Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Church

By Pastor Melvin O. Marriner
Grove Church

Struggles are an important part of our development process. Sometimes God does not take away or deliver us from our struggles simply because His answer is ‘not yet.’ We are under construction. We have not fully developed or matured to receive the blessings He has for us. We must learn to accept that when God’s response is ‘not yet,’ He is still with us; sustaining us and loving us in the midst of whatever we are going through.

Struggles, disappointments and trials help us grow, develop and blossom into the ‘butterfly’ God desires us to be. If we had no trials or struggles, if we had no pain, or suffered no losses, many of us would not be the strong, faithful or wise individuals that we have become. Experience and struggles—and yes, even history—have taught us that we can endure, survive, thrive and come out on the other side, bruised but not broken; scathed and scorned, but not hopeless. Life has taught us to suffer without surrendering. Maybe God didn’t stop the pain, hurt, loss or tragedy, but He stayed with us through it. The knowledge, peace and comfort that He provides can and does strengthen and grow us closer in our relationship with Him.

Most of us that have emerged from some kind of struggle and can fully embrace and celebrate God’s grace, mercy and love. We see His hand in our lives, and fully appreciate and embrace1 Peter 5:10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

”Peace and power.

© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
Grove Church
February 2017

By Gladys McElmore

King Herod had arrested some believers with plans to persecute them. He had James executed. These first century Christians suffered along with Peter who was put in prison and guarded by soldiers. Prayers to God were earnestly offered for him by faithful believers. What did God do to save Peter? How did God’s angel work assigned miracles? Peter’s prison chains suddenly disappeared as God’s plans unfolded! It is impossible for us to always understand God’s plans for us.

As the angel continued giving Peter instructions Peter did not understand the plan of escape. Somehow he thought a vision was occurring. Can we believe an iron gate opened by itself? Yes, it can if God is the gatekeeper! God can open gates that no man can close! Also God puts the right people in our lives to help us live for Him.

Rhoda, a servant girl, was terrified when Peter knocked at the outer entrance. She recognized Peter’s voice. What joy must have lit up her face when she saw Peter standing at the doorway! She ran screaming and forgot to open the door! Peter, no doubt, kept patiently knocking. When did God’s angel disappear? When the angel and Peter walked the length of one street, he was no longer visible.

Peter later realized that the Lord had sent His angel and rescued him from Herod’s control and also from everything the Jewish people were anticipating! While still trying to figure out all recent events, he traveled to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark and heard Rhoda’s exclamation of Peter being at the door because of God’s miracle. She was so happy about God blessing Peter.

What was the jailhouse reaction? A great commotion among the soldiers and Peter instantly became a witness for God as any of us would have done under the same circumstances. What was Herod’s reaction? Did he praise God? Read Acts 12 to learn more about the end of Herod’s life. The word of God continued to increase and spread! Rhoda’s attitude compares to our feelings when we do not seem certain about God’s answers about our pleas. Immediate answers astound us too! We can persist in praying and get surprised by God who already knows our needs.

Was it easy for those early Christians to have believed Rhoda? Did she give up? She kept reporting the news even when the expected response did not come. Only when they saw Peter for themselves did they believe this simple servant’s testimony. God used an ordinary person to witness about Peter’s experience. Peter came inside and told his own story about the miraculous release by an angel, urged them to tell others about his escape and then moved on. What can we learn from Rhoda’s story? Rhoda’s faith in God made her stand firm. Her persistence succeeded. Do we need the same kind of faith in our own lives? Many doubters may believe, if only we stand firm.

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

The mind has a mind of its own. Occasionally, it takes little trips and goes on interesting journeys that bring back memories from long ago. Memories that are both pleasant and painful. Memories that are both welcomed and worrisome. Memories that must have been stored there by God to help us remember His mercy and, at times, His judgment.

Psalm 77 is very egocentric. Take time, if you will, and count the number of times the personal pronoun “I” occurs. It is rather amazing.

It begins with the writer carefully reviewing many instances of feeling forsaken and abandoned by God. He writes of calling for help – but no voice responded. His eyes would not close – and he was reminded of tragedies he wanted to forget. He felt rejected and unloved and even gave up on God ever being faithful or kind to him again.

