It’s First Lady Friday Featuring…Denedriane Dean, First Lady of Word Ministries Christian Outreach Church in Harrisonburg,Virginia!

Hello World,

During Women’s History Month, I’ve launched a new feature featuring First Ladies! In thinking about my mother who was the First Lady of Central Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia for 38 years before my father retired in 2017 and after reading Kimberla Lawson Roby’s final Rev. Curtis Black book “Better Late Than Never” which explored Charlotte’s desire to not be a typical First Lady, it dawned on me that I should feature First Ladies, which are revered positions particularly in the black church. Everyone is always talking about what the pastor of this church and that church is doing, but First Ladies are equally as important as the pastors to whom they are married! So once per month, on a Friday of course, I am featuring a First Lady. So if you know of a First Lady who should be featured, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com because I’m looking for notable First Ladies to feature!

So with that being said, let me present to some and introduce to others the First Lady of Word Ministries Christian Outreach Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Pastor Denedriane (Dee Dee) Dean…

Below is her biography followed by my interview with her. Read, enjoy and share!

Pastor Denedriane (Dee Dee) Dean is a lover of God and of people. She is a native of Hampton, Virginia, and a 1992 graduate of James Madison University. JMU is where she met the love of her life, Pastor Art Dean. They wed in 1993, and have three smart, funny and creative young adult children: Tre, Dominique, and Adia. Pastor Dee has co-pastored Word Ministries Christian Outreach Church in Harrisonburg Virginia, alongside her husband, since 2004. She oversees the ministries of Worship & Arts, Intercessory Prayer, and Thrive, a ministry to women. Together, Pastors Art & Dee are commissioned to build people, build community, and watch God change lives by the power of His Word!

*note: Denedriane is pronounced Dee-KNEE-dree-en 🙂

1. How do you feel about the term “First Lady” and is Word Ministries Christian Outreach Church the first church where you have served as First Lady? 

So I will answer it backwards. Yes, it is the first church that we have served as co-pastors. First and only. We started in 2004. It has been an adventure and a blessing. We started out as co-pastors right out of the gate. It was something that my husband really wanted so when he was installed as lead pastor, senior pastor, he recognized that I was in the trenches with him so to speak. I was ministering to people as well, not necessarily on the same level as him because he was the one who was called and appointed to be a pastor. By that same token, I was alongside him, ministering, going to visit people. You know, just very active. So he wanted a title for me that reflected that involvement in ministry. We started attending our church as college students. Eventually, we were invited to be youth pastors. It was right before we got married.

Now, as far as the term ‘First Lady’ is concerned, I think any woman who serves alongside her husband should be honored with some type of title. But I’m not hung up on titles at the same time. I’m just for giving honor when honor is due. We learned from our spiritual parents. I didn’t want to be too casual with our interaction with our spiritual parents, and I learned to give honor even in a title. I’m very comfortable with that title, but we don’t happen to use it that much at Word Ministries. They just called me co-pastor right off the bat. I think the term ‘First Lady’ is a bit regional too. Like in this part of Virginia, it’s not so popular. We’re in the northwestern part of Virginia so it’s a little bit rural and a little bit city. But the term co-pastor stuck so that is their term for respect and honor.

 2. What is the “job description” of a First Lady?

She is a ‘co-carer’ for the flock. For me, it’s distilled down to that. I lead various ministries but that is going to be different for each First Lady because each woman has different strengths or different callings with respect to her gifts. But when it comes down to it, I think our best job description is to care for the people alongside my husband.

 3. What is the best part and what is the worst part about being a First Lady?

The best part is to be able to influence and bring opportunities to other ladies. As God is giving me opportunities to see and experience new things, He’s also given me a heart to share that with the ladies, not only to ladies, but primarily with ladies in the church. I can share there is another way of operating, whether it be spiritually or practically, in life. I’m not perfect, but as I learn more, I want to share that with the ladies and be a positive influence. I share what God has done for me and where He has brought me from.

I think ‘worst’ is a strong word. But sometimes, being in this role can be a little bit isolating so I have to make intentional steps to be very connected to my family and other women who are in similar positions, other First Ladies, other co-pastors. There are things that we walk through and experience that you just cannot land with just anybody. They have to be strategic people that God has placed in your life who can handle what you are carrying or bearing.

