ECHOES of Empowerment Magazine Spring 2011

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


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Echoes of Empowerment Magazine


Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

Praise The Lord Team Empowerment,

A Letter from the CEO & Publisher Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

Publisher & CEO Candance L. Greene Editor-in-Chief

R e g u l a r C o n t rib u t o rs

Jan Austin Education & Political Contributor Derrick D. Greene Financial & Political Contributor

g u e s t C o n t rib u t o rs

Rev.Yvette R. Blair


Harbinger Communications Diane Gardner-Young

P h o t o gr a phy

Barry Davis Derrick L. Davis Franklin Fitzgerald Rachel Eliza Griffiths

a r t dir e c 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 © 2011 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.

In my walk with God, and in 20 years of preaching, I’ve discovered there’s one thing with the Lord that cannot be reconciled: God doesn’t know how to do math well…he always multiplies. He took five loaves of bread and multiplied it to feed 5000. In my own life, when I thought I was having one child, the Lord blessed me with twins. For the last 10 years, I have celebrated the wonderful things God has done at Empowerment Temple. To go from 43 to 10,000 members is nothing short of a modern-day miracle. I really believe we have found our niche in the city, the community and in the Kingdom, but I had no idea that in our 11th year, the Lord would enlarge our territory, and multiply. I’m excited to announce that on Easter Sunday, we are about to expand to one church in two locations: Primrose and Braddish Ave. In the beginning of the year, the Lord gave us a theme that 2011 would be the year we would Evangelize, Advance and Elevate. I had no earthly idea that that mandate, to evangelize, advance and elevate, would come so close to home. Saving 1000 souls is a Herculean task, to say the least, but now I clearly see that God has a bigger plan in mind. Those 1000 souls wouldn’t only come to the alter at Primrose, but God is going to bring another harvest of souls to the alter at Braddish Ave. If God can multiply our ministry, I can only imagine how He will multiply our faith, our finances and our opportunities. In this season, prepare yourself because the opportunities that are coming to this ministry are not coming one at a time; they are going to come in multiples. God has provided multiple opportunities for our women to go to another level in God, especially considering all of the activities that have been planned for our Women’s Retreat, empowerment sessions on Tuesday nights and our one-of-a-kind Women’s Day. Multiple opportunities are about to happen for our young people with the opening of our Power Zone, which will provide education, entertainment and empowerment all in one central location. Our new Youth Pastor will be available and accessible to our young people for their development and maturation on a seven-day a week basis. Empowerment youth are also about to go on their Southern States College Tour, graduate from high school and go to college armed with scholarships and IPads, multiplying their opportunity for success. Our God is so great that he’s not going to just do one thing, but that he is going to do many things. It is my earnest plea and prayer as pastor that God won’t just do one great thing, but that He will do multiple things in this season. To that end, I want to challenge everyone to seek out multiple opportunities, and to begin to pray about the next stream of income God is getting ready to give you, the next level of faith God wants you to step into, and for the greatest assignment you can accomplish before your life ends. I’m praying for you, and I’m praying that God will give you multiple opportunities to see that you can do more things at once to be successful, just as He’s doing more than one thing to bless you. Peace, Power and Progress,

Pastor Jamal-Harrison Bryant

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your thoughts LETTERS TO THE EDITOR All I have to say is wow! Christine Calhoun of CC Nails Member Featured in Summer Issue

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Cover Story 17 Women’s Season 2011:


Celebrating 11th Years of Empowering the World Through the Word



195th Session of the African Methodist Episcopal Baltimore Annual Conference Report


Extreme Makeover


19 Women on the Rock: Women of Faith in the Trenches 24 Remarkable Women/Remarkable Stories:

Beauté pour Sann: Beauty for Ashes

26 Prayer Movement Without Ceasing:

One-on-One with the Founder of Girlfriends Pray

In Every Issue rder of Worship/Broadcast Schedule 02 O Service Times

03 S peak, Black Man!:

A Letter from CEO & Publisher, Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant

04 Your Thoughts 06 Litany 23 Selah




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!

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11 Years of Empowering the World Through the WORD of God

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Empow e rme n t Temple Making History 11 years ago, Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church was birthed from a vision God gave Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant. The church, which now stands on Primrose Ave., was created to minister to everyday people, especially those who had never had a personal relationship with God. This approach resulted in helping Empowerment Temple to become the fastest growing A.M.E. Church in the country.

