ECHOES of Empowerment Magazine Summer 2010

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state of maryland




National Broadcast


7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am

Live Online



Live Online

SERVICE TIMES sundays Worship Service

7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am

in the sanctuary & online

Youth & Young Adult Services

11:15am Every 2nd & 4th Sunday

at the forum

Sunday School

After 7:30am Service

at the forum

tuesdays Tuesday Bible Study


In The Sanctuary & Online

Youth Tuesday Night Conversations


in the charles robinson fellowship hall

fridays Youth Friday Night Fellowship

7:30pm Every 4th Friday

at the family life center

ORDER OF WORSHIP Doxology Opening Hymn Litany Prayer Praise & Worship Pastoral Remarks & Visitor Recognition Offering Sermonic Selection Sermon Invitation Offering Announcements Benediction

Echoes of Empowerment Magazine


Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

A Letter from the CEO & Publisher

Publisher & CEO

Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

Candance L. Greene Editor-in-Chief

R egul a r C o n t r i bu t o rs

Jan Austin Education & Political Contributor J.T. Watson Financial, Political & Environmental Contributor

G ues t C o n t r i bu t o rs

Rev. Myisha Cherry Wanda Davis

So much can be said about the environment that after 80-plus days of oil spilling in the Gulf Coast, it has now made its way down to the Panhandle of Florida. When something in the environment happens, it’s never restricted to one area, and it impacts everything around it. What happens in the natural also happens in the spiritual. Empowerment Temple, in the Bible there are 333 miracles. By faith, God has given me the charge of praying for the same amount in the Sanctuary. This summer, I pray God moves to wherever it is you are, in every area of your life. I pray miracles spread into your finances, home life, careers and even into your dreams. The reality is that God exceeds all of our expectations. We asked for 333 miracles from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Right before our very eyes, when we trusted God for 1,000 pairs of shoes to send to Haiti, he sent us 17,022! Seeing that miracle manifest, we now ask God to perform another miracle of allowing all of our members to help us reach our goal of collecting 3,000 pairs of brand new sneakers to give to youth in Baltimore City for our Best Foot Forward initiative on Labor Day!

Moneira Hawkins


Harbinger Communications Diane Gardner-Young

P h o t o gr a phy

Madonna Belton Barry Davis Derrick L. Davis Franklin Fitzgerald Rachel Eliza Griffiths

a r t d i rec t i o n

Kerry DeBruce for KLAD Creative Attention Postmaster: Echoes of Empowerment Magazine is an Empowerment Temple AME Church publication, which is a non-profit organization. To receive a copy of writer’s guidelines, contact Echoes of Empowerment at Send comments and Letters to the Editor to Echoes of Empowerment Magazine, 1505 Eutaw Place, Baltimore, MD., 21217, or via email at Echoes of Empowerment Magazine is a quarterly publication © 2010 by Empowerment Temple AME Church. All rights reserved. All articles, except those identified as having their own authors, are property of Echoes of Empowerment Magazine and cannot be reproduced without written permission.

We are living in an hour of overflow where God is going to give us more than we expect. The Bible says, “To whom much is given, much is required.” To that end, if you want a lot from God, God requires a lot from you. Be diligent to increase your prayer life, and spend time every day not only talking to God, but also waiting to hear from Him. Be humble with a period of fasting. I’m taking time to remind you that fasting does not always mean from food, but anything you do that gives you pleasure. That means you can fast from television, technology or even the telephone. Last, but not least, let us not look for the miraculous only in tangible things, but also in spiritual things. This summer, let’s look for an abundance of new converts to join and become active members of the Ministry. Let’s look for an outgrowth of casual givers to become committed tithers. Now that would be a miracle! Know that your Pastor prays for you daily and that I believe the best for you.

Amazed by His grace,

Pastor Jamal-Harrison Bryant

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment



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Corrections In the 10th Anniversary Spring Issue, our staff mistakenly referred to founding member Kevin Pridgen, as Edwin Pridgen (page 11), and Presiding Elder Montegue as Bishop Montegue (page 24). The staff at ECHOES of Empowerment Magazine humbly apologizes for these editorial mistakes.


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

Cover Story Your Blueprint: 12 Mapping A Conversation with Gospel Great Kirk Franklin


10 Green Entrepreneurs You Are Worth the Wait: 14 Discussion with Dr. Lindsay Marsh

21 Real Love: A Look at Marriage 24 One-on-One with the Creators of SPECIAL YOUTH SECTION Stars: 15 Shining Empowerment Temple Youth Rising to the Top

In Every Issue rder of Worship/Broadcast Schedule 02 O Service Times S peak, Black Man!: 03 A Letter from CEO & Publisher, Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

06 Litany 08 Selah 26 ET Remix




I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Ghost power. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ! I won’t look back…let up…slow down…back up… or be still!


My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals!


I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity! I do not have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on the Lord, run with patience, lift by prayer and labor by Holy Ghost power.


My face is set. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow. My way is rough. My companions are few, my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.


I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.


I WON’T GIVE UP…SHUT UP…LET UP…until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, worked up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go ‘til He comes, give ‘til I drop, teach ‘til all know and work ‘til he stops me. And when Jesus comes, He will have no problems recognizing me because He’ll remember, I was the one He gave POWER!

