By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
The St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church welcomed men and women to celebrate their annual Women’s Day service held on Sunday, September 19, 2021.
The celebration theme was, “Women of God: Stand Still and Wait,” that was inspired from biblical scripture Psalms 46:10. The women of the church wore various yellow and white accessories, which were the unified colors of the service. The church was able to combine COVID safety policies with Christian principles.
Sunday’s service began with praise and worship that was led by the Deaconess, followed by the procession of the choir and service dignitaries. The song selection during this portion of the service included ‘Sweet Jesus,’ and ‘Lord, I know you’ve been so good.’
Vontyna Smith led the call to worship and alter call; Deborah Gardner sang ‘The Lord’s Prayer;’ Ashley McKinley led the Women’s Day Litany; guest soloist Arnetta Buford sang an a cappella selection; Debbie Mitchell presented announcements and welcomed church visitors; Celina Winfield read a scripture reading; Deborah McDougal led the alter prayer; then Yvonne Gayle led offertory prayer.
The service continued with a candlelight vigil led by Opal Dunlap in memory of members Mother Flora Mack, Deaconess Dorothy Jones and Sister Mattie Rice and Sister Dorothy Taylor, the mother of First Lady Linnie Willis who attended Bible Study faithfully.
First Lady Willis facilitated the emotional memorial service by reading each woman’s name while the woman’s daughter placed a white rose and lit a candle in her honor. “It’s time to focus on these women who are no longer with us, but still here with us,” shared First Lady Willis.
The service continued with two selections by the Women’s Day Ensemble, poem presented by Aufwiedersehen Winfield, the introduction of the guest speaker by First Lady Linnie Willis, a selection by Honorable Paula Hicks-Hudson and words spoken by featured speaker Pastor Felica Clark.
Pastor Felica Clark is the co-founder of Harvest Christian Church in Toledo. She is a native of Toledo and earned a masters of business administration from the University of Toledo. She earned an associates in Interior Design from Wade’s College in Dallas, Texas. She met her husband, Pastor Timothy Clark in Dallas, Texas at Concord Baptist Church and together they formed Clark Ministries. Professionally, she serves as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Metroparks Toledo and resides in Sylvania with her husband and family.
Pastor Clark opened her sermon by challenging the men and women in the audience to physically wiggle their bodies, sit still, image and interact with others. “We have an assignment here today. Be still and stop wiggling. God has sent me here today to tell you to stop your wiggling away from him. Close your eyes and without motion, think about what the Lord has asked you to do this week. Think about if God didn’t come through for you. It’s hard to thank God or focus on God’s ability if we’re wiggling” shared Pastor Clark.
Immediately following the spoken word, the Women’s day chair J’Vann Winfield delivered closing remarks and Rev. James H. Willis, Sr, pastor of St. Paul, invited guests to seek discipleship, delivered remarks and benediction. Winfield publicly thanked the co-chairs and entire committee. “What a glorious day, this amazing day happened because of a great team of women,” shared Winfield.
“When you give a young person an assignment, great things happen. I want to thank our chair and co-chairs. God will always give you someone who will lead. When you give a young person a chance, the young people blessed this program. I want to thank each of you,” shared Rev. Willis during closing remarks.
The service was viewed live on Facebook under the church’s profile name, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. St. Paul is located on 1502 N. Detroit Street in Toledo, services are Sundays at 10:45am and Bible Study each Wednesday at noon and 6:00 p.m. Contact the church for virtual options.