And YOU shall receive POWER! Acts 1:8

Over the past 11 years, Dr. Bryant and Empowerment Temple Church have ministered in amusement and ballparks, arenas, and conferences on almost every continent on the planet. But, what makes Empowerment Temple’s ministry unique is the fact that the church has captured a notable amount of members by utilizing an innovative 21st Century approach to church-going—the Internet. Thousands of people log on to tune in for three services on Sundays and Tuesday Night Bible Study, as well as special church conferences, crusades, celebrations and summits. They participate in interactive webinars, read Pastor’s blogs and inspirational text messages, and listen to his podcasts. Empowerment Temple and Pastor Bryant are also on the forefront of social media, boasting nearly 130,000 Facebook and Twitter followers combined. And that’s not all! Dr. Bryant and Empowerment Tempe are also on the cutting edge of a new type of prayer ministry through phone conference calls. Last year alone, Empowerment Temple’s 45-Day Eat, Pray, Love Prayer Consecration garnered over 135,000 callers for the 12am and 12pm prayer calls. And this is only the beginning… From a night club that 43 members converted to a Sanctuary, to a college and then high school auditoriums, to a home church and the uncharted territory that is the Internet, Empowerment Temple is accomplishing its mission to introduce God to a population of people that do not know Him, and in doing so, the church is still “empowering the world through the word of God!”


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11 Years of POWER! 01



01. Dr. Jamal H. Bryant Road Dedication 02. Easter 2007 at 1st Mariner Arena 03. Pastor’s 20th Ministerial Anniversary 04. Empowerment Temple Dance Ministry




05. First Service at the Baltimore Grand 06. D.I.V.A.S. 07. Somebody Do Something 08. Gospel artist Brittney Wright




09. Voices of Empowerment Temple 10. Day of Extra 2008 11. Stop Sinning Campaign




12. M.A.N.T.L.E 13. MOVE’s Day of Solidarity 14. MOVE’s Male Youth Summit 15. ET Married Couples




16. Praying over the church building 17. Gospel Award-Winning Artist Jonathan Nelson

18. Youth Praise Dancers 19. Easter at Walbrook 16



20. WAR’s Wellness Walk. 21. One of our many cyber ministry members




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Vision: a thought, concept or object (‘vizh-en) formed by the imagination

2 : One Church, Two Locations Empowerment Temple

Easter Sunday will be a momentous occasion in the history of Empowerment Temple Church. Not only will we celebrate the risen Savior, but we will also strive to do something no other church in the city is doing—opening a second location. God gave Pastor Bryant the vision to extend Empowerment Temple to a population of people who may not have access to a church home. “After 10 years in one location,” says Dr. Bryant, “God confirmed that now is the time for us to move forward as one church in two locations.” The Easter inaugural service is reminiscent of Empowerment Temple’s first service in 2000, which also opened on Easter. This time, however, we will rejoice at 851 Braddish Avenue for our fourth service at 1:30pm. “No longer do you have the excuse that you couldn’t get up for church, or that you couldn’t find a way to the sanctuary,” says Dr. Bryant. “All you have to do is meet us there.”


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Empowerment Temple 1

Empowerment Temple 2

4217 Primrose Avenue Service times 7:30, 9:30 and 11:30

851 Braddish Avenue Inaugural Service Sunday, April 24th at 1:30pm

POWER ZONE Most people see Baltimore City youth and immediately think crime, violence and gangs. What we are Empowerment Temple know is that each young person in this city has a purpose and the potential, through Christ, to fulfill that purpose. This is precisely the reason for the creation of the POWER ZONE. The POWER ZONE is Empowerment Temple’s youth center established to provide a safe haven for kids to learn, have fun and be empowered. Each weekend, youth will come to the ZONE to participate in a variety of activities in our newly refurbished, state-of-the-art facility located at 1505 Eutaw Place. Friday nights from 7pm-11pm, youth will be able to come to the POWER ZONE to participate in game night. Saturdays from 9am-3pm, the POWER ZONE becomes a learning center headed by veteran Baltimore City Public School System principals Lauren McCaskill and Beverly Manigo. Ribbon cutting for the POWER ZONE will be Friday, April 29th.

