Metropolitan AME Church Advent 2020 Booklet

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Foreword To God Be The Glory! This year, 2020, has been a year of tumultuous changes. In our booklet for Lent, we welcomed a new decade and spoke to the spirit of sacrifice, never realizing that this year we would see myriad ways for our need to sacrifice. We are witnessing a corona virus pandemic that halted us in our footsteps, experiencing losses we never expected; losses of family members, friends, jobs, homes, church fellowship, businesses. We’re living through a record number of hurricanes and wildfires, lamenting the closing of schools and shunning avenues of transportation. For months, “Get out the Vote” was a mantra as we prepared for a presidential election. Yes, there were directives. The real directive to which we must respond is, “Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10) Advent is that period of anticipation and reflection, a time to prepare our hearts as we wait for the coming of the One whose miraculous birth insured our salvation. We wait for the one called “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This booklet is a compilation of the scripture, reflections and prayers written by members and friends of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. The messages are as diverse as the communities in which we reside. Our reflections parallel the events of our times and the seasons with which we contend yet, they are words of Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. We invite you to use this book as a daily devotional in this journey through Advent and beyond. God Be With You! Yvonne L. Bolling Director, Commission on Christian Education

November 29

WOKE! Mark 13:24-37

Advent is not the beginning of Christmas. And, to be honest, Christmas is not Christmas. Corporate interests and marketers stole Christmas long ago. What remains is a bonanza for retail sales and a hollow festival of conspicuous consumption. Mark’s gospel tries to get our attention amid the holiday clamor on the first Sunday of Advent. Suffering. A dark sun. A dark moon. Falling stars. A shaken heaven. This ain’t Santa. This is the Son of Man returning to inaugurate God’s reign of justice and peace and beauty upon the earth. No one will remain the same. Nothing will remain the same. Mark’s language can’t be trapped on greeting cards or used to sell cars or computers. There is no birth story for American Greetings or Hallmark to manipulate. Advent is the season to open our eyes and to see that God is always coming. Sometimes in the clouds, as in Mark’s gospel. Sometimes in the cries of a socio-politically marginalized infant, the son of an unwed teenaged mother, who enters the world in a barn and exits the world as an executed victim of empire. But, even that infant shall return. God keeps coming. The fig tree bears witness. God keeps coming. Keep alert. Corporate Christmas is trying to lull us to sleep. Stay woke! See God coming! Prayer: God, corporate interests and marketers are trying to lull us to sleep. Keep us alert. Keep us woke. Show us where you are at work overthrowing the powers, principalities, empires, and emperors of our day. You are God. They are puppets and pretenders. Amen.


November 30

THE HOPE OF ADVENT “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” Matthew 1: 23 At a time in the world where there is so much uncertainty, it can be hard to find reasons to be hopeful. But the Advent season gives us many reasons to be encouraged. Sure, there’s the anticipation of the sounds, scents, and sweetness of Christmas that can get us excited. In the days before and after Christmas that are less pleasant, though, how can we be fully present in the hope the season inspires? Consider these reasons. At Christmas, God in flesh appears. Jesus not only comes into the world; He comes to live among us. Born in a barn to an unmarried woman from Nazareth, Jesus and the way he inhabits the spirit of Emmanuel—God with us and revealed in us—make clear that all are included and that God can manifest in the strangest of places. Jesus’s birth also reveals that God moves and can change to meet the needs of the people. Jesus’s life and death do not mean that we can avoid sin and suffering. His life makes clear that suffering and death are inevitable. He was born into a world determined to enact genocide on Him and his kind, on the one hand, and killed by the hands of the Roman state on the other. Even as his life was book-ended by assault, His life was filled with liberation—the supreme symbol of hope. Births of all kinds remind us that life keeps coming, even after death. And Jesus's birth amid despair confirms that some vitality is beyond the design of humanity and more in the purview of the divine. The celebration of Advent reiterates that something more authentic than our little selves is always at work. God is with us—what more could we hope for? Prayer: Thank you, God. SISTER DANA A. WILLIAMS BETHEL 21 HISTORICAL SOCIETY

December 1

ADVENT, THE TIME FOR INVOLVEMENT “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14 Advent is our time to become more involved, more caught up in the meaning and the possibilities of life as a Christian community. Thus, we are preparing not only for Christmas but also for Christ's second coming. Advent gives us a vision of our life as Christians. The vision of life that Advent gives us is twofold; it looks back to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, and it looks to the future when Christ will come again. In the interval between these two events we find meaning for our life as a Christian. First, we celebrate “Christ-become-human.” We view His life and experience, His presence as a human being in our history. Christ came to show us what life can and should be. He gave us true and valid principles by which we can live true and valid lives. But Jesus knew that the human heart could not live in isolation. He formed the church around the concept of a people held together by love. In that community we discover unlimited possibilities and meaning. Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the season of Advent and the opportunity to be more involved in the life of our church and community. Amen. STEWARD ELIAS “PETE” PRIOLEAU, III SENIOR STEWARD BOARD MIGHTY MEN OF METROPOLITAN

December 2

THE TIME IS COMING “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16

Advent is a season to which we look forward. In the year 2020 we have experienced an event that our children will remember for years to come. In 1918, the year my mother was born, the country experienced an Influenza Pandemic, millions died globally. Today, we are experiencing a Coronavirus Pandemic and at this point, hundreds of thousands have died. We are advised that a second wave of infection is coming. During the 1918 pandemic there were four waves, and the pandemic did not end until 1920. In addition, we are facing wars, environmental turmoil, social unrest, deception from national leadership, crime and injustice. These situations have happened before and God sent prophets to warn the people. We praise God that he sent his Son, Jesus, to save mankind. We have Hope in Jesus’ promise that he would come again and collect his own. We have Joy in knowing that one day there will be Peace on earth and in heaven, we have Love for Christ and our fellow human beings. Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we look forward to the birth of Christ, we pray that we will persevere through these days and times. SISTER JOAN OXENDINE WOMEN’S MISSIONARY SOCIETY STEWARD, EMERITUS

