By Jackie H. Hampton,
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba served as guest speaker at College Hill Baptist Church’s annual Men’s Day service held on Father’s Day. Terrence McEwen presided over the 10 a.m. service which was held in the church sanctuary.
After being introduced by Men’s Day chair Deacon Vincent McGee, the mayor said, “The blessing of being a father is truly a tremendous one.” He said, “As a little boy of about 5 or 6 years old, when people asked what do you want to be when you grow, I would quickly respond I want to grow up and be a daddy.” The mayor said this is a story his mother often repeated to others. He said he responded this way because he had the unique blessing of living in the house of his hero, his father, the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, who not only talked the talk, but walked the walk.
Fatherhood was a major theme of the mayor’s speech which was extemporaneous and personal. Due to his schedule he was not able to actually write a speech, so he spoke from his heart, sharing words the Lord gave him the moment he stood before the congregation.
Lumumba focused on matters of faith and family and the scriptural support for making Jackson into a ‘radical city that loves people.’ His message found a home in the sanctuary where the Men’s Day theme was “Christian Men Serving a Just and Merciful God.”
He told the roused and responsive audience, “Scripture calls on us to be a radical city. It says in Isaiah 1 verse 17, learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless, and plead the cause of the widow.” Lumumba relied heavily on the scripture throughout his message. He said that in order for a young mayor to lead the city he must be well versed in scripture. “There should be no such thing as the fatherless in Jackson, Mississippi,” he stated.
The mayor said that prior to becoming mayor of the city of Jackson, he did not know what the name ‘Jackson’ meant. In his research he found Jackson means ‘God has shown favor.’ ‘God has been gracious,’ and therefore we must walk in our namesake. He told the listeners that we must take up the cause of the fatherless if we are going to be a radical city, a city that loves on people. He went on to say, “being fathers to young men isn’t about being perfect; it’s about accepting your mistakes and turning away from them. We have to take on this challenge of being this radical city prepared to walk in the Lord’s destiny.”
Robert Robinson Sr. was honored as Man of the Year. He was introduced by Deacon Louis Wright who said the greatest title you can have is that of being a servant. He shared stories relating to Robinson’s service to the church regarding property development and to the community. His sister, Evelyn Davis, stated Robinson is a dedicated Christian who reads his Bible daily.
Pastor Williams said, regarding Robinson, “Some men are seen because of position and title. God be praised for men like Bro. Robinson, whose work can be felt in the silent deeds they perform.”
United States Circuit Judge James Graves spoke at the College Hill Family Life Center Friday evening as part of the much anticipated Sunday Men’s Day service. The focus was on ‘Pathways to Success.’ He was introduced by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves who referred to Graves as a mentor and a friend.
Graves said he was tempted to simply say ‘there is no path to success’ and sit down. However he offered two definitions of success: “Keeping the mind awake and the desire asleep,” referencing Romans 7: 21-25 and “Success is knowing how to wait,” from Psalm 37: 7, which reads, ‘Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him …” He recalled law clerking in a tiny office at the age of 30 and feeling like a failure before becoming a judge.
The weekend celebration also included a picnic Saturday and a combined Sunday School class, to include breakfast, Sunday morning. Music was provided Sunday by the Men’s Day choir, directed by Brandon Mitchell.
An original painting by artist Gail Ghettis of Mayor Lumumba and his late father was presented to the mayor by McGee.
College Hill Pastor Michael T. Williams gave high praise to the men of College Hill for a wonderful 2018 Men’s Day celebration.
See photos page 3.