By Allison Trussell
GREENVILLE—The African-American Clergywomen held their annual luncheon June 5, with the Rev. J. Jeanette Cooper as the speaker.
Cooper, a retired member of the Annual Conference, used Job 19 as the basis for her talk. God allows the devil to test Job, we are told. The devil is allowed to do anything he wants except kill Job. Similarly, the Lord allows us to be tested and we must have faith, she said.
In Chapter 19, we find Job dealing with his “cronies,” those he’s known as friends and colleagues. They know him. And they are questioning him: “Job, why are you so righteous?”
Often, Cooper said, our worse enemies are those closest to us. She suggested that they be taken to the Lord in prayer.
“I thought I knew who God was,” she said. “I grew up in a preacher’s house, I went to VBS, I did all the right things.”
But those places can only serve as foundations to water the seeds of faith. Job asks if we know God or have we only heard about him?
Cooper cited many instances in her own life where she had to rely on faith: homelessness, sickness, family crises, bad relationships and crazy appointments. When she was too busy taking care of others, God provided caretakers for her.
“God has been there and faith has sustained me,” Cooper said. “Faith is more than just saying so. Don’t lose faith in bad circumstance because God is still on the throne.”
The women honored those among them who were retiring—Revs. Shirley Williams Dingle and Jo Ann Armstrong—as well as those being commissioned and ordained—Angela Ford Nelson as a provisional elder and Cheryl G. Johnson as a full elder.
The Rev. Telley L. Gadson brought greetings from the National Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church. Gadson is the president of the group.
Special music was provided by Howard Beeks, Marsha McKinney and Juana Slade.