Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shepastor – “To Inspire You: Those Preachin’ Sisters in San Juan!”

Over the last few weeks, Shepastor has sought to encourage you, challenge you, and now today to INSPIRE you. Inspiration was not difficult to find in San Juan, Puerto Rico where the American Baptist Churches, USA held it’s 2011 Biennial, June 24-26, 2011.

A diverse crowd of delegates from across the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico gathered to “Celebrate” the blessings, work and way of the Lord. We turned our attention towards Isaiah 35:1 which declares, The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the crocus.” Choirs of children, local churches as well as a special choral presentation from the Morehouse Glee Club “rocked” the house! Challenging presentations on the topics of social justice, multiculturalism and the use of technology to reach the masses stimulated our minds and refocused our thinking.

The “Preachin Sisters,” however, took center stage and did us proud! The Biennial leadership team decisively and strategically gave clergywomen the platforms to preach messages of hope, enlightenment and perseverance in the midst of the desert.

Without trying to re-preach any of their sermons, below are a few highlights from our Sisters…

The Reverend Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D, Assistant Minister, Abyssinian Baptist Church, NYC preached, “Flight Plan,” drawing upon her experience of having to wait for her flight to take off in the midst of a storm. With power, authority and rich vocal intonation, Dr. Turman engaged the audience – likening the struggles of life to being seated in a plane, patiently listening to the flight attendant and awaiting the pilot’s instructions as to how to ride through the turbulence.

The Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque, Senior Pastor of the Community Church of Barrington (Barrington, IL) provided “A View of the Landscape,” in her scholarly presentation regarding the dearth of women in senior level positions (pastors and bishops in particular) in a great number of churches and denominations. She concluded on a high note and declared:

“If we will be bold…
Our pool of leaders will be expanded
Our wealth of leadership styles will be broadened
The Body of Christ will benefit
Our children will see new possibilities
We will stand again, on the leading edge of change
God will be pleased

The Reverend Dr. Jacqueline A. Thompson, Assistant Pastor of the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA preached, “Do Something Different,” from Acts 20:7-10, the story of Eutychus being Raised from the Dead. With great animation, hilarity and anointing, Dr Jacqueline challenged us to consider our attitudes towards those who appear to be sleeping or dead in our communities and even our churches. She declared,

We have to be sure that we don’t allow protocol to take precedence over the needs of the people (Paul did not hesitate to stop what he was doing to go over to Eutychus, take him into his arms and declare that life was still in him)

Paul understood the power of personal connection

We must learn to speak prophetically and declare that
life is still within people who may appear dead

The Reverend Patricia Hernandez, National Director of American Baptist Women in Ministry delivered a heartfelt, contemplative message entitled, “I Have Called You By Name.” Using the example of one of her daughter’s childhood experiences (accidentally locking herself in a school bathroom, becoming teary eyed, fearful and then prayerful and innovative, she took her name tag off and slid it under the door. Another child coming down the hall, saw the tag, picked it up and read her name out loud. Upon hearing her name, she cried out and the locked door was opened).

When we cry out to the Lord, our prayers are heard, locked doors are opened – God knows our name!

The Reverend Dr. Carolyn L. Gordon, Associate Professor of Communications and Chair of the Department of Preaching and Communication at Fuller Seminary, CA preached “Celebrate God’s Glory!” Preaching to a diverse crowd of well over a few thousand, Dr. Carolyn declared, “Celebrate God’s glory even when you find yourself in the wilderness – survive, thrive and get out alive!”

“Don’t give up when you go through the desert – God is there”

“God has built you to thrive even in the desert”

“Get out alive – don’t surrender your spirit to the

Let us praise God together for using our sisters to reach the masses!

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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