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A Publication of



Serving DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale Counties

New Birth’s Healing a mother’s broken prayer line hits 1 million heart

Hopewell Celebrates City of Hope

Dee Haigler: Politics and the pulpit

The spiritual meaning of 8


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Pastor James C. Ward


Pastor Kerwin B. Lee

Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale

Pastor Micheal Benton

Dr. Christopher Chappell

Bishop Gary Hawkins,Sr.

Pastor Richard Leaphart

12 20 26 28 32 42 46

contents Body, Mind & Soul The religious meaning of 8 ... 7 7 spiritual fasts for your soul ... 24 7 miracle foods of the Bible ... 36

Crusaders Mother Dollie Smarr spreads the gospel through giving ... 14 Berni Grant feeds the masses ... 38 Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson inspires through chess ... 44 New Birth’s global prayer line hits 1 million ... 46

Milestones Hopewell Baptist Church celebrates ‘City of Hope’ ... 48

Guiding Lights Politician and preacher Dee Dawkins-Haigler talks dual roles ... 10 Healing Reeba’s heart after losing four children ... 22

ETC. Keep Rising Outreach Production is the Rx for laughter ... 30



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The Meaning of 8 E

By Mackenzie N. Morgan

ight. It’s the number of pastors on the premiere issue of Churches Now magazine, but what’s the meaning behind 8? Symbolizing resurrection and a new beginning, 8 represents infinite endlessness and authority, according to www. It’s no wonder why the proverbial digit is likened to the association of leadership and power. Perhaps one of the most beloved numerals, the dualistic nature of 8 is often one of its most disregarded qualities, numerologist Hans Decoz says. Spiritually speaking, 8 is the great karmic equalizer and represents material and immaterial balance, manifestation, wholeness, abundance, strength, success, discipline, power, and one-pointedness of mind. Inversely, 8 represents anarchy, misuse of power, earthquakes and other uncommon events. Eight appears in the Bible many times and takes significant form in faiths across the board.

8 Faith Facts

1. The number 8 is used 73 times in the Bible. The numbers 29, 42, 4500, 22,000 and 40,000 are used eight times in the Bible also.

2. There are eight Beatitudes that appear in the Gospel of Matthew. 3. In Revelations, the Anti-Christ is the eighth king.

4. Christianity and Judaism circumcise baby boys on their eighth day of living. 5. Eight writers penned the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude.

6. In China, the number 8 is believed to express the totality of the universe. 7. In Islam, 8 is the number of angels carrying The Holy Throne of Allah in heavens.

8. In Hinduism, 8 is the number of wealth and abundance. CHURCHES

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Antioch-Lithonia Baptist Church Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church was established shortly after the Civil War in 1869, and is believed to DeKalb County’s oldest church and most certainly has one of its richest histories. Founded with 12 faithful members who spent $2.50 to build a brush arbor for worship, the church now holds services in a state-of-the-art $6.2 million sanctuary uniquely called a “Worshiptorium” by Pastor James C. Ward. The facility has enough high-tech equipment to produce high definition television programs and Broadway-style musical productions. “It has been said that I’m a musician masquerading as a minister,” stated Pastor Ward, a talented musician who plays several instruments. Pastor Ward has guided the church since 1995 and is known for his erudite, Bible-based, Christ-centered sermons, which reflect his highly educated background. Pastor Ward has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of New Orleans, a master’s of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and he also earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in philosophy and German Literature and a minor in music from Atlanta’s Morehouse College, where he was a member of its renowned Glee Club. Commenting on Antioch’s mission and vision, Pastor Ward said, “Our members are individuals who want to belong to a progressive, yet stable church with all of the modern programs and amenities, but with the warmth of the personal touch. We seve people who desire diversity in worship style; therefore, our choirs perform contemporary and traditional gospel songs, classical anthems, metered hymns, sacred harp note singing, and gospel hip-hop. We operate in the spirit and minister with a spirit of excellence.”



The church is blessed with 29 associate ministers, and 33 active deacons who assist the pastor in caring for the members. Antioch is known as a “big little” church because of the care members receive from the deacons and minister. The deacons seek to make intentional contact with each family once per month. Under Pastor Ward’s leadership, the congregation purchased 23 acres on Rock Chapel Road and completed the present edifice in 2004, which was the first phase of a strategic building program. Included in the program are plans for a Family Life Center and a home for senior citizens. Antioch now has more than 6,000 members. “As a congregation with a rich history and an honorable heritage, we seek to preserve the past, perform in the present and prepare for the future,” Pastor Ward said. “We believe making history is just as important as studying history, and we must never forget our historical roots. At Antioch we: Live like Jesus, Pray without ceasing, and Worship like the Heavenly Host, and we do this by Bridging the Past, Blessing the Present and Bridging the Future.”

Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church 2152 Rock Chapel Road Lithonia, GA 30058 (770) 482-1277


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Pulpit and Politics Dee Haigler balances both as a State Representative By Joshua Smith For many voters in Georgia’s House District 93, which covers parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties, Dee Dawkins-Haigler is State Representative; but she also has a place in the pulpit where she is known as Elder Haigler. “I’ve found myself to balance both well because to me, they’re both positions of service. God has commissioned me to serve His people,” said Elder Haigler, who was ordained by the A.M.E. Church in 2000. “All my work is an awesome commission by God. I must work diligently in both fields, for my people, for my community.” As a state lawmaker, Haigler serves as chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. With 60 African Americans in the House, the Georgia chapter is the largest black caucus in the United States. “It’s a great work. We have many diverse African Americans in Georgia, more than 3 million in the state. From Willacoochee and Athens to Brunswick and Decatur, the Black Caucus tackles the issues affecting the African American community,” said



Haigler, who is serving her third term. “I’ve been working diligently to unite all of black Georgia. Black mayors, fraternities, sororities, pastors—we all have to come together on one page. That’s the only way you get laws passed to impact issues in our community, such as health disparities, minority contracting and Medicaid expansion.”

From 2004 – 2012, Haigler served as the Human Resources Director for the African Methodist Episcopal Churches of Georgia, an organization that oversees more than 500 A.M.E. churches in Georgia. “I had to step back from the position because of the time and energy that goes into the Black Caucus, but I still lead workshops and training sessions for the A.M.E. Church,” said Haigler, who served as pastor of Saint Luke A.M.E. Church in Athens from 2003 - 2006. “This is my 16 th year in the ministry. I spent my whole undergraduate career at South Carolina State University, where I met my husband, Major David Haigler Jr., running from God. I was busy stepping with the Deltas, worrying about classes. I didn’t see many female preachers growing up and I had

a lot going on but basically, I was running from the calling. After years of running, I finally answered God’s calling in 1996 and became licensed in 1997.” While Haigler doesn’t preach every Sunday, she does continue to spread the word of God. She spoke at Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church’s Women’s Day on April 21, where the theme was “Destiny: We All Have Different Paths, But Only One Way.” While there are other ministers, preachers and pastors working with Haigler under the Gold Dome, in 2008, she was the first ordained female clergy to be elected to the General Assembly, black or white. Being a change agent runs in her family. In 1993, her mother, Peggy Butler, became the first African American elected to the West Columbia City Council in Lexington County, South Carolina.

She later became the first female Mayor Pro Tem of the city. “She taught me to never give up. You always fight. If you don’t win, you fight to see another day.

You are here for the people,” said Haigler. “I’ve always been around politics. I’m happy and honored I had such a strong woman to look up to growing up.” Haigler attends First Saint Paul A.M.E. in Lithonia, where the Rev. Marvin L. Crawford serves as pastor. She says her favorite verse is Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (KJV). “If it was up to pastor, I would be in the pulpit a lot more, but I preach pretty often there,” said Haigler, who is a mother of four children and a grandmother of one. “I tell people all the time: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. The reason I do this: I don’t want to die with works undone.”


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Berean Christi


erwin B. Lee, Senior Pastor and organizer of the Berean Christian Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia is a man of God dedicated to the spiritual and educational growth of the people he serves. Throughout his ministry tenure he has served as Youth Pastor, Minister of Christian Education and Senior Pastor of a mainstream denominational church. He has also been a staff person for Young Life, a Para-church organization. He currently possesses a Masters of Divinity in Christian Education from Inter-Denominational Theological Center, Morehouse School

of Religion and is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry Degree at Luther Rice Seminary University. Pastor Lee’s ability to share his vast knowledge of the Word of God practically; and his fervor to ensure that the people of God understand and apply biblical principles, has given him a ministry edge not experienced by many. He is a distinctive and relevant leader in the Body of Christ today. His charismatic personality and contagious humor and attitude have drawn interest in his ministry gift from people all over the world.

ian Church

He is founder of “A Word For The Times” ministry, and is author of Winning the Battle over Negative Emotions, Finding Joy in the Word of God: 52 Old Testament Bible Study Outlines and Feeding Your Soul with the Word of God: 52 New Testament Bible Study Outlines. Pastor Lee is a committed husband to his wife, Yolanda, a dedicated father to two sons, Kerwin II and Kernard and a transformational pastor and leader.

Berean Christian Church 2201 Young Rd., Stone Mountain, GA 30088 Phone 770-593-4421 Saturday Worship 6:00 p.m. Sunday Worship 7:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Bible Study Tuesday 12 noon & 7:30 p.m.


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Mother Dollie Smarr Dedicated to Exousia Lighthouse’s Food and Clothing Pantry



By Joshua Smith “Mother” Dollie Smarr takes to heart the old saying that she would “give the shirt off her back.” On Tuesdays, Smarr organizes donated food and clothes to give to the needy who come to Exousia Lighthouse International Christian Ministries in Lithonia, GA. “You know for some people,


this might be the only meal they get today, and we want it to be a good one,” said the 66-year-old Smarr. “The bible says when you feed the least of these, it’s like feeding Him.” Smarr, who oversees a team of volunteers for the church’s clothes closet and food pantry, was honored in February for her volunteer work by President

Barack Obama. She received a “Call To Service Award” for volunteering hundreds of hours to the community. Over the last three years, Exousia has provided 80,000 pounds of food to the community through donations it receives from local grocery stores and financial contributions from church members and the community.