Then, suddenly, his mind called things to a halt. God seemed to awaken him and he said, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember Your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.”

Our minds do wander and walk through dark valleys filled with deep sorrows and painful valleys. And when it does, it only takes a moment, if we choose to turn things around and change the shadows and sorrows and valleys in to sunlight and smiles and mountain tops. God did this for the Psalmist. He wants to do the same for us: recall His miracles in our lives that give us eternal hope.

Visit us at: SowerMinistries.org

Mrs. Evelyn Vera Fields Williams, a Norfolk native reared in the Berkley section, was born 100 years ago in 1917. What a blessing to her family and the community!!! Not only is Mrs. Evelyn Williams still glamorous and stately, she is still mobile and as my mother would say “CLOTHED IN HER RIGHT MIND.” A lovely inspirational brunch, in honor of this “spiffy” lady with many of her family, friends and church members in attendance, was held at the Chesapeake Marriott Hotel.

Dr. Catherine Williams, cousin of the honoree, was Mistress of Ceremony for this grand celebration. The Welcome and Invocation were done by Rev. Yvonn M. Hardy, Pastor of Mrs. Williams home Church – New Central Baptist Church. This was followed by a stirring solo sung by granddaughter Rev. Sabrina Williams. Ms. Alisa Hardy, director/choreographer and Mrs. Jada Mackey-Wells, assistant director/choreographer did an outstanding job with the Action Ministry Praise Dancers. This youth group from New Central featured Alana Hardy, Bless Mack, JaCory Page, Italy Taylor, Kasey Turner and Anthony Wells and a little girl who was 2 or 3 years of age performing magnificently. Following the Blessing. A delicious brunch was served. Prior to cutting of the birthday cake, the audience clapped, sang and swayed to Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday.” The liveliness and jubilation during the singing set the tone for the remainder of the happy occasion.

Lighthearted tributes and reflections were given by Senator Lionel Spruill, Virginia State Senate/District 5; Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff who also read a Proclamation from the city of Chesapeake; Mayor Kenneth Alexander of Norfolk; and Dr. William Ward former mayor of Chesapeake. Dr. Rose Ward, family friend; Berkley Community Historian Mrs. Anne Boone; First Lady of New Central Baptist Church, Mrs. Pamela Battle-Hardy; and Dr. Shirley Winstead, life-long friend gave reflections. Other tributes came from Ms. Priscilla Scott-Thomas, President, Norfolk Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Mrs. Joyce Colden, President and Dr. Lucy Wilson, Chesapeake/Virginia Beach Chapter Links, Inc.; Ms. Priscilla Tennyson, President Chesapeake Women’s Club; Mrs. Carmelita Williams, President and Mrs. Perdethia Lowery, The Holidays; Mrs. Evelyn West, President and Mrs. Denise Lipscomb, Chesapeake CHUMS; and the 100 Black Women’s representative and family friend Mrs. June Banks. The Programme Tributes and Reflections ended with remarks from Ms. Carole Jenkins a cousin; and a birthday toast by grandson Elder Anthony Williams. This was followed by beautiful reflective remarks and a glorious tribute by daughter Mrs. Sylvia Butler and a love token presentation by great granddaughter Jordyn Butler.

This Jubilant Celebration was planned by Rev. Yvonn Hardy, Ms. Joyce Colden, Mrs. Carolyn Copeland, Dr. Rose Ward, Mrs. Denise Lipscomb and Mrs. Sylvia Butler. Mrs. Pamela Battle-Hardy was responsible for the beautifully decorated head table; and Mr. Robbie Savage and Mrs. Carolyn Copeland did a splendid decorating job of the gift table. The gorgeous invitations were done by Ms. Junelle Banks. The host and hostesses were as follows: Mrs. Shanta Fields, Chair, Mrs. Colette Springs, Ms. Shannon Harrison, Mr. Keonte Martin, Ms. Sheila Fields, Mr. James Greene, Ms. Lakendra Hunter, Ms. Vestia Simmons and Mr. Larry Martin. Songs played by the D. J., was very appropriate for the age groups present. Mr. Frankie Davis and The Mighty Stars sang songs that had the audience singing along with many of the tunes.

