That seismic tremor felt Thursday was not the Earth’s crust shifting, it was the legions of people converging on Deliverance Evangelistic Church, on Lehigh Avenue, in North Philadelphia, to see one of America’s most famous preachers, Thomas Dexter Jakes, Sr., internationally known as, Bishop T.D. Jakes. Jakes is on a national media and church tour to promote his new book, “Let It Go” (Forgive others so you may be forgiven).
Jakes is the senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a nondenominational megachurch in Dallas, Tx. Deliverance Evangelistic Church is the largest church sanctuary in Philadelphia, easily capable of seating several thousand people, and visitors from the tri-state area packed the place to support Jakes. As huge as this audience was, it doesn’t compare to the 30,000 members Jakes preaches to every week at The Potter’s House.
“I have been watching T.D. Jakes for many years, and I cherish his ministry,” said the Rev. Walter Arthur, pastor of Hashem Christian Worship Center in Philadelphia. Arthur and hundreds of other pastors, ministers and evangelists came out in big numbers to support Jakes.
While Jakes was sharing his message of forgiveness, Antoinette Butler stepped out of the sanctuary for a brief moment to buy his book in the lobby. “It’s just an honor and a privilege just to see him in person, just to hear him speak. I read one of his (earlier) books, ‘Woman, Thou Art Loosed;’ (since then) I’ve been attracted to him for years,” admitted Butler.
Jakes’ message of forgiveness obviously resonated with Butler as she shared, “I’m going through a lot of unforgiveness in my own family, so I needed to come here (to receive a word) to minister to my own family." Butler is a proud member of The Church of the Redeemer Baptist in South Philadelphia, where the Rev. Dr. Wayne Croft is the senior pastor.
As Jakes walked across the pulpit, connecting with all sections of the audience, his image was projected on twin jumbo screens, and the enormous mass of people in the sanctuary stayed riveted to his story-telling/Scripture-quoting/psychoanalytical preaching style. Jakes is a multimillionaire and media mogul (i.e., best-selling author, TV and radio personality, music producer and Hollywood movie producer), he’s a bona fide supernova in the galaxy of ministerial leaders.
But as wealthy and famous as Jakes is, he projects a down-to-earth and warm demeanor that comes across as very genuine. He seems to get it. He’s one of those very rich, very powerful and very influential people who have remained grounded, approachable and very grateful for how God has blessed them. And the man is truly funny. He remarked that when he arrived at the church, the parking lot was so packed, “I thought the church was giving away free government cheese!”
E. Steven Collins, director of external relations and Urban Marketing/Radio One, admires how down-to-earth Jakes is on a personal level.
“He’s just real like that, Bishops Jakes is a regular person,” he said. “We truly are blessed, to have in T.D. Jakes (the kind of) leadership to help us…to reinvigorate us, to give us hope…”
Collins also hosts a popular on-air community affairs/news broadcast, “Philly Speaks,” on Sundays at 8 a.m., on 100.3FM/The Beat.
Jeffrey Gilmore, a seven-year member of Deliverance, believes that Jakes’ message on forgiveness was timely, “We need someone (like Jakes) to speak to us…to get to the root of our problems.”
According to Isiaeo Istick, 11, “He’s a good preacher, and I think that he’s spiritual, and he makes me feel the presence (of the Lord).
“People are looking for help,” was Michael Burney’s simple explanation for the capacity crowd in attendance. A 20-year member of Deliverance, Burney worked security detail for the evening.
Jakes’ audience transcended race, socioeconomic strata and age; the capacity crowd included youths, seniors and low-income, affluent, blue-collar, executive, Asian, Latino, African American, white and other diverse people.
During his 90-minute sermon/inspirational message, Jakes dropped many pearls of wisdom; his poignant-thought provoking quotes included:
“Unforgiveness is a useless product, it’s a self-induced affliction!
“Why should the devil curse you, when you’re cursing yourself?”
And there were key moments in between the frequent thunderous bursts of applause and loud praise, when a hush filled the sanctuary, as people were mentally digesting the thought-provoking commentaries that Jake kept hurling like a Cliff Lee fastball. When Jakes made the point about how most people want to genuinely express love toward others, but feel offended when their love isn’t reciprocated, you could hear a pin drop in the eerie silence.
Local radio celebrity Moshay Laren of 100.3FM/WRNB was in attendance, and it was apparent via her tears and jubilant praise that she certainly received a blessing from Jakes’ forgiveness message, “It was a soul-stirring evening. I feel refreshed, I feel rejuvenated, I feel hopeful, I feel replenished…I feel like I can finally let some things go…I’m cleaning out the residuals…I’m no longer playing in the chicken coop, I’m an eagle, I’m spreading my wings, and I’m flying!” This was a reference to one of Jakes’ analogies depicting God’s people as high-flying eagles and not ground-scavenging chickens.