4. What are some misconceptions that people have about being a First Lady?

I think sometimes we can be misunderstood in terms of approachability. People may think I can’t really talk to her because she’s the First Lady or co-pastor. She’s up there and I’m still working through my own stuff. Maybe I can’t be as open or as vulnerable as I need to be. But I think that me being willing to be vulnerable with them makes them more able to be vulnerable with me.

Some people may think we’re stiff, like I’m only going to wear this or think this way or whatever. So each First Lady has to be who we are genuinely so people can know, just because you’re in leadership doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy life. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have things that you just gravitate toward. Like I love NASA! I’m interested in anything that has to do with space and my whole church knows that!

5. You are over the Worship & Arts Ministry at your church. Tell me more that ministry and your involvement.

I became worship leader the year before we became pastors. Over the years we’ve had arts involvement, but it’s mostly been worship. So we have seen different iterations of our worship team. We’ve had a full band. We’ve had a not-so-full band. It’s been an adventure. But we praise Him with whatever we have.

6. You blog on two different websites – your website refreshingtalk.com and travelingmom.com. How did you get into blogging and tell me about these two websites? 

That was related to my homeschooling experience. I homeschooled all three of my children at different points of their lives: the oldest and youngest all the way through and the middle one went to public high school in ninth grade. In saying that, I wanted them to write more so in 2010, I thought well, I’ll start a blog and they can write for the blog. Their blogging lasted for a hot minute, but mine continued. I discovered that I liked blogging and here I am, nine years later, still blogging. With the travel blog, it was something that I looked into. I found that it was a good match for what I wanted to do. I wrote for that blog for a year, but my children  started going through different seasons, like going to college, so I had to focus my attention elsewhere. But recently I have reconnected with travelingmom.com so I hope to do more travel writing.

Recently, I went to the NASA Space X launch out of my love for all things space. I was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia so if you know anything about the book ‘Hidden Figures’ and the people who that book is about and even the author, they are from the NASA Langley area or Hampton. We were kind of surrounded by NASA and all things space just growing up. It was a part of my  upbringing.  So NASA has what they call ‘Socials’ and you can apply to attend an event. If you get selected, you get to witness a launch or whatever the focus is and you get the opportunity to speak with people who may have missions on that particular launch, who have been working on something for a decade and now their particular mission is launching into space. I was able to tour the facility at Kennedy Space Center which was really a treat because that’s where all the history of NASA and all of the Apollo missions are located. It was a great blessing just to be able to go and feel that for myself. This is the second social that I’ve attended.

Click on THIS LINK to see a news report about Pastor Dee Dee’s NASA experience!

My first one was in Hampton, Virginia earlier this year. When NASA made their big Moon to Mars announcement when they laid out their plans to go back to the moon and then from there to Mars. So I was selected to attend that event. It was a one-day event. I’ve been bitten by the NASA Social bug so I plan to apply others as they fit in my schedule. My family and church schedule comes first so it was a blessing that this last event worked around my two priorities.

7. As you have three young adult children, are you an empty nester? 

They are still here. One just graduated from college. My oldest son is Tre and he’s 23 years old. He graduated from JMU this past May. Our middle and oldest daughter Dominique is a rising senior at JMU so she will be coming out in 2020. Our baby daughter Adia will be 19 in August. She’s trying to figure out what she wants – if her path will look similar to her brother and sister’s path at JMU. That is where Art and I met and that is how we got to Harrisonburg period. We met, finished school, got married and never left the area.

How sweet!

Again, if you know of a First Lady who should be featured, please e-mail me at jacqueline@afterthealtarcall.com because I’m looking for notable First Ladies to feature! And if you would like to have conversations about faith, relationship, pop culture and more, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂! Finally, if you missed the second post of First Lady Friday, please click on It’s First Lady Friday Featuring…Kirstyn Mayden, First Lady of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Upperco, Maryland!

Any thoughts?

Single Mother Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins Was Expelled From Church, Now First Female Pastor of St. Matthew’s Baptist Church…

Hello World,

Happy Mothers Day to the all of the mothers out there! On this Mothers Day, I want to highlight Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins, who is the tenth pastor and first female to lead the nearly 95-year-old St. Matthew’s Baptist Church located in Harlem, New York.  However, 24 years ago she was expelled from the church because she was pregnant and unwed. Please read her biography below followed by my interview of her.