Mrs. Evelyn Vera Fields Williams was extremely gracious in her closing remarks giving thanks to all who came to help celebrate her wonderful life. As stated by Mrs. Williams, “I thank my family and friends, from far and near, for your presence, thoughtfulness, time and generosity. I deeply appreciate all that you did to make my 100th birthday a blessing. I will always cherish and remember this day. God bless all of you.”

The Rev. Dr. Robert G. Murray was impressed with the church-owned school he toured at a denominational meeting in Texas; to the point that he returned home to Norfolk, and launched READY Academy at the historic First Baptist Church-Bute Street.

READY Academy was launched in 2004 with 22 students. It currently has 157 students, an impressive curriculum, and about 100 seasoned volunteers and 100 donors. This means READY Academy brings two facts sharply into focus. Black churches not only taught reading, writing, and arithmetic to newly freed slaves in Sunday school or weekly Bible classes. Black churches now provide upgraded educational services including after-school tutoring programs, computer classes, financial seminars, cancer-survivor classes, and exclusive worship services for youth. In other words, as the nation examines this year’s Black History Month theme: ‘The Crisis in Black Education.’ The historic First Baptist-Bute Street illustrates the impact that these churches have had through the years.

“It was a vision the Lord gave him,” said his wife, Amanda Battle Murray, who heads READY Academy, which serves students ages 3-11. “Pastor Murray went to an American Baptist Conference and went on a tour. He was so impressed with the children he saw in the school in Texas. He noticed how disciplined they were. He returned home and offered to buy a nearby building. But when we applied for the building the owners told us they would never sell.  Soon, they came to us and asked us to buy the building.”

The rest is history. “We have so many skilled, competent, and dedicated volunteers,” Amanda Murray said.

She pointed out how Charles Corprew Jr., a former Norfolk Public Schools principal was chair of the board of directors at READY Academy when it opened. Lisa Anderson is the current board chair of READY Academy, which is operated by the 217- year-old church.

“Our school is full of so many experienced educators,” Amanda Murray added. “For example, we have an experienced security person who turns up first thing in the morning when we open the doors. We have many experienced educators who volunteer. We have experienced clerical workers. We have state-certified volunteers who teach classes in music, Spanish, and even swimming off-site. We have parents who hold professional positions at local universities such as Norfolk State and Old Dominion. They come in and do demonstrations or serve as guest speakers.”

Black churches, in other words, continue to provide educational opportunities, a mission that dates back to slavery when newly freed slaves would learn how to read by reciting Bible verses in Sunday school and weekly Bible classes.  Black Baptist associations by 1900 were supporting about 80 elementary schools and 18 academies and colleges. Meanwhile, African Methodist churches were funding 32 secondary and collegiate institutions; and the smaller AME Zion denomination was supporting eight.

Black churches, these days, are tackling headline-grabbing problems like juvenile delinquency, strengthening families, and improving math and reading skills. For example, from 2002 to 2004, there was a 50 percent increase in the number of faith-based organizations that received state funding to provide juvenile delinquency prevention services in several states including Florida.

Another example is Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington. D.C. It established a Family Life Center to strengthen and nurture families. Meanwhile, 10 churches in Jackson, Tenn. launched a tutoring program for children that live in public housing in Jackson, Tenn. About 350 youngsters travel on a church bus to meet with 250 volunteers who pore over homework with youngsters who want to improve their reading and math skills. Meanwhile in Georgia, the 6th Episcopal District of the AME Church launched an America Reads Challenge project with emphasis on rural areas.

In Norfolk, Amanda Murray said the effort at READY Academy continues to surge. “We opened with 22 students in Pre-K-3 and Pre-K-4,” she said.

“Our goal was to add a grade each year up to third grade. Once we accomplished this goal, I thought we had reached our goal. I told others, I am sure we have already done what the Lord told us to do,” she said, laughing softly.