He Rev. Glen Spaulding, senior pastor of Deliverance Evangelistic Church, hosted Jakes’ Philadelphia visit. He said Jakes’ forgiveness message resonated with so many people because, “Forgiveness is needed in every workplace, it’s (needed in) education, whether it’s in the board room, whether it’s in the church, (or) in the family, forgiveness is something that we all have to do, in order to be able to move on with our lives — in power, and in freedom, (to enable us) to walk in the destiny that God has for us.” Spaulding continued, “(God) doesn’t want us to walk around...with baggage from the past...We got to let it go, and move on, so that we can all be what God wants us to be!”
Commenting about his newest book, Jakes said, “(The book) ‘Let It Go’ was birthed out of a message that the Lord put on my heart about 18 months ago and that I began sharing with my church long before ever putting pen to paper. People need to know that forgiveness is the gift that you give yourself. It is a universal message for an appointed time. We no longer have to let our history define our destiny. It is up to us to take from life’s lessons and hurts what (we) can use, and exhale the rest. It’s time to set ourselves free by simply letting it go!”
The evening was a win-win on many different levels: Jakes’ book sales were hot; the local media got their story; the host church was packed; during the altar call, people came forward to give their lives to Christ; and Philadelphians turned out in show their love toward a preacher who certainly reciprocated in expressing his deep love for a city in desperate need of forgiveness.
Bishop T.D Jakes will bring his “Let It Go” service and book signing to Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 W. Lehigh Ave. in Philadelphia on Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m.
Jakes is founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, which has more than 30,000 members and more than 50 outreach ministries.
Utilizing his talents as an author and an actor, Jakes has become a vocal leader in the African-American community. His sermons are broadcast nationally and internationally.
He has written more than 30 books, many of which have been on the New York Times best-sellers list.
The Rev. Glen Spaulding is the senior pastor of Deliverance Evangelistic Church.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials laid to rest another murdered Philadelphia police officer Monday.
Officer Moses Walker Jr., was eulogized by Mayor Michael Nutter, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and others during a tearful, dignified, and at times, angry going home ceremony held at Deliverance Evangelistic Church. During his remarks, Mayor Michael Nutter used the words of the popular John Lennon song, “Imagine,” to segue into his more caustic remarks regarding the violence that dominates in some communities in the city.
“I like the Ray Charles version best,” Nutter said. “Imagine all the people, living life in peace, you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one. Imagine a peaceful Philadelphia, where people take responsibility for themselves, their families and their neighbors. I want you to imagine a safer city; we can have one. A city where children can play in the streets, working people go to work, seniors enjoy their lives. We can make that happen.
“I’m angry, I’m very angry that someone would kill Moses Walker. I’m very angry about this. I want to thank our citizens and our men and women in law enforcement that helped track down these killers, because that’s what they do. Whether it’s Moses Walker or any of the other people who are shot, stabbed, robbed or beaten up, we track down those responsible and we catch them. We catch almost all of them; I don’t know why people do this — it’s pretty stupid.
“But I read the Good Book; it tells me, ‘Vengeance is mine saith the Lord’ but while these two are in custody here on this earth, their butts are mine. I’m sick of the ignorance and I’m sick of the violence, sick of the deaths and disruption. I’m sick of it! I’ve had enough!”
Moses Walker entered the Philadelphia Police Academy in March 1993. In August of that year, he was assigned to foot patrol in Center City. After walking the beat in Center City for several months, he was assigned to the 23rd District on March 31, 1994. Moses found a home patrolling the streets of North Central for the next 18 years. By all accounts he was known by both his fellow officers and the residents he served as a courteous, polite and humble man. He was shot to death early Saturday morning, Aug. 18.
Walker was an active member of the Deliverance Evangelist Church and served as a deacon. He was known as an optimistic man. He is the 10th Philadelphia Police officer to die in the line of duty since Officer Gary Skerski was shot to death on May 8, 2008. Officers William Barclay, Charles Cassidy, Stephen Liczbinski, Isabel Nazario, Patrick McDonald, Timothy Simpson, John Pawlowski, and most recently, Brian Lorenzo, all fell in the line of duty.
Officer Moses Walker was killed just a few blocks from the station house. He was a 19-year veteran of the force — just a year away from retirement.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he had met Walker on several occasions before his death. He always had something positive to say, Ramsey said.