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


The entire world paused after news spread about the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that ripped through Haiti in January. Many of us sat in front of our televisions in shock at the images of screaming mothers, collapsed buildings and citizens with dazed expressions roaming the streets of Haiti. In the days and weeks that followed, thousands of people, organizations and churches around the globe began to ship supplies, money and themselves to the island to help dig out those buried beneath the rubble and rebuild the nation. As months passed, and the media coverage began to fade, the world soon forgot about Haiti, even as the people continued to suffer. Left: Pastor Bryant with bags of donated shoes; Empowerment Temple member sorting bags of donations; Middle: Empowerment Temple members loading truck for donation; bottom: Wendell Loring of the Loring Trucking Company on his way to deliver the shoes to Soles 4 Souls facility in Alabama. Right:

In May, Empowerment Temple decided to do something to turn the world’s eye back to the island. Pastor Bryant named Memorial Day as Empowerment Temple’s “Barefoot Sunday,” the day we would worship without shoes to understand the daily plight of our Haitian brothers and sisters. He also called on our in-house and cyber members to join the church’s initiative to send 5,000

pairs of shoes to Haiti.The church partnered with Shoe City to help us meet our goal, and with the organization Soles 4 Souls, founded by Wayne Elsey after the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, to send the shoes to Haiti. Throughout the entire month, our members and viewers collected shoes by the hundreds and delivered them to the church. By Sunday, May 30th, our volunteers counted and loaded 17,022 pairs of shoes to send to Port-au-Prince. Hurricane Katrina survivors Wendell and Trisha Loring of The Loring Trucking Company were so touched by the church’s

efforts that they drove more than 2,000 miles from New Orleans to Baltimore to help us deliver the shoes to the Soles4Souls facility in Alabama. Empowerment Temple thanks Reisterstown Branch of Bank of America, Bethel AME Church in Port Deposit, MD., Black Entertainment Television, Maryland General Hospital, National Council of Negro Women Baltimore County Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity,

Theta Mu Mu Chapter, Patterson High School, Payne Memorial AME Church, S.T.A.R., Success Academy, Shoe City, Soles4Souls,The Empowerment Temple Family, and Wendell and Trisha Loring of The Loring Trucking Company.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


The Green Call:

Selah (sé-lah) “To pause and reflect” on the Word of God

Scriptural Mandates for Green Living

A few years ago, I accepted a job offer at the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment. It was not because of the organization’s dedication to the environment, but merely for the opportunity to teach literacy. One afternoon during a walk at a highly attended Earth Day event, I voiced my bewilderment, “I just think there are other issues we should be rallying around other than the environment.” My co-worker responded, “If the earth is not here tomorrow for our kids, fighting for those issues will be in vain.” Her response changed my perspective. I’ve always felt issues such as inequality and police brutality were more important than saving trees and recycling, but when I looked in the Bible for answers, this became clear to me: taking care of the earth is not only an environmental call, but a spiritual one. A Call To Leave An

A Call of

A Call to

The practice of passing on land or possessions to the succeeding generation is a sacred practice. Old Testament scriptures provide clear examples of how God values it. Proverbs 13:22 states, “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” God believes in leaving that which is good for the generation that will come behind us. But, if we continue to destroy the earth by contributing to global warming, then our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be left to live on an earth that is in chaos. With us taking care of the earth today, it allows them to live in a healthier world tomorrow.

This earth is not ours. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” declares Psalms 24:1. We are not owners of the earth, we are stewards.We are house-sitting, and since this is God’s “house,” we must take care of it.We take care of the earth when we limit fossil fuel emissions in the air by driving less. We also take care of the earth when we are conscious of the amount of water we use.

The wonderful thing about giving is that once you give, you also receive. Luke 6:38 says “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure.” When we participate in taking care of God’s earth, we are blessed in return. Last month I decided to put green living into practice by refusing to waste energy in my house. I began to unplug devices that were not in use, and to cut off lights when I was not in the room.When I received my electricity bill, it was the lowest I’d ever seen it.While I was caring for the earth, God allowed me to save money in the process.As a result of me saving, I was able to have extra money to help someone in need. Going green cannot only help us save green, but it can also put us in a position to be a blessing. Going green may sound like something in which only hippies partake, but when we examine the scriptures, we see that it is less about culture and more about God and humanity.


Rev. Myisha Cherry is an itinerant elder in the African Methodist Church and the former Media Director at the Empowerment Temple Church. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she is a performing poet,


educator at the Fortune Society and a contributing writer for URB magazine and More information about her can be found at http://www.myishacherry. com