“Soon, we added the fourth-grade class in 2013. And we started our fifth-grade class in 2014. My assistant is a full-time volunteer. Her name is Rosa Edwards. She is a retired physical education specialist who retired from the Virginia Beach Public Schools system.”

Black churches, in other words, have obviously tackled the crisis in education by providing an increasing number of opportunities.

Lula Rogers, a retired Portsmouth City Schools educator and a lifetime member of the historic First Baptist-Bute Street, paused to consider how things have changed.

“If I compared the educational programs today to the ones that existed in the church when I was a child, I would say first of all that we did not have a lot of people with versatile educational training,” said Rogers, who also serves as the historian at the historic First Baptist-Bute Street.”

Rogers added, “We didn’t have anyone to offer tutoring classes. And although we had an evening service,” she said referring to the recently launched youth-only worship service that meets on Sunday evenings. “When I was growing up, the evening worship service was for adults only. Now we have an evening service that is only for our youth. Now we also have children’s church.”

Rogers continued to compare and contrast the past and the future. “In the past, children had to sit in the pews with their parents. Now, the children participate in our weekly worship service on Sunday. They recite Bible passages they have memorized. The pastor talks to them. Then, they go to a classroom in the back of the church and have their own lesson. We also have started a special group for tots. Before, if you had a baby on your shoulder during service – well, that’s the way things were – sometimes they cried during service. But that has changed. Our pastor said he likes to hear crying babies because it is a sign of growth. Now we have a special program for tots.”

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But the new educational opportunities did not come out of thin air, “We did a survey with the congregation about five years ago and found that our congregation wants to offer holistic educational programs,” said Bruce Williams, who heads A. Bruce Williams and Associates, a local public relations firm. He has been a member of First Baptist for over 15 years.

The congregants used the results from the survey to compile a five-year plan. Among other things, the survey showed congregants should develop new programs for those ages 20-35. Soon, the church launched its Youth and Millennials campus in an adjacent building, in addition to providing a weekly alternative worship service that meets each Sunday at 6 p.m. The effort also includes social media instruction, intergenerational interaction opportunities, pizza parties, social events, and streaming video services.

“Teaching the three R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) is still a priority, “Williams explained. “But we’ve expanded so that we now offer educational programs to six generations. For example, we offer prostate cancer seminars, a counseling center, a cancer survivor ministry, exercise classes, and even programs on HIV-AIDs. We also have a financial seminar that started this summer to help people get out of debt.”

Williams pointed to other ongoing efforts, “We also feed the homeless (about 25-200) people very Saturday at noon. We are also offering showers. And we have provided employment for some who were homeless. Every day we grow, change and try to extend our reach and the array of ways we can worship that includes all six generations we strive to serve. It ain’t easy.”
Amanda Murray added, “There are times that we just do what we do because we love the Lord and this is what He told us to do.”

By Rosaland Tyler
Associate Editor

Part One: Black History Month – Forbidden To Read As Slaves
Part Three: Black History Month – Shortage of Black Teachers Leads Men to Mentor Boys

By Pastor Melvin O. Marriner
Grove Church

While there is nothing magical about making resolutions at the start of a new year, we can and should set personal goals for ourselves. For some of us, the New Year simply provides us with a time to reflect, re-evaluate, re-define or recommit ourselves to goals we set for the year. Most of us understand that we are imperfect beings ‘under construction’ who aspire to become better and do better, in an effort to become somewhat worthy of the grace, mercy and love that God gives.

At Grove Church, this year we’ve adopted the theme of “Emerging” in an effort to become better and more deserving. But, what exactly does that mean? The definition of emerging is ‘appearing; coming out of an experience, condition, or situation, especially a difficult one’. A good analogy is the butterfly that emerges from a caterpillar or chrysalis (a moth or butterfly pupa that is enclosed in a hardened protective case).

Many of us have heard some version of what occurs when a butterfly emerges prematurely from its cocoon. One account relates that a butterfly struggled so hard to get out of its cocoon that someone helped it along by making the hole bigger. This well-intended act of kindness resulted in the butterfly emerging prematurely; its body was swollen and its wings were shriveled. The butterfly never fully matured and ended up spending its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings, without ever being able to fly.

