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Saint Paul gala seeks to rebuild lives

The theme of the Greater Saint Paul A.M.E. Church Gala Saturday night was “Pray, Love and Restore People.”

And, according to “the James Levert Davis translation ” of God’s Holy Word, “God is looking for people, not programs to rebuild lives.”

Bishop Davis, Presiding Prelate Ninth Episcopal District, was the featured speaker at the initial Greater Saint Paul A.M.E. Church Gala at the Troy University Adams Center Ballroom and, with tongue in cheek, he referred to the “James Davis translation” of the Bible. And it was a version in which those who packed the ballroom found inspiration and direction.

“Bishop James is a dynamic and inspirational speaker,” said Shelia Jackson, Gala committee chair. “He brought a message that we all needed to hear. I believe that everyone there was inspired by his message and now desires to be one of those people God is looking for to rebuild lives.”

Davis’ challenge was for each person to be the missing link to make things happen for God.

“You can be the instrument of God’s power,” he said. “You can be the person to put power to problems. God will never give you a task bigger than you can handle.”

Davis said to be an instrument of God’s power there are three things that one must do.

“We all have something to give,” he said.

“It may not be the same thing that someone else has but we all have something. Use what’s in your hands. God will take what you have and make it useful.

“Learn to give your best and give your best. Put your best in God’s hands and you can turn a mess into a miracle.

The Gala included a special recognition service that included the loyalty, service and lifetime achievement awards.

Richard and Gwen Mosley presented the loyalty and service awards and characterized the recipients as “living legends” at Saint Paul A.M.E. Church.

Ann Johnson of Troy received the Loyalty Award for her many years of service to her church.

She has been a valued and respected member of the Women’s Missionary Society and has also served as stewardess and hostess for church events. More often than not she is found in the kitchen cooking and supervising.

The Service Award was presented to Minnie McCloud, who was originally a member of the County Line A.M.E. Church in Brundidge.

She became a member of Saint Paul with her husband in 1975. She is a member of the Women’s Missionary Society and is a stewardess and also knows her way around the kitchen.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded posthumously to Leo Johnson, “a gentle giant.”

Pastor Elijah Shafah, Saint Paul A.M.E. Church, said Johnson was a man of few words but had a gentle, sweet spirit and his care and concern was for all.

“The highlight of the awards ceremony is to honor the life and legacy of Leo Johnson,” Shafah said.

Accepting their father’s award were Roselle Simmons and Laura Jackson.

They thanked the membership of Saint Paul for “the love and care you showed our father.”