December 3

WAITING “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.� Psalm 130:5

In Advent Season 2020, we find ourselves being taught a lesson about waiting. We have been practically locked down for many months, and many of us are losing our patience. We are tired of waiting for the positivity numbers to decline. We are tired of waiting for the schools to open, of not being able to socialize and not being able to physically gather for worship. We are tired of waiting for a vaccine that can successfully attack the coronavirus while we watch family and friends die. Yet, as we tire of waiting, we are reminded of lessons we have learned about waiting. We wait nine months to see the beauty of a new birth. Sarah waited until her old age for God to bless her with her son, Isaac. Our fore-parents kept hope alive as they waited years for deliverance from enslavement. When we just stop, think, meditate, and pray, we get renewed strength to wait a little longer. Prayer: God, teach me patience so that my whole being waits. Sometimes the thing we wait for seems too slow in coming, but God teach us to wait because we know that in due time it will be delivered. Teach us to live through the darkness without becoming weary because we know that joy comes in the morning. STEWARD ELSIE SCOTT SENIOR BOARD OF STEWARDS

December 4

HOPE IN THE TIME OF UNCERTAINTY AND DESPAIR Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Rom. 12:12

The first candle of Advent is Hope. The light of hope brightens dark places. Jesus, the Messiah brought hope and blessings to the world. Christ came and our hope is in Him, sure and steadfast, an anchor for the soul. (Heb 6:19) Seeking God’s direction, job offers, answers to prayers or responses from someone you love involves waiting. Cures and relief from the devastation of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the abolition of racism and a reprieve from political unrest are the ultimate desires of waiting during this Advent Season. Hope in Christ gets us through waiting. When we go through trials in life, don’t be discouraged. Know that God is with and will help us. Hope will enable us to go the distance. Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.(Rom. 5:5) Put your hope in Christ, he will not disappoint. Be strong and take heart; wait for the Lord; he is our help and shield. (Ps 31:24a, 33:20) May the God of hope fill us with joy and peace as we trust in him, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.(Rom. 15:13) Hope gets us through waiting, enables us to go the distance, and does not disappoint us. PRAYER: Heavenly Father, instill in us Hope that brightens the world during these times of uncertainty and despair. Fill our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit with joy and peace to withstand and endure the challenges of life. AMEN. TRUSTEE JOCELYN Y. HARRIS PASTOR’S BIBLE STUDY

December 5

CELEBRATING ADVENT WHILE QUARANTINED SHUT IN BUT NOT SHUT OUT “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” Romans 12:12 In our daily life, grace and hope abide in us. Morning by morning new mercies we see. During this season of quarantine, I’m learning more each day the importance of being grateful for God’s presence and for the period of rest, which has allowed me to spend more time alone in God’s presence. I am grateful for his protection of my health and the peace of mind of knowing God is in control and has promised to take care of his children. The birth of our Savior reminds us that God is with us, no matter our physical constraints. Because of Christ’s presence, we can celebrate that he came to redeem us. In the season of Advent, let your daily walk and prayer life with Christ remind you that your faith in Jesus is sufficient to carry you through times like these. In times like these, we have a Savior who knows all about us. Be very sure that your anchor holds and grips the solid rock. While we are forced to quarantine, rest assured “Jesus got this”. Prayer: Jesus, our eyes are fixed on you and we know – you have us in the palm of your hands. Amen.


December 6

PEACE LIKE A RIVER “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”- John 16:33

Tribulation is defined as affliction, distress, suffering ... words which describe so many aspects of 2020:  

A novel coronavirus has afflicted the globe and is particularly virulent for our community Economic distress has too many families on the brink due to lost jobs and shuttered businesses  Mental health suffering is affecting our community in record numbers due to the stress of our days John 16:33 reminds us that we will have tribulation in the world. Yet, as much trouble as we face in these days, it still pales in comparison to the trials that our ancestors have faced through the generations:  The Maafa - the Black Holocaust  500 years of enslavement in the Americas  100 years of Jim Crow apartheid Like many Metropolitan members, I love the hymn that reminds us: “When peace like a river attendeth my way When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say It is well; it is well with my soul” Thank God for Advent and the peace it brings. Through all of our trials and tribulations, we hold on to the promise that the birth of Jesus is our true hope. Prayer: Dear God, we are grateful for the blessed assurance of hope and peace that can be found only in our faith in you. Amen STEWARD MARIE JOHNS PASTOR’S STEWARD

December 7

PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STORMS “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 In normal times we do our best to shut out the stresses of life and focus on making Christmas the most joyous time of the year. This year, with all the uncertainties surrounding the holiday season because of the pandemic, we will plan safe ways to celebrate the birth of our Savior with family and friends. Jesus was not born into a world of beauty and joy. He came into a world of darkness. The Jewish people were living under the oppressive rule of Rome. They were being forced to go to the place of their birth to register for a census. For Joseph and Mary this meant traveling 100 miles by foot from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a city where there was no room for Him, in a country ruled by King Herod who was obsessed with holding on to his position and power. His plan to destroy the baby Jesus was thwarted by the Magi. Jesus did not come to shield us from the hardships of life, but to give us strength and courage to face them; not to exempt us from the storms we encounter, but to give us peace---His peace---so that we can calmly deal with them. Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for Your redeeming love and peace. SISTER ELAINE WILSON WOMEN’S MISSIONARY SOCIETY

December 8

MY PRAYER FOR ADVENT “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 It is a new season in our lives; a time for the known and the unknown, a time for this or a time for that, a time for the expected and for the unexpected, a time for healing; a time for more healing. Above all, it is time to prepare our hearts and minds to embrace the love of our Lord Jesus Christ as we unite in celebration of His coming and in the spirit of healing and His peace. This holy season is certainly a time to reflect on God’s plan and purpose for our lives, individually and collectively. Whatever the new season produces, we are one creation among many and we have a responsibility to each other to be respectful, kind, generous and loving. God is Lord of all and He is indeed all of these. As we are taught in Philippians 3:14: I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Prayer: Glorious and Almighty God, grant us your mercy, grace, and loving kindness; your perfect gifts to us. Reveal more deeply your divine purpose for our lives. Today, in this new season, surrounded by your magnificent power and your miraculous creation---the morning daybreak , the sunshine, the clouds, the trees, the evening chill; we pray and reflect on the blessings that inspire us. Show us how to humbly receive your gifts to live our lives loving and honoring you, in love and charity with our neighbor. Amen.


