By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church’s held the Sunday portion of its annual women’s day service in traditional praise and worship style on September 18, 2022. Purple and white filled the sanctuary as the celebration theme and the 2022 theme, “Celebrating Women Reflecting the Love and Light of Christ,” was inspired by Bible scripture Genesis 1:27.
“It is with humility and honor that I serve as chairperson for this glorious celebration. To our First Lady Willis, Sister Fisher, all of St. Paul’s women, and our honored guests, I thank you for your prayers and cooperation. As we reflect on our theme, we thank God, our creator for the gift of womanhood. We thank God for women everywhere, all races, color, and creed. We thank the almighty God, for he has blessed women immensely with many gifts and talents. We praise Him for the leadership of great women from the past, present and generations to come,” said Sister Yvonne Gayle, Women’s Day chair.
The celebration opened with a brief moment of silence, praise and worship led by Sister Deborah Gardner and the church Deaconess, procession of the women’s day choir, call to worship and innovation by Sister Vontyna Smith, Lord’s Prayer led by Sister Deborah Gardner, welcome response by Sister Mary Reed, reciting the Women’s Day Litany by Sister Kaitlyn Diggins, solo worship selection by Sister Valencia Nurruddin of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church, and recognition of visitors and reading of community announcements by Sister Debbie Dean.
“Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am extremely humbled and honored to serve as the Women’s Day co-chairperson alongside an awesome chairperson Sister Gayle, and program chairperson First Lady Linnie Willis. I thank Pastor Willis for his leadership and continued support of the women from St. Paul. I greatly appreciate my amazing sisters in Chris of St. Paul who are willingness to give their time and God-given talents year after year,” shared Sister Daisy Fisher, women’s day co-chair.
The celebration continued with a scripture reading by Sister Loretta Quinn, altar call by Sister Vontyna Smith, altar and offertory prayer led by Sister Dorothy McDougal, a women’s day choir selection, and then introduction of the speaker by Sister Betty Simmons of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio.
Sister Valerie Simmons-Walston of Transformation Church in Toledo was the featured speaker. She’s earned the Black Girls Rock recognition awarded by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, inducted into the Blue Key Honors Society, and also recognized as one of the 10 women featured in the Moxie Magazine.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Kent State University, Masters Degree from Hampton University and currently working towards her Doctorate in higher education at Franklin University in Columbus. She was previously the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Vice President at The University of Toledo, but was promoted to the role of Special Advisor to the President on all matters related to Community Engagement.
“All of the beautiful singing this morning has blessed my soul. Good morning in the spirit of our Lord. Let me give you words of comfort,” shared Sister Simmons-Walston during her opening remarks.
The service concluded with Sister Gayle delivering remarks and Rev. James Willis Sr, pastor of St. Paul MBC gave the invitation to discipleship, closing remarks, and benediction.
“Greetings to all of you. This is the day that the Lord has made and we should be glad and rejoice in it. I am with great joy announcing that this will be my 20th year serving as pastor here at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, as well as sharing in the annual women’s day celebration. We are honored to have this speaker from our community and from the University of Toledo. She has been a great part of the planning process from the beginning of this annual day,” shared Rev. Willis, Sr, DMin, pastor of St. Paul MBC.
Women’s Day committee: Sister Yvonne Gayle, chairperson, Sister Daisy Fisher, co-chairperson; program committee: First Lady Linnie Willis, Sister Beverly Beasley, Sister Katie Davis, Sister Deborah Gardner, Sister Mary Liggins, Sister Dorothy McDougal, Sister Pamela Clark, and Sister Sharonda Diggins; publicity committee: Sister J’Vann Winfield and Sister Aufwiedersehen Winfield; finance committee: Sister Celina Winfield, Sister Loretta Quinn, Sister Amanda Woods and Sister Elizabeth Flournoy; ushers committee: Sister Shirley Carter, devotion committee: the Deaconess; decorations committee: Sister Beverly Beasley and Sister Barbara Ifeduba; music committee: Bro. Mike Odum on keyboards, Bro. Jan Scotland the percussionist, Bro. John Richardson guitarist and Bro. Richard Ellis on drums; and women’s day book committee: Sister Veronica Faulkner.