Pastor of Harlem’s St. Matthew’s Baptist Church, Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins received her bachelor’s degree in speech communications with an emphasis in journalism from Pace University and attained the degree of master of divinity from New York Theological Seminary.  She is currently a doctoral student at McCormick Theology Seminary as a Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Scholar.

Additionally, Rev. Jenkins has taught New Testament Studies and Biblical Exegesis at New York Theological Seminary, and serves as an adjunct lecturer of Cultural Diversity in the History and Philosophy Department at York College/City University of New York.  In addition to her pastoral and academic work, Rev. Jenkins lectures and facilitates workshops and seminars on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, Balancing Family & Ministry, Single Parenting, Mental Health & the Black Church, Women in Ministry and more. Rev. Jenkins is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, the NAACP and is an advocate of both adults & children with ADHD.

She is also the author of the recently released book The Other Side of Through: Messages of Hope, Empowerment, Justice and Faith, a compilation of powerful sermons preached by Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins. A combination of devotion and ethnography, the sermons delivered with Rev. Jenkins’ unique style and humor capture the rich tradition of the African-American religious experience which comb the scriptures in search of the gospel that will break the yokes of oppression and injustice while offering hope and redemption.

As a pastor, she brings over 30 years of diverse experience gained in the corporate sector, academia and in faith-based settings.  Her experiences include modeling on the stage of the world famous Apollo Theatre, singing with the Grammy Award-winning Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, working as on-air radio announcer, and serving on community boards, city task forces and various non-profit organizations.

Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins is the proud mother of Jordan Christopher Jenkins-Crandle.

1. How were you expelled from your church?

Yes, I was kicked out of the church. I was expelled from church. I did return eventually. I was pregnant, but I was 28 years old. I was old (laughter). I was a grown woman out of college. At that time, I was working for RJR Nabisco. It was a Fortune 100 company at that time. As a matter of fact, I had just handed in my resignation because I was traveling with Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. I was traveling with Hezekiah Walker. I remember we did the ‘Live at Morehouse’ album, and I was so sick and I was so tired. We did it in January. I had no idea I was pregnant and then I found out I was pregnant. I remember Bishop Walker. He wasn’t a bishop at the time, but he was so kind to me. I was lying in bed one day. I was just lamenting my life.  I had done so much but here I was at this point and time pregnant.

I remember Bishop Walker calling me because he was starting his church, and he asked was I able to help out with something. I remember I was boohooing. I said, ‘I can’t. I’m pregnant. I can’t do anything.’ And I will never forget. He said, ‘Lisa, don’t worry about a thing. Children are never a mistake. God has got you. God is going to keep your child. Know that I’m here for you, Love Fellowship is here for you. Don’t worry about a thing.’ He was just so encouraging.

But at my church, it was different. I wasn’t holding any leadership positions at my church Ebenezer Baptist Church in Flushing, Queens. I think I was singing in the choir but nothing else. My pastor said to me that I should stop coming for a while. This conversation was by phone. I don’t remember how he found out. It was all a haze. I remember not understanding what he was saying because certainly I was not the first female to be pregnant and unwed at that church. I do remember he said, ‘You’re starting to show and you’re not like the others.’ I remember being speechless. He said, ‘You’re one of the leaders.’ And I remember saying, ‘I’m not in leadership. I’m not holding any offices.’ He said, ‘You’re very visible.’

Later on though, he invited me back to the church a few weeks later after people had found out that he asked me to stop coming to the church. Because my son’s father was the minister of music and was still playing the organ at the church. My son’s father is a good person, but marriage was not an option or feasible. But my pastor never really apologized though. I did not go back right away, but I did go back. I was away from the church three or four months or so.

I eventually had my son in 1994 and my church was very welcoming. The next thing I knew the pastor that told me not to come to the church licensed me to preach the gospel three years later in 1997. He wound up saying that he did not know how to handle the situation because he thought there was a calling on my life. Again, he never apologized, but I took it for what it was: someone who grew up in a different era who although he wasn’t against women in ministry, but we live in a very patriarchal society.

2. How did you receive your call to ministry?

A lot of people will tell me that they were called to ministry. I never tell anyone I was called to ministry. It was something that was validated by other people always. Other people in the church, mothers in the church. My previous pastor’s wife. I was always asked to speak, preside at banquets. I was always asked to introduce people.