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Give and Receive

Reverend Myisha Cherry

BP’s Big Mess by Jan Austin

We’ve all seen the pictures of oil-covered pelicans, tar balls on Gulf Coast beaches and gallons of oil gushing from the underwater rig in the Gulf of Mexico. It took eighty-five days for BP to cap the massive leak, which now is seeping what may be harmful chemicals at the bottom of the Gulf. Governmental geological surveys now estimate that 600,000 to 1.2 million gallons leaked into the Gulf from April through July. So far, pockets of oil have been spotted as far west as Texas and as far east as Florida, with Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana taking on the brunt of the spill. As billion dollar lawsuits mount, top executives from BP redirected the blame for the oil spill from their company to Transocean and claimed their faulty blowout preventer, which was designed to cut off any flow of oil should a blowout occur, failed. Administrators from Transocean, which owned the rig and was drilling under contract for BP, deflected the blame to Halliburton alleging that they ignored other minor failures before the blowout preventer failed. Executives from Halliburton responded that a contractor performed its operations to the exact specifications of BP, whose engineers designed the well. Despite the finger-pointing, BP is responsible for the clean up of the spill and related economic loss that could plausibly exceed the statutory cap of $75 million. In BP’s latest attempt to contain the gusher, they successfully cut an oil pipe a mile below the sea which is said to be collecting 630,000 gallons of oil per day. In May, President Obama proposed that deep-water drilling at all of the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico be suspended for six months until his new commission could further investigate the BP oil spill. In June, Louisiana Judge Martin Feldman denied the President’s request, ruling the proposed ban was “arbitrary, far-reaching and unjustified given the impact [the ban would have on] thousands of oil industry workers and communities.” President Obama made his fourth trip to Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida on June 15th to assess BP’s efforts to stop the ever-evolving oil leak there, and to reassure the citizens who have been impacted by the spill. In answer to local criticism of the federal government not having enough people on call to respond to the oil laundering ashore, President Obama immediately commanded his top officials to triple the human resources in the local areas where the oil has already washed ashore or is expected to in the immediate future. Meanwhile, the federal government launched a criminal probe into BP. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that if evidence of illegal behavior is found, the administration will be forceful in its response.

BP CEO Tony Hayward before testifying at the House of Energy and Commerce Committee REUTERS; bottom: Gulf Coast residents at news conference on Capital Hill top:

Relief for the Gulf region appears to be months, even years away. Sadly, the true casualties of this catastrophic event are the drillers who died, the sea life, the lost livelihoods of fisherman, the tourism industry, and most certainly, the sea itself.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Green Entrepreneurs

3 naturally grown businesses


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

Spa Lounge

CC Nails & Cosmetics

Dreadz N Headz

Constance Franks

Christine Calhoun


The skin. It is the largest organ on the human body, and many people fail to realize not only its importance, but also the proper way to maintain it. Enter Constance Franks. Her passion for healthy skincare began with a love for makeup. As a makeup artist, she began to learn that flawless skin enhanced a made up face, and she wanted her clients to feel just as good sans makeup as they did with it.

Many of us spend an hour or two each month getting manicures and pedicures, never thinking about the harsh chemicals that could be floating in bottles of pink, red and fuchia nail polish…but Christine Calhoun did.

Every spring, thousands of natural hair care enthusiasts flock to Baltimore to participate in the Natural Hair Care Expo. This expo showcases hundreds of talented natural hair care stylists from around the country, all eager to participate in the largest natural hair care expo in the United States. The founder is Empowerment Temple member Malaika Tamu Cooper. Cooper started doing hair when she was nine-years-old. “I’m the eldest of 16 grandchildren, 12 of which are girls, and was the designated babysitter.” She was also their hair stylists and, after learning how to braid hair from her older cousins, started styling hair.

At 19, she enrolled in the Von Lee International School of Aesthetics to learn more about how to cultivate healthy skin. While there, she also learned how to do facials, body wraps and waxing, as well as health and wellness for the skin. After graduation, Franks honed her craft at some of Baltimore and Washington D.C.’s most prestigious 5-star spas, including About Face, Red Door and Skin Saavy. It was also while employed at those spas that she decided to step out on faith and open her own spa. In 2007, Franks launched Pampermemobile Spa, a traveling spa service that provided massages, facials, manicures and pedicures in her clients’ homes. She also opened her stationary spa in Security Mall where clients were pampered at her location. Taking what she learned at Von Lee, and from her own personal studies on organic and natural products, Franks began to develop her own line of skin care and body products that she customizes at her customer’s request. Her cleansers, toners, moisturizers and Mango Me Tango Me organic brown sugar scrubs have been flying off the shelves since the day she introduced them to her clients. So, what’s next for this young entrepreneur? Can you say Day Spa? This past spring, Franks opened Spa Lounge, her fully-operational day spa in Charles Village. She is also enrolled in nursing school studying to become a medical aesthetician not only to upgrade her business, but also to share with her clients how to develop and maintain healthy skin. “What you put in you body comes out through your skin. I love African American skin, and I want to educate our people about ways we can have clear skin, using natural products and no chemicals.”

For more information about Constance Franks and Spa Lounge, visit or www. can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

In 1993, Calhoun followed her passion and enrolled in the Fame School of Nail Design. There, she received her license, but decided being a nail technician was not her forte. She wanted to create her own products to “put her personal spin on the industry.” Calhoun first decided to create vegan-friendly cuticle oil that was as “pure and natural as possible.” Once she found the oil base for the cuticle oil, she used her retail merchandising background to research and contract a private company to create it. Now, CC Nails and Cosmetics sells vegan-friendly cuticle oils in cranberry, citrus, green tea and peach scents. Once she solidified her cuticle oil product, Calhoun moved to on to create a line of nail polishes that were “3-Free,” meaning they do not contain formaldehyde, nitrocellulose (both used to harden nail polish) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a chemical that helps to plasticize or soften nail polish to increase its workablility. Currently, she has 44 polishes in her CC Nails line, 22 of which are “3-Free”. The other half are “2-Free,” meaning they do not contain formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate. CC Nails’ products are so unique that they, and the distinctive, custom-made packaging, have been used as special gifts at the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards and Empowerment Temple’s 2009 Power Summit. Christine Calhoune’s next venture is to expand her brand by developing partnerships with beauty salons to distribute her nail polishes and cuticle oils. She has also added CC Rocks, her line of natural stone earrings, bracelets and necklaces to her repertoire, and is working to create her own line of cosmetics.