bible says

when you feed the

it’s like feeding Him .” least of these,

Bishop Carl McRae, who founded Exousia Lighthouse 10 years ago, says the ministry serves at least 200 people a week through its food and clothing ministry. “We’re not as interested in just handing folks food as we are in trying to repair their lives so that they can get their own food,” said Bishop McRae. Bishop McRae said the church gave out its first donations in 2003 in a door-to-door campaign. “We cleaned out our cupboards and filled 23 boxes of food and took it to an apartment complex off

Covington Highway,” McRae said. “We just started knocking on doors.” Exousia not only helps the local community, but does outreach ministry in other countries as well. For example, the church supplies food and first aid supplies to Haiti and an orphanage in Trinidad. Bishop McRae says he has made a personal commitment to help those in need because he knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle. “I’ve been down that road, battled a cocaine addiction. I’m just glad God helped me win that battle,” said Bishop McRae, who grew up

in South Georgia. “Many of the less fortunate have given their life to Christ through this ministry. We are feeding the mind, body and soul.” Bishop McRae founded Exousia in the basement of his Conyers home on Nov. 16, 2003. He said the ministry began with 13 people and grew to a congregation of about 500 active members. He named the ministry Exousia because of its definition: the authority or the right to act. When it comes to active evangelism, he says, he wants Exousia to be a shining light in the community.


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Mother Dollie, one of Exousia’s founding members, is one of those shining lights. “People might not even be able to pronounce the name of our church, but they know Mother Dollie and her volunteers will be there every week to pray for them and provide what we can,” Bishop McRae said. Smarr, a retired Bellsouth operator and breast cancer survivor, said she enjoys giving back. Said Smarr: “I grew up in what is known as Buttermilk Bottom in Atlanta. I know what it’s like to wait in line for government cheese or SPAM and wonder where your next meal is coming from.” Smarr said it is dedicated church members and other volunteers in the community who make it possible to help those who are less fortunate. “I must say that I couldn’t do any of this without my volunteers. We don’t meet every week for fame, no big hoopla. This is what we do. We are a giving, loving church.”

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broken heart By Valerie J. Morgan At times, the tears well up in Reeba Glass’ eyes, her heart filled with so much grief that not even her own mother can hug away the hurt. It’s understandable. The 28-year-old Conyers, GA mother lost four of her five children on Jan. 8, 2013 in one of the worst fires in the city’s recent history. Glass’ 6-yearold son accidentally started the fire that night in their two-story townhome while playing with a lighter as everyone slept. Glass, who suffered burns over 40 percent of her body,



was able to get the 6-year-old out safely. Her mother, Rosetta Mitchell, who was sleeping downstairs, also was able to escape unharmed. The 6-year-old was not charged with anything because of his age. He doesn’t understand what happened, Glass said, and he often asks to play with his siblings. He is back in school, adjusting to a new normal as an only child. Although it has been months since the fire, Glass is still healing. She is comforted by a pastor who is both, gentle and strong, one who steadfastly walks by faith.

“As her pastor, I’m still standing with her. I want her to know that I was here before, during, and I’ll be here after she heals,” says Pastor Billie Cox of Macedonia Baptist Church. Cox is the first female pastor to lead the historic 139-year-old Macedonia Baptist Church. One of the oldest black churches in Conyers, Macedonia, with its simple, beautiful white steeple and granite façade looks like a postcard from the past. The church has a small but growing congregation that includes Glass and her mother. Glass and Mitchell say they are blessed to have Cox as their pastor. “I thank God for Pastor Çox. She has been such a wonderful pastor,” Mitchell said. Pastor Cox and several members of the church were at Glass’ side to help her remember the 9-month-old she lost in the fire. Baby Deon would have turned a year old in April. Family, friends and congregation members stood outside Macedonia on a Wednesday, prayed and then released a bouquet of balloons into the evening sky in his memory. Pastor Cox read Psalm 46, saying, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed…” After reading the scripture, Pastor Cox prayed and then helped pass out helium-filled balloons. She asked everyone to count to three and then shout “Deon!” as they released the balloons.

For Glass, the celebration was bittersweet. She was solemn as family members and friends hugged her gently, careful not to press her shoulders, where her scars are still healing. “We always have a party with a cake and candles to celebrate the kids’ birthdays. Of course, we couldn’t do that for the baby, ” said grandmother Mitchell, her voice trailing. Glass lost an only daughter, Ah’Dariya, 9, in the blaze and three boys: Deshon, 7; Amonii, 3; and baby, Deon. “I miss them a lot. I miss them playing,” Glass said. “I think about them every day.”


