Sunday July 24, 2022
Steadfast in his mission to serve humanity…
Guyanese-born pastor and philanthropist, Dr. Mark Steven Vasconcellos is a ‘Special Person’ known for leading several philanthropic projects. He US-based Guyanese, Dr. revealed that much like his calling Mark Steven Vasconcellos is a to the Christian Ministry he feels Christian minister and ‘called’ to serve the people of Guyana particularly the poor and needy of the society. “I was always learning. I This week’s ‘Special Person’ through US-based non-profit, learned from an early age from Victory his International, teams up my parents to serve others. annually with a local charity, Project Life, to provide medical Our home was always aid and other supplies to the the home of hospitality. citizens of Guyana. For the past 10 years, the two As a child, I served in the charities have combined efforts to church that’s why I am so lend support to the local health sector by helping to provide encouraged to see young citizens with dental health, eye care outreach as well as muchpeople serving in needed basic drug and medical the church today.” supplies. The humanitarian efforts of the two non-profits serve prisoners, the elderly, orphans, children, and dozens of Guyanese organisations, groups, and churches. On the work front, Dr. Vasconsellos is the founder and pastor of All Nations Church—one of the most multicultural community churches in Raleigh, North Carolina (NC), USA. Dr. Pastor Vasconsellos Vasconsellos is also qualified in shares from the Word of God this department. He noted that among his list of credentials, he is philanthropist who continues to for exemplary living for the sake the holder of a Master’s Degree lead successful mission trips of others in Miami, FL. and Doctorate of Ministry from around the world. His main goal is I n h i s h o m e t h e S o u t h e a stern Baptist to spread the ‘Gospel of Peace’ c o u n t r y — G u y a n a , D r . T h eological and perform small acts of Vasconsellos has been Seminary in Wake kindness for Forest, North In the company of representatives of Project Carolina. Life and Victory International following the In fact, he told presentation of a specialty wheelchair to a this publication that 5-year-old cerebral palsy patient in Guyana his decision to plant a church in Raleigh, NC came as a result of his desire to create a space where culturally different people can find a common space to worship. “In America, there are lots of churches but what we see a lot of in places like Raleigh where I live is that there are lots of churches with a h i g h concentration of whites or there are some churches that have a lot of blacks. So I saw By Rehanna Ramsay
others. So notable is his service to o t h e r s t h a t i n 2 0 0 5 , D r. Vasconsellos received the “Ambassador for Peace” award
t h e need for a church where everyone regardless of race or cultural background can come to worship,” Dr. Vasconsellos said. The concept and appetite for diversity are not in isolation as he explained that his upbringing was quite culturally infused. He is of Guyanese/Venezuelan parentage and spent part of his childhood in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. CULTURALLY INFUSED The All Nations Church founder grew up in Caracas, Venezuela after his parents immigrated to the land of his mother’s birth. He was nine years old when the family decided to move away from Guyana – where he was born. He said, “My parents, John Jerome Vasconcellos and Rubia Elena Bolton Vasconcellos, immigrated to Venezuela, the b i r t h p l a c e o f m y mother…Adapting to a totally different environment in terms of language, customs, culture, food, music, etc., at that age was challenging; however, when you
Dr. Mark S. Vasconsellos is pictured with his wife, Karyn are young, it’s easy to adapt.” The experience of that transition taught Dr. Vasconsellos—the youngest of seven siblings—that the challenges of life make you stronger and a better person. He noted too that as the youngest of the children, he was able to glean from the life experiences of his older siblings and his parents. “I was always learning. I learned from an early age from my parents to serve others. Our home was always the home of hospitality. As a child, I served in the church that’s why I am so encouraged to see young people serving in the church today,” Dr. Vasconsellos added. Service to the people so resonates with Dr. Vasconsellos that some of his favourite quotes include the popular quote by Mahatma Gandhi: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,’ the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said: ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ (Continued on page 38)
From left: Dr. Vasconsellos stands alongside two pastors who were ordained at All Nations Church: Pastor Joel Beckham and Pastor Philibert Meyor.