Celebrating Christian Women

Christian Women on the Move perform during their 15th anniversary Gospel Celebration, held last weekend at Mount Hermon Baptist Church.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 3:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 3:51 p.m.

Christian Women on the Move, a group that has been spreading love throughout the community for 15 years, received some of that love back as the group celebrated its anniversary last weekend with services filled with a whole lot of worship.

The women, who also can be found singing on various programs around town, help those less fortunate, but more importantly, they witness to the lost and the unsaved.

The anniversary services were held Friday through Sunday at Mount Hermon Baptist Church in northeast Gainesville, where the Rev. Terry Dorsey is pastor.

Marion Clark of Faith Church in Gainesville presided over the Saturday night service, which featured various choirs. The Friday night service featured a sermon by Pastor Mary Jackson of Freedom United Methodist Church in Waldo and the Sunday afternoon service featured singing only by various gospel groups.

"Let the church say amen," said Clark at the beginning of the Saturday night service. When Clark didn't get the response he wanted from parishioners packed into the church, he repeatedly asked them to say, "Amen."

"If the Lord has been good to you, why don't you lift your hands up and tell him thank you," said Clark.

Connie Smith, founder and president of Christian Women on the Move, said the Lord has been good to the group because he has blessed them to be able to bless others. Smith said the mission of the group is to "feed the homeless and clothe the naked and to help people when they are down on their luck."

She said the group also helps residents pay their utility bills when funds are available and the group visits the St. Francis House twice a year to feed residents there and to donate clothing and other items. The St. Francis House is a homeless shelter in downtown Gainesville that provides clothing, housing, meals and other services to those in need.

Along with Smith, members include assistant secretary Thomasena Murphy of Jesus People Life Changing Church in Gainesville; treasurer Joan Ryles, secretary Bobbie Simmons and vice president Shirley Smith, all of Mount Hermon. The group meets once a month. Those interested in joining the group or making donations need to contact one of the members.

Many gospel groups and friends of Christian Women on the Move came out to show their love over the weekend, including a host of groups on Saturday night that included the St. Mary Baptist Church Male Chorus of Alachua, who led praise and worship by singing "I Know Jesus is Coming Back for Me;" the praise team from Heaven Bound Outreach Ministries in LaCrosse, who sang "Victory is Mine" and "Turn It Over To Jesus"; Brothers in Harmony of Alachua, who sang "I've Found Everything in You" and "At the Meeting."

Presider Marion Clark and New Vision sang "Hold Onto His Hand" and the Bethel Male Chorus sang "Still Here" and "People Get Ready."

There also were performances by the Bradford Gospel Ensemble of Starke, Dancing with a Purpose from Transformational Bible Vision Ministry and the Inspirational Daughters of Joy, both of Gainesville, and others.

Clara Hudson of the Bradford Gospel Ensemble said the group was ecstatic to be a part of the anniversary celebration.

"We have shared a loving bond with these women throughout the years and we came here tonight because God put it in our hearts to come here and sing his songs of Zion so that we might be able to save somebody's soul," said Hudson, a member of Mount Pisgah AME Church in Starke. "We are here tonight to just show our love for this group and to let them know that we appreciate them."

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