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Forest

By James Washington
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

There are several universal principles in life that nobody can refute. The opposite of hot is cold. If you know good, you have to acknowledge evil. For every up, there is a down. As a matter of fact, the reality of opposites lets us know there should be expectancy in life that forces us to act a certain way. This affirmative action, of which I speak, allows you to understand and act accordingly, when you know you’re dealing with the truth as opposed to a lie. My example would be a child’s knowledge of Santa Claus. As the truth becomes known, instantly the child acts with the knowledge that he knows that he knows that he knows. The perspective I am trying to get you to see and react to here is the truth of lost and found.

I submit to you that the subject of this scenario is us, you and me. Are you lost? Are you found? And who determines which answer is correct? Biblically speaking, we lost it all in Eden and had it restored via the cross. In this instance, the it is us. Can you be found without first being lost? In my case, I know what lost is because once I found Christ, I found me. This may sound somewhat trite to you but finding myself in relationship with God was and is an eye opening experience, the likes of which I would wish on every one of you. You see, being lost in this world is being vulnerable to it. The world will see to it that you lose yourself to its entanglements, its temptations, its so called pleasures, known as whatever your weaknesses are i.e., greed, ambition, pride, sex, drugs and power. Pick your poison. But know that being lost allows your poison to pick you.

Now when you make an honest effort to find yourself spiritually, like the addict who must first admit his or her addiction, the effort is defined by an acknowledgment that you are indeed lost and in need of divine guidance to ultimately get this thing called life in order. In the Parable of the Lost Son that acknowledgement sounds like this. “…Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of you hired men.” Luke 15: 18-19. His truth he could not deny. He was lost. He had to become lost. He went looking for lost and found it. It enabled him to “find” himself and find his way home. And you know what he found? A waiting father, who had to explain it to his other son who never left, “But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32.

All I’m trying to say is when you finally get it, there’s only one place to go; home. And in this case home is where God is. The way was prepared by Christ who, like a homing beacon, shows us all how to find ourselves and thus be found. If you’ve ever been truly lost, you know the exhilaration you feel when you finally figure it out and get going in the right direction. My point is simple. As the kids say, you better recognize! Being lost is not the issue. Having enough sense to know it and do something about it is. I promise you the moment you begin to look for the Lord He will find you. It’s not like God lost you. It kind of gives new meaning to Lost & Found.

May God bless and keep you always.

Bay Area

THE DISTINGUISHED JARENA LEE AWARD PRESENTED TO OAKLAND SENIOR PASTOR

Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 476 34th Street Oakland, California is excited to announce that Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins, senior pastor was awarded the auspicious Jarena Lee Award.

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Historic rendition of Jarena Lee, the first female preacher in the A.M.E. church

  Dr. Rosalyn Brookins. Courtesy of Parks Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 476 34th Street Oakland, California is excited to announce that Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins, senior pastor was awarded the auspicious Jarena Lee Award.

Jarena Lee (February 11, 1783 – February 3, 1864) was the first female authorized to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. History shows she was born into a free, Black family. Lee saw the immorality of slavery.  At a time period of segregation and inequity, A.M.E. Church founder Richard Allen gave her the opportunity for her voice to be heard despite the fact that there were no provisions for a female to preach. Rev. Lee showed determination to let her voice be heard and to share the holy word, despite racial and gender issues.  Further, Lee was the first African American woman to have an autobiography published in the United States.

During the 5th Episcopal District A.M.E. Founder’s Day Service, the Award was presented to Brookins by Rev. Carieta Grizzell, president of Women in Ministry and pastor of Murph-Emmanuel Church in Sacramento, Ca.  This esteemed award is the highest commendation that a female minister can receive in the A.M.E. Church.

There are many parallels between  Lee and  Brookins.  They both blazed a path forward through adverse circumstances and applied the lessons they learned to their spirituality.  Their similar experiences as female ministers reinforce their relationship with God.  They maintained a steadfast hope in and a strong love for his divine majesty.  

Brookins is the only Episcopal supervisor of the Women’s Mission Society for the A.M.E. Church to be given a pastoral appointment as senior pastor.

Brookins earned her doctoral degree from Payne Theological Seminary in 2018, making her the first inaugurated female to be conferred with the noted degree.  She was the commencement speaker during the graduation.  Her dissertation was entitled “The Rebirth of the Woman’s Prophetic Voice: Using Liberation Theology to Impact the Local Congregation.” 

In 2018, Brookins presented a pilot program in South Africa and subsequently launched the Global School of the Prophets.  While there are many prophetic schools, this is the only type of school that ministers to both clergy and lay women. Brookins exudes great enthusiasm and passion about teaching and she graciously shares her expertise regarding prophecy.  Her courses provide an overview and structure that encourage individuals to develop, explore and expand their prophetic knowledge and understanding.   