So there was a Youth Day coming up. It was 1995 or 1996 I think. And my pastor called me and said, ‘I need for you to speak for Youth Day.’ I said, ‘Sure, not a problem.’ I said, ‘Is that going to be before the preacher or after the preacher?’ He said, ‘No, I need for you to speak.’ I said, ‘Well, who is going to be the preacher?’ He said, ‘There is no preacher. It’s just going to be you.’ I remember just standing there because I was on the phone. I wasn’t comprehending because in my mind, you have to have a preacher.  I said, ‘What is this? I thought you said it was Sunday morning. Is this an afternoon event? Is this a banquet?’ He said, ‘It’s Sunday morning service and it’s Youth Day. I need for you to be the main speaker. You’re going to speak from the podium from the lectern on the side. But when it comes time for the Word, you’re going to be it. ’ And mind you, this is two years after I had my son. I said, ‘Okay.’

I remember getting of the phone and I remember calling, we call her Ya-Ya. God rest her soul. Her actual name is Percynthia Brown. She was one of the mothers of the church and I called her because I was confused. I said, ‘Ya-Ya, Pastor just called me and he wants me to speak. But he says there is not going to be a preacher.’ She said, ‘Baby, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. God has a calling on your life.’ So I spoke. It was a great service. The message was well-received. We had a wonderful time in the Lord.

And shortly after that, Pastor said, ‘I want you to have your trial sermon. How do you feel about that?’  By that time, on my own,  I was already going to a Bible institute in the community. Also, there was another church that had a Baptist institute that I attended. This was not for preaching or professional ministry.  This was just to learn more about God on my own. I have always been a learner and a reader. I was reading the Bible at 2 a.m. in the morning on my own.

So I had a trial sermon on the last Sunday in October in 1997. It was a packed house. My sermon title was ‘The Least Likely.’ It was based on 1 Samuel where David was the least likely to be chosen to be the king of Israel. Out of all of Jesse’s sons who were kingly, David was in the back with the sheep and the prophet said, ‘Is there another? Don’t you have another son?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I do but he’s out in the back. But you don’t want him. Look at my other sons.’ Samuel said, ‘No bring your son from the back.’ So he was the least likely.

So from there, God just made a way. Whenever I went places, my son was with me. I had a collapsible bassinet in the trunk of my car.

3. You also credit your church mother with helping you with your calling to ministry to ministry. Is there anyone else who helped you as well?

My actual mother Lucy Mae Jenkins. She had me at 49 years old. They told her I was a tumor. And they told her that she should not have me when they found out that I was not a tumor. They told her she needed to have a medical abortion because it’s going to be dangerous for you. She said, ‘No, that’s not going to happen.’ She lived long enough to see me pastor my first church Blessed Trinity Baptist Church in Harlem. She had my brother at the age of 17 but after that, she had no other children until she had me.

4. Now that you’re a pastor of a church, if you had a woman to get pregnant in your congregation who was in leadership or just any woman, how would you deal with that?

How would I deal with that? I would be loving to her. I would do what Hezekiah Walker did and say, ‘God loves you.’ I would ask her what she needs. Is she okay? I don’t know how to answer that because to me it’s like breathing. Like when someone is going through something, you say, ‘What can I do for you?’ Is there anything that the church can do for you? Do you need support?’ And she may be fine. She may be vice-president of a corporation with a family behind her or she could be a single mother on public assistance living in projects around the corner.

The Bible says that we are supposed to be kind to one another and that we aren’t supposed to gossip. That there shouldn’t be adultery. That we clothe and feed the hungry. The Bible tells us lots of things that we do not do. The church is full of people who treat each other in nasty ways but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about someone who has gotten pregnant out of wedlock which needs to dealt with compassion. We need to make sure that the person’s needs are taken care of and that they continue to be reconciled to Christ just like all of us when we wake up in the morning and we have things happen to us throughout the day that might go against the will of God. I’m one of those people who is beyond this nitpicking about which sin is worse.

I would never tell someone not to come to church. Are you kidding me?

5.What about if they were in leadership?

Depends upon what the ministry is. If they were a preacher or pastor, I would counsel them. I would hope they had enough humility to do what is necessary for their own sake, for their own spiritual well-being. If you are in a leadership position, I should not have to sit anyone down. I would leave that to God because God will deal with that. Because there are some times when we all need to take a retreat or a sabbatical whether you’re pregnant or not.