You can purchase 2 and 3-Free nail polishes, vegan-friendly cuticle oils and CC Rocks natural jewelry at

It was not until after a short, and uncomfortable, season with a Jheri Curl that Cooper developed a respect for natural hair. “For so many years I was taught to kill the kink in my hair. After that curl, I made it a point to learn how to love and care for my hair in its natural state.” And relearn she did. Reaching back to her roots, she began braiding hair again while in college and then started working with dreadlocks in 1993. That love for “kinks” has grown into Dreadz N Headz, the largest salon for dreadlocks in the country. “I have over 4000 clients who have learned to love their hair in its natural state.” Because Cooper believes in cultivating natural hair without using artificial products, she hand makes and sales her own chemical-free products using vegetable oils, lanolin, shae butter and almond milk. She also believes in enacting her own form of “Sankofa,” by mentoring young people and teaching them both the styling and business side of hair care. “I want to equip them with knowledge that will give them the confidence to branch off from me to open their own salons.” God has equipped Malaika to share her natural hair care techniques around the world. She was the only natural hair care stylist to participate in the Mondial Coiffue Beaute hair care show in Paris, and has spent three months in Tunisia and Senagal learning traditional African braiding. In addition to her international travels, her salon and the Natural Hair Care Expo, Cooper is also the founder of Poets in the Park/Happy Nappy Day, a grassroots festival dedicated to holistic health and social change.

To learn more about Malaika Tamu Cooper, Dreadz N Headz, or Happy Nappy Day, visit and www.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Unveiling the BLUEPRINT Kirk Franklin writes songs that speak triumph to all of us who

K rk Franklin A TALK with

may still be searching, angry with life, or unsure of our walk with God. He writes covert gospel music that DJs play in clubs, songs clubheads dance to only to realize later that those songs were about Jesus. This multi-award winning Gospel artist has been transforming Gospel music for more than two decades, making messages of God’s love for us accessible to everyone. But Kirk Franklin was not always on top of his musical game. Abandoned by his mother and father as a child, he was raised by an aunt who loved the Lord, but did not always translate that same love for Kirk. It was not until Kirk Franklin allowed God full command of his life, and to unveil his life’s blueprint, that Kirk’s personal and professional life began to blossom.


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

ECHOES sat down with Kirk Franklin to discuss his book The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms, and how we all can access the plans God has for our lives.

ECHOES: We know you as Kirk Franklin the artist. Where did the idea of writing a book come from? And why the title The Blueprint?

elders remind us about how many of our ancestors died, how they marched, got bit by dogs and shed blood so we could have the right to vote.

Kirk Franklin: It honestly came from a team of people around me who heard and watched me do some public speaking at conferences, colleges and churches around the country and thought it would be a good idea for me to put those ideas, thoughts and perceptions in book form.The more I did the speaking, the more people began to ask me, “Where is the book?” So, once we started the process, I began to think about a book title that was very modern. I didn’t want anything that was too Christian-ease, just something that would appeal to a mass of people. The Blueprint was it.

Well, God is saying the same thing. He’s saying He gave his life and shed his blood so you could have the opportunity not to try to figure out what your life is going to be. All you have to do is tap into The Manufacturer and He will show you what to do. He already has a plan for your life and you don’t have to stumble through it just because a pastor fell or because of something a priest did. God is still God and He has great plans for His children, and you shouldn’t cancel them out because of the mistakes of a few. I wrote the book to remind people that regardless of what happens around them, God is in total control. Keep your eyes on Him.

ECHOES: In The Blueprint, you are very transparent and honest. Why did you decide to be so open? Kirk Franklin: Being open and honest is my nature. Doing so in this book is what came natural to me because that’s how I am day-to-day. ECHOES: Why did you feel the need to write this book? Kirk Franklin: People have seen so many disappointments, tragedies and downfalls in Christiandom and religion, and they deal with that by taking all of the things they were taught, the principles and the standards, and try to get rid of it all. God and religion is the only thing we do that to. Politicians can fall and make mistakes, but we don’t stop voting, we are not trying to get rid of the political process because of it. Even if we did, our

ECHOES: What do you want your audience to gain from reading The Blueprint? Kirk Franklin: In The Blueprint, I try to offer strong doctrine without all the dogma. I tried to offer that woman who married a Christian man who left her or that man whose wife withholds her love, hope. I try to offer a little humor, relevance, honesty and my own form of swag in hopes they learn from the mistakes I’ve made. I tried to share with them the life lessons I’ve learned sitting at the feet of the most educated minds in academia, to “the gully” cats that just got out the pen and make it all applicable to those who need to read this book. My overall goal is to give them hope and to remind them that God loves them and has a plan, a blueprint, for their lives.

