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True Vine Missionary Baptist Church Centennial Banquet


By Tricia Hall

Sojourner’s Truth Reporter


True Vine Missionary Baptist Church kicked off their 100-year anniversary celebration with a banquet and celebration program on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at the Premier Banquet Hall in Toledo.


Event attendees were greeted at the door and enjoyed prelude music, festive event colors and casual conversation. “The remarkable journey of this church has impacted the lives of black people and this community for over 100 years. I commend you, True Vine for your work and substantial impact,” said the banquet mistress of ceremonies, Doni Miller, CEO of Neighborhood Health Association and host of Bridges.


The banquet officially opened with remarks by banquet Chairperson Mother Ora Bell; an invocation by Rev. Cecil Jerome Graham, the pastor of True Vine Missionary Baptist Church; a musical selection by the church youth choir, a presentation of a Toledo City Council resolution and musical selection by Shanda Barnhill. 


“This moment is finally here,” opened Ora Bell. “I’m going to speak from my heart. I am happy to see so many people here tonight. True Vine has been a blessing over the years. This banquet has been a labor of love, but I have enjoyed myself and want to thank my pastor and the banquet committee for their help and support.”


The banquet’s program continued after the meal with a resolution presentation by U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “I want to thank True Vine for this invitation. I have known True Vine since I first ran for office. Thank you for embracing the city of Toledo for the past 100 years.” Kaptur went on to read the resolution and explain that True Vine’s history would be preserved at Congress and the National African American museum in Washington, D.C. “It’s important that we preserve this landmark within the history of this country.”


Trustee Norman Bell presented three congregational members with plaques and other tokens of appreciation to acknowledge their contributions to the church’s long history. Trustee Bellzora Duhart was recognized as a life-long member; Mother Mattie McAllister was recognized as the eldest member and Trustee Robert Harris was recognized as the longest serving member. “God has blessed me all these years and allowed me to do exactly what I wanted to do. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” shared honoree Trustee Duhart.


Pastor Dennis and First Lady Rosalyn Byrd led the crowd into a spiritual hymnal selection before the guest speaker, Pastor Brian LaMont Monford, DMin, delivered a message that focused on three points during his inspiration speech. He encouraged attendees to refrain from allowing their past to paralyze them, fortify their focus and passionately press towards the promise of God. “What we accomplished in the past shouldn’t paralyze us because your best days aren’t behind you. We are here to understand our greater mission that is ahead and at the same time stop trying to be like everyone else.”


Pastor Monford was born in Lima, Ohio, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from American Baptist College, and graduated from Winebrenner Theological Seminary with a master’s and Doctor of Ministry. He became pastor of Philippian Missionary Baptist Church in 1991, authored a book, co-founded Mary Alice House, a Sober Living environment for those who struggle with addiction or substance abuse, and married with four children.


“We praise you Father for being so kind to True Vine, and the church has come a long way but we look forward to the future,” shared Rev. Graham.


The centennial celebration continues with four additional spiritual events. Sunday worship service was held on September 1 with pastor Dennis Byrd of Faith walk Ministries Baptist Church of Atlanta, Usher board anniversary afternoon service on September 8 with Pastor James H Willis of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, pre-anniversary afternoon service on September 15 with Pastor Anthony Richardson of Spring Street Missionary Baptist Church, and anniversary afternoon service on September 22 with Pastor Floyd Smith of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/06/19 00:49:41 -0400.

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