December 9

THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD “Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 As we enter the Advent season and prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we pause to reflect on the challenges of this year: the pandemic, principalities in political circles spewing divisionary tactics, and an aversion to many of our Christian values. Even so, I am comforted by the knowledge that we have a Savior whose love, grace, and mercy will sustain us through all situations. The action required of us is manifested in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which gives encouragement and hope. Beginning with Ephesians 6:13, Paul lists the ‘whole’ spiritual armor of God, which every Christian must adorn to conquer the ‘wiles’ of Satan. Therefore, we must be strong in the Lord, for we will only be victorious and overcome the evil of the world through our relationship with Him. Prayer: Dear Father, strengthen us that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the world. Amen. SISTER KATIE BLANDING CHURCH SCHOOL

December 10

BUILDING FAMILY TRADITIONS “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.� Psalm 127:3 - NIV

Children are a gift from God and we have to celebrate Him by building family traditions around praising His name. In order to help our small children understand the connection between the gift of Jesus Christ and the presents that they look forward to, we started to read to them the Metropolitan AME Advent Booklet every day leading up to Christmas Day! Every evening during the Advent season, we sit down and read the daily passage as a family. At the end of the reflection and prayer, the children are able to eat a piece of chocolate from the Advent calendar that we purchased at the grocery store. We are especially grateful for the mercy and grace that God has shown us this year. We hope that this tradition will both please Him and create a positive and long-lasting appreciation for our children of honoring God through prayer during the holiday season and throughout the year. Prayer: God loves his children, big and small. Praise his name, one and all. BROTHER JOHN & SISTER YUVAY FERGUSON MADDIE AND OLIVIA FERGUSON MEMBERS/CHURCH SCHOOL

December 11

ON A JOURNEY – TOWARD A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isaiah 61:11 This year we received a “spiritual shout” from heaven that Jesus is on the way! God not only made sure we were still, so that we would know of HIS Son’s pending arrival, but HE did a little world cleaning in preparation. We became aware of the sun’s beautiful rays, the wind’s crisp breeze, the grasses bold greenery, the calming rolling of the ocean waves, and the spectacular colors of the changing leaves on the trees. In preparation, we even began to treat our bodies like the temple of Christ; watching what we eat, exercising, and being still! When the world slowed down, our vision became clearer. “We Need You Right Now Lord”, by Donny Hathaway is a message in our prayers. Now, in this “new normal”, I still don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and I still have hope. I’m on a new journey, where as life unfolds, it brings greater wisdom and the power to be a catalyst for peace. I now have the time to develop an even closer relationship with God, foster an inward contentment, and enhance my ability to hear HIS voice. Prayer: O Lord, we can hear your voice, we can see your work, make us a vessel of your peace. SISTER ODESSA BIBBINS STEWARDESS

December 12

HONORING GOD’S PROMISE BY SERVING AND LOVING EACH OTHER Isaiah 64:1-9 As we enter this Advent season, we lament persistence of a pandemic that spares no one, but disproportionately wreaks havoc on those of us already in precarious positions. We pray for deliverance, not only from Covid-19, but also the theological, political, social, economic and environmental viruses alienating, misusing, and abusing people and resources—both those that are God-given and human-made. Like the Hebrew people who lamented the destruction of their temple and Babylonian exile, we too grieve the inability to worship and fellowship in our own cathedral on M Street. But the Prophet Isaiah reminds us today, as he did the people of his time, that God’s awesomeness will be revealed in unexpected ways. Lest we forget in our disparity, Advent reminds us God’s promise is coming with the birth of Jesus. The incarnation of God in the human form, surely caused nations to tremble because it challenged systems that privileged proximity to earthly powers on behalf of those furthest from the center. The teaching, preaching and healing ministry of Jesus, not only reaffirms the intimacy of our relationship with God established during Creation, but also serves as a model for how we should relate to all of creation. We are the clay and God, through Jesus, is our potter whose unspeakable love molded us into the vessels we are. Prayer: Dear God, during this Advent season, let us not fill our bowls with fear and despair, but with faith and determination in Your promise through the birth of Jesus. We are covered from the evils in our midst through our commitment to serve and love each other in the way Jesus served and loved us. BROTHER J. JIONI PALMER NOON DAY BIBLE STUDY

December 13

TRUST IN HIM “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like tree plants they will soon die away, Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” Psalm 37:1-3 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 I look forward to Advent because it closes the year with a special celebration of something that has been acknowledged and celebrated all year; the coming of Jesus. Not even Covid-19 and crazy political chaos can put a damper on celebrating. It is because of His coming that I have joy, hope and peace. It is because of His coming that I have a loving church family. It is because of His coming, and my spiritual growths that I have learned to put my trust in Him, and turn all my troubles over to Him. He has never failed to carry me through the storms. Thank you, God, for the blessing of Jesus. “He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His love, and wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders of His love.” Joy to the World Prayer: Our Father, thank you for sending us Jesus, Amen SISTER BARBARA FARROW JONES


December 14

JESUS AS A MULTI-TASKER “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1-2 As a wife, mom, and employee for more than forty years I have been required to effectively multi-task. It was essential; complementing the famed “other duties as assigned.” As a retiree, some of the duties have ceased and even with that relief, it has taken me a while to “calm down.” The past few months have revealed the expertise and agility of Jesus as a multi-tasker and one with “no paid days off.” We can consider His handling of the wider perspectives of nature, politics, health crises/maintenance or we can focus on the much smaller space that our life and family occupy. In my tiny space, I have unending gratitude for the multi-tasking that Jesus provides. When it seems that my cup runneth over or a crash seems imminent, He continues to prove that His skillset far outweighs my anxiety. Advent is preparation for the birth of a child whose presence would be required to handle the positives and negatives of an era yet to unfold. The baby born in the midst of desolation evolved into a master multi-tasker; the answer to our tribulation and strife. Now, ain’t that good news? Prayer: Father in heaven, you know us and all that makes us who we are. Thank you for provision and repeated celebration of your son in our very ordinary lives. SISTER MARSHA TURNER BOTTS LOVE & PEACE UNIT (SAMS)

December 15

ADVENT DEVOTIONAL 2020 Psalms 33:20-22 We’re depending on God; He’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got - that's what we’re depending on. We are living in unprecedented times. Everywhere we turn, we’re faced with more horrifying news. This mention alone is enough to bring much of it to the forefront of your mind. That is not my intent. Instead, I'd like to draw your attention to a few of the positives of the year that you may also share. 

