With all the pomp and ceremony of a regal coronation, Pastor Brian J. Edmonds was installed Aug. 26 as the new pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church at 2205 Bedford Ave. in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Edmonds replaces Rev. Jason A. Barr Jr. who, after serving as senior pastor for 24 years, resigned for health reasons earlier this year.
The celebration was incorporated into the entire day with guest preachers at all three services. They included, Pastor James A. White, senior pastor of Christ Our King Community Church, Raleigh, N.C., preaching at the 8 a.m. service.
|REV. JASON A. BARR JR., left, and FIRST LADY DIONNE and REV. BRIAN J. EDMONDS
The 10 a.m. preacher was William C. Turner Jr., PhD, former assistant provost and dean of Black affairs and assistant professor of theology and Black church studies at Duke University; and preaching for the noon service was former ‘son’ of Macedonia, Rev. Dr. Bruce A. Beard who spoke about “Issues.” He encouraged the audience to realize that having issues is not always a negative thing. But that issues which flow from God are to go out to others through us as Christians.
The 4 p.m. installation service itself was a spiritual journey for all in attendance. Reverend Mark Tookes, executive pastor at Macedonia, served as the worship leader for the afternoon. The celebration service consisted of a time of praise and worship, scripture, prayer and a candle light ceremony held in memory of ancestors who have gone on before. The guest preacher was Rev. Fredrick A. Davis, pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church in Durham, N.C. Reverend Davis is also a personal mentor to Rev. Edmonds and also licensed both Edmonds and his wife, Dionne Edmonds, to be ministers. Edmonds’ church family from Central Baptist Church in Baltimore, who was present in large numbers, were acknowledged by Rev. Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds, the brother of Pastor Edmonds, from First Baptist Church in Indianapolis.
Introduced by Rev. Darryl Canady of Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church in East Liberty, Rev. Davis’s message centered around the importance of “Accomplishing Gods Work.” He shared with the new pastor the importance of preaching the uncompromised Word of God; and to keep in mind that with everything he does at Macedonia, at the end of the day, none of it is about him, nor his wife, nor the congregation, but about uplifting the Word of God.
Returning to Macedonia to minister in song for the first time since he left four years ago, Minister Jason Washington, worship pastor at Petra International Ministries, provided a powerful musical praise moment which ushered the program into the next piece which was the installation “Charges.”
Reverend Barbara Gunn, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in North Versailles, presented the “Charge to the Church.” She reminded the membership that the man who had once been an “associate” minister, serving under the same man of God they had all been serving under, was no longer a peer, but was their pastor and as such deserved to be respected as the “leader” carrying on God’s work. She told the church that their task was to embrace the vision of their new pastor as God would reveal to him for the direction he would take the church. Following her charge, Rev. Bruce Beard, who was the noon speaker, gave charge to the pastor. He let the new pastor know that he did not “call himself” to this work, that a shepherd’s job is to lead his flock to greener pastures and thusly, it would be his job as pastor to be on the lookout for the green places so his flock can continue to be fed. He also instructed him to the three greatest challenges in the execution of his calling: “1. To love God with all is heart, mind and soul 2.; to be sure and not ever forsake the will of God to please people; 3. And most assuredly never ever let the church become his ‘mistress’.”
Beard went on to state that we could be assured that it is not God’s intention for a good preacher to lose his home because he has misplaced his sense of duty.
The charge to Pastor Brian’s wife, Min. Dionne Edmonds, came from Lady Judy Davis, the wife of Pastor Davis. She told Minister Dionne, “I can see plainly that you already know this; but you are to be your husband’s main prayer warrior; also know that you may not have to attend every official meeting at the Church—God may want you to stay home in prayer and it is also clear to me that this is unnecessary to say, but whatever you do—stay full of the Holy Spirit.” Lady Davis then prayed a fervent prayer of strength over her.
The final pieces to the installation service, laying on of hands by all the ministers and the prayer of installation powerfully rendered by Turner, sealed the spiritual essence of the day and wrapped the new couple in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Presentations and words of congratulation from the elders at Macedonia as well as visitors from Baltimore preceded the final remarks from Pastor Edmonds and his wife. The newly installed couple gave all praise to God and affirmed their undying love and commitment to each other as they committed to be in lock step with each other and God for the journey ahead.