Saturday morning, January 23, 2016, the members of Bank Street Memorial Church and the pastor, Rev. Dr. Joseph P. Lee, Jr., hosted its 2nd annual Community Leaders’ Prayer Breakfast.
An almost capacity filled audience braved the rainy, snowy mix weather to attend the breakfast, acknowledge the honorees and to hear Norfolk’s new Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Melinda J. Boone.
Deacon Pamela E. Riddick served as Mistress of Ceremony for the Community Leaders’ Breakfast whose theme was “Impacting Lives Through Community Service.” Dr. Matthew Russell, Bank Street Church’s Minister of Music, began the program with a Musical Prelude while the Head Table was being seated. The Invocation and Grace were done by Rev. Michael Smith, Senior Pastor of Norview Baptist Church located in Norfolk. As part of her responsibilities, Deacon Riddick introduced the Head Table and distinguished guests including Delegate Daun Hester and school board chairperson Rodney Jordan who brought greetings. Gregory Gardner, soloist extraordinaire, warmed the hearts of the audience with “God Is Our God,” prior to the Welcome and Occasion by Rev. Lee. Bank Streeter Nikki Swain introduced the speaker, Dr. Melinda J. Boone, a Suffolk, Virginia native and the first female Superintendent of the Norfolk Public School System. As she spoke about the theme “Impacting Lives Through Community Service,”
Dr. Boone referenced two outstanding persons who truly believed in volunteering and being of service to the community – Edward Blyden (the Blyden Branch Public Library/Norfolk is named) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blyden was a Presbyterian minister, Secretary of State of Liberia and a rights activist who believed that the African spirit is a “SPIRIT OF SERVICE – IT IS IN OUR DNA TO SERVE.” As all of us know and was pointed out by Melinda J. Boone, Dr. King lived a life of service and believed that no matter what your status is in life – YOU CAN SERVE!!! Boone suggested that we remind ourselves of the definition of service; that volunteerism is service by choice; service is not about us; and physical and mental health and longevity are benefits that we can reap through service to others. Dr. Boone also referenced 1 Peter 4th chapter and reminded us that God expects each of us to serve.
Past Chair of the Bank Street Board of Trustees, Ruth Jarvis, introduced each of the honorees by giving a brief synopsis of their service to the community. Nikki Swain assisted in presenting the honorees, Norfolk’s Chief of Police, Michael G. Goldsmith; Rev. Dr. Geoffrey V. Guns, Senior Pastor of Second Calvary Baptist Church located in Norfolk; and WVEC –TV Channel 13 meteorologist, Iisha Scott (award accepted by her uncle and aunt/John and Laverne Scott) with plaques. Statements about Commitment to Our Communities; A Corporate Prayer and Benediction were carried out by Rev. Dr. Lee.
The delicious breakfast buffet was prepared by Vanessa Stewart Catering. Thanks to the Planning and Development Committee of Bank Street for a well planned program. The committee consisted of Dr. Lillian Wright, Chairperson, The Honorable Raymond A. Jackson, Mae Wiley, Cecelia Tucker, Gloria Simmons, Melvin Walker, Barbara Pendleton and Lemuel Lewis.