Story and photos
By Jacquelyn Darby
Church of Christ @ the Vineyard held two special services, installing new Pastor John E. Edmerson and ordaining new deacons and elders. Brother Douglas Bobo, Roger White, and Penn Washington received ordination as deacons.
Guest pastor Sam McLawyer, lifelong friend and former youth minister of Pastor John Edmerson, preached the morning sermon. His message centered first on texts 1st Thessalonians 3:2 stated, “God has a plan to send a word through his vessel to humanity. The preacher is pivotal to the vitality of the church.” He went further to define the pastor as “an evangelist, a preacher of the gospel and he is a public servant.” Pastor McLawyer concluded his message stating, “The preacher is God’s mouthpiece to the underserved of the world.”
The installation service began with Brother Austin Brabble, Jr. presiding as master of ceremony. Bishop Perry Washington offered the opening prayer. Dorian Paul Williams, a musical performer in the industry for 45 years, blessed the congregation with a stirring gospel performance.
Pastor Sam McLawyer, Jr. paid tribute to his long-time friend, Pastor Edmerson saying that he knew as a young age that the Lord had a place for Pastor Edmerson.
Brother Austin Babble continued with reflections of the church history. In 1979, the first worship services were held followed by a groundbreaking in 2011 and a joyful ribbon cutting for their beautiful sanctuary in 2012. This made possible by donations of over four acres of land and generous cash donations by a number of faithful members.
Tributes followed by other close friends such as Arlene Bobo who reflected that Pastor Edmerson established the Timothy Club to help young men. His numerous accomplishments include serving as a musical consultant to the group Genesis, further he is a singer and songwriter. His educational accolades include earning a degree in music ministry and masters in Christian Ministry. A video from some the Edmerson family, including his parents and his sister who could not travel, expressed the great pride for pastor Edmerson, “this is the culmination of all your work.”
Bishops Charles Bobo and Bishops Perry Washington joined to administer the vows of ordination. They each offered their own words of encouragement for Pastor Edmerson, Bishop Bobo considering him as an adopted son. Bishop Perry Washington proclaimed it is Gods’ providence that he is here. Brother Austin Brabble, Jr conferred the final vows of Elder.
Elder Edmerson administered the deacon ordination vows over the three candidates, Brother Douglas Bobo, Roger White, and Penn Washington. Brother Douglas Bobo, along with wife Henrietta Bobo who are faithful members since 2009. Brother Roger White, who is a long-time member, blessed the church with his amazing singing voice.
The program concluded with the presentation to the congregation the new pastor, Elder John Edmerson, wife Felicia, their five children, and the newly ordained deacons and their families. Following the program rveryone gathered at a celebration dinner.
Church of Christ @ the Vineyard, is at 6642 South 16th Street in Phoenix.