I’m learning. I’m reading hard copy books, eBooks and audio. I’ve begun to keep a list. And yes, I’m streaming, but I try to mix it up with a variety.  I’m cooking. My kitchen has become the center of our ‘bubble’ as I prepare and teach my loved ones, from age 2 to much older, all the secrets I garnered from my ancestors...well some of them.  I’m gardening. As a family, we spent the summer planting at home and exploring the Community Garden. All things considered; I am ‘still’ and I appreciate it. In cautious isolation, all of our schedules have changed and our interactions have been limited. And it's not so bad. My virtual world in many ways has allowed me to gain focus. Prayer: God, the fear of disease and injustice disturbs us but may our hearts fill with joy particularly in this Season of Advent. As the Psalm asks “Love us, God - that’s what we’re depending on.” Amen SISTER DONNA M BRUCE 2ND BOARD OF STEWARDS CLASS LEADER

December 16

BLESS THE WAITING ROOM “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” Matthew 2: 1-2

The week of October 25, 2020, I served as host, supported by Reverend Jon Petty, for five days of reflections offered during Metropolitan’s Morning Meditations. As we prepared the various zoom controls, we had to also watch for attendees in the waiting room to engage the 15-minute inspirational messages on faithfulness, hope, love and spiritual comfort. For a moment on the second day, I could envision the Magi who watched and waited for the sign of the birth of Christ, the Newborn King. Thank God that each day we are offered the opportunity to commune in God’s Holy Presence. The sentiment that God loves us so much that he suspends the waiting room, and allows us direct entry into the created kingdom of Grace & Mercy, gives us joy. During the Advent season particularly, we celebrate the blessed assurance that Jesus was born for our deliverance. What a divine gift that God bypassed waiting to save us. Prayer: Thank you, Father and Mother God, for your tender mercies which are renewed each day. We behold your majesty and splendor as all your children are granted entry to righteousness. Bless always your Holy and matchless name. Amen. SISTER JACQUELINE COLEMAN MORNING MEDITATIONS TEAM 2ND BOARD OF STEWARDS LAP MISSIONARY UNIT

December 17

“IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR” “I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1 I love music, especially seasonal music. One song, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” celebrates the happiness and joy we feel in my home during the twin seasons of Advent and Christmas. While the song never mentions Advent, it does reference Christmas. This song and others fuel expectations and excitement for the upcoming Christmas season. This year, during the COVID pandemic, with so much sickness and death and social distancing, we must still remain hopeful. Our Advent observance is more individualized and very personal. Each Sunday as we light one of the four symbolic candles, it is an opportunity to thank God for Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. It is during this special time of Advent that we prepare ourselves to celebrate and appreciate the gift of Jesus. We are reminded that our Hope, Peace, and Joy are all built on the unconditional Love of Jesus. Advent is that time given to us as a reminder that everything we have, and all that we are, is because of Jesus. While each of us may look forward to receiving money and material gifts, our gratitude must first center on the wonders of Jesus. The one major musical -oratorio that sets the right tone for the season is the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah”. “King of Kings, forever and ever, Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” Yes, I really do declare that for my household and me, it really is “the most wonderful AND sacred time of the year.” Prayer: Thank you, Lord for the opportunity to sing your praises and celebrate you, Amen. REVEREND AISHA KARIMAH ANCHORS/ NEW MEMBERS

December 18

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS AND GIVE GOD PRAISE But Jesus said,”Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19; 14

Reflecting upon life during the pandemic brings not sadness, instead, joy for blessings. Recently, I spoke about my first born granddaughter as a child during a virtual Women’s Conference at our church. She was honored as the “Young Woman of the Year” by the Women’s Ministry. I recalled she often attended Bible Study with me and would write notes to our pastor. After Bible Study ended, she would give him her notes. Please fast forward—more than twenty years later during a conversation with Pastor and First Lady, they informed me they still had her notes. An example of generational love: My mother passed away just before granddaughter’s seventh birthday. She loved her great-grandmother and wrote her a note when she passed. At the conclusion of the funeral, she insisted we give the note to her great-grandmother. Perplexed as to what to do, our family requested the funeral director to open the casket so it could be placed therein. Granddaughter currently serves as a member of the Steward Board... See how God works! Love your family. Hold on to the precious memories, while you build new ones. Prayer: Father in this Advent season we give you thanks and we remember the ancestors.. Let us continue to show brotherly love one to another.


