I have been a member of a Christian church since 1931.
Over the years I have met and listened to an untold number of ministers of every race, gender and denomination. There have been ministers delivering memorable messages at blessing a home, baptism, weddings, banquets and homegoing services, etc. I was in attendance at the homegoing service for Connie Parker, president of Pittsburgh’s NAACP a few weeks ago. The service was held at Petra Ministries, where the message was delivered by Bishop Donald Clay, the minister.
In my attendance of homegoing services, I have heard many moving messages, but the message delivered by Bishop Donald Clay, “STOP THE FUNERAL,” stands out as number one. Bishop Clay opened by focusing on Connie and her love for her people and reminded those in attendance that Connie was not at the service; she was at rest with the other prophets.
After eulogizing Connie and addressing some of the works, concerns and commitments that Connie was faced with the Bishop then stated, “Let’s stop the funeral.” The focus was on those of us who had stumbled during the course of our lives, and an invitation was presented to stand up and come down front, and over 50 percent of those in attendance went down front.
Bishop Clay challenged all of us in attendance to pick up where Connie left off. We were reminded of what we must do, what we don’t do, that negatives fail to become positives without actions, our churches must be reborn, our families must be revitalized, a rebirth is needed at the NAACP…these messages that were truly delivered were long overdue in the church. Some ministers will contend they deliver that message, then continue.
As we exited the church, the response to Bishop Donald Clay’s message was an overwhelming Amen, clapping and singing, “He is a fabulous teacher and preacher.”
It is my fervent hope that we not only heard the Bishop, Donald Clay, but will begin to act out and live out the message and not just reflect on how well the message was delivered.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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