You see, a butterfly is SUPPOSED to emerge out of the cocoon on its own. The struggle to get through the tiny opening of the cocoon serves a purpose; it pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly’s wings never develop fully to allow it to fly. Will you emerge this year to fully develop into your God-given purpose?
”Peace and power

© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
Grove Church
February 2017

A long-time political figure was asked, “How much power does it take to satisfy politicians?”
After thinking about the question for a moment, he responded with a twinkle in his eye: “Just a little more!” And then added, “The more we have the more we want.”
Politicians rise and fall, come and go, do helpful things and some things that seem to cause confusion and chaos. Whatever they do comes from the power that we seem to give them. Or does it?
Insightfully, the Psalmist said, “No one … can exalt a man … It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.” After all is said and done, there is no power apart from God. He is Almighty. He rules.
We often think of ourselves and others as being self-contained. We live, we breathe, we walk and talk, we do this and that, but – in fact – we live breath by breath and moment by moment according to God’s plan for our lives. Our physical life, and the life of those whom He allows to have power and influence over us, do so as He wills and wishes.
These are days of turbulence and turmoil, fear and frustration, uncertainty and anxiety. We do not know what is going to happen before our next heart beat. But it is comforting to know that God is in control of everyone and everything. He has fixed limits on their terms and time in office. He also has a plan in place for everything.
God often seems to move at the pace of a snail – but He is indeed moving. We can rest assured that all is well.
Visit us at: SowerMinistries.org

By Pastor Melvin O. Marriner
Grove Church

February is Black History Month – a time set aside to pay homage to those individuals whose shoulders we stand on. It’s also a time to reflect on who we are and from whence we came. And, while there is an ongoing debate about setting aside just ONE month each year to honor Black history makers, each of us has the opportunity and privilege to delve deeper into our history as often as we like. Surely, we don’t need to set aside a month to reflect on our history, but we can and should regard February as an opportunity to share our many and significant contributions to history with people of other races and ethnicities.

This month we also celebrate Valentine’s Day, which, coincidentally, happens to be my birthday! So, during this time each year I find myself not only reflecting upon Black History Month, but taking time to reflect upon my own life as I celebrate the grace, mercy and love that God has and continues to bestow upon me. As I reflect upon my personal journey, I am not ashamed to say that with each passing year, I continue to grow closer and closer to Christ, and fall deeper in love with Him.

During Black History Month, as we honor those who have made significant contributions to history, poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes’ poem, “Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair” comes to mind. An old adage many of us grew up hearing from our grandparents, also rings true for me – ‘I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey.’ Over these past 55 years, I’ve experienced the lowest of valleys and the highest of heights, yet I know that God is not finished with me yet.

My journey – though unique to me – is no more or less significant or difficult than yours. As with our ancestors – sometimes under the most harsh, degrading and inhumane circumstances – with perseverance, prayer and patience, each of us can pursue our dreams, discover and fulfill our purpose in life, and live our lives to the fullest. Most times this pursuit comes at great cost – not just economically – but mentally, physically and spiritually. Life, the pursuit of our dreams, living up to the expectations of others, and achieving our goals can take their toll on us – if we let them!

”Peace and power

© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
Grove Church
February 2017

Why not journey through Scriptures to find truths that God wants us to practice? Why not be real with God? It may be helpful for us to begin trusting and leaning solely in the love of God while constantly seeking to know Him better and to be like Him! Our momentary troubles do not compare to the eternal glory that will far outweigh them all. So we dwell spiritually on things not seen since what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Can we find satisfaction in yielding ourselves to the will of God? Do we always recognize our blessings? Our love and appreciate for God is more important than achieving our hopes and dreams when they do not come God’s way! An excellent example of humility is presented in 1 Chronicles 22 when David wanted to build the Lord’s temple. He had the right motives, the leadership ability and the resources. Yet God said no because David had killed too many people in battle. How did David accept this information? He could have easily become harmfully angry or continued on with his building plans without God’s approval. Being a king he could have said, ”I’ll do as I see fit.”