6. What have been the blessings and challenges of being a single parent and minister?

Childcare and making sure that his needs were taken care of. But I did have a very supportive network. When I traveled  to preach or went some place to lead a study, they knew that I had my son with me. Sometimes, he would sit with the First Lady or if I had someone that came with me, my son would sit with that person. It was challenging but doable.

7. Any advice for single parents?

A lot of single parents are praying for a husband or wife to assist them, but my prayer is that God’s will be done in your life and that you be strengthened and encouraged in your singleness and for whatever God has in store for you, knowing that God is able to do all things. I remember when my son was younger, I would pray for a partner, but I realized it was for the wrong reasons.  I would say, ‘I wish I had someone to help me take this garbage out. I’m so tired.’ ‘I wish I had someone to help me rake these leaves.’ ‘Oh my goodness, it’s snowing outside. I need someone to help me shovel this snow.’ ‘I need someone to help me get up in the middle of the night and change diapers.’ But God is our help. And when I think back, those were really selfish reasons. The right reason is that God would send someone who is necessary so that His will would be accomplished in both of their lives.

Paul says that it’s not sinful to be single. If you are single, then you can devote more of your time to the Lord. And if you’re married, your time is devoted to your spouse.

I’m very comfortable in my singleness now, but if it’s God will to be married one day, then absolutely. But I love walking into an empty house each day!

For more information about Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins, go to her website: lisadjenkins.org.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there 🙂

Any thoughts?

Greenleaf Finale Recap, Season 3 Episode 13: The New Life…

Hello World,

Happy Thanksgiving! I found myself smiling (although I almost lost it for a second) throughout this season finale despite all of the pain inflicted and promises broken during Season 3, but I’ll stop starting and start this Greenleaf Finale Recap, Season 3 Episode 13: This New Life…

How To Save a Life…

Chile, Karine almost got herself killed when she interrupts Basie holding a gun ready to pull the trigger, sending Bishop on a one-way trip to Heaven’s gates. But Bishop convinces Basie to let her leave and Basie ends up not ending Bishop’s life on this earth after all. “Oh Bishop, you’ve got some amazing faith. Too bad it’s misplaced,” Basie says to Bishop.

Lady Mae and the rest of the church for that matter still have no idea what is going on as Lady Mae brings her sermon to a close. Maxine is pleased as punch with her protégé’s performance. “Girlfriend, not even Peter could deny what happened up there. Girlfriend, you got a church!” But before the balloons can be released, they are quickly deflated when they are informed that Bishop was held up by Basie in his office. Lady Mae rushes to Bishop, grabbing him at the knees like she still has feelings for ex-husband. “That man came to kill you.” “I’m okay,” Bishop says as he sweats in his chair.

“You need to rest,” Lady Mae says tenderly. “I’m sorry I didn’t come to see you preach, but it sounded like the Spirit showed up. Mae, the church is yours.” Lady Mae cannot believe that finally after all of this time, Bishop finally believes in her calling. “Oh thank you, thank you James,” she says with tears in her eyes. “You’ve earned it,” Bishop says.

Across town at Jacob’s house, Charity calls her brother to tell him what happened. After making sure that his father is alright, Jacob leverages the family crisis to his advantage. “It was just one kiss. Can we stop talking about divorce?” Kerissa seems like she agrees that now especially is not the time to cause any more splits in the Greenleaf family. But unfortunately, there is more bad news to hear. Joseph from Triumph’s accounting department calls and tells Jacob that he is out at Triumph after the FBI raid. “That son of a b**** stole our church.”

After all of that, over lunch, Grace meets with Deaconess Connie and Phillip Demars of Harmony & Hope Ministries. Connie launches into a laundry list of Calvary’s mishaps under the leadership of the Greenleafs. “No one understands my church’s failures better than me,” Grace says. However, Grace points out that Lady Mae showed out at “A Day With Lady Mae.” “My mother raised the roof.” But Connie and Phillip could care less about Lady Mae’s calling. Connie wants the church to join forces with Harmony & Hope and Phillip asks Grace to be the interim pastor for a year while the merger is made. “Can I have a week to pray about it?” Grace asks. The two agree with her request.

