Check Out My Article in Christian Standard! (I Interviewed My Dad!)

Me and my family….

Hello World,

Since Black History Month, the shortest month of the year, is not over yet, check out an article I wrote about my personal Black History LOL for Christian Standard this month. I was blessed to be able to write about the ministry of my father Dr. Denzil D. Holness, who recently retired after 38 years serving as pastor of Central Christian Church in Southwest Atlanta. Although I lived with my father as I grew up and again for a few years after I graduated from college, I still discovered some things about him that I didn’t know. In fact, I think everyone should interview their parents beyond the day-to-day interactions because I’m sure you will gain a new perspective on the people whose genes you share…

Pastor Denzil Holness Spreads a Message of Racial Reconcilation…

Had Denzil D. Holness been hired as a pastor in Coward, South Carolina, or Peculiar, Missouri, or any other out-of-the-way American town or city, he may not have been led to take on racial reconciliation in the Christian church. However, since Holness was hired as the first black pastor at Central Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “The City Too Busy to Hate,” it would seem tackling racial reconciliation was God’s plan for him all along.

Committed to Christian Church Principles

Holness became CCC’s pastor in September 1979 and in December 2017, he retired from ministry after 38 years serving that church. Holness began his journey with the Christian church when he was a teenager in his homeland of Jamaica, which boasts the motto, “Out of Many, One People.” Originally a member of the Anglican church, Holness was persuaded by a friend to join the Christian church because of its principles.

“The more I learned about the Christian church, the more I became committed,” Holness said. “For example, we believe that all Christians should be one. We don’t use denominational labels or names. If the world is to be won to Christ, then believers should bear witness to a visible unity in accordance with the Lord’s prayer in John 17.”

Just before Holness graduated from high school, Fred Kratt, a missionary from the United States, visited Jamaica one summer and was instrumental in arranging for the young man to receive a full scholarship to attend Minnesota Bible College, Kratt’s alma mater.

“Prior to receiving that scholarship, I had been under the conviction that the Lord was calling me to the ministry,” Holness said. Although he received a catalog about the school before he started there, he did not realize Minnesota was much colder than sunny Jamaica. “That first winter, it was so cold, I almost cried,” Holness said with a smile.

Fast forward from the 1960s to April 1979. By then, Holness was married to fellow Jamaican Alice May Holness, and they had a daughter, me, and a son, Delvall.

Read the rest of the story at

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Remembering Annabelle Pomeroy: An Open Letter to First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Pastor Frank Pomeroy & Sherri Pomeroy…

Hello World:

Editor’s Note: Since I learned about the mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas, I’ve struggled about how to address this mass tragedy on this blog. What follows below is my attempt at addressing what is plainly an aberration from God’s perfect will for His people.  

Dear Pastor and Mrs. Frank Pomeroy,

A week ago, this very day, the simply unimaginable become a grotesque reality. Although 26 lives were taken (not lost because I believe those lives can be found in the bosom of Jesus), as a pastor’s daughter, I identify the most with Annabelle, your 14-year-old daughter. From various media reports, she loved your small, humble church and the people in it. Although the two of you adopted her, she was raised by the church, First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 

Although I am way past 14 (add 30 to that number), I remember what it was like to be a 14-year-old pastor daughter’s. Although I have two parents, my small church, Central Christian Church in southwest Atlanta, where I still attend, raised me too. As I grew up, I sometimes hated the extra scrutiny that came with being a pastor’s daughter, but I still reveled in the love lavished on me for that very reason. By the time I was 14, I had entered awkward phase where I wasn’t quite a little girl but not self-possessed enough to be a woman either. And I was teased because of it. My glasses were too big. I hadn’t discovered the most attractive hairstyle for my face yet. I was a bit fluffy. And I often couldn’t think of the cool things to say when more than one person was involved.

But all of that angst and self-consciousness melted away from the warmth of love and acceptance of church members as soon as I entered the church’s doors. The itty-bitty kids whom I towered over although I was short didn’t care that glasses covered my face, they could still see the love in my eyes as I picked them up and spun them in the air or tickled their round bellies. And when that didn’t work, Now & Laters or peppermints or anything sweet worked. The elderly people asked me how I was doing as they hugged me. Their hugs felt like worn soft blankets.  The adults my parents age took a personal interest in my development and gave me leads on new opportunities. One church member helped me to get my first paying job at 14 years old! And the kids my own age and bit older sometimes teased me too, but it was no more than the teasing you would expect in a normal family. When the world outside of the church’s doors depleted me, I could fill up on the love from my church family.

