Former V.P. Joe Biden worships at New Hope Baptist Church

March 11, 2020 in News

By Jackie Hampton,

Publisher,

Biden receives warm welcome from Pastor Young as Rev. Amos Brown from San Francisco looks on.           PHOTO BY KEVIN BRADLEY

Biden receives warm welcome from Pastor Young as Rev. Amos Brown from San Francisco looks on. PHOTO BY KEVIN BRADLEY

Sunday, March 8, the worship service programs thatwere passed out to congregants entering New Hope Church, pastored by Dr. Jerry Young,   looked the same as usual. What was unusual, however, worshippers began entering the sanctuary located at 1555 Beasley Road in Jackson as early as 8 a.m. for a service that was to begin at 9:30 a.m. The New Hope Baptist Church choir entered the choir room just as early, while the ushers had been in place prior to 8 a.m.

There was an obvious air of excitement because the church was expecting former Vice President Joe Biden. The word had been out for a few days that Biden would be worshipping at New Hope and as a result, dignitaries, elected and appointed officials, visitors and friends from throughout the state and country came to worship at New Hope.

Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church and president of the San Francisco Branch of the NAACP flew in from California, and offered prayer. Brown, who has had a relationship with Biden since 1990, is a civil rights activist who was born in Jackson and attended Jim Hill High School.

Young in his message said that life has a way of placing people in predicaments that are painful and difficult to handle, but these difficulties can shape one’s future in a positive way. He told the congregation that God speaks to individuals in their conscience but shouts to them in their pain and if they keep on loving God things will work out in spite of their difficulties.

Young gave as an example of things working out for the good by referring to ‘king cotton.’ He said, when the boll weevil, a little black bug, destroyed the cotton crop in the south, farmers were devastated until George Washington Carver, promoted an alternative crop to cotton. It was through his invention of peanuts, a crop which the boll weevil could not harm, that farmers planted peanuts and became very well off financially. This catastrophe that black farmers suffered became the source of financial wealth. This example emphasized Paul’s teaching that all things work for the good in spite of difficulties along the way.

Young gave another example by referring to those that stated Biden’s campaign was dead. He said, “We are the Easter people, we died on Friday, but early Sunday morning we rose.” This statement brought thunderous applause from the congregation. He further said that Biden was not here for pomp and circumstance, but rather, to worship at New Hope. Biden told Young that he did not want the congregation to stand when he entered the church but Young reminded him that New Hope was his church, and he preferred the congregants to stand and honor the former vice president of The United States of America.

At the end of service, U. S. Congressman Bennie Thompson of the 2nd Congressional District introduced Biden with accolades of all he has done for the community and the country, to include the role he played in giving Mississippi, Judge Carlton Reeves, the ‘best federal judge in the Southern District.

Thompson, as Biden was approaching the podium, said, “I present to you the comeback kid.” The congregation stood and again, gave thunderous applause.

After thanking the congressman for the kind words, Biden said, “If I’m the comeback kid, it’s the African Americans all around the country that are responsible.” Biden let it be known that he was listening to Young’s address when he said, “We are in a situation where I am going to get clobbered for saying this, but we have a boll weevil we have to get rid of.”

Biden, a man seemingly of great faith referred to some of his own difficulties, such as the loss of his wife and daughter in a car accident and losing a son to cancer. He referred to a quote from a theologian named Soren Kierkegaard, from his Gospel of Sufferings, “Faith sees best in the dark.” Biden said, “with every loss I have faced, it was faith that saw me through.”

He referred to being victimized by things one cannot control. Biden said we should not let hate divide us as it has in the past. He said his mother always told him we are defined by our courage and redeemed by our work.