The Rev. James B. Johnson hosted the worship service, as Pastor of the New Light Baptist Church in Monroe. A beautiful church, congregation, and inspirational choir. A blessing for us all!
The sermon title was "What's in a name?". The Rev. Joe Hill of the Presbytery of the Pines was our Preacher for the evening. He is known for his sense of humor, so perhaps we should not have been surprised when he started off his sermon by reading from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette. His point was to compare the Capulets and Montagues with our many denominational names and methods of worship in the Christian Churches. In the end, the only real name that matters is JESUS.
The Mayor of Monroe, Mr. Jamie Mayo is a member of this church as well and joined us in the service. He addressed us for a moment from a side podium and added to our welcome there. He cautioned that the City of Monroe does require money for speeding tickets. He then said, however if you should get such a ticket... (and we waited for his proposed solution) ... he will get the clergy to pray for you. The laughter carried on as a part of the overall feeling of the service.
As we were attending an African American Church full of the Spirit, the worship and songs were joyful and moving. Rev. Hill even started clapping along. Later in his sermon, he admitted that 'they do things differently in his church', and he didn't mind being called the 'Frozen Chosen'. But he joined in the worship service just the same - and after all, that's what it's all about - unity.