Hard Knock Life…

As Grace and Lady Mae take a walk on the Greenleaf estate, Grace uses the moment to tell her what happened with Deaconness Connie. Bishop and Lady Mae will be able to retire will full benefits once Harmony & Hope take over with Grace as the interim pastor. Of course Lady Mae is mad that Grace didn’t reject the offer outright and says that the church was “resurrected only to have it driven back to the grave.” Wayment, Grace says. Well, not literally, but figuratively. “You have beaten me down for decades with for YOUR betrayal.” Lady Mae tries to walk off, but stops when Grace keeps on talking. “Aaron and I took a blood test. Lionel is my father.” Spouting off the poetry she has become known for, she says this news will mean that her “shameful mistake will be memorialized forever.” Lady Mae also says she will tell Bishop he is not Grace’s father and finally, FINALLY an apology. “I’m sorry, and I’m ashamed. I never meant to bring so much shame to so many,” she says before walking away from her daughter.

In the next scene, Jacob goes to see his father at Calvary. “You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he says to his son. Jacob fills him on the fact that the Triumph board has removed him from the pastorate for being an irresponsible steward of the church’s money. Bishop tells his son to keep his head up though. He’s been watching him preach on TV and believes that his son can actually preach. Does Bishop really mean that or is he just feeling all sentimental and sweet since he almost lost his life? Anywho, Bishop invites Jacob to go with him to the deacon board meeting to watch Lady Mae do some damage. “Your mother is about to put down rebellion in the ranks.”

Lady Mae reminds me Connie of how the church responded to her and while Connie says she has a “convincing case,” the church still would rather be merged with Harmony & Hope. What did she do that for? Lady Mae lets her have it, calling her a “Judas in a bad pants suit” and saying the church should “launch you from the roof in a water cannon.” LOL Connie then brings out some papers. Lady Mae asks her if that is a “list of grievances dating back to Genesis?” “No, it’s a petition signed by 2,000 members,” Connie answers. She says the Greenleafs have dragged the members of the church through their mud for over 40 years. Ouch. “It’s time for a change.” Bishop admits that he needs to step down, but he points out that Lady Mae should be allowed to step up.

But after the meeting, something unexpected again happens. “Are you headed over to Percy’s?” Lady Mae asks Bishop. When he says yes, she says, “Would you like to come over for dinner? I will cook.” “I would love that,” Bishop replies. Awww, sookie, sookie, now…

Another reconciliation is underway at Jacob’s house as well. “Who is going run Calvary?” Kerissa asks Jacob after learning about the Harmony & Hope merger. Kerissa tells Jacob he better make sure that he is on the short list of candidates because she needs her child support money. Then she tells him to forget about getting her child support money because she’s not going anywhere. “You’re not going to seize this opportunity without me to guide you. Harmony & Hope is a gigantic deal.” And this is the Kerissa I remember from Season 1. A real goal digger. And maybe this is why Jacob married her because she can make his dreams come true. And maybe he is recalling their wedding night because the man clears the dinner table and serves himself a helping of Kerissa’s love right then and there. And I’m here for all of it. As the helpmate to her husband, a woman should help her husband’s dreams come true. Now, don’t get me wrong. That should go both ways, but right now we’re talking about Kerissa.

Speaking of culinary confessions, over dinner back at the Greenleaf estate, Lady Mae says, “James, I have something to tell you. Grace is Lionel’s daughter.” Surprisingly calm, Bishop responds with, “Well, now, we’re even.” “That’s all you have to say to me?” says Lady Mae, who is truly stunned. With a smile, he tells her that, “You can’t lose me over it, and you already kicked me out the door.” And that was the final twist of the key that unlocks Lady Mae’s love for Bishop once again. “Would you please come home?” He agrees if Lady Mae agrees to heal her relationship with Grace. “You and your daughter are more alike than you want to admit…It’s no use coming back to this house if we can’t live as a family. Real family.”

Moment 4 Life…

Basie’s back, but’s it’s just for a moment. He calls Tasha trying to lure him into going with him and Rochelle to Cancun. “Stop calling me please,” Tasha says. Basie tells her that Jacob doesn’t want her so she has no reason to stay around Memphis. But it’s clear that Tasha wants a fresh start especially since she was able to make a deal with the FBI. “You need to take the money back, Basie.” “Hasta Luego,” Basie says. He’s talking to her while he is shopping at a gas station convenience store where his bill comes up to $40.17. He puts down $40 and a big guy dressed in black, who is behind him, puts down the 17 cents. Basie says 17 is his “blessed number” and thanks the man although he is skeptical about the man given his appearance. He then hops into a black convertible with his half-sister and the big guy jumps in his black truck and follows them! (He probably owes him some money from his gambling days.) I guess more will be revealed in Season 4!