Spiritual Fasts for Your Soul

By Joshua Smith

In the bible, God introduced the number 7 as a symbol of the completion of His initial creative act. With the number 7 representing completion, we’ve comprised seven spiritual fasts that will lead to more complete, healthier you. Normal: This is the basic fast in which you abstain from food. Example: “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.” (Luke 4:2 KJV). Absolute: This fast requires you to abstain from food and water and should only be conducted no more than three days. Example: In Deuteronomy 9:9, KJV, Moses says: “When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water.” Daniel: This fast may have become the most popular fast in recent years. The Daniel fast is a plantbased eating plan with the only beverage being water. There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel, Chapter One, the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. So, from these scriptures we get two of the guidelines for the fast: Only fruits and vegetables, only water for a beverage. Then in Daniel, Chapter 10, we read that the Prophet ate no meat nor any precious breads or foods and he drank no wine for 21 days. So from this scripture, we get a third guideline: No sweeteners and no breads. Partial: This fast will be up to your spiritual leader or “father” to regulate, in which your diet restricts particular foods or you may eat one meal per day and drink water for the rest of the day. Example: “I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:3 KJV). Regular: Ministries use regular fasts across the globe to commemorate an event such as a Day of Atonement, or to conduct weekly fasts. This form of fasting usually allows for members or ministry leaders



to regulate what they will fast from, leading up to a memorable event in the church. Example: “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:27 KLV). Involuntary: This is a very strict fast in which there is no desire for food or any beverage except for water, in hopes of reaching a large goal or ministry accomplishment. There were some instances in the bible where people found themselves in a situation where no food was available. “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.” (Matthew 15:32 KJV). Public: This form of fasting is usually spearheaded by a pastor in the wake of a special need and/or emergency. Almost all regular fasts were public fasts, but all public fasts are not necessarily regular ones. Examples: In II Chronicles 20:1-4, KJV, When Judah was invaded, King Jehoshaphat went to the Lord to fast for help from Him. “It came to pass after this also, [that] the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them [other] beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. 2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they [be] in Hazazontamar, which [is] Engedi. 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask [help] of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.” Source: Editor’s Note: Anytime you make a significant change in your diet or exercise, consult your health professional. Also, if you have special health need,s consider adjusting the eating plan to meet those requirements while maintaining the other restrictions for the fast.

w w w . s a i n t p h i l i p . o r g “God has a vision for our lives that is greater than any vision we can have for ourselves or that others can have for us.”

Reverend William D. Watley, Ph.D. Senior Pastor

Saint Philip AME Church 240 Candler Road, SE Atlanta, GA 30317 (404) 371-0749

Worship Times: Sundays at 7:30am & 11:00am Church School: Sundays at 9:30am Youth Church (Ages 5-16): Sundays at 11:00am Bible Study: Tuesdays at 7:00pm CHURCHES Now | 25



“My father instilled something in my siblings and I that has fueled my desire for success,” explains Chappell. “He taught us to never do anything, especially business, for money but to provide a quality service. If you do things with the intention of providing the best quality, it will prosper.” Quality service is a word described by most who visit Grace, which operates under “traditional values with a contemporary approach to ministry.” Located in the sprawling suburbs of North Cobb County, parishioners will encounter plush landscaping, warm and pleasant greeters, and excellence in the people and presentation of the Word of God. Dr. Chappell offers visitors the Grace guarantee that in “180 days, you will learn more about the Word of God and your relationship with Him than you’ve ever received.” He is committed to being God’s appointed “difference maker” for His people.

During his childhood years, if asked about preaching or pastoring someday, Dr. Christopher Chappell would vehemently reply, “no way!” e son of Pastor Emeritus Tommy Chappell, Sr. of New Rising Star Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as a young child, never desired to preach.

Spirit of Laughter K.R.O.P. comedians spin wholesome, side-splitting tales By Joshua Smith Gospel comedian Victor “Saint Vick” Terell helps Christians find the funny side of salvation. And he’s bringing other likeminded comedians to the stage in the Atlanta area to tell clean, side-splitting jokes about secular life. “People have a misconception that all gospel comedians will only tell jokes about the church. We do talk about that, but we touch on a wide range of subjects: crazy baby mamas; that co-worker you just wanna’ reach out and slap sometimes, dating and being single. We just do it in a way that will be pleasing to God,” said Terell, who has been performing “clean comedy” since 1996. Terell said as a clean comedian, he performs for a wide array of people. “I used to try to do the cursing thing, but it just wasn’t right for me,” Terell said. “I made the decision a long time ago to go



clean and I never looked back. Since then, God has given me opportunities that I never imagined, allowing me to perform for the least of these to Fortune 500 companies.” In 2007, Terell moved from South Carolina to the Atlanta area. Soon afterward, he joined New Mercies Christian Church in Lilburn, where he met Maxine McDaniel, who is a member. The two teamed up to form Keep Rising Outreach Productions or K.R.O.P., and in 2010, hosted their first show at Hopewell Baptist Church in Norcross. Terell says K.R.O.P. is as much an outreach ministry as it is a comedy production company. K.R.O.P. hosts fundraiser shows to help people like Renee Moody, a DeKalb County resident who underwent a kidney transplant. “We raised thousands of dollars for Renee and I am happy to report that she had a successful kidney transplant,” said Terell.

