Men of St. Paul Encourage Other Men to Stand Firm in Faith

Deacon Joseph Diggins, co-chair_ Rev. James Willis_ Vontyna Smith, speaker’s wife_ Rev. Allen T. Smith, speaker_ Deacon Bibby McDole, co-chair

By Fletcher Word
The Truth Editor

Men of the historic St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church organized their annual Men’s Day celebration during the March 9-10, 2024 weekend. The two-day celebration kicked off with a Saturday morning breakfast and concluded with a spirit-filled Sunday morning worship service.

The St. Paul congregation has a tradition of making a weekend of their Men’s Days (as with the annual Women’s Day) but this was the first time since 2019  (before the COVID19 pandemic) that the church returned to that tradition.

Biblical scripture 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 served as the 2024 weekend’s inspiration for the celebration: “Men of God standing firm in Faith,” and Rev. Allen T. Smith of New Community Bible Fellowship in Cleveland Heights was Sunday’s guest speaker.

Smith, a native of Toledo, and his wife, Vontyna Smith, PhD, moved to the Cleveland area in 2008 and he serves as the CEO for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio. While still in Toledo, Rev. Smith was ordained by St. Paul MBC pastor, Rev. James Willis, and served St. Paul as a Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent and associate minister.

Pastor James and First Lady Linnie Willis

Church members and guests were surrounded by various black and white decorative items, and every man of the church wore the same symbolic black and white tie during the service.

“The tie represents spiritual uniformity and is something we plan every year. This year, black and white was decided because of the theme. Take a moment to look at the storm, when the storm is ragging there are clouds that surround you. When we depend on God, you can’t let darkness of the storm stop us. Even though darkness it is because of God’s light, we can battle the storm,” explained Rev. James Willis Sr, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

Sunday’s service opened with a musical selection by the St. Paul Men’s Day Choir and a Call to Worship by Deacon Joseph Diggins.

Following the Lord’s Prayer, led by Deacon Charles Matthews, the welcome from Brother Tyrone Farrow and the responsive reading led by Deacon Darryl Reed, the congregation joined in a hymn – “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.”

Announcements and the recognition of guests were offered by Brother Edward Gordon and after a scripture reading by Deacon Michael Evans, the speaker, Ref. Smith, was introduced by Deacon Diggins.

Various congregations and St. Paul ministries submitted words of gratitude for the Men’s Day Weekend Celebration including: Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church and pastor Rev. W.L. Perryman, DMin; Third Baptist Church and pastor Rev. Odell Brown, Jr; Mount Ararat Missionary Baptist Church and pastor Rev. John Walthall III; Mt. Nebo Baptist Church and pastor Rev. Cedric Brock; The Glass City Church of Christ and pastor Rev. Robert Birt; Calvary Baptist and Pastor Floyd Smith, Jr; and a host of church ministries and local businesses and elected officials.