“Officer Walker was a faithful minister, son, brother and police officer — one that was taken from us far too soon,” said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “He finished his tour of duty in the 22nd District as the turnkey, as we call it. That’s the person charged with the safety of people taken into our custody. Not everyone in our custody is happy to be there, and it takes a great deal of patience and skill — and Moses had that. During the vigil on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, two young men came up — who had recently been in custody at the 22nd District, and they were paying their respects because he respected them. I don’t have the answers as to why Moses Walker was killed. None of it makes sense to me. What does make sense to me are the men and women of law enforcement you see here today. In spite of the fact that it never seems to end, they know they make a difference. “
Police officer Moses Walker Jr. was buried at Fernwood Cemetery in Lansdowne, Delaware County.
Suspect still at large; reward offered
A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the shooting death of an off-duty Philadelphia Police officer early Saturday morning, August 18.
Police said Officer Moses Walker Jr., 40, a 19-year veteran who was up for retirement this year, had just completed his shift at the 22nd District at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue when he was shot several times around 6 a.m. in the 2200 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. Walker, who was not in uniform, monitored a holding cell at the district. He was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Walker, who was a deacon at Deliverance Evangelistic Center at 2001 West Lehigh Ave., was walking westbound on Cecil B. Moore Avenue when he was approached by a suspect. Ramsey said robbery may have been a motive. Reportedly, Walker was found face down and lying on his unholstered gun
A graduate of Ben Franklin High School, Walker graduated from the police academy in 1993. He had been stationed at the 22nd District since 1994.
Walker, who was not married and had no children, is survived by his mother and five siblings.
In a prepared statement, Mayor Michael Nutter said the city is offering a $20,000 reward and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is offering a $10,000 reward.
“For the third time this year, Philadelphians and members of the Philadelphia Police Department have been visited by tragedy with the violent death of a respected, veteran police officer,” said Nutter’s statement. “I am calling on all Philadelphians with information about Officer Walker’s death to help the police identify the suspect and bring that person to justice. To that end, the city of Philadelphia is offering a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the murder of Officer Walker. I have also ordered that all city flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Officer Walker.
In addition, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the suspect in the case.”
Nutter also said three other homicides occurred in the city late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Police said there were no witnesses or known motives in those murders.
The first death came at 11:40 p.m. when a 47-year-old male was shot once in the head on West Rockland Street in Logan. The victim was taken to Einstein Medical Center by police and pronounced dead at 11:58 p.m.
The second homicide occurred on the 4900 block of W. Girard Avenue when a man in his 20's was shot at 2:19 a.m. while inside a green Toyota Camry. The victim was shot multiple times and pronounced dead the scene by medics.
The third death came at 3:40 a.m. on the 2200 block of S. 63rd Street when a 23-year-old man was shot once in the back and once in the right arm. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.
“I also want to note that Officer Walker’s tragic death this morning comes following a night where three civilian Philadelphians lost their lives to senseless gun violence,” said Nutter. “We offer our condolences and prayers to the families of these men.
“We will not make headway in dramatically reducing the scourge of gun violence and the proliferation of illegal guns until we as a community stand together and offer all information that we have on the perpetrators of violence in our city.”
Ramsey said Walker's death is a blow for a department still mourning the loss of Highway Patrol motorcycle officer Brian Lorenzo, who was killed last month in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 95.
"We literally just removed the mourning bands from our badges last week for Officer Lorenzo, and now it appears we may be putting them right back on again, so it's tough," said Ramsey. "This department has been through an awful lot. In just the 4½ years that I've been here, this would be the seventh officer we've lost, which is more than some departments get in 20 years."
From 2006 to 2009, eight officers died in the line of duty from either gunfire or vehicular assault. Half of those deaths occurred in 2008, two of them when stolen vehicles rammed their cruisers.
The general homicide rate in Philadelphia has risen sharply in recent years. After falling to more than 300 a year in 2009 and 2010, the City of Brotherly Love recorded 324 homicides last year and is reporting just under one homicide every day so far this year.
In May 2006, Officer Gary Skerski became the first officer slain in the line of duty in Philadelphia in a decade when he was shot responding to a robbery at a bar.
In October 2007, Officer Chuck Cassidy, 54, was shot to death when he interrupted a robbery at a Dunkin' Donuts.
In May 2008, 39-year-old Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was shot and killed following a bank robbery.
A few months later, 30-year-old Officer Patrick McDonald was shot and killed by a fugitive he had chased down after a traffic stop.
Officer Isabel Nazario was killed in September 2008 when a teenager crashed a stolen SUV into her cruiser. Sgt. Timothy Simpson, 46, was killed in November 2008 when a man fleeing police in a stolen car hit his vehicle.
In 2009, Officer John Pawlowski, 25, was killed while responding to the attempted robbery of a cab driver despite wearing a bulletproof vest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Both men in custody have criminal histories
During a procession down Lehigh Avenue to Deliverance Evangelistic Church on Sunday to honor police officer Moses Walker Jr., it was announced that the second suspect wanted for his murder had turned himself in to the FBI.
