FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MEDIA
CONTACT: Dr. Lester Green
Nov. 20, 2012
JOURNALIST GWEN IFILL AND LEADING LOCAL SOLOISTS FEATURED AT HANDEL’S MESSIAH AT METROPOLITAN A.M.E ON DECEMBER 2
WASHINGTON—Journalist Gwen Ifill and leading local soloists will be featured when Handel’s Messiah is presented at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street N.W. on Sunday, December 2 at 5 p.m.
Sopranos Michele Gutrick and Alia Waheed-Ky; baritone Vashawn Savoy McIlwain, tenors Keith Craig, Rev. Anthony Brown, Wayne Jennings and countertenor Curtis Adamson, along with the Metropolitan AME Cathedral Choir, will perform the beloved oratorio by George Frideric Handel. Ms. Ifill, one of the nation’s leading journalists and host of Washington Week on PBS, will serve as host.
“Over the past decades, Metropolitan has helped to usher in this highlight of the Christmas season and we look forward to persons from across the Greater Washington area sharing this spectacular joy with us,” said Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, senior pastor of Metropolitan, known as the National Cathedral of African Methodism.
The production will also feature local high school and college talent from Metropolitan Art Partners Program singing this quintessential musical crown of the holiday season. Dr. Lester S. Green, Jr., who has performed with the Washington National Opera and is Minister of Music at Metropolitan A.M.E., will conduct the performance.
The performance is free and free parking is available.
, Gwen Ifill
, Handel's Messiah
Rev. Dr. Ronald Eugene Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Scripture: Psalm 132: 1-12 (13-18)
A song of ascents.1 Lord, remember David and all his self-denial. 2 He swore an oath to the Lord, he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: 3 “I will not enter my house or go to my bed, 4 I will allow no sleep to my eyesor slumber to my eyelids, 5 till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”6 We heard it in Ephrathah,we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: 7 “Let us go to his dwelling place,let us worship at his footstool, saying, 8 ‘Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place,you and the ark of your might. 9 May your priests be clothed with your righteousness; may your faithful people sing for joy.’”10 For the sake of your servant David, do not reject your anointed one.11 The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne. 12 If your sons keep my covenantand the statutes I teach them,then their sons will siton your throne for ever and ever.”13 For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, 14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. 15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;her poor I will satisfy with food. 16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. 17 “Here I will make a horn grow for Davidand set up a lamp for my anointed one. 18 I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”
Soon after the Democratic convention, according to the polls, the now re-elected President Obama was doing extremely well. At the first debate I was in great anticipation that he was going to wipe his opponent out of the race. Much to my total dismay, the opponent came out and far exceeded my and others’ expectation. That night I went to bed wondering what happened. The next day Jonathan tried to convince me that this was some kind of political tactic. I have to admit that I – and most folk that I know – did not see it then, and still don’t see it.
After that debate, times got tight for the President. As the days and weeks rolled on, according to the polls, it really got tight and tough. According to the polls, the President’s lead started to decline, and the favor began to turn to the President’s opponent. By the time the next debate came around, the President found himself in a tough battle. This time it was “do or die.” He went into this debate fighting and slugging, and he came out victorious. By the time of the final debate, it really was a tough time; according to the polls, the country was evenly divided. In the final two weeks, as things became tighter and tougher for the President, it appears he tightened up and got tougher himself. History will show that when it got tight and tough, Barack Obama got tough. For just a few minutes pray with me from the theme, “When it Gets Tight and Tough, Get Tough.”
In the Old Testament, we are told that the Ark of the Covenant was located in Kiriath-jerim. The Ark was a holy shrine representing the presence and power of God. It had become the task of King David to relocate the Ark of the Covenant to its permanent resting place in the temple at Jerusalem. In his homiletical perspective of this text, Michael Pasquarello notes that this Psalm opens alerting the reader of the harsh and difficult times in the life of David. We are not told specifically what those harsh times were, but Pasquarello writes, “An important aspect of this narrative will be recalling times during the course of David’s life when he was required to endure hardships, and was even humbled and afflicted at the hands of his enemies, willingly subordinating his desire to the desire of the Lord to establish a resting place in Zion to be the home of a holy people.”