1000 Souls This year one of our missions as a church body is to evangelize in order to win souls for the Kingdom. In January, Pastor Bryant announced that our goal for 2011 was to win 1000 souls for Christ. “This goal,” according to one of our 9:30 members, “forces us to get out of our comfort zones and engage people who desperately need to be connected to the Lord.” By year’s end, there is no doubt that God will have provided multiple opportunities for each of us to witness, evangelize and lead people to the Lord.

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195th Session of the African Methodist Episcopal Baltimore Annual Conference P r e s i d i n g P r e l at e

The Right Reverend Adam Jefferson Richardson Episc o pa l S u p e rvis o r

Mrs. Connie S. Richardson H o s t P r e siding Eld e r

The Rev. Dr. Earle Maurice Brooks Ass o ci at e P r e siding Eld e r

The Rev. Ernest Lee Montague, Sr. H o s t C h u rch

Bethel A.M.E. Church H o s t Pa s t o r

The Rev. Dr. Frank Madison Reid, III

T u e sday, April 1 2 - S at u rday, April 1 6 SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment


195th Session of the African Methodist 2010: Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church’s

Year of Outreach Soles4Souls Shoes for Haiti Project When the 7.1 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti in January 2010, Empowerment Temple Church took action. Pastor Bryant called for members and our community partners to collect shoes to send to Haiti through the organization Soles4Souls. The church’s initial goal was to collect 5,000 shoes to the impoverished island, but by Memorial Day, over 17,022 pairs of shoes had been collected and shipped to bless the people of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Best Foot Forward Campaign After collecting shoes for Haiti, Pastor Bryant then made a call for the church to send children in Baltimore City back to school with new sneakers for the 2010-2011 school year. Empowerment Temple Church kicked of the shoe giveaway Labor Day weekend with a youth concert with gospel artist Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, and Sunday youth services. Then, On Labor Day, Empowerment Temple gave over 5000 pairs of new sneakers to youth from all parts of the city

Bless Fest The giving continued on Christmas morning with Bless Fest. That morning, 16 families were surprised with gifts including laptops, grocery gift cards, washers and dryers, household furniture, fully stocked refrigerators, and an internship.


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Episcopal Church Annual Conference

EMPOWERMENT TEMPLE MINISTRIES Empowerment Academy Graduation In June 2010, Empowerment Academy graduated its first class of 8th graders. The charter school, formed by a delegation from Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church, opened its doors 2002. Pastor Bryant was the keynote speaker and inspired the graduates 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.

Bishop Harrison James Bryant Scholarship Committee 2010 marked the 5th Anniversary of the Bishop Harrison James Bryant Scholarship Committee. In those years, the committee has awarded over $180,000 in scholarships, over 70 internships and has taken over 70 students on the annual Southern States Historically Black College and University tour. On Scholarship Sunday in June 2010, 30 students were award scholarships, and the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority presented college freshman Kristapher Lee with a scholarship in honor of the late Dr. Dorothy Height.

The Young People’s and Children Division (YPD)

In 2010, the Young People’s and Children Division was reinstated by the Cecelia Williams Bryant Missionary Society. At the Baltimore Conference YPD Annual Day, YPD served as workshop participants, and the young men won the annual Basketball Tournament. They also served as participants during the Baltimore Annual Conference Youth Night. In July, Empowerment Temple YPD participated in the 2nd Episcopal District Youth and Leadership Congress where three of our youth were dedicated in the Debutante-Masters Cotillion Program.

Marriage Ministry In March 2011, the Marriage Ministry hosted a two-day Marriage Retreat at Turf Valley in Ellicott City, MD. Ministry leaders invited special guest speakers Pastor Harold and Rev. Kellie Hayes, and author of Marriage 101 Jewell Powell to offer the couples advice on various ways to strengthen their marriages. * Annual reporting figures will be presented at the Annual Conference. SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment



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women section

Extreme Makeover

Mind :: Body :: Spirit The 2011 Women’s Season is the time to allow God to make you over from the inside out. Learn about what the women of WAR have in store to help you begin your transformation. Also find out more about Eve’s Dynasty, WAR’s e-newsletter that is already touching lives across the country (page 18). Next, ECHOES will introduce you to Women on the Rock who are doing extraordinary things for the Kingdom (page 19). Read Julia Merisca’s heartbreaking account of surviving the earthquake in Haiti, and the miracles she witnessed during the aftermath (page 24). Finally, learn about Girlfriends Pray, a prayer circle that has already blessed the lives of women around the globe through prayer (26).

