71st Anniversary Celebration
Resolution of Remembrance and Celebration:
The Record of Our Lives
Prepared and Read By: Elbert Sherrod
FEBRUARY 17TH, 2019
Provided: On the occasion of the celebration of the Seventy-first Anniversary of Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in San Fernando, California.
Whereas, 2018 and 2019 represent the Seventieth and Seventy-first Anniversaries of the Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, respectively, and while last year’s remembrance and celebration included an unforgettable program led by our Pastor the Reverend Ira Woodfin Dickason, where it pleased our Bishop the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to Preside over our Celebration and Program of Remembrance and appreciation before God, with our Presiding Elder the Reverend Allen L. Williams, Sr., the faithful Parks Chapel Congregation, our connected sister churches and a host of ministers, community friends, exhorters and observers, we celebrated and lifted up seventy years of existence as a Church, to God, in humble remembrance; and
Whereas, this Seventy-first year of our existence seems, as a quiet year, yet we pause to remember “the Record of Our Lives”, knowing that God has been pleased to grant us another year to labor in this vineyard, in this community we love; and
Whereas, Parks Chapel is Christ’s church in the family of God, with “God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer and Mankind Our Brother”, we on this occasion, well remember the history of Parks Chapel, because, we often speak of it; founders like Curtis and Maydell Steiner, affectionately known as “Mom and Pop Steiner”, who along with the others down through the years, we recall the ministers sent, we laud and tell the stories of the Little Pink Church and the tent of meetings in the vacant lot next to the Steiner’s, of the Odd Fellow’s Hall, the Parketts and Chapelytes’ fashion shows, the men’s barbeques, of the parade of children and that God has been pleased to truly and richly bless us and place us here on this fair corner at Fourth and Maclay; and
Whereas, just as the Bishops Henry Blanton Parks and Clement W. Fugh (Presiding over the District then and now), and just as Presiding Elder Owens, affirmed the sending of Rev. F.W. Ford to be the first Pastor of Parks Chapel and as Presiding Elder Williams affirms our current Pastor, Rev. Ira Woodfin Dickason, the connection to our past is clear to see, it is the connection of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, right up to today, we remember that a Church may need a building, but the building is not the Church, a Church is the people who are here now and who have gone before, in this union with God and our Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, who with the blessed union of the Holy Spirit holds the Church together; and
Whereas, today we salute and resolve to remember the people and each other; Parks Chapel, Here we are, we have arrived at this day, we’ve lost plenty along the way, we celebrate their lives, the legacy of the ones here “and” not here and those here “but” not here today, representing them and ourselves, as people of God in the flow, in the stream of life, we care and we express our care by our words and by actions of concern and compassion for each other, through lives we pray, that exemplify the same, we bestow care upon those we love, in our families, in the community in our world around us; caring for and helping, by means (provided by God) to those we have never touched, even to some we have never even seen; and
Whereas, when those who oppose us, try to convict us of not doing enough or not understanding enough, we stand clear of any guilt, we continue our work, we continue our care and our concerns; and God has accepted some portion of what we have done, not always knowing what part he has accepted, still we continue in faith, building upon the foundation Christ has laid, we, the people of Parks, have used Love which is the greatest form of care and we use sacrificial doing, which is the greatest form of Love and praying which is the greatest way of approaching a Living and Holy God; and
Whereas, we have cried a river of tears, we mourn, we laugh, we excel, with a zeal for all of God’s commands, we never stop, until “our” time comes and then somewhere, we ourselves will be in grand celebration of even our own life, which will come to an end and though pangs of misery roll through us, like rippling currents on a still placid lake; and though sadness breaks upon us and the great energies of our compulsive lives, grind to a halt; and give way to a strange unfamiliar calmness, we still remember the good, we still remember the help we rendered, the sacrifices we tendered and we remain thankful, that we found something to do, someone to help …children, seniors, the disenfranchised, the low in spirit, the poor, the meek, the abandoned, the fatherless, the homeless, the hungry, the hurting, the friendless, the poor, the miserable… we band of sisters and brothers (of fathers and mothers); we souls of multi-faceted hues, shining on like pinpoints of light, shining through, piercing the darkness that surrounds us, we consecrated beings, sent by God, to shine anew in the hearts, minds and spirits of those we touch;
Be it therefore resolved, that we shall be thankful, resolute, joyous and proud, not in and of ourselves, but of each individual, that we know them and some of the things they accomplished, while we live in this transitory state; and
Be it further resolved, that we the members of Parks Chapel continue to love God for the journey he has placed us on, no matter how long or how short, knowing that we have touched the world and we leave others to touch it and thereby connecting us in an unbroken chain, know that all are covered, all are needed, all are needful, all are used for the connectedness of the whole, let us continue to be joyous, to sing, to dance out loud, in this foreign land, that we are exiled to, we beings of mere whispers of misty lives, which fade away very quickly, almost as in a moment, looking forward to that eternal light of Christ which never deems, never fades; and
Be it finally resolved, that in grand celebration, we Praise God, we remember and we lift up our fellow men, women and children, as we ready ourselves also for the collective work ahead of us, endeavoring to move forward with no fear, for we must someday leave this sphere, and so we resolve to leave “the record of our lives” as a record of helping people, of caring for people, a record of love offered to the Living God, whom we know exists and Who has richly and truly blessed each of us, and then casting down our golden crowns of “works rewarded”, to trust only in Our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is watching over us, who cares for us, and wants us to care for others, and who rewards those who diligently seek him, through the help and aid we render to others and through his Gospel preached, where he offers us Love through his own mighty work, his death and the power of his resurrection and his sitting at the right hand of God the Father, until his coming again, to receive his own, he supports our efforts; and so we the congregation, members, exhorters and friends of Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, so and do earnestly resolve in this day of remembrance and indeed in all the days of our lives to live with an awareness of “The Record of Our Lives” and so it shall be well with us in the readings of Jesus, in the hearing of God, of our names read from the Book of Life.
And the Congregation said… Praise God, Praise God, Praise God.
The Scripture Reading
1 Kings 8:22-30 (NIV)
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:
“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.
25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.
27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
1 Corinthians 3:5-11 (NIV)
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 16:8-16 New International Version (NIV)
8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”