Terell considers himself a laughter doctor and whether you’re down, distraught, dealing with family stress, problems at work; he says he’s got the remedy for you. Terell actually passes out “laughter prescriptions” at his shows. “Of course God has a sense of humor. Just look at some of the people He made,” Terell said laughing. “No, seriously, you know my favorite verse is Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. You don’t want dry bones, do you?” Terell, who was named winner of the National 2011 Rebirth of Comedy Competition, said K.R.O.P. has featured nationally-known talent such as ventriloquist Willie Brown and a number of local acts in its latest comedic venture, “The Spirit of Laughter.” Terell said he’s gotten encouragement to keep up the productions from some of the best in the field. “We’ve had Bruce Bruce and Marvin Hunter come through,” said Terell. “They’ve been very encouraging.” The Spirit of Laughter is hosted once a month. A show is scheduled June 28, 8 p.m., at the Willie A. Watkins Special Events Center, 5843 Redan

Road, Lithonia,GA. “This is the perfect fit for us. We wanted to bring entertainment to the community that could be enjoyed by the entire family,” said Gwen Bonair, director of the Willie A. Watkins Special Events Center. “This Christian comedy show is wholesome, funny, affordable and even empowers local businesses because we allow them to set up shop as vendors at the showcase.” For tickets, call 404-641-4463 or visit www.

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Dr. Kevin B. Lee is the Senior Pastor of Berean Christian Church Gwinnett. Pastor Kevin, as he is affectionately known, served as the Associate Pastor at Berean Christian Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia for 3 years and as the Youth Pastor for 9 years. Prior to accepting a position at Berean Christian Church, he served in youth ministry for over 16 years in churches located in Fort Worth, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina and Stone Mountain, Georgia. Dr. Lee earned a Doctorate of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His dissertation was on empowering and training adult leaders to effectively work with children and youth. He received a Master’s of Religious Education and a Master’s of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Additionally, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. He has authored four books: Putting the Pieces Together, Making the Pieces Fit, Teaching Pieces to the Puzzle and Practical Pieces to the Puzzle, all geared towards youth ministry.

Dr. Kevin B. Lee is the Founder of KBL Ministries. The purpose of KBL Ministries is three-fold: • T o ENHANCE parents with effective parenting skills • To EMPOWER adult leaders with creative teaching skills • To EQUIP young people to live victorious spirit-filled lives He is truly gifted in preaching and teaching to children, youth and adults alike. Many have been challenged and changed because of the inspirational words of Pastor Kevin. He is married to Karen Foushee-Lee and they have two children, Kellie and Jamarr.

Berean Christian Church Gwinnett 1465 Highpoint Road Snellville, GA 30078 Dr. Kevin B. Lee, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Thursday Bible Study 12 noon & 7:30 p.m.

By Mackenzie N. Morgan Since the beginning of time, Man has been using food as a source of sustenance and for its medicinal value. Here’s what Scripture has to say about the use of these 7 miracle foods.

Healing foods of the bible



Apples. Song of Solomon 2:5. Apples are considered to be an all around health food. High in flavonoids, fiber and Vitamin C, some of the apple’s healing powers include: lowering bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, fighting viruses, stabilizing blood sugar, appetite suppression, and help with constipation and diarrhea. Purchase organic apples when possible. Commercially-grown apples are likely to be coated with wax preservatives and pesticides. Barley. Deuteronomy 8:8, Ezekiel

4:9. Barley’s high fiber content promotes regularity, relieves constipation and wards off a wide variety of digestive problems. It may also help block cancer and can help lower risks of heart disease.  Coriander (Cilantro). Exodus16:31. Biblically referenced as “the healer from heaven,” coriander is recommended for indigestion, diarrhea, and flatulence (excessive gas). Externally, it’s used to ease joint and muscle pain. Recently, scientists began looking at coriander as an anti-inflammatory treatment for arthritis. Other research has demonstrated its usefulness as an anti-inflammatory agent and research indicates it may help regulate blood sugar levels. Fish. Luke 24:42-43. Fish is low in cholesterol and contains healthy fats. Fish is a rich source

of protein, vitamins, minerals and potassium. Some of the benefits of eating fish include immune system regulation, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease prevention, anti-inflammatory, eases arthritis, soothes bronchial asthma, prevents blood clots from forming, and reduces risk of heart attack and stroke. The healing powers of fish lies in the omega-3 fatty acids. These are particularly concentrated in cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, flue fin tuna, mackerel, lake trout, anchovies, bluefish, herring, sable fish, and whitefish.  Garlic. Numbers 11:15. One of the world’s oldest healing foods, garlic is used as an anticoagulant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent. It is used as a natural way to kill internal parasites. Cousin to the onion, studies show that garlic has carcinogen neutralizing properties

and helps fight hypertension, prevent blood clots and lowers cholesterol. Grapes. Numbers 13:23, II Samuel 16:1-2. Grapes were the first things Noah planted after the flood. Grapes contain vitamins A, B, and C along with other important minerals like boron, calcium, potassium and zinc. A cup of grapes contains 58 calories, 0.3 grams of fat and zero cholesterol. Grapes may be helpful in preventing osteoporosis, fighting tooth decay, and fighting off viruses and cancer. Other health-giving fruits include figs, melons, and pomegranates. Olives. The olive was one of the most versatile and referenced fruits in the bible. Its healing powers are tested in the popular parable of the Good Samaritan in which the Samaritan treats the wounds of a robbed and beaten traveler with olive oil and

wine. Olive oil, mixed with wine, was used to soften and soothe wounds and bruises. Known benefits of olive oil include lowering blood cholesterol, protection against ulcers, bone growth, reducing risks of cancer, gallstones and the aging of brain tissue and the body’s organs. The purer the olive oil, the better. The information in this article is for informational purposes only.  It is not to be construed as medical care or medical advice and is not a replacement for medical care given by physicians or trained medical personnel. This information is not intended to diagnosis, treat or provide any medical service.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider when experiencing symptoms or health problems, or before starting any new treatment.  