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WAR’s Extreme Makeover:

themselves. May 1921st, the women will join Rev. Karen Bethea and Set the Captives Free at the Walking in a New Direction Women’s Conference in York, PA. On Women’s Day, Women About Results, or Sunday, May 22nd, women in the church WAR, is Empowerment will be chosen to receive Temple’s women’s makeovers to help press ministry created and them forward with a new committed to spiritual look and outlook on life. and community We will also welcome development. The ministry, led by Vanessa special guests Rev. Maria Mallory White, Elder Jackson, has created a legacy within the church Vikki Johnson and, one of Empowerment and the community Temple’s own, Rev. for promoting health Shana Baker into the and wellness, as sanctuary to speak life well as community and transformation into action. Last year, the the lives of women. ministry partnered with the American Heart Women of Empowerment Association to host our Temple, this season is annual Wellness Walk, for you. Let’s blossom as well as the American together with the help Diabetes Association of the master gardener, and Verizon to host Jesus Christ! the “Choose to Live Initiative” to inform women about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Mind, Body and Spirit

The 2011 Women’s Season is sure to be our most exciting to date. This year’s theme, “Extreme Makeover in Finances, Faith and Health”, was created to help women realize the beauty within


For more information about WAR and the Women’s Events, email war@

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Eve’s Dynasty:

A Legacy Discussion Eve’s Dynasty is a monthly e-newsletter created specifically for women. The newsletter, which is an extension of WAR, was created by Min. Nicole Pyles to address the spiritual needs of women. “God gave me this idea as a way to infuse spiritual transformation in a way that will reach women at their leisure, and in a fashion where they feel comfortable enough to respond authentically.” Pyles chose the name Eve’s Dynasty because for her, Eve symbolizes the “embodiment of power, strength and beauty”. Each month, an issue of Eve’s Dynasty is delivered to subscribers inboxes and Facebook pages filled with transformative messages. The newsletter is broken down into four tiers. The first section addresses the Empowered Woman, which discusses a woman’s spiritual empowerment, relevant scripture references,

prayer and prayer requests. Second is the Engaged Woman, created to address real issues women face including forgiveness, paternal abandonment, self-esteem. The third tier is called the Enamored Woman, which celebrates inward and outward beauty, and understanding the relationship and balance between the two. The final tier is the Effervescent Woman that discusses hot topics that effect women’s lives. Eve’s Dynasty, which launched in November 2010, is already making a global impact. In fact, the newsletter is now being read across the United States and Holland. To send a prayer request, article submission or to subscribe to the Eve’s Dynasty, email

Women on the Rock “ Upon this rock, I will build my church� Matthew 16:18

They are pioneers, women of the cloth determined to blaze a trail for generations to come. One is a pastor who started her own church in her homeland of Liberia. Another is a bishop, determined to rebuild in Haiti, and yet another is the first woman to be appointed bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who is taking on the uncharted territory of the Internet to win souls for Christ. Each of these women take their place on the Rock, building the Kingdom for the Lord.

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Pastor Keturah Cooper Pastor of Empowerment Temple Liberia


he journey to pastoring Empowerment Temple Liberia did not come easy for Pastor Keturah Cooper. In 1990, when the Civil War in Liberia began, Pastor Cooper and her family relocated to Maryland at the suggestion of Bishop John Bryant to escape the dangers there. Upon their arrival, she taught Biology at Morgan State University, and the Coopers joined Payne Memorial A.M.E. Church. While there, Pastor Cooper served as a trustee and was the first minister of the church’s Women’s Ministry. In 1995, God called her to ministry, and by 1998, she was enrolled in Wesley Theological Seminary to obtain her Masters in Divinity. In 2001, she graduated and received her Elder’s Ordination, but she was at a crossroad. The Civil War was still raging in


Liberia, but her heart longed to go home. That year, Bishop Vashti McKenzie invited Pastor Cooper to travel to Botswana to spend a week there working. Once her feet hit African soil, she made her decision to return to Liberia.

go to school and the men could not work, they came to Empowerment Temple Liberia. Pastor Cooper provided for them food and the word through services and afternoon Bible Study sessions.

