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Hampton Roads Community News

Coincidence or Spirit?

By Ernest Lowery
Community Outreach Correspondent
New Journal and Guide

It was the second day of the 2016 – 102nd annual Hampton University Ministers’ Conference and the 82ND Annual Choir Directors’ & Organists’ Guild Workshop. I happened to be waiting to speak with the Chaplain’s secretary about some photography issues that needed to be covered during the course of the week. In the meantime, I was just hanging around talking to one of the authorized book publishers who was stationed in the lobby. I’ll call him Mr. Jones from Chicago and in charge of representing over a hundred authors selling books for his clearing house book company. There were people, young and old, sampling the book titles and book covers that caught their eye as they purchased one or two; some were best sellers.

Meanwhile I had taken a seat and watched the flow of ministers – men and women – and young students as they paraded around the available book selections. I was aware of multiple conversations of praise about the conference’s impact on them and the anticipation of more worshipping to come. I was joined in the seating area by two ministers who had met for the first time and the conversation began jokingly about being up all night listening to the Word and having a good time. During the fun dialogue between the two ministers, I learned that one panned out to be an author/speaker, as well, in his own right.

In a smooth transition, the conversation changed to what is going on in the Black experience yesterday and today. When you say anything about the Black experience within my listening range, I’m all ears. What I heard was such a moving story by a man I learned later was named Minister Major Morrison. The family history that rolled off his tongue had me looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Was it coincidence or Spirit that was orchestrating the meeting?

As one of the conference’s photographers, maybe you can imagine hauling two cameras around all day, navigating through a huge stadium among 8,000 or more ministers and guests. As the audience engaged in the fellowship of the Spirit, I knew everyone could be a potential photo shoot. I was having a good night during my search for the right persons or group to shoot for next year HU Ministers’ Conference program booklet. In-between the scheduled programming, I bumped into none other than the man whom I learned then was named Reverend Dr. Major Morrison.

We struck up a conversation and the curious part-time journalist in me wanted to know a little more about the brother who had spoken so interestingly about the Black experience. He proceeded to give me an overview of his family story, and it goes in part something like this. He is the great nephew of Mr. John McDonald of Charlotte, N.C., who was the first African-American to build a hotel in the state of N.C. It stands off I-85 on Bettie Ford Road.

Rev. Morrison’s father’s father’s father was a slave owner and had more than 2,500 acres of land in N.C. The family has mustered four generations, living in the same area. It celebrated turning 151 years old at Woodlawn Presbyterian Church located in Paw Creek where Dr. Hill is the pastor. Dr. Morrison is living in New Jersey at the moment and enjoys his church fellowship during the week and on Sundays. “You know church work is never done,” stated Morrison.

His long time friend and mentor Bishop Rev. Dr. Kelmo C. Porter passed away recently. Morrison remembers the Bishop as a great man who knew how to teach a church. He was close to Dr. Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson. Dr. Morrison is waiting on the Lord to give him direction on whether to stay in Jersey or move back to N.C. He has attended the Hampton University Ministers Conference for the last four or five years. He admitted he has been most impressed with the heart of the people collectively coming together. Coming together and believing in our Lord and Savior… whereby they are equipped, strengthened, refreshed and finalized to serve God and mankind.

As for the younger generation, his advice is: keep your hands on the Bible; read the Bible with faith; and try to live a clean Christian life. The Lord will do all things for you as long as you remain faithful and practice spreading love to your fellow man. Was my meeting Dr. Morrison a second time amid the vast number of people attending the conference a coincidence or a work of the Spirit? I don’t know but I’m glad we met again that weekend.

Dr. Morrison is the author of 14 Christian and self help books written in the last seven years. There are a number of gospel songs he said the Spirit has led him to write. One of the reason he comes to the HUMC is to learn and understand the holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For more on his books, visit /

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