By Andrea Smith
There’s a well-known and widely respected local man of God who will celebrate a significant ecumenical service-oriented anniversary on Friday, November 11, 2022. He leads coalitions of concerned Chicago Clergy to protest street violence. He urges city leaders to expand social, educational, and economic resources to residents of the city’s Black and brown poor, impoverished communities. He aggressively promotes and organizes COVID-19 vaccines to save lives on Chicago’s West and South sides.
In the spirit of Christ – – he strongly preaches peace, universal love, civil and human-rights advocacy, and acceptance of everyone. Especially during these difficult, socially, and racially challenging, hate-filled, divisive times. He helps organize groups bringing ‘souls to the polls’ to advocate for increased voting among African-Americans. He feeds, spiritually guides, and clothes the disadvantaged. He works closely with local youth, advocating for their educational and justice-related equality to generate bright future options.
He actively supports our struggling working families, and gently protects the disabled, ‘seasoned citizens’ and seniors. This prophetic pastor further faithfully uplifts his church members, while specifically theologically targeting and including messages of hope and salvation to the legions of lost, left-out and the least, often chemically-addicted unchurched people in our neighborhoods.
He leverages community coalitions of health care and social services professionals committed to amplifying safety by working to reduce devastating everyday levels of substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness.
And he fights like the late famed championship boxer Muhammad Ali, to increase affordable housing for the homeless and growing numbers of housing insecure individuals and families at-risk of homelessness.
This Ministerial Maverick Messenger is both well-read and highly educated, comfortable in a multitude of environments, and currently completed his doctoral degree in divinity, yet walks humbly among the multitudes with grace and mercy.
In short, he talks the talk AND walks the walk. His name? Pastor Paul Jakes, Jr.
And on Friday, November 11, 2022 he will be celebrated for a trifecta of notable accomplishments. Chicago’s clergy, civic and community leaders will join local elected officials and others in honoring Rev. Dr. Paul Jakes, Jr’s 30th Pastoral Anniversary, his 64th Birthday, his profound body of faith-based work throughout Chicago, and the recent completion of his Doctor of Divinity degree.
This auspicious invitational celebratory occasion will be held starting at 11:00am at Greater Bethlehem Healing Temple Church, 12 South Oakley Boulevard, under the pastorship of Bishop James Ketchum. The event keynote speaker will be the well-known spiritual leader and community activist, Rev. Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor of the Woodlawn-based Apostolic Church of God. Other guest speakers and presenters include such local luminaries as 7th District U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis; Rev. Johnny Miller; Bishop Louis Ford; Rev. Spencer Leak, Sr.; Rev. Dr. Wanda Jenkins; 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts; 8th Dist. Illinois State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford; noted Attorney Thomas N. Todd. Guest soloist Sylvia Coleman will also perform songs of uplifting praise.
“I am deeply and modestly honored by the phenomenal support of my devoted friends and local leaders for my integrated, ‘ministerially-maverick’ approach to faith, community service and life,” expressed Pastor Jakes, Jr.
“Today more than ever, I believe our church community must reflect, understand, and spiritually address the discomfort, inequality and the social, economic, housing, health, and educational challenges facing our neighborhoods, our residents and church members. I just feel blessed and highly favored to have been called by GOD to be one of his messengers of hope, trying to do my small part to help make a difference during these difficult times of reckoning,” said Rev. Dr. Paul Jakes, Jr.
Spoken like a dedicated, true man of GOD. And Amen!!