Lord's presence near you and make the devil mad. She also said joyful and willful praise and worship is essential to letting God know how thankful you are for your blessings, adding that the Inspirational Daughters of Joy have no problem with that notion.

"When you see Minister Ross hit that tambourine, it's because she is so thankful about what the Lord has done for her," Herring said. "And when you see Mary do those dips, it's about what the Lord has done for her, and when you see Janet move from side to side, it's about what the Lord has done for her. Praise and worship gives us the strength to get through the trials and tribulation of life with blessings from God."

Rogers spoke on behalf of the group at the end of the banquet. She said the group is truly thankful for the community support it has received over the years and the banquet was something it decided to do for the first time to give something back to the community.

She said once the planning for the banquet began, it was apparent the cost for what they wanted to do exceeded their budget, which included selling the tickets for a very reasonable $10.

"Mary said God is going to bless, and he did," Rogers said.

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