Men, women, boys and girls were physically fed with a tasty meal and spiritually fed, too, at the Prayer Breakfast over the weekend during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference.
Bishop Noel Jones, pastor of City of Refuge Church in Gardena, Calif., said that he was told to “preach,” and he did just that. Preaching from Matthew 25, Jones told everyone gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center that they should use their individual gifts to make a difference in the world.
“If you have no haters, you are not that gifted,” he said. “Get off your knees, and get the job done because God has gifted you according to your ability.” Jones proclaimed that everyone has work to do and that they were too gifted to be broke.
The event was overflowing with positive messages, starting with Joshua DuBois, head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, who offered the invocation along with Talib Shareef, imam at Masjid Muhammed in Washington. DuBois prayed that God would build up President Obama and his family. Shareef asked that God grant peace to those that had made the ultimate sacrifice.
“We have not forgotten about God … the source of our strength,” said Rep. Gwen S. Moore, conference co-chair.
The prayer breakfast was spirit filled with uplifting musical selections, such as “Lord You Brought Me From a Long Way,” rendered by Bishop Darrell Hines, pastor of Christian Faith Fellowship Church of Milwaukee, Wis. Clifton Ross III, a BET “Sunday’s Best” finalist and Howard University alumnus, brought the attendees to their feet with a Ricky Dillard selection, “God Is Great,” with the help of the Ebenezer A.M.E. combined choir of Fort Washington, Md.
The audience was also blessed with the dynamic jazzy gospel style of Kim Burrell, Grammy-nominated, Stellar Award-winning gospel artist. Burrell sang both “Open the Door” and “Have Faith in Me,” which lightened the atmosphere of the prayer breakfast.
“There is love, mentorship and friendship within the Congressional Black Caucus,” said Rep. AndrÃ© Carson D-Ind.
“Celebrate and push our own,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, chairman of Congressional Black Caucus. Cleaver put his statement into practice when recognized several CBC members including Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
Cleaver also acknowledged the attendance of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. He commended Jackson for the recent release of two Americans, Tamsir Jasseh and Amadou Scattred Janneh,, in Gambia imprisoned for treason.Jasseh was once accused of plotting to overthrow Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. Janneh was convicted after printing anti-governemnt T-shirts.The two freed prisoners were also in attendance.
Newark City Council president Donald M. Payne Jr., who is running for his late father’s Congressional seat, said: “God will not be pimped. He grants grace, love and mercy to mobilize every leader in our community.” Payne referenced Proverbs 22:16, “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches and he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want.”
Others attendees included former Essence editor Susan Taylor, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., AME Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the Rev. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III.
Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., announced that she will be leaving her position as president and chief executive officer for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Ingrid Saunders Jones, a senior vice president and foundation chair at Coca-Cola, quoted her granddaughter, “Thank you God, and I’ll talk to you later.”