To learn more about Kirk Franklin, visit www.kirkfranklin. com, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Kirk Franklin’s The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms is available at bookstores everywhere.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


You Are Worth the Wait

Dr. Lindsay Marsh’s Purity Revolution Abstinence. Chastity. Purity. These are words that, in our 21st Century

society, are nearly obsolete, but with her I Am Worth The Wait movement, Dr. Lindsay Marsh is determined to bring those words back into practice. Dr. Marsh is making herself known around the country as the 34-year-old virgin who is teaching youth, and adults for that matter, about living a pure lifestyle. By “pure” she means making the choice to follow the biblical mandate of abstaining from sex and sexual activity until marriage. She travels the nation lecturing and sharing her life’s story through her book The Best Sex I Ever Had: A Guide to Sexual Purity. But what she also gives these youth is another alternative to what society tells them is the norm. By the time she was 21, Dr. Marsh knew two things: she wanted to pursue a deeper relationship with God, and she wanted to become an anesthesiologist. By 2006, she had completed her medical residency and had written The Best Sex I Ever Had: A Guide to Sexual It was while Purity. It was while in communion with in communion God that he gave her the title of her with God that ministry. “God told me, ‘Lindsay, you are he gave her worth the wait.’” The title so resonated the title of with her that she put it on a T-shirt, her ministry. and her clothing line was born. On her “God told me, 30th birthday, Dr. Marsh launched I Am ‘Lindsay, you Worth The Wait Ministry, premiered are worth her clothing line and held a book signing the wait.’” for The Best Sex I Ever Had: A Guide to Sexual Purity. That night, several of her guests rededicated their spiritual and sexual lives to Christ in a special altar call. That’s when she knew God had created a movement. Since that party, Dr. Marsh has received invitations to speak at churches, colleges, schools, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Her I Am Worth The Wait Ministry team is comprised of a network of people who have rededicated their lives to a life of purity. “We all make bad decisions and mistakes. It’s up to us to pick up the pieces and get back on the path God has for us.” Together, she and her team are slowly transforming the perception of what virginity and purity looks like. “We want people to understand that abstaining from sex is not boring. In fact, we got it going on because we are confident in our obedience to God.” Visit for more information about Dr. Lindsay Marsh, the I Am Worth The Wait movement and her book The Best Sex I Ever Had: A Guide to Sexual Purity.


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


youth section

a year for the youth 2010 not only marked the 10th Anniversary for Empowerment Temple Church, it has also been a great year thus far for our youth. Many of our young people accomplished remarkable goals, soared academically and began to be honed spiritually.This year, Empowerment Academy graduated its first class of 8th graders, and our young people were given a voice within the church through MANTLE and DIVAS. Empowerment Temple Liberia Youth Ministry and the Jamal-Harrison Bryant HOPE Academy expanded, and the Cecelia Williams Bryant Missionary Society successfully re-launched the Young People’s Division (YPD). Added to the list of notable achievements, the Harrison James Bryant Scholarship Committee celebrated five years of service. ECHOES could not allow these accomplishments to pass without spreading the news about them to the world.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment



Mastering Adulthood Nurturing Tomorrow’s Leaders of Empowerment MANTLE is Empowerment Temple’s youth ministry dedicated to developing, mentoring and training young men between the ages 10-18. The group meets every 4th Saturday from 11am-1pm at the FLC. Led by member Leroy Wilson, Jr., MANTLE utilizes monthly fellowship opportunities to teach Christian values, ethics and morals in a manner that address their whole person—mind, body and soul—in a manner to which they can all relate.


Daughters of Integrity, Vision, Affirmation and Spirituality

Currently, MANTLE is looking for dedicated and driven Christian men who are willing to invest their time into becoming mentors for our young men. If you are interested in either mentoring or you are a young person interested in becoming a member of MANTLE, then contact Leroy Wilson, Jr. at

Moneira Hawkins There is such a need for girls to be able to be among their peers and express their concerns about life, home, school and their social environment in a space where they know their perspectives will be valued not ridiculed. The DIVAS Ministry is that sacred space created to teach girls ages 11-17 spiritual, as well as practical, skills—financial literacy/ economic empowerment, finding their purpose, applying bible scriptures to everyday life, learning to how to trust God, personal hygiene, self-worth and esteem—that will aid them throughout their lives. Using 1 Peter 3:3-4 as their scriptural focus, these girls are able to tap into and develop the “hidden person of the heart…which is very precious in the sight of God” in a nurturing setting. The message expressed in the DIVAS ministry was so special that the group wanted to share it with younger girls in the church.As a result, DIVINE was created for girls ages 6-10. Both DIVAS and DIVINE believe that by planting seeds now, the will be able to operate in wisdom, faith and obedience to the will of God. DIVAS meets every 4th Saturday from 11am-2pm at the Family Life Center. For more information about DIVAS, to join, or to become a DIVAS/DIVINE mentor, contact

top left:

Girls of D.I.V.A.S.

top left:

Boys of M.A.N.T.L.E

bottom left: Sisters reading EOE bottom RIGHT: Boys

playing sports with counselors.