December 19

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORM For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. When you come and pray to me, I will listen. Jeremiah 29:11-12 Last year I gave a testimony about going through a storm of breast cancer, this year I am giving a testimony of thankfulness for being on the other side of the storm and “cancer free”. I thank God for carrying me through a year of chemo and radiation therapy topped off with COVID 19. I’ve had some good days, I’ve had some bad days, but God has been so good to me. I thanked God before and after each challenge as I believe God allows storms to occur in our lives to get our attention, to stop us in our tracks, to cause us to take time to pray, meditate, seek clarity and understanding, to have the right attitude and to humble ourselves. God carried me through the storm by blessing me with support, so many prayers, cards, texts and calls from people I knew and didn’t know, from family, old, current and new friends and for that I am most thankful. During this Advent season let us take time to pray and to meditate as we seek God’s plan and purpose for our lives as we move into 2021. Prayer: God help me to remember that You do not always allow me to get what I can handle, but You will help me handle what I get. Amen


December 20


Honor thy Father and thy Mother That the days may be long Upon thy earth which the Lord thy God giveth thee Exodus 20 12 God is always with us, when we fall, he picks us up. Because Jesus died for you and me, I can live boldly for him. Let each of us spread the word and joy that Jesus Christ is alive in our hearts today and always. His mercy, love and strength are new every day. When we fall he is there to pick us up.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and care. Your grace and mercy surrounds me daily. DEACONESS MARY BURROUGHS

December 21

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US “The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 How is it going for you during this coronavirus pandemic? Some have planted gardens and some have tried home renovations projects. I have worked on my yard and tried to extend my daily walk to five (5) miles. My sister, Eleanor, sent me a copy of “The Book”, it’s the Bible made easy to read. During this period of virtual worship, it has been a source of great joy reading the Bible again. It is amazing what a different interpretation or translation can reveal. My favorite scripture is Psalm 27, but I have found tremendous comfort in Romans 8, the last two (2) verses read: Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger, or threatened with death. No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loves us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t and life can’t. The angels can’t and the demons can’t. Our fears for today and worries for tomorrow, even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Prayer: We pray in gratitude for God’s love. BROTHER JAMES F. ROBINSON STEWARD EMERITUS


December 22

OUR GREATEST WEAPON ‘Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.’ Psalm 46:10 2020 COVID 19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement have forced me to pause and reflect on my life, family, job, church and social gathering. I’ve listened to others explain why this is occurring and why so many are enduring – yet not searching inside for an answer. Due to $$ many are suffering and hoping the country will open, kids go back to school, and businesses and churches open. Not realizing, a quiet peace is a blessing. Through everything, there is some good – people complaining never enough time in the day now finding time to relax – Children who seldom see their parents or parent in the morning for school or at bedtime are now cherishing the moment. People who say the churches are closed because we’re not doing God’s work (if only the church walls could talk);what a story that would be? God, your presence is our greatest and strongest weapon: You love us when we can’t go on When we are weak you keep us strong When no one else accepts us – you say I am yours Prayer: Father God, all we have is our faith. I know You are able, I know You can-just say the word we will be alright. It is well with my soul. STEWARD WILLIE (DEE) ELLIOTT SENIOR STEWARD BOARD

December 23

MORE CONNECTS US THAN SEPARATE US “The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.� Proverbs 22: 2 Earlier this year, schools and businesses were forced to shut down. Malls, churches, grocery stores, amusement parks, and pro sport teams were disrupted. Some foods and bottled water were scarce; transportation was interrupted. Local, major streets were empty. All of this happened due to the sudden arrival of Covid-19. Politicians were being deceitful while government, religious, and community leaders searched for answers and remedies. As of this writing, over 220,000 have died due to Covid-19. Health officials are still scrambling for cures while the entire human race has been asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing to prevent transmission of Covid-19. It is truly amazing how one disease can affect the globe in a few months. For once in our lifetime, the eastern, western, northern and southern hemispheres share one visible thing and it is not love, caring, generosity, kindness, or prosperity. It is an extremely dangerous, too often fatal disease. There is good news. There is one who is coming to save the world from its sin. There is one who is coming who bears the world on His shoulders. There is one who is coming who will dry our tears. There is one who is coming who will make everything brand new again. Jesus, the only begotten child of the Lord, will soon come bringing us hope, joy and prosperity. Prayer: Lord, we are sorry for all our sins. Come, clean our hearts and minds as we prepare for the King of Kings. Amen.


December 24

DIVINELY ORDERED “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever…” Isaiah 9:6-7

The endless, yet specific movement of the earth, stars, celestial bodies, creation, and regeneration of life, under conditions which seemingly cultivate death, invites attention. That gravity sustains creation in a divinely ordered pattern validates an existence of power greater than man. Thus, in the power of that existence, Isaiah prophesied (between 740-680 BC) to Northern Israel emphasizing their neglect of God and their disregard for ways of divinely ordered precepts of the True and Living God, in their daily interactions with others. Yet, the people blinded by their allegiance to other gods, would not hear the prophetic words spoken by Isaiah, and were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. Isaiah prophesized about, “a son, ….and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. . Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah, 9:6-7) Yet, the people would not hear the Word of God, from Isaiah. Prayer: God of Wisdom, we pray that during this Advent Season of 2020, we will hear and actively receive your divinely ordered will, not only for our lives and our community, but for the global community, at large. In Jesus Name, we pray. Amen.


Christmas Day

KEEPING THE JOY AND HOPE OF CHRISTMAS “But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his son, born of a woman” Galatians 4:4 Civil unrest, a deadly pandemic, and vile political gamesmanship sadly reflect the state of our world. But what of Christmas? I can’t speak for you but I’ve had many silent nights over the past months spent wondering: where is God? Some days I felt as if God had gone MIA and the world had just gone straight to hell. But as I sat to compose this reflection, I came back to Christmas. It forced me to refocus, and appreciate the true meaning of Christmas and God’s apparent silence: God may be silent, but he’s not absent. Scripture teaches that God moves in mysterious ways and His thoughts are not ours. After a few weeks of not knowing how we would celebrate Christmas and hold on to its joy and hope, I have drawn my own conclusion: In the midst of our current circumstances, God is staging the world to receive and spread the message of the birth of his son, our Savior. God is reminding us of the joy and hope that we have in Jesus. Thus, we have more reasons than ever to celebrate and thank God. Let us remember: we have the joy and hope of Christmas and his name is JESUS. Prayer: Father, we just want to say Thank You - In Jesus’ name Amen. STEWARD GRETA L. KENDRICK SR. STEWARD/USHER/STEWARDESS

