By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
Virtually the entire city gathered to celebrate the retirement the honor a lifetime of service of Rev. Otis Gordon, Jr., DMin, on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
The celebration began with a musical prelude by Calvin Hughes, the former Warren AME Church minister of music, and introduction of the program mister and mistress of ceremonies by Elder Shaun Strong of New Life Church of God in Christ. The mister and mistress of ceremonies was Rev. Jermaine Covington, DMin. the pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church, and Rev. LaCreta Clark, the presiding elder of the AME Church.
“We’re here to honor a very special man,” shared Delia McClleland during the presentation of the welcome.
The celebration continued with the introduction and entrance of Lillie Gordon who was escorted by her grandson Taivoughn Coley and Rev. Gordon, Jr., DMin, who was escorted by his granddaughter Alexandria Gordon. The official welcome was spoken by Delia McClelland of St. Stephens AME Church, The Lord’s Prayer by Tommy Sanders of St. Paul AME, the scripture reading by Rev. Jeannette Hubbard, the pastor of St. Andrews AME Church, the occasion by Margaret Huntley of Warren AME Church, the blessing of the meal by Nevaeh Harris and dinner announcement by Bradley Brown.
“I am excited about what God has in store for me. After 53 years in ministry, I never imagined that this moment would come. Believe it or not, 53 years went by so quickly. I’m here, but this is not the end. God will lead me and will sustain me. I’m not sure what God has next for me. I’m still a preacher and I still have my Bible, so if you still have my number, don’t lose it,” shared Rev. Gordon.
Tributes from in-person and pre-recorded videos were presented during various times throughout the celebrating, including: Musically Yours featuring Deborah Gardner, Rev. Mark Tyler the pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church, tribute honoring the memory of Debra Gordon; ‘Rev. Dr. Otis Gordon aka Our Brother,’ by Gwendolyn Montgomery and Renee Robinson; ‘Pastor Gordon aka our Dad,’ by Otis Gordon III and Christopher Gordon; ‘Otis, My Husband’ presented by Lillie Gordon; ‘Ordination 1969’ presented by Rev. Charles Lucas, Jr a retired Itinerant Elder AME Church; ‘A Young Pastor;’ and presented by Dorothy Locke a former member; ‘A Mentor and Advisor,’ presented by Rev. Henry McNeil.
‘More Than a Pastor,’ tribute presented by John Covington a former member, Rev. Wesley Reid the former presiding Elder of AME Church and Rev. Elmer Martin, PhD; ‘Ministry Beyond The Walls’ tribute presented by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, City of Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County Recorder Michael Ashford, Ohio State Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson and City of Toledo Councilwoman Cerssandra McPhearson; ‘Use Me Lord in Thy Service,’ tributes presented by Garland Pierce, DMin, and Rev. Karen Schaffer, DMin, of AME Church Christian Education Department, Rev. Cedric Brock the pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church and president of Ministerial Alliance of Toledo, Rev. James Willis the pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church and Slyvester Gould of Gould Development Co. LLC.
Retirement Celebration Committee: Margaret Huntley, chair; Teena Baker and Rosie Payne, co-chairs, and Ametta Reaves, event planner. Program Committee: Vanessa Owens, Rev. Roye Durden, Rev. Diane Travis, Jacquelyn Turner, Rev. Darlene Williams; Time and Place Committee: Rosie Payne, Fannie Harris and Joyce Miller; Decorations: Debra Jelks, Earline Lipkins, Darrell Jackson, Brenda Johnson, James Snodgrass, LaVon Williams and Wayne Williamson; Budget and Finance: Judi Copeland, Marjorie Hobbs, Kaye Isby and James Porterfield; Tickets and Registration: Teena Baker, Melvin Baker, Myrna Banks, Katrina Cogdell, Carol Hood, Darlene Trout and Pamela Woods; Souvenir Journal: Michael Johnson, Judith Copeland and Ernest Faulkner; Community and AME Church Engagement: Theresa Powell, Jacalyn Brown, Betty Culpepper, Delia McClelland and Tiffany Whitlow; Public Relations: Rev. Rose Russell, Camille Johnson, Jackie Martin, Delia McCllelland and Tiffany Whitlow; Community Church Engagement: Michelle Furr, Shirley Jackson, Camille Johnson, Rev. Diane Travis, Rev. Darlene Williams, Augusta Wilson, Rev. Darlene Williams; Security Team: Robert Parker, Winston Cooperwood, Charles Moore and James Trout; Tech Team Media: Doug Allen, Lazelle Durden, Michelle Furr, and Rodney Whitlow; Hospitality: Theo Hampton, Frank Aldridge, Kaye Aldridge, Judith Coperland, Challice Cooperwood, James Foster, Andrea Jackson, Joni Jackson, Nate Jackson, Sylvia Johnson, TR Johnson, Jamee Temple, and LaVon Williams.
Rev. Gordon will deliver his final sermon on October 1, 2023. During his 53-years pastoral career, Rev. Gordon has served as pastor in churches in several Ohio cities including: Massillon, Kent, Cleveland, Warren and Toledo.