Below are some reflections I’ve come across about your daughter:

  • Annabelle, also known as Belle, loved attending her father’s church, so much so that family members said she would beg to sit in the front row — even when her parents weren’t there.  “Texas Church Shooting: Who Were the Victims of the Sutherland Springs Massacre?”
  • “She had to give me my hugs,” Rod Green said Thursday. “She was totally sweet, innocent and sweet.” That vision sticks in the mind of Green, a Vietnam veteran who says he never expected to see the kind of carnage in this small town that he saw in Saigon during the Tet Offensive. “Killed in church shooting, pastor’s daughter was ‘totally sweet’”
  • “You couldn’t go to Sutherland Springs Baptist Church and not see her,” Debbie Marx said. “She was always helping the Sunday School teacher with the small children.” “Killed in church shooting, pastor’s daughter was ‘totally sweet’”
  • “We will always remember that beautiful smile,” another person said. “These Are The Victims Of The Texas Church Shooting”

Now, as the last days of my parents’ ministry at Central Christian Church are being counted down (My father retires at the end of December.), I realize that my small church heritage is the biggest gift he could have ever given me. No material possession could ever match the spiritual riches invested me through the love of this small church. That is why at the head of this blog, I am pictured in the sanctuary of this small church. Everything I’ve become and hope to become can be traced back to what I learned there.  It is my foundation and my springboard. From what I’ve read about Annabelle, she felt the same way.

None of us will live forever in this realm and only God knows how much time we have here, but know that you could have given Annabelle nothing greater than the love she found within the doors of your small, humble church. I have nothing against megachurches or big churches, but there is something special about knowing everyone’s name, seeing them close enough to notice acne or the growth of a new gray hair and feeling compelled to go to everyone’s graduation, wedding and funeral. A beloved deacon that I’ve known since I was six years old passed away earlier this year, and I cannot think of him too long before tears congregate at the corners of my eyes. But I am comforted by the countless sweet memories I have of him from his large, soft hands to him telling me I looked pretty last October, the last time I remember seeing him in church before he came ill. 

I pray that your memories and the memories of members of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs of your precious Annabelle rush to your mind even as you grieve her loss. I’ve read that the church building will function as a memorial site today and this week rather than a site for church services. May all who enter the doors be surrounded by God’s love that overflowed there Sunday after Sunday despite the damage the devil inflicted there last Sunday…

With All of My Heart,

A Pastor’s Daughter

The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs website has links to legitimate GoFundMe campaigns that have been created to support the families of the victims. One of those campaigns is the Sutherland Springs “Annabelle” Fund.  If you can donate, please do so.

Any thoughts?

Comedian, TV & Radio Personality Rickey Smiley Set to Release Debut Book ‘Stand By Your Truth: And Then Run For Your Life!’

Hello World,

Visit a church, comedy club, college campus, or barber shop, and it’s not easy to find people who aren’t familiar with, or lifelong fans of, Rickey Smiley and his outrageous morning show radio crew. As the host of the huge nationally syndicated The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, which draws in at least 4 million listeners every day, he’s also the star of his hit TV show Rickey Smiley for Real – one of the only reality show series to address life as a single dad. Plus, he has 8 chart-topping comedy albums.

But Rickey’s always had something more offer — and it’s more revealing than anything he’s done so far. STAND BY YOUR TRUTH: And Then Run for Your Life! (Gallery Books; Hardcover; October 24, 2017) is part memoir, part testimonial, and part life guide – mixing Rickey’s down-home humor with values learned from three generations of elders, the Baptist church, and some of the most celebrated mentors in entertainment (aka Steve Harvey).

Written as much for parents as it is for their young adults, STAND BY YOUR TRUTH offers tough-love conviction, both in turns funny and earnest, on straight talk such as:

  • How it’s impossible to come back from mistakes without self-forgiveness
  • Why “The Deadbeat Dad” is a myth
  • How to break out of that comfort zone — because you are not a chicken
  • The often untold ups and downs raising kids (and teenagers) as a single father
  • Proof success can only happen when opportunity meets long preparation
  • Ways speaking up for yourself is nothing to be ashamed of, so “Handle Your Business”
  • Why, now more than ever, our lives depend on what we stand for — and then sticking by it

In a time when we are craving world-wise humor as much as insight, STAND BY YOUR TRUTH by the one and only Rickey Smiley is here to deliver on both.


Any thoughts?