Chancier McFarland, 19, was taken into custody by law enforcement personnel in Mobile, Ala. McFarland was wanted in connection with Walker’s murder, which happened on August 18. The man investigators say is the shooter, Rafael Jones, was arrested last week. Jones, 23, has been charged with murder, robbery, conspiracy and other counts.
The announcement came amid preparations for a solemn procession by police and public officials to take Walker’s body to Deliverance Evangelistic Church for a public viewing Sunday evening. Deliverance was Walker’s church, where he served as a deacon.
Court documents obtained by the Philadelphia Tribune show McFarland, from the 1400 block of North 23rd Street, uses the alias Charles McFarland. He was arrested for drug-related offenses on April 19 and had a hearing coming up in September on those charges. Jones, who also goes by the alias Rafael Manigault, has been through the justice system since he was 18, according to court documents. Those documents show Jones should have been on house arrest and wearing an ankle monitor at the time of Walker’s murder. He was arrested on October 16, 2007, and charged with aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license, terroristic threats and simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person. The charges were withdrawn.
On April 1, 2008, Jones was sentenced to two to four years in prison, followed by three years probation, after being found guilty of weapons offenses for an incident in January 2008. Court documents also show that he was arrested again on February 13, 2012, for robbery, conspiracy; illegal weapons offenses, theft and recklessly endangering another person — and again the charges were withdrawn.
The reason charges against Jones were withdrawn was because the victim never appeared in court, according to Tasha Jamerson, spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
Women prayer warriors of Dunimas Ministries were honored for their steadfast service to God during the Sixth Annual Mothers of Zion Honoree Luncheon hosted by evangelist Beatrice Noville and held at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 Lehigh Ave. in North Philadelphia, Saturday.
Dunimas, the Greek word from which we get the English “dynamite,”’ was founded six years ago and began their meeting in the basement of Noville’s home with just two people.
“We had it in the basement for about four months until the Lord told us to move it to the hotel, and we have been in the hotel for 5 1/2 years,” said Noville.
Although the schedule for the monthly meetings of Dunimas Ministries are intended to be from 10 a.m. to noon, Noville says that it is not unusual for the gatherings to extend until 1 p.m. because of the movement of the Holy Spirit.
“There are so many Mothers of Zion who went before us and prayed for us and this is why we are here, because of the mothers’ prayers,” said Noville. It is the prayers of Mothers of Zion that has produced many of the social, political and personal advancements of both individuals and society as a whole.
“The Lord lay on my heart to honor the Mothers of Zion and to let them know that we love them now, while they are still living, and not just when they die or when they are in a casket, but to honor them now,” said Noville.
Several hundred people filed into the church to attend the luncheon and observe the tributes paid to the honorees during the program. Although held at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, the honorees, as well as the attendants, came from churches throughout the city and from different denominations.
“These are the honorees that have impacted my life in a mighty, mighty way,” said Noville about the selection of the honorees. “There are mothers — the mothers that the Lord picked — they have impacted my life.”
Noville’s daughter, Beatrice Lewis, helped by collecting donations at the door and volunteering with the hospitalities ministry during the program. Lewis says that Noville has a passion for prayer.
“She is a lovely lady who has a zeal and passion for Christ and winning people to the Lord,” said Lewis. Although the ministry was founded six years ago, the Mothers of Zion Honoree Luncheon was the first for the group.
“As soon as it came to her, she just started planning it from there. The Lord gave her the vision and she just went with it from there,” said Lewis who described her participation in the planning of the event as basically that of providing moral support.
During the event, Deacon Fred Brown of Holy Tabernacle Church of God in Christ sang a song entitled “Mother, You’re my Best Friend” which he wrote and dedicated to the women who attended the gathering.
“Momma has been nurturing children for years, directing them to the Director, so this song is a song that puts Jesus first and then the mother,” said Brown who said that a mother’s love is like God’s love.
The luncheon, said Brown, was not simply a time of fellowship but one in which he expected relationships to be healed and respect for women manifested.
“Women are very special, and we need to do all that we can to push them where they need to be because without them we wouldn’t be here.
According to materials released by the group, Dunimas Power Ministries purpose is to “serve God by evangelizing the lost and empowering the hearts of God’s people through prayer and the Word of God.” The group meets every fourth Saturday at the North American Motor Inn, 4444 City Ave.
Honored during the event were: Thelma Bady, Dolly Brooks, Anna Brown, Rose M. Collick, Ellawese Darden Coston, Mary D. DeWitt, Virginia Jackson, Gertrude Jones, Dorothy McBride, Pastor Edith Moreno, Maggie Pew, Presiding Elder Claudine M. Phillips, evanglist Janis Ruise, Lillian B. Trump and Margaret Watson.