He could have said just like we do now, “Who am I, Lord God – that you have brought me this far?” (1 Chronicles 17:16). These words were included in King David’s prayers as he began praising God for His goodness. This works for us too to thank God rather than complain about our shortcomings. God may have other plans for us – better plans! David continued his spirit of thanksgiving as he praised God and affirmed his devotion to Him. He valued his relationships with God more than His own ambition. He made God’s will his first priority.

Read 1 Chronicles 17 to understand much more about God’s promise to David, the gratitude David expressed for his blessings and his acceptance of God’s plans. As humans also, do we let disappointments change us? Do God’s timing and design always match our expectations? We must move on and continue to trust God and unexpectedly see His new plans emerge. It is always surprisingly beneficial to trust God completely in all situations. Several examples in 1 Chronicles 17-22 undoubtedly show us how God does not always allow success with our plans, but to our faithfulness. Our resilience to failures shows us the compassion of God who yearns for us to turn to Him.

Counting God’s blessings is a task with an endless number in human standards. As always, God’s grace and mercy make all goodness possible. We have a loving God who pursues and invites us to accept Him. Remember that we have so much supernatural assistance from God our provider. May His amazing grace fill us with countless reasons to thank Him daily as our blessings outweigh life’s difficulties!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

NORFOLK
“This insightful work will lead you from heartache to hallelujah and I invite all to take the journey,” says Dr. John W. Kinney, dean of the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, about Dr. Glenn E. Porter’s new book, Journey With Jesus Through Lent.

Journey With Jesus Through Lent is a daily devotional for the season leading up to Easter. The book, based on Luke’s Gospel, follows in the footsteps of Jesus on the road to Jerusalem and the cross.

Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, author of Celebration and Experience in Preaching and The Recovery of Preaching calls the new book “a brilliant spiritual resource.” Says Mitchell, “It is also a practical help for reading the Bible and offers real insight into human experience.”

Porter, senior pastor at Queen Street Baptist Church, Norfolk, VA, was inspired to write the book because he sees a need for practical, spiritual resources surrounding the Christian calendar and from an Afrocentric perspective.

Porter, an adjunct associate professor of religious studies at Tidewater Community College, says the issues, stories, illustrations, quotes, and concerns in the book are “offered through the uniqueness and particularities of my Black experience – rooted in fertile African soil and growing in the era of the grassroots Black Lives Matter movement, at time of an unrelenting twenty-four hour news cycle and social media feeds that are advancing, in real time, unbelievable episodes of brutality and violence inflicted upon persons of color, and the most vulnerable.”

Dr. Bernadette Glover, senior pastor at Saint Paul Baptist Church (Montclair, NJ) and associate professor of preaching & worship at New Brucnswick Theological Seminary believes congregations and individuals will benefit from the devotional. “Using Christian history, cultural heritage, Holy Writ, and internal reflection, Dr. Porter has laid a path that’s conducive to our spiritual formation,” adds Glover.

The book is a seven-week study that focuses on spiritual disciplines practiced during Lent, including prayer, fasting, studying Scripture and gratitude.

“I’m hoping that pastor’s will use the book for Bible studies and congregational studies throughout the Lenten season,” says Porter.

Lent is the 40-day period in which Christians spiritually prepare themselves for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter. “This is the period of the Christian liturgical calendar that pointedly directs believers to the redemptive works of Jesus Christ,” explains Porter.

“This book is a must read for all those who seek to strengthen their faith and spiritual disciplines by setting aside time for reflection on the Jesus Christ, his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection,” states Dr. Ervin M. Scott, president of the Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers Conference of Virginia, and senior pastor at New Rose of Sharon Elim Baptist Church, Norfolk, VA.

Porter, a native of Roselle, NJ, earned the D.Min. and M.Div. degrees at the Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and a BA at Rowan University.

This is Porter’s first book published by Judson Press. Judson Press is the publishing ministry of American Baptist Churches USA, a historic Protestant denomination that includes 1.5 million members in 5,600 congregations in the United States and Puerto Rico. The book can be ordered at www.judsonpress.com. It’s also available online at Barnes & Noble, Target and Walmart.

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