It is interesting to note, brothers and sisters, that David, the King of Israel was on a mission and journey for God. God chose David for this expressed purpose, and verse two of the 132nd Psalm tells us that David “Vowed, swore an oath to carry out the Lord’s desire.” I want to make a point here: David was God’s anointed ruler, chosen by God to carry out a specific task for God, in the name of God. In other words, David was God’s man. One text tells us “David was a man after God’s own heart.” The Psalm opens pleading on David’s behalf, beseeching God to remember the hardships David had to endure.
1. Even if you are God’s chosen, there will be some tough times.
Here is the first salient point that I want us to hold on to: (1) Although you might be God’s choice or chosen for a particular task in life, it does negate tight and tough times. You might come to church every Sunday; tune in on the streaming webcast every Wednesday and Sunday; you may give your tithe and offering just as you ought without fail, not grudging or of necessity, but simply because you love the Lord; you might be living at a level of perfection as laid out in the Methodist belief; you might be giving your all to the church and the Kingdom of Christ here on earth. You might be really measuring up. But none of the above will negate tight and tough times.
I don’t have to define or describe tight and tough times. I am preaching to somebody. Here is how the Message Bible puts verse one of Psalm 132, “O God, remember David, remember all his troubles!” When the tight and tough times come, get tough, and like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, cry out from the depths of your soul, “Lord, remember me…” Lord, remember my hardships; remember my pain; remember my suffering; remember me; it’s hard, it’s tight, and it’s tough – but remember me!”
2. Tough times call for a tough faith.
David helps us here again; the Message Bible says: “I’m not going home, and I’m not going to bed, I’m not going to sleep, not even taking time to rest, until I find a home for God…” In other words: I’m going to put my all and all in it. The salient point here is: (2) Tough times call for a tough faith. God chose David for the task, and David made a vow to God that he would not rest, would not stop or quit until the task was accomplished and God was pleased—whatever it took.
In tight and tough times, you gotta be faithful to God. A waning faith will not get you through tight and tough times. Tight and tough times demand and call for a tough faith that will not shrink though pressed by opposition, regardless to what the polls say, regardless of others think or say. A shrinking faith, a shaky faith will not get you through the doctor’s bad news. A shrinking faith will not get you through a financial crisis. A waning faith will not help you get your hand around that child who just can’t get it right.
The Bible is replete in its illustrations of the benefits enjoyed by those who possessed a tough faith in tight and tough times—Daniel in the lion’s den; the boy David standing before the giant Goliath; the man David facing a lion with the jaw bone of an ass; the three Hebrew boys in a furnace of fire; Deborah, Esther, and the young girl Mary when the angel told her that she would bear a son who would be Christ the King; John the Baptist; Paul and Silas in the jail house. In tight and tough times, you’ve got to have a tough faith—a faith that will not look at the polls but will keep its eye on God. I got news for you: there are all kinds of polls going around saying you will not make it you will not get through you will not pass this valley, but if you keep you eyes on God you will make it!
3. We are stronger than we know.
Finally, in tight and tough times, God will give you the tough stuff and the strength you need to rise to any occasion. In verse 11, the Message Bible says, “God gave David his word; He won’t back out on this promise.” I had to go back to make sure it was God who gave David His word; I had to go back and read the words that it was God who said He will not back out on His promise to David.
I have to believe that, through it all, through everything David had to go through all of his life—and David’s life was no bed of roses—the only thing that David had to stand on in the end was the word and the promise of God. Even when he could not see it, even when he could not make sense of it, even when he failed, one thing he trusted was that God had promised, and that he could take that to the bank. David understood that God would stand up in him every time stuff went down.
Brothers and sister, here is the summation of the third message from David: (3) There is more in you than you know. You can take more than you think you can take. You can get through some stuff that others would think impossible.
Last week, I was watching Good Morning America, as I usually do every morning. My favorite newscaster – other than Aisha Karimah, and J. J. Green, and Gwen Ifill of course – Robin Roberts – was interviewed. She got beyond one bout of cancer and it turns out that the treatment gave her another form of cancer. In recovery mode, her faith kicked in when she reported the other day, “We are stronger than we know.”
Later last week, someone else exclaimed that, in tough times you don’t have to go looking for strength, strength will find you. In essence, when you are grounded and rooted in the promise of God, you will discover that there is more in you than you know—more strength, more power, more wisdom, and more, and more, and more of everything you need to get you through your tight times. Take somebody by the hand and tell them: There’s more in you than you know! More power, more strength, more wisdom! If the Lord is for you, who else can stand against you!