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The Samaritan Voices of Faith’s Bernadette “Berni” Grant gives a decade of service By Mackenzie N. Morgan Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, Bernadette “Berni” Grant marshals a group of troops to prepare dinner for hundreds in the Stone Mountain area who have no place to go for the holidays. She and her volunteers typically serve a feast that includes turkey, fried chicken, homemade dressing, string beans, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie and other Southern dishes in the banquet hall at Voices of Faith Ministries in Stone Mountain. Those who can’t travel to the church campus, get a home-cooked meal delivered to them courtesy of volunteer drivers. The holiday meals have been provided by Voices of Faith, founded by Bishop Gary Hawkins, Sr., since 2003. “I started the dinners because, at the time, I only had one young niece living here who was married. So, I was basically by myself. I didn’t want to spend the holidays alone and I knew there were others who didn’t want to be alone

either. So, I figured we all could be family. I thought to myself, ‘I’m capable of cooking’ and that’s how it got started.” Over time, Grant received help from various ministry leaders and others within the church until she built up a small army of 50 volunteers. “It’s grown so big that I need help from as many people as possible helping,” said Grant. Grant prides herself on making sure every meal is delicious. She seeks out volunteers who enjoy cooking as she does and those who like greeting and welcoming people. “We’ve fed more than 5,000 people over the course of 10 years. Those who don’t cook, help shop or prep the food. We have others who enjoy driving and making the deliveries and a setup ad cleanup crew. We deliver the hot meals to extended stay hotels, apartment complexes, it doesn’t matter,” said Grant. In March, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity’s Stone Mountain Alumni Chapter recognized Grant for her ministry work in the community. On Common Ground News Editor Valerie J. Morgan, who has witnessed Grant raise donations for the annual holiday dinners, nominated her for the honor, praising Grant as “an unsung hero who has given a decade of service.” “I was elated. I was really overwhelmed because I have never received such an honor,” said Grant.


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Grant, a licensed practical nurse by profession, works as an onsite nurse at Voices of Faith Daycare in Stone Mountain. Her job is one that allows her to serve and enjoy another passion: helping children. Grant, who grew up in the small factory town of Alton, Illinois, credits her parents with instilling the value of service at an early age. Her parents separated around the time of her birth as the youngest of 11 kids, but her father continued to take care of the family as a railroad worker, enabling her mother to be a stay-at-home mom. “My parents were always giving. Our home was the Kool-Aid house in the neighborhood. My mother had the biggest heart. All the kids called her mother.” Grant said she considers herself blessed to be a giver. “I am so incredibly blessed. I have not had a rough life. I can’t tell you I’ve lost my house, been close to homeless, or had a car repossessed. Because I am blessed, I like to bless others. I pray regularly, “Lord let me be a blessing today – even if it’s just cooking a meal for someone.”



“Lord let me be a blessing today – even if it’s just cooking a meal for someone.”


astor Richard Leaphart, a native of New Jersey, is the founder and Senior Pastor of New Hope Christian Ministries in Stockbridge, Georgia. He spent many of his childhood summers in Atlanta and has now been a Georgia resident for almost 30 years.


It is with that same God given determination that he has led New Hope from its early stages in his living room, to having service in the cafeteria of Chapel Hill Elementary School, to purchasing and paying off the first building When Leaphart made his home at 2999 Flat Shoals Road in in Georgia, he began to exemplify Decatur, to New Hope’s current all the character and work ethic location at 1738 Fairview Road in instilled in him from a young age. Stockbridge. He often shares that he worked his way up from being a “cart Leaphart’s vision is to minister boy” – returning the shopping to the TOTAL family through carts to store corrals to becoming the Word of God and through the General Manager of Sam’s relationships. He believes in Club. While being successful being a “touchable” Pastor, where in the corporate arena, God members and visitors are able was preparing him for full time to receive a good, old fashioned ministry. handshake and greeting after the service and are able to relate Under the spiritual guidance of to him through activities within the late Bishop George Hoke the ministry. You can often find of All Nations Church of God, him building connections with Pastor Leaphart was licensed his members and others in the and ordained as a minister in community. He often says that 1997. Because of his proven and people “want to know that you unwavering service unto God’s care,” and he does just that people, he became the Assistant – often making personal calls Pastor of All Nations. directly to members and visitors.

that. The Stockbridge property affords for a Christian school to operate, a gym for basketball teams, a football field for little league and beyond, and houses on the property to assist families during transitional periods.