The highly organized and comprehensive curriculum includes coverage of the Introduction and  Origin of the Prophetic; Prophetic Call;  Prophetic Ministry;  Prophetic Terminology; Nine Prophetic Traits, and Prophetic Training and the Church.   Students currently participating in the second cohort of the Global School are from the United States, India, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Belize and Trinidad. 

Just as Lee showed a drive and commitment to serve,  Brookins has the same qualities.  She is an honorable, steadfast pastor who is obedient to all that God has called her to do.  She is a strong leader, and a visionary who genuinely loves preaching the word of God.  Rev. Brookins’ unconditional love and genuine personality has touched the hearts of many.  Her prophetic ministry, powerful sermons and prayers consistently instill hope and inspiration. 

Lee traveled extensively preaching the word of God.  Rev. Brookins has preached the gospel in multiple pulpits across the country, including Canada, Zambia, India and South Africa. 

Regarding his mother’s receipt of this prestigious award, Sir Wellington Hartford Brookins said “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of my mother.  She is an example of perseverance and daring determination.  She inspires me to move forward every single day and that’s why this award means so much to her and to me.”

Brookins said she is “humbled that the men and women of God felt I deserved such an award. I am moved that God saw it fitting for me to receive such an honorable award.”

The Jerena Lee Award is an amazing recognition of the contributions of Rev. Brookins to the theological foundations of the church as a whole.

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Bay Area

Phyllis Scott is First Woman Elected President of Pastors of Oakland

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Pastor Phyllis Scott leads Tree of Life Ministries in Oakland

Pastor Phyllis Scott, founder and senior pastor of Tree of Life Empowerment Ministries church, has been elected to become the first woman pastor to hold the position of president of the Pastors of Oakland Association.

Pastor Scott brings 17 years of pastoral leadership experience in the city of Oakland. 

She said, “given the times that we live in now where we are being challenged daily by the COVID19 pandemic, racism, poverty, homelessness, closed schools, closed houses of worship and racially motivated violence, we need a vision for the Pastors of Oakland that unites us in bringing about the Shalom of the city through our interfaith solidarity and community awareness.”  

Scott told the Post that the association is a body of Pastors that reflect the city’s diverse cultures.  “We are an association made up of men, women, Black, Brown and Asian brothers and sisters, all with one thing in common. We know that Jesus Christ is LORD.”

For more information on the Pastors of Oakland, please call 510688-7437 

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Activism

Faith-Based Groups Support Councilmembers Bas, Fife in Call to Support Asian Residents

“I am very appreciative of the community efforts and leadership of Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato-Bas, Councilmember Carrol Fife and the Black Housing Union promoting unity, solidarity and peace in the streets of Oakland,” said Chambers who is pastor of West Side Missionary Baptist Church

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More than 50 cars paraded last week in a caravan of support for Asian residents who have been recently targeted for violence. Left to right, Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas is shown with Michelle Myles Chambers, Rev. Ken Chambers, and District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife who called for community support

Last Saturday, members of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) joined with Oakland City Councilmember Carroll Fife, who organized a broad-based community demonstration of support for the Asian residents that have recently suffered violent attacks since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the country.

Besides the name-calling and other overt and subtle racism that have arisen with the encouragement of former Pres. Donald Trump, at least 20 attacks and robberies have occurred in Oakland’s Chinatown since the New Year, mostly targeting women and elders.

To support Oakland’s Asian businesses and residents, Fife and ICAC organized a caravan demonstration of support of about 50 vehicles. They started in DeFremery Park and wended their way up 14th street and over Webster street to the heart of Chinatown at Ninth street where they were greeted informally by about 25 business owners who showered the demonstrators with tea and snacks.

District 2 representative and City Council President spoke from the back of a pick-up truck where she was briefly joined by Fife.

The caravan then continued, passing Laney College and then up International boulevard to China Hill by San Antonio Park, traveling through a section of Oakland’s Little Saigon.

Although this is the only event of its kind planned at this time, ICAC President Rev. Ken Chambers said he hoped that a more formal meeting between the Asian and Black communities can be arranged in the future.

“I am very appreciative of the community efforts and leadership of Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato-Bas, Councilmember Carroll Fife and the Black Housing Union promoting unity, solidarity and peace in the streets of Oakland,” said Chambers who is pastor of West Side Missionary Baptist Church.

“I am saddened by the tragic events that happened in Oakland Chinatown, yet very happy for the leadership of Councilmember Carroll Fife in organizing last Saturday’s caravan of solitary throughout the Oakland communities,” said Rev. Thomas Harris, pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and a founding member of ICAC.

Michelle Chambers, director of the FAITHS Program of the San Francisco Foundation, said she would send an announcement of the demonstration of support for Oakland Asian residents to other faith-based institutions in the five Bay Area counties that are members of the FAITHS program to encourage expanded support for the Asian population in the Bay Area.

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