In August 2001, Pastor Cooper met with Bishop Richard Norris in Liberia. She was told they needed pastors in the District, but that he didn’t have a church assignment for her. It never occurred to Pastor Cooper to start her own church until the Lord gave her a vision to do so. “On September 30, 2001, we opened Empowerment Temple Liberia in the lobby of an abandoned bank. Sixteen people joined the church,” she said with a chuckle. “By December, we had 100 members”.

Church membership was increasing and Pastor Cooper had the idea of converting the bank into a church, but she did not have enough funds to pay contractors to do the job. Little did she know that God had a plan. Some of the men who came to the church on a daily basis informed her that they were contractors and would do the work for whatever pay the church could afford. Pastor Cooper hired them on the spot to work for food and a stipend. The men completed the construction and the church was dedicated 2002.

As with church ministries in the United States, most of the churches in Liberia were female dominated, but God sent Pastor Cooper a different demographic that would prove to be beneficial. Because of the war, schools were shut down and very few men were employed. Since the children could not

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Over the past nine years, Pastor Cooper has built one of the most soughtafter ministries in Liberia. They are the only church, of any denomination, to have a media broadcast. In 2008, Empowerment Temple Liberia relocated to their permanent site that is large enough to seat over 1,200 people. They also opened the Jamal H. Bryant HOPE Academy, to provide quality education for youth in Pre-Kelementary school. There is no doubt that Pastor Cooper is walking in her purpose, and that she has taken her own words to heart when she says, “Be the best you can be and come into God’s purpose. Then you will not only create happiness, joy and fulfillment for yourself, but also assist in the work of the Kingdom.”

Pastor Cooper at an anointing service at Empowerment Temple Liberia.

Bishop Sarah Davis Bishop of the 16th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church Palace, was an arduous task. Once they did arrive, they found the building reduced to a pile of rubble.

If you are interested in volunteering to help rebuild in Haiti, please contact the Office of the 16th District of the AME Church at 876.702.2811, or email Bishop Sarah Davis at, or email Fancois A. Murat, the 16th District’s Volunteer Liasian in Haiti at

Bishop Sarah Davis is the AME Church’s “Prayer Bishop”. She has always been a proponent for understanding and teaching the spiritual discipline of prayer since she was a child. She learned these tenants from her grandmother, who raised both her and her twin sister after their mother’s death. Although she acknowledged her call to preach in 1987, Bishop Davis believes God had been nudging her toward the clergy as early as 1965. At that time, however, she was a practicing Baptist, and did not have a mentor who could steer her in that calling. Once she did acknowledge her call, life for her changed

dramatically. In 1997, Bishop John Bryant chose her to pastor the 115 –year-old Bethel AME Church in San Antionio, TX, making her the first women in the state to be appointed to a major AME Church. That year, she was also appointed chair of the Board of Examiners, making her the first woman in the Connectional AME Church to hold that position. In 2004, she became the third women to be elected Bishop in the AME Church, and soon after, was voted Chair of the Global Development Council which promotes the collaboration, cohesion and cultural integration of churches in Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Europe.

January 12, 2010, the day the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, was a lifealtering day for Bishop Davis. As Bishop of the 16th District, which is comprised of Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados Grenada, Jamaica, Haiti, the Domincan Republic, Virgin Islands and Europe, she knew she needed to do whatever she could to get to the island. She arrived a week after the earthquake and was overwhelmed with what met her. “What we saw on CNN, and read about in newspapers, did not do justice to the devastation.” Getting to where St. Paul AME Church once stood, six blocks from the Presidential

Understandably so, Bishop Davis was instantly overwhelmed. But it was the hope of the people of Haiti that inspired her. At St. Paul AME, they were embraced by survivors who shared their testimonies, and words of praise for being alive. “The people and their hope lifted me.” In the fifteen months since the earthquake, Haiti today still looks as it did the moment Bishop Davis arrived shortly after the disaster. She still travels to Haiti frequently, taking with her as many supplies that she can for the people. “It is my goal to keep the voices of the some 2000 AME parishioners in Haiti alive. If we don’t do it, then their voices will be lost.” Not only does she advocate for them on the front lines in Haiti, but also within panel discussions, summits and planning committees around the country and the world. “We can’t lose focus because Haiti is no longer a front page story, we must speak for them no matter what.”