First Day After Christmas

JESUS! WHO WAS HE? WHY WAS HE BORN? “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.� Isaiah 9:6 Who was this babe that Micah ( Micah 5: 2-3) prophesied would be born in Bethlehem? (Mat 2:5). Who was this child that the angels celebrated, prophets recognized, and Wise men by faith following His star came to worship Him; this child who the mighty King Herod feared his birth? Was He born to personally reveal the Father (Matthew 11:27) and was He the Being who interacted with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham , King David, and others? Was it, therefore, necessary for him to be revealed, personally, the other Being of the Godhead who was greater than He was (John 10:29, 14:28)? In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and His name was Jesus. (John 1:1) The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John 1:14) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who so ever believeth in him would not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 Prayer: Father, thank you for revealing to me that at the name of Jesus and the sound of His name all knees must bow, and all tongues must confess that He is Lord and my Savior. Amen


Second Day After Christmas

DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT? “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” John 9:5

As I grew up, one of the things I looked forward to was going to neighborhoods once night had fallen where the homes were decorated with lights and various themes of Christmas. I would particularly look forward to this one home in south Macon where the house would have a Nativity scene, snowmen, and on the roof, Santa, his sleigh and the reindeer. It would be a wow moment for me. In the referenced scripture, Jesus was answering a question that his disciples had asked regarding a blind man and what sin had caused his blindness. Jesus explained that they must work during the day before night would fall. Jesus explained that although night may fall, there would be light as long as He was in the world. We, the body of Christ, are called to be the “light” to the world and attract the unknowing to see the “light of Jesus” in us. Pray that you can be that light and lead someone to the salvation you enjoy as a Christian. Prayer: Almighty God help us to be the light in this world that seems to love darkness. Let Your light shine through us. STEWARD WADE DUGGER SENIOR BOARD OF STEWARDS

Third Day After Christmas

BECAUSE HE LIVES PART 2 “Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” – Luke 2: 9 – 11 Ten years ago for Advent, I used the same title, Because He Lives – I wrote then that I could not begin to think of Christmas without thinking of the wonderful gift God gave by giving us his son. Over the last ten (10) years that gift has become more meaningful to me. God’s gift has seen me through some difficult and happy times. My dear sister, Erma, went to join the ancestors, but my brother, Morrell, is recovering nicely from a debilitating stroke. Our daughter, Melanie, was diagnosed with cancer, but today is cancer free – her marriage since that diagnoses bought us two (2) additional grandchildren. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and seven (7) years later is still witnessing for God. Without the wonderful gift of God’s only son, the gift that gave me/us a faith to believe all things are possible, I don’t know how I would have survived those challenges. I am thankful that through faith I have been able to celebrate the good times and successes. I am convinced that JESUS lives and touches our lives every single day. I will close as I did ten (10) years ago singing the song ‘’Because He Lives.” Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus. Help me to live so others may see your glory in me. Amen


Fourth Day After Christmas

OPTIMISIM 2020 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” then the angel left her,” Luke 1:38 What does it mean to walk down main street and see the lights off in your favorite businesses? At home, the news media announces record coronavirus deaths, even when the TV is off, your cell phone alerts you to a case of justice denied. Your child, who hasn’t seen their friends for months, asks for your reassurance. You pray for the strength of conviction to say, “It’ll be okay.” Where do we turn for hope and optimism in 2020? Christ’s birth reveals the consistency of God’s message that we look to the next generation to find reasons for pressing on. James Baldwin confessed, “I’m optimistic about the future, but not about the future of this civilization. I’m optimistic about the civilization which will replace this one.” I can imagine that Mary, denied a room in the inn, and narrowly escaping public condemnation, felt the same optimism. In a future Gabriel announced her child would bring. (Luke1:26) This same hope inspired the Magi to follow the eastern star to fulfil the prophecy, despite Herod’s malicious decree. We look into the eyes of our youth and say unwaveringly, “it’ll be okay.” They hold the potential to make tomorrow as brilliant as the star that guided the Magi, as liberating as the North Star which guided Harriet Tubman and countless other ancestors who stole joy from the jaws of defeatism. Prayer: God of our ancestors, Creator of all, lead us to look beyond the horizon, to see a path forward that escapes the near-sighted. Show us that our faith should rests in your masterplan, not in our own understanding. Let Your word be fulfilled. Amen


Fifth Day After Christmas

“LONELY BUT NOT ALONE” “Be strong. Be brave. Be fearless. You are never alone.” - Joshua 1:9 While struggling through this pandemic season, my senses of being lonely have been heightening. The isolation to stay safe, abandonment as an orphan, rejection and forsaken from broken relationships all make me feel, at times, empty. I’ve found myself telling myself you have no one! Considerable amounts of time were spent around family, friends, co-workers and I took those interactions for granted. Now they’re basically non-existent and I feel alone. In this Advent season we remember the birth of Jesus and his promise to never leave us alone. Jesus is with us by the power of the Holy Spirit and, in spite of ourselves, the challenges we face are/were covered and the battles won. All this because yes, we may feel lonely; however, we are never ALONE! Prayer: God, thank you for the breath of life. Today we’re anxious over so many things. We need to get past the uncertainties in our communities, see your light for the season we’re experiencing and grant us the wisdom to make good choices. We know we’re not alone and ask these things through Christ our Lord. SISTER MARIA A. WALLACE KELLY LAY ORGANIZATION

Sixth Day After Christmas

SOMEBODY’S PRAYERS “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” 1 Corinthians: 3:6 On 9/11, a man and his wife were en route to the airport to visit family and friends in New York. A flat tire delayed them and they missed the flight. Later that evening he received a call stating that his father had transitioned. The man was distraught because he had prayed that his father would accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. A few months later the couple was informed that the man’s father, a firefighter, had rescued a woman from the Twin Towers. During the rescue he had accepted Jesus Christ. The son was ecstatic to know that his prayers were answered. The son and his wife planted the seed, the family members prayed and God received the glory by making it grow. When we pray, we do not know when or how the prayer will be answered, but we know God will get the glory. Prayer changes us and then we can change the situation. We are here today because we are walking in the answered prayers of our ancestors. What an incredible power we have during this Advent season to walk through the world making someone’s day by praying for them. This Dorothy Norwood song summarizes my meditation, “Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind. They took the time and prayed for me. I am so glad they prayed.” Prayer: Dear God, somebody prayed for me. Let my prayers make a difference. Amen. SISTER JUDITH WATKINS STEWARDESS