With an undeniable anointing for leadership and heeding to God’s voice, Leaphart began New Hope Christian Ministries in July 2001.

In order to become a part of the Agape Association of Pastors, please call the church office at 770-507-HOPE (4673).


Because of his desire to reach all members of the family, it was important to provide an atmosphere in which to do just

God has now commissioned Leaphart to share his God-given wisdom and insight to others as a mentor to other pastors. On May 4, he will launch Agape Association of Pastors, an avenue for Pastors and their spouses to receive spiritual encouragement, guidance, and love from someone who knows what it is like to progress through the realms of ministry. He has been faithfully married to Synetra for nearly 25 years and they have two beautiful daughters, Senora, a sophomore at Fort Valley State University, and Rachel, sophomore at Shiloh High School. Together, they continue to lead New Hope with impeccable integrity.

Article written/submitted by - Serrena Cobb

New Hope Christian Ministries 1738 Fairview Road, Stockbridge, GA 30281 Wednesday: Night Bible Study - 7:30 p.m. Sunday: Worship Service - 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. New Hope Bible Academy - 10:00 a.m. Spiritual Father Bishop Eddie L. Long CHURCHES

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Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson

The Gospel of Chess Making Every Move Count

By Mackenzie N. Morgan Last year, Orrin Hudson was accepting the “2012 Martin Luther King Award for Social Justice” at the United Covenant Church of Christ’s 23rd Holy Convocation in Atlanta when the guest speaker, Bishop Noel Jones, challenged him to a game of chess. Hudson, who operates the Be Someone chess training center in Stone Mountain, GA considered the challenge a divine appointment. A few months later, Hudson flew to Los Angeles and was the guest speaker at Bishop Jones’ City of Refuge Church, where he spoke at three worship services on a Sunday morning. Hudson preached



a different kind of gospel, encouraging parishioners as any good chess player would, to “Make Every Move Count.” And later, Hudson says, he took up Bishop Jones on his offer to play a game of chess. “It was a tough match and I barely won. Bishop Jones has an excellent game,” Hudson said. “It was all in good fun, though. I enjoyed being in his presence. He is an awesome man of God. ” As a motivational speaker, Hudson said he has taken his message of positive thinking and making the right moves to several churches including Word of Faith Love Center in Atlanta;

Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell; First Baptist Atlanta; Victory of the World Church and Graceview Church of Christ, both in Stone Mountain; and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. Hudson says he enjoys motivating young people. The former Alabama highway patrol trooper launched his Be Someone, Inc. nonprofit organization in 2001 as a way to reach and mentor disadvantaged youths, steering them away from the streets. It was a headline news story out of New York that inspired Hudson to become a mentor. One evening, while watching the news, Hudson learned how two teens had killed five teen employees at a Wendy’s restaurant in Queens, NY execution style for $2,400. The murders were Hudson’s wakeup call and that’s when he decided he had to help re-direct more youths, developing a message targeting them. “I teach them to think it out, don’t shoot it out,” said Hudson. “Our children are at a crossroads. We have to teach them if you listen to the wrong people, you move into the wrong direction. Scripture says it this way: If you walk with a wise man, you’ll be wise, but the companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Hudson said his goal is to teach 1 million children the game of chess. He travels to schools, mentoring programs, conferences and meetings around the world teaching leadership through chess. During last year alone, Hudson visited the Philippines, Tokyo, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Mexico, Houston, Cleveland, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Hudson’s Be Someone program has been featured on media outlets across the country such as CNN and the Good Morning America show and is slated to be featured in Essence magazine in June. “A lot of kids are listening to the

wrong people. When you listen to the wrong people you move in the wrong direction,” said Hudson, who says he models his program after Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Hudson, who will celebrate his 50th birthday in May, is planning to host his Chess for Charity fundraiser on May 26 at the

Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta. The event will benefit the Be Someone Training Center he founded in Stone Mountain. For more information or to invite Orrin Checkmate Hudson to energize your next event, visit or call 770465-6445.


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A Million Prayers New Birth’s prayer line hits milestone in two years By Joshua Smith Every day at daybreak, Elder Carla Stokes rises and reaches for her phone. At 6:30 a.m., she calls the same number she has for more than two years and is immediately connected to people from around the globe—from Angola to Zimbabwe, Hong Kong to Turkey, to the Caribbean islands and Latin America. Elder Stokes, as she is known by her church family at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, says she is amazed by the glory of God revealed through technology. She never expected New Birth’s prayer line to ignite a world of prayer warriors. New Birth’s prayer line began in May 2011. In February, the church celebrated a milestone: The ministry tracked a whopping 1 million connections it made with people from 79 countries over nearly



two years on its prayer line. Some called once or twice a week, while others like Elder Stokes called every day. The impact, church leaders say, has been phenomenal. “Our prayer call is having an amazing influence on thousands of lives throughout the world and we believe it’s crucial that believers everywhere know that they, too, can experience God’s great wonders and miracles through the power of prayer,” said Elder Stokes, who oversees New Birth’s prayer ministry. New Birth tracked the connections with its prayer intercessors through internet data it collects. Many of its intercessors speak more than one language and call in everyday, even on holidays, to assist the ministry. “The intercessors are not on site. All participants dial in from wherever they are each and every day at 6:30 a.m.,” said Elder Stokes. “So far, we have documented participation from

