Encouraging words for departing minister

Pastor Alvin Greene of St. Paul Baptist Church in Lake City also preached.

CLEVELAND TINKER/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3:29 p.m.

The Rev. Charlotte Pinkett received instructions on how to handle her upcoming journey through seminary school during an appreciation service held in her honor.

Pinkett, who has been pastor at Zion Temple AME Zion Church at 111 SE 14th Lane since June 2011, will be leaving Gainesville Friday to pursue a master's degree in divinity at Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina.

And, she was sent off in fine fashion Saturday morning by My Sister Inc. during a service held at Hope to the World Church.

The service featured sermons by two dynamic and mighty preachers — Apostle Charlayne Henry of The Healing Place International Ministry Inc. in Tampa and Pastor Alvin Greene of St. Paul Baptist Church in Lake City.

Evangelist Jeanette Armstrong, founder of My Sister Inc., began the service by asking parishioners to shout "Hallelujah!"

She said the service was held not only to honor Pinkett, but also to give honor to God.

"You have to have excellence in your spirit when you come before God," Armstrong said. "You have to have excellence in your praise when you come before God."

Though both ministers delivered inspirational, timely and uplifting sermons, the one delivered by Greene was tailored specifically for Pinkett.

Throughout his sermon, Greene encouraged Pinkett not to get discouraged or question her faith in God while attending the seminary. Greene began by telling Pinkett she is about to take a journey unlike any she has ever taken before.

"You have to be careful going into the seminary because all teachers don't believe in Jesus," Greene said. "You are going to walk into some things and deal with some people who are going to test your very faith."

Greene then preached from Matthew 12:28. He said the key phrase in the scripture is "and learn of me."

He told Pinkett to be sure to stay focused on learning about Jesus, no matter what else is going on around her.

"It is alright to learn about a whole lot of other stuff, but Jesus said in this ministry, 'You have to focus, you have to learn about me!'" said Greene, in a down-home, traditional black Baptist preaching voice. "Jesus said, 'You need to learn me, you need to learn me.'"

During her sermon, Henry preached to parishioners, more so than only to Pinkett.

The title of her sermon was "Change," as she preached from Genesis 12:1-4. She said her sermon was just not for the occasion, but for the people of God.

She began by asking parishioners to tell their neighbors, "Change, because your inheritance awaits you," Henry said.

She then rhetorically asked parishioners how many of them have been waiting on something, before telling them they have not received it because they have not changed.

"Change is a part of our existence and change is experienced by everyone," she said. "As believers in Jesus Christ, we are often called to make changes that are not necessarily comfortable to our flesh."

The service also featured "words of encouragement" to Pinkett from a childhood friend, Dr. Telva Miller, who earned her doctorate degree in education this past December from Phoenix University. Miller said it was only fitting she was asked to give Pinkett words of encouragement because Pinkett had done the same for her while she was completing her doctorate.

"You are going to be amazingly blessed," Miller said to Pinkett.

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