Seventh Day After Christmas

“BEING OUR BEST” “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it’s not self-seeking, it’s not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4 For most of my life, I think I have been fighting God. I used to keep trying to show him for what I was made. I even now try to give him better ideas at times. It has been in my midlife that I realize more and more that God has me where I am to be and how He has chosen to use me. God made me with special ideas in mind and I praise him and thank him each day. I come to you, however, knowing God made me not to impress you. God made me to be uncomplicated in my faith, to take your hand regardless of who you are or how you look, to listen to you, to accept you right where you are, to love you unconditionally. God made me to be real, to be honest, to be open, to never compare myself to others, but to strive to become my own best person, to have character and dignity. Prayer: Father, I thank you, I love you, I praise you. God, I ask you to use me, move me out of my way and use me as your instrument to do more mission for the good of your people. In the name of Jesus, Amen! TRUSTEE LINDA JEFFERSON WOMEN’S MISSIONARY SOCIETY

Eighth Day After Christmas


For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. ‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.” Mark 4: 22-24. Father, I trust in you as I am standing here on this riverbank, grief stricken with more sorrow than I can bear. However, for faithfulness I stand in glory! The mercy and grace that you wrap us in is more anointing than the cooling water that freely flows in the love, justice and righteousness we still seek. Change our plans loving Father; break us from ideological plantations, shackles and chains we still hold. Separate from the stench of COVID-19 lays a deliverance of medicines and sciences having no prescription against Your Will! Dear Lord! We are your children, growing in your garden, and accepting the bouquet you select daily of loved ones we cherish. All kingdoms’ legislations kneel as your solar system with constellations showers us with crystals favored in love. Blessed in the eyes of your spirits, lions stand guard against evil. Prayer: Thank you, Father, for forgiveness through the birth of the baby, born to a virgin mother, who became the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. “Is there anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18:14). SISTER VALERIE L. GRAHAM YOUNGE KELLY LAY ORGANIZATION

Ninth Day After Christmas

THE PRIVILEGE AND THE PROMISE “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.� Psalm 27:3 It's a privilege to see another day, and we are living the promise to get it done because he lives in us. Recently my family went through, and is still going through, deep family change. This impact has rocked us to the core and has brought family and friends to show up in the most impactful ways. The roller coaster of emotions when you are praying for a family member is daunting. This experience has reassured and taught me that it is essential for people to have a spiritual foundation. It is essential to surround myself with prayer warriors. It is essential to show vulnerability, ask for help and grow. As my family prays for our loved ones impacted, and adjust to this new way of life, we must pray. Unless you have a positive trust in a power greater than yourself, the future will be filled with uncertainty for you. I'm so grateful to have faith that this will all be ok. Like never before, people are worried and anxious about what the future holds. His master plan will still be carried out. Just place your trust in Him and meet the future with the serenity He will give you. Prayer: Lord, I will be confident. Amen SISTER ANNTOINETTE McENTYRE GIRL SCOUT TROOP LEADER 3089 MAME

Tenth Day After Christmas

LEFT BEHIND “And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” John 14:16 One of my earliest and most painful memories occurred when I was 3or4 years old. My mother was taking my sister shopping for back-to-school clothes. I didn’t know this until my mother and sister were dressed and ready to go. As they were leaving I asked if I could go too. My mother said, “No”, but after a brief standoff, she relented and told me to go get a sweater. Off I went excited to join them, and returned to find them gone. I was furious at being tricked and determined to vent my anger on their return. My grandma cradled me in her arms and comforted me. Later, in a quiet, forceful voice, she told my mother, “Don’t you ever do that to that baby again.” And my mother didn’t. Grandma’s been gone for quite some time now. I still miss her unconditional love, fierce protection, and old –fashioned wisdom. She was my earthly comforter. How fortunate we are Jesus left us a divine comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide and stay with us on our spiritual journey. Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your son and His gift of the Holy Spirit.


Eleventh Day After Christmas

WORSHIP THE NEWBORN KING! “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. They saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him.� Matthew 2:10-11 This year has been incredibly challenging and scary. Sometimes I feel that the bad things outweigh the good things. We lost good people who fought for justice, civil rights, and the freedoms we enjoy---Elijah Cummings, John Lewis, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives drastically. We are staying at home, unable to enjoy face-toface visits with our families and friends. Our livelihoods have been turned upside down with massive layoffs. Corruption and hatred are in the news from leaders and officials who express negative feelings and design policies that affect our lives. Sometimes you may feel hopeless and sad; wondering how you are going to survive. However, I remind myself to continue to keep the faith and to trust Jesus as my Savior. I adore and worship Him. I consider my good things: a new granddaughter, good health, food to eat, my children and grandchildren are safe. God hears my prayers and grants me grace and mercy every day. When I stop and think, my good things outweigh the bad things. I am looking forward to celebrating Jesus at Christmas!! His birth gives me hope and joy. I think about the wisemen following His bright star in the east to find the newborn king and worship Him. Jesus is our guiding star and will bring us out of the darkness of 2020. Prayer: Thank You God for the birth of Your son, Jesus Christ. He is the guiding light in our lives. Amen! SISTER BETTY SMOOT CHURCH SCHOOL

Twelfth Day After Christmas

SEEK TO SEE GOD’S FACE “When they heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” Matthew 2: 9-10 Metropolitan’s Men’s Church School rotates facilitators among its attendees, guaranteeing at least one person, besides Superintendent Tilman Gerald, has not only read but studied the lesson. One Sunday, Brother Jules began our virtual class with this question, “Where did you see God this past week?” That simple inquiry pricked my soul such that I intentionally look for evidence of God’s presence in my life and the world around me. A quite noble and frightening encounter hit me in the gut this past August. As the COVID pandemic was raging, a loved one entered a regional jail to serve a 30-days sentence. I had concerns about how he would avoid contacting the COVID-19 virus? He prayed. His family and friends prayed for his protection. God not only shielded him from the virus but provided opportunities for him to witness and encourage others, including some who professed no belief in God. “ I saw God in them, in how they cared for each other, especially how some mentored the more vulnerable and inexperienced.” Prayer: Merciful God, as a child, I asked Jesus to wait until I got back because I was about to be disobedient. Now, I desire to feel and see Your presence in all I do and experience. Like the Wise Men, I journey to see You face to face and that gives me joy! Amen.