79 countries, but there are probably more. Those are only the ones we are aware of.” Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, says the prayer line has become a movement. “We realize that the ministry of the kingdom is bigger than a local assembly and so New Birth is excited because we’re bringing pastors and churches together who understand that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, with one mission and that is to restore that which was lost and what was lost was our dominion, our kingdom dominion. That is why this ministry is so important,” said Long. “For almost 20 years, New Birth has impacted around the world through our broadcast ministry. This prayer call has reunited and reignited the believers and those who have been touched for years through our broadcast ministry. Now, we’re tying countries together in strong prayer, praying for their people, praying for the government and praying for education.” Bishop Long says there was never a goal to reach a million connections. There was no goal number in mind, in fact. “This prayer ministry has become an effective form of evangelism because in its original conception, it was only intended for a week. It has been extended a couple years and it has grown from a couple of a hundred to well over 5,000 a morning and a million calls around the world with evidence of salvations, with evidence of miracles, with evidence of breakthrough,” said Long. “It’s become a great evangelistic tool to invite others that are unsaved, that don’t know the Lord, that they get an experience with the Lord and a super natural encounter with people daily from around the world. It’s been fantastic.” New Birth says one of the reasons for its success is the frequency of the call. A number of other prayer lines, such as the one at Nashville’s Mount Zion Full Gospel, are weekly prayer

calls. New Birth’s prayer call takes place daily. “Every day, thousands of people call in from all over the world,” said Elder Stokes. New Birth says the daily prayer line is a way to address the needs of people daily by uplifting, encouraging, and praying for their needs to be met. “We have to meet people where they are, physically, financially and emotionally,” said Long. “That approach is working as we take on callers with all sorts of issues. One

recent prayer call was for supernatural healing for a young man who just signed a full scholarship to play football at UGA and is scheduled to have surgery for an injury, to a woman who is fighting cancer at St. Jude Hospital.” New Birth hosts the prayer line every morning, Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. at 559-726-1050. The overflow line can be reached at 530-881-1050. If you would like to connect to the prayer line, via the web, your tablet device, or smart phone, visit events/742. You can also connect via the Internet or e-mail a prayer request or praise report to morningprayer@


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Hopewell Baptist Church celebrates ‘City of Hope’s’ 20th anniversary By Valerie J. Morgan From the hilltop, they marched to the archway, singing praises: “We’ve come this far by faith.” On this Sunday morning, God smiled, providing sunshine and crisp temperatures—perfect weather for Hopewell Baptist Church’s congregation to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of its ‘City of Hope.’ With Bishop William L. Sheals leading the way, the overjoyed members entered the Norcross, GA church’s campus, thanking God for all that He had done over the years. The processional was one that was held at both, the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services. “We were expecting God to bless us and He has,” said Bishop Sheals. “We invited everyone who has been a part of this ministry to come out and celebrate with us. This miracle belongs to all



who have been a part of the City of Hope. That is why we chose for the celebration theme, This Miracle is Mine.” Miracle indeed. Twenty years ago, the 32-acre site Hopewell now calls the City of Hope was a junkyard—a graveyard for clunkers. Today, the property at 182 Hunter Street in Gwinnett County is a campus that boasts a 2500-seat sanctuary, Christian academy for grades K4 through 12, child development center, youth center, senior citizen center, adult fitness center, and a mall area with a beauty and barber salon. In all, 11 buildings are on the church’s campus. Sheals said the April 21, 2013 celebration marked not only the 20th anniversary for building the City of Hope, but a financial milestone for the church: Hopewell’s eradication of $17 million in debt. Sheals said the church plans to pay off the

‘We’ve come this far by faith’

$650,782 it owes by the year’s end. Congregation members are sowing special offerings in order to meet the goal and many also are buying donor bricks for a 22-foot monument that will be dedicated in the church’s garden. Sheals says the memorial is just that. “We do not worship the memorial. We worship the God who made it possible,” Sheals said. Hopewell is about 147 years old, church members say. Freed slaves started Hopewell around 1865 shortly after the end of the Civil War. Not much is known about its early days because a fire destroyed the original church records in the 1920s. Over the decades, Hopewell struggled to survive as the surrounding neighborhoods became a haven for drugs and gambling.



Sheals came to Hopewell in April 1980, when the church had just under 200 members. Under Sheals’ leadership, Hopewell grew to more than 15,000, requiring two Sunday worship services. “The success we have experienced would not have been possible without God and the spirit-filled foundational members who have been faithful through it all,” Sheals said. “I thank God for the leadership who has worked tirelessly with me through the years to build The City of Hope.” Sheals said God has blessed him to dedicate over 2,000 babies, marry 1,000 couples, but most importantly to save over 15,000 souls. “I give all praise and honor for these things to God,” Sheals said.





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