Read an excerpt from the upcoming Christian Romance Novel by Roxann Latimer
Sunday morning and church was packed to the rafters. And it wasnt even Easter Sunday or Mothers Day. Wasnt Christmas or New Years either. No the reason every seat was full on this particular Sunday was because the new Pastor was being installed. New Faith Baptist Church with its over two thousand seat capacity was definitely packed alright.
Chauncy sat in the front row and smiled at the recollection of her first meeting with the good Reverend Damien James Woodson. The women in the church office had all but drooled talking about the young good looking single minister that was taking over New Faith. He had walked into the church office accompanied by several of the Associate Pastors and when introduced to Chauncy had smiled and said polite words in greeting. And hed been late. She had come to church specifically to meet him and hadnt anticipated waiting. She only had time to smile in response to his greeting and offer an apology for rushing off to a meeting. Yes, he was a fine brotha all right. Tall and athletically built with the most sensitive and considerate manner. Polished and well educated, seemingly spiritually and politically correct, he wouldnt have a problem winning over his congregational members.
Chauncys father had pastored the church for thirty seven years. When he passed on a couple of months ago, Assistant Pastor Derricks had recommended Reverend Woodson. Derricks at 65, was due to retire in a few months and had no desire to even try to fill her fathers shoes. "The church needs new blood baby girl. Somebody to come in here and wake up these tired souls. Your daddy did a fine job of building his church up, but its a new day and we need a new way.." And Chauncy couldnt have agreed more. While she loved her father, New Faith was a traditional church with old fashioned ways and means. The Youth Ministry needed an infusion of more youth and more programs suited to their needs. The whole church needed to wake up to the new millennium. It was an old argument shed often fought with her father. These thoughts made Chauncy feel she was betraying her fathers memory. But God knew she loved and missed her father. Hed been her rock, her foundation, her mentor and hero. And after her checkered past, hed always kept his door open for her. Chauncy missed her father and was grateful to God for the relationship theyd shared. Yes her father was a good man, a God loving man and while he was gone, Chauncy still felt his presence.
The choir stopped singing. The Pastors stood and invoked another prayer and then she heard the new pastor speak. She lifted her head and watched him as he stood at the podium. He was a young man. In his mid thirties. Tall and regal. Built like an athlete, he wore a long black robe with Kente cloth that draped its sides. He was a dark skinned black man, the color of sweet fudge, with large luminous eyes that shinned with animation. He wore his hair cut close. His lips large and smiling now above a thin mustache, showing a set of perfect white gleaming teeth and his lips twitched and he erupted into laughter. Chauncy hadnt caught the joke and had to remind herself to focus on what he was saying.
Pastor Woodson looked out over the congregation and smiled. Looking down into the Bible passed onto him by his grandfather, he read: "'And Jesus cried out and said, He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.' John 12:44 through 50. Brothers and sisters, thank you for welcoming me to New Faith. I know that with your help and Gods guidance we are going to grow and touch the lives of many. Lets stand for the benediction." As he finished speaking he watched as the brothers and sisters welcomed those who earlier had come to the alter professing their new faith or rededicating their lives to Christ. The musical director had the choir singing a soft old hymn as the congregation began to leave their seats as directed by the ushers. He made his way down the middle aisle to shake hands and greet as many of the members as he hadnt already.
When Chauncy McDaniels came forward, he welcomed her handshake and smiled into her bright animated eyes.
"Fine sermon Reverend Woodson."
"Just call me Pastor or better yet, Damien. And thank you. That means a lot coming from you." Her confused look made him smile and then all too soon she was gone and his hand was being shaken by another member.