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

The Bishop Harrison James Scholarship Committee

The Young People’s and Children Division (YPD) By Wanda Ragster Wilson

2010 marks the 5th Anniversary of the Bishop Harrison James

The Young People’s and Children Division (YPD), Empowerment

Bryant Scholarship Committee. Since its inception in 2005, the

Temple’s ministry for youth ages 2 to 26, is an integral ministry within

Scholarship Committee has partnered with the Bill and Melinda

the AME Church that serves as a perfect training ground for teaching

Gates Foundation and Empowerment Temple Church Family to

Christian ethics and leadership.YPD’s primary focus is to provide

award more than $180,000 in scholarships to deserving students,

meaningful youth training through educational programs designed to

provide internship opportunities to more than 70 working-age

increase knowledge of biblical scriptures,African Methodist Episcopal

youth, and take over 70 students on three HBCU College Tours.

Church history, and to provide opportunities for youth leadership.

This year, the Bishop Harrison James Bryant Scholarship Committee

Empowerment Temple Church’s YPD have had many opportunities to

has placed 21 students in summer internships, making it the largest

foster these above purposes, most evident during their experience

group of interns in the Committee’s history. During this year’s

at the Baltimore Conference YPD Annual Day in March 2010 where

Scholarship Day, 30 high school, undergraduate and graduate students

our youth served as workshop participants, and where our young

received scholarships from the Bishop Harrison James Bryant

men won the annual Basketball Tournament. Empowerment Temple

Scholarship Committee. In addition, the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta

YPD youth also served as participants during the Baltimore Annual

Sorority awarded University of Delaware senior Kristapher Lee with

Conference Youth Night. Two of our young men honed their

a scholarship in honor of civil and human rights activist Dr. Dorothy

leadership skills when they traveled to the Dominion Republic

Height. Lee was the first high school student to successfully complete

with Rev. Dr. Cecilia Williams Bryant as part of the Habitat for

the Johns Hopkins University Summer Engineering Program, for which

Humanity Missions Journey.

she earned three college credits. That same day, the Committee also provided parents and youth opportunities to meet with some

In July, YPD participated in the 2nd Episcopal District Youth and

of the top charter and independent schools in Baltimore, as well

Leadership Congress in Hampton, VA where Courtney Brunson,

as enabled them to meet with various financial organizations in the

Veronica Middleton and Diamond Fisher-Robinson were dedicated

area to discuss college funding options.

into the Debutant/Masters Commission. Next year, YPD will participate in the Quadrennial Convention for the YPD and Women’s

For more information about the Bishop Harrison James Bryant Scholarship

Missionary Society held in Orlando, FL.

Committee and opportunities for young people, contact ETScholars@

To learn more about the Young People’s and Children’s Division, contact Wanda Ragster Wilson or Missionaries@

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Empowered Graduates at Empowerment Academy Quinisha Bull addressing the graduates

In 2002, a delegation of committed Empowerment Temple members/ educators, led by Pastor Bryant and Sis. Dolores Winston, petitioned to found a charter school in the Baltimore City Public School System whose focus was literacy through the arts. It was the delegation’s goal to make this school one of the top schools in the state of Maryland. Not only did the delegation succeed in forming this school, but they, along with principal Carolyn Smith and a staff dedicated teachers, formed one of the most successful schools in both the Baltimore City Public School System and the state of Maryland. That school is The Empowerment Academy.

Proud Empowerment Academy graduates

On June 7th, 25 Empowerment Academy 8th graders became the school’s first graduating class. Many of the graduates walked away with multiple awards, including 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Quarter Honor Roll, perfect attendance and Student Government Association awards. In addition, teachers awarded students that showed the most aptitude and promise in English, Math, Science, Social Studies and Spanish. Skakiara Whitaker was awarded the Principal’s Award, which was given to the student who “persevered, was persistent, positive and showed great character.” But the belle of the graduation was Quinisha Bull who received four school-administered awards, a savings bond from the NASA Education

Sister Dolores Winston and Principal Carolyn Smith

Program Science Award, and the prestigious President’s Education Award, which included a letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama. It was only fitting that Principal Carolyn Smith chose Pastor Bryant to be the commencement speaker for the school’s first graduation. He inspired the youngsters to allow life to sharpen their skills and abilities, and to take what they learned while at Empowerment Academy on to high school, college, graduate school and beyond.

ECHOES Congratulates Empowerment Academy Dr. Bryant during his commencement address.


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

Class of 2010!

Empowerment Temple Liberia

2009-2010 marked a very important year of growth for youth at Empowerment Temple Liberia. From Sisters with Power, to the JHB HOPE Academy to Empowerment Temple Liberia’s Youth ministries

Sisters With Power (SWP)

The Empowerment Temple Liberia’s rites of passage group for girls, Sisters with Power, is on a mission to raise young women who are “set aside to be women of excellence.” In July 2009, the young women presented the community drama “Fallen Angel,” a play written specifically to address peer pressure and making right choices. This year, members of SWP held their “Women of Excellence” talent and fashion show where each of the young women had to share why they were destined to be extraordinary women.