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Bishop Vashti McKenzie Bishop of the 13th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church “This Is Your Wakeup Call” is her very interactive method of winning souls for the Kingdom. “God’s Great Commission,” she says, “is for man to ‘go ye therefore’, and in the 21st Century the ‘go ye therefore’ is in the digital world. Instead of being afraid of it, I embrace it.”

To subscribe to receive This Is Your Wakeup Call via email, visit To call into the 6am Prayer Line on Thursdays, dial 1.218.936.2800 Access code: 812713#. Follow Bishop McKenzie on Twitter at www.twitter. com/vashtimckenzie and find her on Facebook.

Every morning at 8:30 a.m., half a million people around the country receive an email entitled “This Is Your Wakeup Call”. Within the email is an inspirational devotion, along with a link to a podcast, filled with messages from Bishop Vashti McKenzie about how to navigate in the world as children of God. Bishop McKenzie happens to be a wife, mother, pastor, author and the first woman to be elected Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


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Bishop McKenzie’s 12,000 plus followers on Twitter and Facebook are beneficiaries of her highly unique ministry. Every day, she tweets and posts status messages that are designed to meet her digital flock where they are in order to engage, encourage and guide them to Christ. In addition to This Is Your Wake Up Call, Bishop McKenzie has also created Praycation, a web blog to help people commit to unplugging from the superhighway of blogging, texting, tweeting and updating their Facebook statuses in order to spend time with God. It is also a means to help them foster a deeper relationship with the Lord, and not depending on Sunday service to fill their spiritual cup. “Sunday service

is wonderful, but if all we get is a shout, then we won’t get what we need to survive. We miss that our walk with God requires discipline, the discipline of prayer, worship, study and mediation. Praycation was created to guide people to develop that discipline, that personal tradition of prayer, of study in order to commune with God.” Bishop McKenzie also hosts a prayer conference call every Thursday at 6am to continue the discipline of prayer. The prayer call was originally created for those in the 13th District, but people from all over the country heard about and then called in for inspiration. Now, more than 100,000 people dial in the prayer line every Thursday. Bishop McKenzie’s 21st Century approach to ministry is not just touching lives, it is winning souls. From radio, to the pulpit to social networks, she is fulfilling her purpose. “Being a Bishop doesn’t cancel my call to win souls for Christ. This is my mandate.”

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

Waiting for God’s Promise to Emerge

By Rev. Yvette R. Blair

As a little girl, I used to watch my older sister bake cakes in her Easy Bake Oven. She’d open the prepared package of dry mix, add water, stir and pour the batter into the heat-proof cake pan and slide it into the oven. As the batter began to form and develop, I would wait excitedly for the pan to make its way through the oven, reach the other end, and emerge as a completely cooked cake! I was always amazed at how what began as just a little bit of mixture and water would turn into a delicious dessert. More than that, there were a set of directions that my sister had to follow in order to get what the package promised. I didn’t understand it at the time because I was so young, but reflecting back on it, it reminds me a lot of how God operates in our lives. God gives us a vision and a clear set of instructions to follow so that we can receive what He has promised, and just like with the cake, there is a period of waiting, wondering and watching for what will emerge. As women we are nurturers by nature and it is often challenging for us to wait to receive what God has promised us.We inherently want to nudge things along so that we can help bring the Promise into fruition.What we do not realize often times, is that God is working His plan in His own time, and during this time of preparation, He is preparing us to receive the blessing. Believe it or not, there is a blessing in simply being still and waiting. This is when we can exhibit our faith the most. A faith that has not been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. God needs to be able to trust us with the blessing and we need to show that we trust Him that He will be faithful to His word. The prophet Jeremiah records in Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” What a wonderful testament that is from the Lord. When God reveals His plan to us, he knows that we are anxious to see it unfold, yet how we handle the waiting period is just as important as how we handle the delivered Promise. First, do not get so caught up in the waiting that you lose sight of the vision. Keep your heart and mind on God’s word. Secondly, don’t let the appearance of circumstances discourage you. Things might look a bit gloomy at times, but remember that it is darkest just before dawn. And thirdly, express to God how grateful you are for His providential plan and promise in your life.The more thankful you are the more enjoyable and meaningful God’s delivered Promise will be. Just wait to see what emerges! Rev. Yvette Blair is the founder of Damselflyfaith Ministries, an online ministry that encourages and equips women to handle their struggles with faith. Visit her website at

SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment


Beauté pour Sann By Julia Merisca As told to Candance Greene

Tuesday At 4pm on January 12, 2010, I sent my nephew Alberto to get concrete so I could fix the cracks on my patio. Instead of going inside, I decided to sit outside to wait for him to return. All of a sudden, the ground started to shake. I stood and watched in amazement as the chair where I sat moved across the concrete slab. I turned when I heard a booming sound, and saw my deceased husband Roland’s car moving toward me. I tried to push the car back, but it was too heavy for me so I moved out of the way so it wouldn’t crush me.

Houses in Delmas that were destroyed in the earthquake.

The trees around my patio shook furiously, and the rumbling got louder. I looked down at the ground and saw it split open right in front of me. The sight scared me so much that I ran out into the street. When I got there, people were everywhere screaming, “Jesus help us! Help us!” The rumbling got even louder as I looked from the street at my sister-in-law’s house next door, and watched as it crumbled to the ground. At that moment, I remembered Alberto and cried out, “Alberto! Oh my God, Alberto!” Almost immediately, he came running to me. “Auntie,” he said in Creole, “I am here,” and ran to get a chair for me. I had to sit down because my heart…it just stopped when the house fell. Immediately, I began to pray. I needed to thank God. That could have been my house, but He saved my life. God saved my life! Afterwards, Alberto and I pulled chairs from my patio into the street for the old people to sit. And we sat outside my house all night waiting for dawn.

Delmas was one of the hardest hit portions of Haiti.

“When God does something for you, you have to tell the people about it. You must tell people how good God has been.” Dulia Merisca is now living in Baltimore with her daughter, son-inlaw and granddaughters. She is planning to return to Haiti for the first time since the earthquake for a brief visit this summer


SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment

Beauty for Ashes Wednesday-Friday


At daybreak, I went back into my house only to find

I left my sister’s house at 5:30 Saturday morning and

everything was broken. I wanted to stay to try to recover some items, but I did not because too many houses up and down Delmas had fallen as a result of tremors and aftershocks. I called Alberto over to help me pull some boxes out of my house to make beds out of them so the people would not have to sleep on dirt and rocks in the street.

walked back to my house. Along the way, “the smell of the dead” filled the air and bodies were everywhere. It was a terrible sight to see, some had missing limbs, feet, heads. When I arrived at my house, I made as much food, tea and coffee as I could for those that didn’t travel up Delmas with the group. Someone yelled “Again,” as another tremor shook the ground. That’s when I decided to leave Haiti and travel to Baltimore where my daughter lived with her family. I gathered one article of clothing and my traveling documentation, and asked a friend to drive me to the US Embassy. “For you, Madam Roland,” he told me, “I will drive even if I run out of gas on the way because you have been too good to me.”

We spent two days in shock, praying, trying to figure out what we were going to do. On Friday evening, rumors about an approaching tsunami spread among the people. “Auntie!” my niece, a nurse who had walked miles to find me said. “The water is coming. We have to go now!” My head and legs hurt so badly that I could barely stand, and I could not get my sandals on my feet because they were so sensitive. I prayed, and then I told everyone who was with me, “Let’s go. We are leaving now!” That night, we walked for what seemed like hours from my home at Delmas 42 to my sister’s house at Delmas 65 where my other niece lived. All around us, people were running in a panic, trying to get to higher ground. When we arrived, I was so tired that I fell down in a chair. I was very week because my sugar was low. I asked for crackers and water, and they gave it to me. My niece prepared a makeshift bed for me in a safe part of the street, and I lay down, praying to God that the water would not come.

Dulia Merisca with a gift in her home in Haiti.

When I arrived, the building was filled with people who were weary waiting to be cleared to leave for the United States. I went to one of the agents to fill out my departure application, and then they told me to go sit and wait for my name to be called. Almost immediately, my name was called and I was placed in a line. People who had been waiting to depart got up and started pushing and shoving to get in line to board the plane first. I was pushed to the back of the line, which scared me because I just knew I was going to miss my flight. Thank God, one of the officials saw what happened, and called everyone who was in the back to come to the front. Then we boarded the plane. The Air Force flew us to the Army base in Miami. When we got there, they fed us and then drove us to Miami International Airport. It was 6:30 in the morning. I waited in a long line to purchase my ticket for Baltimore. Then I sat down to wait for my 10:30pm flight. As they boarded the first morning flight, one of the ticket agents called my name, “DULIA MERISCA!” and I responded, “YES, that’s me!” as I walked over to show him my ticket and passport. He took my papers and then he walked me to my seat on the plane. I was very grateful because God made a way.

SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment


season. I wanted more of God in my life, but I was not yet prepared for it to move in the direction he wanted.” God had other plans. He wanted 1 million women around the world coming to him through prayer, and he wanted to use Marshall and Girlfriends Pray to manifest that vision. After three days of wrestling with doubt and resisting God, Marshall officially launched Girlfriends Pray January 4, 2009. She established it as group that A Prayer Revolution would be supplemental to church, whose purpose Dee Marshall is no wallflower. In fact, she is a certified was to be focused on prayer. “God never called me to life coach, international speaker, author and television preach, but I’m very clear that my gift is exhortation. lifestyle specialist who was one of nine resident I knew, as long as I depended on him, he would do experts featured on the TV One series Makeover Manor the rest.” And God did just that. The first year saw with Mikki Taylor. And that’s not all. Marshall is also tremendous growth for Girlfriends Pray, specifically the President of Raise the Bar, LLC, because it was one of the first a coaching, training and development organizations to utilize this form of practice, and the Founder of Raise the conference calling for collective prayer. Bar Young Savvy, a non-profit for girls They also used technology, via the ages 18-30. She has been featured on social networking engines of Facebook MSNBC, Fox 5 in New York, ABC News, and Twitter, as their main source of as well as Black Enterprise, ESSENCE communication to connect with the and Heart & Soul Magazines, to name women. In addition, women who had a few. But, when God revealed that he called in began to take on voluntary wanted her to bring 1 million women roles within the organization to help together through prayer, she was at Marshall organize prayer calls and a loss. Girlfriends Pray Live events including Girlfriends Pray actually began during EmpowerStudy sessions and their Big the holiday season in 2008 when Hat Prayer Breakfasts and Teas. several of Marshall’s close friends In the 28 months since the launch revealed they were having a difficult of Girlfriends Pray, God has opened Dee Marshall time making it through what many doors of access for Marshall, allowing considered the most joyous time of the year. Marshall, her to speak about the organization at conferences for whom prayer was a cornerstone, asked God to and summits including the Congressional Black use her to help them. He revealed that he wanted Caucus and the 2011 Cruise With a Cause. So many her to create a small prayer circle as a means of to women call in now that they had to increase the encourage them spiritually and emotionally from number of calls per day, hosting both a 7am and 10pm the middle of December until the end of the year. call Monday-Friday, and noonday call on Wednesdays. Obediently, she scheduled the twenty-minute prayer They also added a Monday evening prayer line for call to begin at 7am on December 18th. Thirty-three Spanish-speaking women called Amigas Pray. women joined the prayer call, and by December 31st, Marshall’s target to hit God’s goal of 1 million callers they maxed out the call line with 100 women from is the year 2012. She’s well on her way. “I thank God across the country dialing in, each of them asking every day for using an ordinary woman like me to do that the calls continue. Ironically enough, Marshall this. I am ecstatic at the amazing things he’s doing.” did not. “I love the Lord, but I was not trying to start So are we, Ms. Dee Marshall. So are we! a church, only help those women get through that To learn more about Girlfriends Pray, visit their website at Follow their tweets at and find them on Facebook


SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment

THE BUZZ APRIL Sunday THE 10th 11th Church Anniversary Services at Primrose: 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am Milan Takeover: 1:30pm-4pm

Sunday THE 17th Palm Sunday

TUESday THE 19th Holy Week Service featuring Pastor E. Dewey Smith

FRIday THE 22ND The Word Network hosts The 7 Last Words at Empowerment Temple

Sunday THE 24TH Resurrection Sunday Services at Primrose: 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am Empowerment Temple 2 Inaugural Service 851 Braddish Ave. 1:30pm




POWER ZONE Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

MAY Thursday THE 19th


SATURday THE 21ST Walking in a New Direction Women’s Conference York, PA

SUNDAY THE 22ND Women’s Day

SPRING 2011 | ECHOES of Empowerment


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