You know what I don’t like? I think that somewhere along the way, the Christian Church sold Jesus short. Today we are equally guilty. We get all caught up in the meek, the lowly, the sweet Jesus. But I got news for you: in tight and tough times, a strong Jesus stood up and declared – Hallelujah! Good God and glory! He’s the king of kings, the Lord of Lords, an everlasting God! I come to tell you this morning, that the same God that was in Jesus is in me!
Don’t fool with me, because in tight and tough times, there is a God in me that will rise up! Tell somebody: Don’t fool with me! Because there is a God living in me, a god in you, who will rise up! Get tough! When you fall down, He’ll pick you up, wipe the tears from your eyes. Get tough, roll up your sleeves and get tough!
There is more in you than you know, and in tight and tough times, it shows up. But most of you don’t know tough times. You live in a house your ancestors would call a mansion. You don’t know tough times! I could take you to places that would show you what homelessness really is!
You know stuff can get you down, and then the least little thing can take you lower. But it’s only holding on to what God has promised you that gives you that toughness on the inside that gets you through. How many of you have been through something you didn’t think you could get through, and you made it? Throw up you hands and say: “Bless God – I made it!
“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, Bless his holy name…He has done great things!”
Tags: Rev. Ronald E. Braxton
Stop the Pipeline to Prison: Create Educational Opportunities, Jobs and Wealth – A Community Forum
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 4:00-6:00 PM
Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street NW, Washington DC
Moderator: Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Harvard University School of Law
Rep. Bobby Scott (VA) – a member of US House of Representatives who serves on the Education and Labor and
the Judiciary Committees. He received his B.A. degree from Harvard U. and his J.D. from Boston College.
King Downing – Mr. Downing is an attorney and founder of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center, which researches and advocates on race, policing and mass incarceration. King received his B.A. from Harvard U.y and is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law.
Glenn Martin – formerly incarcerated himself, Mr. Martin is VP of Development &Public Affairs and Director of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy at The Fortune Society, a social service and advocacy org devoted to the successful reentry and reintegration of individuals with criminal histories. Martin hosts a cable television show, Both Sides of the Bars, where he engages criminal justice stakeholders and the local community in conversations about criminal justice reform.
Nigel Parkinson – President & CEO of Parkinson Construction Company (PCC) and Managing Partner of Morgan Development. As part of its commitment to the community, PCC actively engages with groups of ex-offenders to offer encouragement and, more important, jobs that can lead to a better life. He is a graduate of FAMU, Florida State and Harvard Business School’s OPM program.
Francine Sherman – Visiting Clinical Professor at Boston College Law School where she teaches Juvenile Justice and where she founded and directs the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project. She speaks and writes widely about the juvenile justice system and, in particular, about girls in the justice system. Her most recent book, entitled Juvenile Justice: Advancing Research, Policy and Practice (Wiley & Sons), was published in September 2011.
The forum is co-sponsored through the Daniel Alexander Payne Community Development Corporation (CDC) a 501©3 organization, by the Bethel Literary Historical Society, the Commission on Public Relations of Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The event will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street, NW, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. A reception will follow.
For more information, please contact Co-chairs, Dr. Ruby M. Gourdine (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Mr. Gregory Johnson email@example.com), or any member of the Commission on Public Relations. Let’s come together and dialogue on this issue which is a tragic waste of human lives.
Tags: Social Action
, social justice
The International Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) is partnering with Church World Services to purchase key supplies for survivors of Hurricane Sandy.
Specifically, they need cleanup supply buckets ($56), hygiene kits ($10) and blankets ($5). International President Dr. Shirley Cason-Reed asks all who respond to this urgent call to only send monetary donations. The WMS will write one check to Church World Services to purchase the designated items.
The WMS service does not end there. President Reed will journey with area WMS to the Church World Services Center at 601 Main Street in New Windsor, Maryland to help package the items for delivery. If you want to assist and desire more information, please call the WMS International Headquarters at 202-371-8886.
“Our sisters and brothers need those of us who are willing and able to step up and assist in this trying time,” says President Reed. “I am calling on all local societies to ask their Pastors to designate a Helping Hurricane Sandy Survivors Sunday. No amount is too small because we know God will multiply all gifts to meet the needs of the recipients.”
Please make checks payable to the Women’s Missionary Society and send them to the International Office by November 19, 2012. The address is 1134 11th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. Please write Hurricane Sandy in the memo.
By Jacqueline Mitchell Robinson