Jamal H.Bryant HOPE Academy

In February 2009, Empowerment Temple Liberia officially opened the doors of the Jamal H. Bryant HOPE Academy to help the children of Liberia to “develop Christian character, intelligent minds and a wholesome spirit in preparation for higher levels of education.” This year, HOPE Academy students received a special visit from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the country’s first female President.

Empowerment Temple Liberia Youth Ministries

The Empowerment Temple Liberia’s youth are some of the most dedicated young people in the AME Church. The Kingdom Kids Youth Ministry, the children’s ministry for youth ages 4-11 years-old, is 88 members strong.The group formed the Kingdom Kids Choir and celebrated God at the Community Kids Party. This year, Empowerment Temple Liberia’s YPD participated in a beach fellowship and the girls participated in the Girls Kickball Team.

From top to bottom: Community Kids Party; Girls Kickball Team; Kingdom Kids Choir; HOPE Academy Youth; Empowerment Liberia Youth with Pastor Cooper

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


This issue, ECHOES is debuting a new column ECHOES Moment where we talk to interesting people doing creative things for the Kingdom. For our first ECHOES Moment, we’re introducing Neechy.

ECHOES Moment with...

Have you ever had a question about something that perplexed you, and wanted to know a Biblical take on it, but didn’t know where to go to get the answer? Well, so has Neechy, but instead of posing those questions to friends and colleagues, she asks you via her weekly YouTube video blog on Neechy, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the founders of Rocspace News, a website/eblast company founded in 2007 where you can get news and information about what’s going on in the Black Christian world. After two years there, she decided to pursue a new venture,, her website and video blog devoted to a Christian’s take on music, beauty, fashion and other relevant hot topics.


ECHOES: Why Neechy: God pulled me out of my comfort zone [with Rocspace] and had me do something I never intended to do. One night, I asked a friend of mine if men of faith wore earrings. He couldn’t answer, so I decided to put the question up on YouTube just for fun. A couple of weeks after that, I received emails from people asking me when my next Neechy YouTube question was going up. I had no intention of uploading another question, but the requests kept coming in, and I posted another and another until it became a regular Monday event. ECHOES: So, nearly a year later, with hundreds of NeechyTV questions under your belt, what has been your most controversial topic? Neechy: I asked a question about Christians being addicted to pornography and people contacted me asking for prayer, shared their personal stories and thanked me for addressing a topic many churches are afraid to discuss. Sometimes we believe that since we’re Christians, we’re supposed to be able to know how to deal with our issues when we really don’t.We need forums, someone to tell us something more than, “just pray about it.” We need people to really care. ECHOES: So, what’s next for Neechy? Neechy: My friends tell me I’m a combination between Oprah and Tyra, sharing information and uplifting women with a Christian flair. But, honestly, I don’t know, and I’m comfortable with that because it means I’m totally relying on God to lead and guide me and His way. Visit to sign up for Neechy’s blog, and to learn her take on music, beauty and fashion. Also follow her on Twitter at


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Real Love A LOOK AT

marriage I, take thee to secure in the

knowledge that you will be my

constant friend, my faithful partner

in life, and my one true love. On

this special holy day, I affirm to

you in the presence of God and my

July marks the height of wedding season, the time when excited brides and grooms pledge their undying love for one another before God, family and friends. ECHOES wanted to give these newlyweds and soon-to-be married couples a glimpse into marriage after the “I Do’s” and the babies, and to share how trading the fairy tale life in for reality can help create a lasting bond.

sacred promise to stay by your side

faithful in sickness and in health,

in joy and in sorrow, as well


through the good times and the bad.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Bro. Kevin & Min. Eva Branch Bro. Kevin and Min. Eva Branch are the ministry leaders for the Marriage Ministry. A neighbor introduced the couple when he was a football player at Mergenthaler High School and she was a cheerleader at Lake Clifton High School, and it was “love at first I, sight.” take thee to secure in the knowledge that you

will be who my will constant The couple, celebrate friend, their 30th my faithful partner in Anniversary in December, believes making and my ofone love. On this special holy Godlife, the cornerstone theirtrue marriage is the glue that has kept them together all of day, affirmprayer to you in of the presence of God and these years. I In addition, in the face adversity, commitment to God and to each alland those in to attendance my sacred promise to stay by other, the ability be open with each other without feeling judged has also aided your side faithful in sickness and in health, in joy their marriage for three decades. and in sorrow, as well asthrough the good times and

The Branchs can attest that many changes take place in a marriage over a thirty year the bad. I promise to love you without reservation, period. “There were disappointments and we comfort hurt each other youunintentionally, in times but of our distress, encourage you to success required choosing to love each other whether we deserved or not. We found with you and cry with achieve higher itgoals, laugh that by putting the effort into our marriage to succeed, we have been rewarded longevity, satisfaction, you,with grow with you inspiritual mind and spirit, always be growth and unconditional love for one another.”

open and honest with you, and cherish you for as

Bro. Kevin and Min. Eva advise newlyweds that marriage long as we both shall live. takes work and commitment.“There is no perfect marriage, but there are perfect moments you can treasure. Make sure your love for one another and your relationship with God is strong enough to withstand the storms.”