Thirteenth Day After Christmas

PATIENCE “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 Patience according to Webster’s dictionary: the ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task, or person. The biblical definition: The quality of patience is presented as either forbearance or endurance. In the former sense it is a quality of self-restraint of or not giving way to anger even in the face of provocation; it is attributed to both God and man and is closely related to mercy and compassion and the thought that patience is a virtue. I have heard the word patience for most of my life. Even as a child, I remember my mom and grandmother say, “be patient.” I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. As I grew up, that did not change much. I found if things did not happen when and how I thought or wanted them to, I would get disgruntled. As I grew into adulthood, not only was I impatient, but angry when things didn’t happen as I thought they should. I heard the pastor often preach that patience is a virtue and my elders telling me the same thing. What did it mean to me? I know that when I pray, I often want an answer right away. What does that say about my faith in God? After going into the ministry and studying the scripture, I learned “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife” (Proverbs 15:18) “Love is patient and kind.”(1Corinthians 13:4). Patience is a virtue. Prayer: Almighty God, help me to practice patience in all things. Amen


Fourteenth Day After Christmas

YOU ONLY HAVE TO LISTEN “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.� Proverbs 3:5-6

In July, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to renew my driver's license with the required information. The DMV clerk accepted the information, took my picture, gave me a paper printout of my renewed license, and told me I would receive my new license by mail. I gave him my PO Box address, due to problems I had receiving mail at my home address. However, since the DMV does not deliver to PO Boxes, I had to stop having my mail forwarded to the PO Box until after I received my driver's license. I left the DMV and went directly to the Post Office to make them aware that my license could not be sent to a PO Box, but had to be delivered to a home address. The Post Office clerk agreed to deliver all mail to my home address. After three weeks of waiting and no license, I called the DMV and was told my driver's license had been sent. Although the DMV sent my license three more times, the license never arrived. The DMV told me that I would have to repeat the renewal process in March, and could not use the previous information. I prayed to God for help. Days later, I was telling a friend my experience and she told me she might be able to help me. Later that day, I received a call from someone at the DMV who had heard about my situation. I was told my license would be delivered by Federal Express, and so it was. Prayer: We have only to trust and obey, and God will always direct our paths, but we must listen. SISTER VANESSA KING CHURCH SCHOOL

Fifteenth Day After Christmas

GOD’S GRACE “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Mathew 5:5 I felt her proximity. I turned. She smiled. “You are beautiful. American?” “Yes, thank you!” She said, “I love your hair. May I touch it? May we take a photo?” I happily complied. We posed and snapped away as she stroked my long cornrows. As I sat in the airport in China, I engaged in a sobering chat with this Chinese English teacher. She referred to herself as a “minority;” Uighur. “Come visit me in America,” I ventured. She whispered.” “I would never be able to leave China. I am a Muslim. They would never allow it.” Indelicately, another traveler intruded, asking, “Could a Uighur hold a political position in China?” “I am not allowed to speak of such things,” she said, and swiftly bid us farewell. Her fear of reprisal hung in the air. I grimaced. I read now of the arrests and implied genocide of the Uighurs. They are among the least of these that our Lord calls us to pray and seek justice for. These women remain nameless to me but not faceless. I remember their smiles and desire for connection, and I pray. I take solace in HER promise and believe HER grace will extend to these Uighur women, if not in this life, the next. Prayer: My God, Mother, please offer your mercy and divine Grace to the disinherited of this earth. Amen. SISTER CELESTE M. BRYANT-McMILLER MARRIED COUPLES MINISTRY WASHINTON INTERFAITH NETWORK

CONTRIBUTORS Yvonne L. Bolling, Christian Education Director

Marsha Botts, Marie Day, Editors Antwan D. Williams, Layout Editor Rev. Moya Harris, Evan Taylor, Production Akinola, Pius

Karimah, Aisha


Associate Minister/Anchors

Bibbins, Odessa

Kendrick, Greta



Blanding, Katie

Kendrick, Leila

SAMS/Church School

Life Member WMS

Botts, Carlos

King, Vanessa

Mighty Men of Metropolitan

Church School

Botts, Jonathan Botts, Marsha Turner

Lamar IV, William H. Pastor McEntyre, Anntoinette

SAMS/Love and Peace

Girl Scouts

Bruce, Donna

Oxendine, Joan

Church School

Pastor’s Study

Steward Emeritus/Women’s Missionary Society

Bryan, Dorothy

Palmer, J.Jioni

Circles of Twelve

Noon Day Bible Study

Bryant-McMiller, Celeste

Prioleau, III, Elias

Married Couples Ministry


Burroughs, Mary

Robinson, Barbara


Pearl A.Cook Seniors’ Club

Butler-Truesdale, Sandra

Robinson, James

Associate Minister

Steward Emeritus/Usher

Coleman, Jacqueline

Scott, Elsie



Collins, Thedford

Shands-Strong, Sandra

Steward Pro Tem

Church School/Health Ministry/Ethel P.Hall

Day, Marie

Smoot, Betty


Church School

Dugger, Wade

Wallace, Maria


Kelly Lay Organization

Elliott, Willie (Dee)

Watkins, Judith



Ferguson, John

Williams, Dana

Church School

Bethel 21Historical Society

Ferguson, Yuvay

Wilson, Elaine

Church School


Glover-Graham Younge, Valerie

Wood, Barbara Booker

Kelly Lay Organization

Harris, Jocelyn Trustee

Jefferson, Linda Trustee

Johns, Marie Pastor’s Steward

Jones, Barbara Stewardess

Friend of Metropolitan

Woody, Jacqueline Friend of Metropolitan

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