By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEWBURGH – Queen Latifah was not in attendance, but it was “Ladies First” on Friday, April 7th at The Annual Good Friday Service. Seven women preached about the seven last words of Jesus from the cross. They each had seven minutes. This is the first time that all women have preached at a Good Friday Service sponsored by The Christian Ministerial Fellowship of Newburgh & Vicinity.
“It’s never happened before in its 55-year history. The Lord said, ‘It’s time!’” said Rev. Dr. Dollyann Newkirk-Briggs, President of The Christian Ministerial Fellowship of Newburgh & Vicinity. She is the first African American female elected to this office in the organization’s 55-year existence.
She is also making history as the current pastor of Baptist Temple Church, Inc; she is the first African American female pastor of a major Baptist church in the city of Newburgh. She emceed the celebration and ministered the 7th word- committal.
“She has been breaking barriers for women for years… When I was younger, I remember her teaching [me] and the other young ladies… how a young lady should conduct themselves… She really should write a book,” said Pastor Monique K. Newkirk, pastor of Pentecostal Holy Joy Church of the Lord Inc. and niece of Rev. Newkirk-Briggs. She became pastor when Rev. Newkirk-Briggs became pastor of Baptist Temple, passing the baton to her.
The other female preachers were Elder Hillary Rayford ministering the first word- forgiveness, Pastor Vanessa Lesane preached about the second word-assurance, Elder Dena Walker talked about the third word- comfort, Pastor Lashelle Bolton taught the fourth word- desolation, and Elder Gail McDoe delivered her sermon on the fifth word- suffering. Pastor Dr. Enine Williams had double duty; she preached and directed the MLK, Jr. Celebration Choir of Newburgh & Vicinity. She also spoke about the sixth word- triumph! The Annual Good Friday Service was held at One Accord Christian Church, Inc.
“I actually was supposed to be one of the preachers [last year], but I got stuck at the airport so my wife [preached] in my stead…[Everyone] enjoyed the service last year and they wanted to do it again at the same location this year… What made it so powerful was the powerful [women] that [ministered],” said Bishop Robert J. Bolton, Jr., pastor of One Accord Christian Church, Inc. and Vice President of The Christian Ministerial Fellowship of Newburgh & Vicinity who promised that his church is having some events for the men to look forward to. “We have a ministry called BMB, Bringing Men Back Ministries… We’re really big on having men come back to the family, to the church, and to the community, and have a greater presence in the community… We’re looking at having service called Men at the Altar.”
The Christian Ministerial Fellowship of Newburgh & Vicinity is comprised of pastors in the Newburgh area who desire to affect change in the community. One of their missions is to provide financial assistance to students. Applications are available now through May 15th.
“[We] give out four book awards a year if [we] can find candidates coming from the CMF (Christian Ministerial Fellowship) membership [churches].The leaders, the overseers that have a congregation, have to submit applications for somebody that’s eligible that’s graduating from high school and going into college that particular next semester. They actually have to have an acceptance letter and they give them the book award…It’s $700 per award, and it’s up to four awards, but every once in a while, we have a fifth award for a member inside the CMF that is going to further their education,” said Pastor Jesse Howard, Treasurer of the Christian Ministerial Fellowship.