To learn more or to join the Marriage Ministry, contact Min. Eva and Bro. Kevin Branch at


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

Douglas & Kesha Evans

Troy & Robin Tignor

Married 9 Months

Married 5 Years

Douglas and Kesha were

Troy and Robin Tignor were

introduced to each other

friends in high school who

by a mutual friend. The

hung out in the same group.

moment they shook hands,

It wasn’t until they went to

they felt sparks fly. A few

the Jr. Prom together that

days after that date, Douglas

their friendship blossomed.

asked Kesha out for their

into something more They

second date.Three months

dated through college

later, he proposed, and she

before finally tying the knot.

said yes. The couple believes that Both Douglas and Kesha

patience, consideration,

believe their relationship with God is the central binding

compromise, and more

force in their marriage, and is the common ground that makes

importantly, love help to make their marriage healthy.

the two of them stronger. Kesha believes being around other people of God also helps to make their marriage stronger.

Hanford &Nicole Gadis

David & Lisa Crawley

Married 5 Years

Married 15 Years

Hanford and Nicole Gadis met at a New Year’s Eve Watch Night service in South Carolina. Both of them had been praying for companionship and, within moments after praying the prayer, were introduced. One year later, at the same time that they met, Hanford proposed.

David and Lisa met at work after she relocated to Baltimore from West Virginia. On their first date, David told Lisa they would be married. She didn’t believe him, and it took him four years to convince her otherwise. Fifteen years later, the couple believes being committed to the commitment is what

The couple believes putting God first is the most important factor in making their marriage work. Praying for each other and their marriage, as well as keeping an open line of communication is what they believe seals their bond.

keeps their marriage strong during the difficult times. They also believe their friendship and willingness to evolve, both individually and collectively, have enabled them to have such a lasting bond.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


The Way It Should Be On Marriage with the Creators of Lamar and Ronnie Tyler at the the screening of “Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage” at Baltimore’s Senator Theater.

We’ve all read the statistics: 40-50% of marriages end in divorce… divorce rates among conservative Christians are significantly higher than that of other faith groups…children of divorce are more likely to either be pregnant or incarcerated before the age of 21…and the list goes on. Enter Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, a young African American couple fed up with the negative stereotypes marriage receives. “We enjoy being married and we knew there were many other couples like us who felt the same way.” So, in 2007, the couple took matters into their own hands and


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

launched their blog and website Blackandmarriedwithkids. com as a refuge for married people to find families similar to their own. Since the launch, the website has won several “webby” awards including the 2010 Readers Choice Award for Best Parenting Blog, the 2009 Glam Network Award for Best Family Blog, as well as the Black Web Award’s Best Culture and Lifestyle Blog Awards. Essence Magazine also chose the couple as one of their “2009 Power Couples on the Move,” alongside the Obamas and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. The couple, who now boast nearly 50,000 Facebook followers, are regular contributing bloggers for The Tylers balance their individual careers, four children and the website with ease. “Working on together,” says Ronnie “helps

us to spend that quality time we miss while at work.” The couple believes this endeavor has actually strengthened their marriage. “We are total opposites,” says Lamar, “so working on this together helps us find new ways to meet in the middle.” In 2009, the couple decided to branch into a new arena and produced the documentary film Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage. They wanted to take their message to another level to “challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding marriage and parenting in the Black community.” Instead of outsourcing the filming to independent filmmakers, they purchased their own video equipment and went to work interviewing, filming and editing their own documentary. Once it was complete, they took the film on a nation-wide tour to share their message

with the masses. Happily Ever After was so successful and so well-received that they did it again. In 2010, they released You Saved Me, a video chronicle of the “greatest love stories told and the impact it had on couples’ lives.” The Tylers are currently on tour screening the film and selling out venues nationwide. “When we see all of the comments on our Facebook page, or hear people tell us ‘Thank You’ for the information we’re sharing in our films, we know God’s hands are on us and that we’re doing the right thing.”

To learn more about the Tylers or to purchase their documentary DVDs Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage and You Saved Me log on to or find them on Facebook.

SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment


the buzz August 21st Ministers in Training Orientation 12noon-2pm Family Life Center Email: Rev. Benita Keene at or Rev. Mark Wainwright at for more information COPS Crab Feast 5pm-9pm Family Life Center Tickets are $40


et remix

april 1. 10th Anniversary cake 2. Jonathan Nelson returns for 10th Anniversary service

3. Pastor Bryant rejoices during Anniversary service 4. Former Music Ministry Assistant Allan Van Johnson leads the choir 5. Former Music Ministry leader Dwayne Simpson


1. Ladies attending MOVE Ministry’s 3rd Annual Ladies Night Out 2. Women stretch in preparation for the WAR Ministry’s Power Heart Walk 3. Rapper Common visits Empowerment Temple


1. A dad receives a gift from Pastor on Father’s Day 2. Pastor receives the Justice Thurgood Marshall Service Award

4th Youth Concert Family Life Center 12pm-4pm

5th Youth Rally 11:30am-2pm 4217 Primrose Ave


april 1


6th Best Foot Forward 8am-3pm 4217 Primrose Ave

19th Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant’s 20th Pastoral Anniversary Celebration during 7:30am, 9:30am and 11:30am services 4217 Primrose Ave.


SUMMER 2010 | ECHOES of Empowerment

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