Speaking of money, but lots of money in this case, Aaron tells Grace that she will be receiving $3 million from Lionel’s estate. Aaron, on the other hand, received nothing given the fact that his father never gave him love nor respect while he was alive anyway. And is it just me or do the two of them actually favor?

Apparently Grace has agreed to be interim pastor while Calvary is merged with Harmony & Hope after all. She meets with Bob Whitmore of Harmony & Hope. Apparently, he will oversee the merger. He tells her that he heard she is a prophet and she needs to be a “voice that can unify this congregation.”

In the next scene, Grace meets with Bishop. She tells him that she wants to help him get out of trouble with the IRS. “Daddy, this is going to sound strange, but I’ve come into some money and I want you to have it.” He seems to gloss over what she has just told him to get to the more important matter. “In this family, we don’t live by the flesh. We live by the Spirit. In the Spirit, you are my daughter, my beloved daughter, and you always will be.” Y’all, I just wanted to hug them both. That moment was one of the best moments this season. Grace is Bishop’s daughter in every way that counts.

On Sunday, Bishop, dressed in his purple robe, reveals the status of Calvary as it stands now to the congregation. “This is my last Sunday preaching.” He reminds them that Moses, who was a man of God but with faults, was not allowed to go into the Promised Land with the people he led there. Watching from a mountain, Moses couldn’t go into the land of milk and honey because he failed to trust in God. “I always thought Moses felt angry and sad… but I know today that Moses felt proud to be on that mountain…He knew that each of them earned their ticket to glory. I know he felt grateful to have been on that adventure at all.” Y’all this was a triumphant moment with the standing ovation, but I did feel sad too. Everything can’t remain the same always, but I feel there is more work for Bishop to do at Calvary. What about you?

But maybe God has something else in mind because Bishop, with his hand raised in the air, gets to swaying and eventually drops to the ground. His family encircles him. “I think it’s my heart,” he manages to say. “God gave me a vision of my death and this is the moment. I love you. I love you so much.” “James, stay with us,” Lady Mae says to Bishop. I would have cried, but I was taking notes so I had to keep it together!

In the next scene, Bishop’s granddaughters who are wearing black are walking with one another on the Greenleaf estate. Zora tells her cousin Sofia that she will be going to therapy to explore why she “wasted so much time on that piece of trash boyfriend” (Amen) and she is thinking of auditioning to go to a school in New York! “Good plan,” Sophia says. They agree to never stop talking to each other again no matter what. Awww…

And then inside the house, Lady Mae, who is also in black, announces that Jacob and family are moving back home. She also tells Grace that she will “make things right between us” from here on out and wants to help her daughter! A miracle in their midst! (Aside: Kerissa announces that she is charge of her family with Jacob, not Jacob, when Zora did something that Kerissa did not agree with beforehand I guess. What’s up with that?! More will be revealed about this in Season 4 as well. I don’t think Jacob and Kerissa are going to make it as a couple after this comment. No man wants to be led by a woman…Get ready for Jacob and Tasha in Season 4…)

Y’all, I thought Bishop was for sure dead then, but then he shows up as the family (including Kevin & Aaron), all of whom are dressed in black, gather around the dinner table. Apparently, he was in the hospital for two weeks and he is now officially retired from the pastorate. “I thought the Lord gave me a vision for my last day on earth…In a sense it was, because I feel like I’m in heaven. He’s given me a new day with my family. It’s the real promised land.”

“Grace would you do the blessing?” Lady Mae asks. What?!! “Pastor?” Bishop says.

“I’d be glad to,” Grace says. She thanks God for “food, family and faith” and asks God that all three would sustain them enough to “take back what is ours!” The battle is over but the war is will still be waged in Season 4!

Thank you sooo much for reading my Greenleaf Finale Recap, Season 3 Episode 13: This New Life…and my other recaps so far. If you would like to keep up with OWN’s “Greenleaf,” and my recaps, please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂!

Any thoughts?