It’s First Lady Friday Featuring…Darline McElroy, First Lady of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Forney, Texas!

Hello World,

During Women’s History Month 2019, I’ve launched a new interview series 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 periodically, 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 Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church Darline McElroy!

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

Darline Amos-McElroy grew up in Leland, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, she settled in Dallas, Texas. Darline served in education where the storyline for I Ate the Cake: A Journey for Justice began. As a school counselor, Darline followed the responsibilities. As a servant of Jesus Christ, she followed the purpose of His calling. Darline resides with her husband, Pastor Robert B. McElroy and her four children in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. I Ate the Cake: A Journey for Justice is Darline’s debut book.

1.How do you feel about the term “First Lady?”

When my husband, Pastor Robert B. McElroy, and I accepted the call to Mt. Zion, we agreed to use the term Pastor’s wife. I equated “First Lady” as a position to be highly regarded as someone worthy of different treatment than others. However, my preference is to be one with people of God, so most often, I am referred to as Minister Darline, the Pastor’s wife, or simply my name. I have learned that the term is also one of endearment; therefore, I am not offended by the term as it is a tradition for many. In truth, the Pastor’s wife is set apart, so the choice of terminology doesn’t override expectations and responsibilities.

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

I chuckled when I heard this question, and one word came to my mind, all-encompassing. The First Lady is a wife first. With her love for her husband and wanting the best for him, she will do what supports him, whether cleaning the restrooms to leading praise and worship songs. The job description is different in each church depending on the available people and resources. The Pastor’s wife will also have a desire, like many Christians, to use her God-given gifts and talents. The description will evolve as the Pastor’s wife, or First Lady learns who she is in Christ. The most important is to support the Pastor’s vision and maintain balance within herself and for her family.

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

The best part is to assist my husband in creating a welcoming church culture for God’s people. My nature is to care, encourage, and protect, which many members need when coming in from a world that can be cruel. My training as a counselor assists me in the role of First Lady. My desire for each child and adult is for each person to reach their God-designed plans. God has placed me in a position to help others when needed. The worst part is learning balance. Mt. Zion is our first church where we have served as leaders. I can be a very driven person, so I tend to go “all in,” which can lead to energy and emotional depletion especially having my own family and career. However, I have very supportive members who often encourage both my husband and myself to slow down. I think I have reached a point of understanding.

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

The Pastor and his wife as human and have personal struggles. We are not above life as many believe. When we experience problems, it is exceptionally delicate, and often, we have no one to call on safely to release emotionally. Being a “First Lady” can be daunting if you regard yourself as above others. Self-perception is crucial. If I am one with the people, then I am just like others needing Christ to forgive my sins, give strength, and fulfill my life’s purposes. I realize that people have misconceptions; however, many have misconceptions about the uniqueness of being a Christian. For this reason, I remind myself often that I walk in the freedom of Christ, and my walk, actions, etc will help those misconceptions to change eventually.

5. How has your church transitioned during the COVID-19 pandemic and how has the transition affected your church? 

With the assistance of the church ministers, the church has transitioned well. My husband became ill during the early onset of the pandemic, and the ministers helped to transition the church. Initially, we used the phone lines that we use weekly for prayer. We are now using Zoom for Wednesday night Bible study and Sunday morning church service. Each week more members are getting involved. Our women and men groups also meet by Zoom once a month. The Pastor and the board members are working on a building project. With God’s favor, the church is doing well.

6. You worked in the field of education for many years but recently wrote the book I Ate the Cake: A Journey for Justice. Why did you decide to write a book and how did you come up with this interesting title?

Yes, I am a former school counselor and now a licensed professional counselor with an agency, having started Ellipsis Counseling Services. I decided to write the book for three reasons. First, I wrote, “at God’s word.” We see in the gospel of Luke 5:5 that Simon Peter was unsuccessful in his career. Jesus sends him back and tells him to drop the net. The summer I sought help from the district leaders, God told me to keep notes and records. I shared with one of my sisters on a road trip that God was leading me to write a book about the school district’s experiences. Writing the book was my response to God saying, “drop the net.” If placed in God’s hands, every talent or gift we have will capture people’s hearts and lead them to a place of encouragement, peace, or direction.

I also wrote because of Isaiah 30:8, “Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.” God encouraged and instructed Isaiah to write so that the children of God would realize that the writing would serve as a witness to their rebellion once God decided to act. In other words, it could not be said, “we didn’t know or didn’t understand.” As Christian, we are to serve God’s purposes in every life area, including our careers.

Lastly, I wrote the book because it has always been my desire to publish. I Ate the Cake: A Journey for Justice gave me excellent writing material. It is a testimony I never anticipated, and writing the memoir helped me release emotions and understand why God allowed these troubles to be on my journey. As for the title, the story tells the reason. At some point in life, we are all forced or tricked into taking a bite of things intended for harm, but God will turn it around.

7. What do you hope readers will learn from your book? 

My hope is readers will understand the importance of standing up for righteousness and allowing God to work through us daily. My prayer is that the memoir teaches we will have troubles in life, and not all of the problems are self-inflicted. Many issues come as an opportunity to do God’s work and honor His command to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” ( Genesis 1:28 NIV). We use God’s strength to accomplish “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV). Furthermore, I want readers to see that the Pastor’s wife or First Lady struggles to honor God just like others. I shared authentic lessons I had to learn as a follower of Christ. At the end of the day, we all walk the same road, trying to please God.

Any thoughts?

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 🙂!

The Burning Bush of the U.S. Capitol Building: What is God Saying to Us Through the Presidency of Donald J. Trump?

Hello World,

I try, as much as I can, to stay away from politics because it is a such divisive topic. But after watching the U.S. Capitol Building under siege last Wednesday, I must address it here. My goal is to not share my opinions although I have strong ones. My goal is to share critical thoughts that I hope Christians can use to help us all to discern what God is saying to us.

From the moment President Trump then just reality TV star Donald J. Trump began running for office in 2015, he has caused  controversy. There were those who didn’t take him nor his campaign seriously because he was known as reality TV star with a penchant for creating publicity. Many thought he was simply running for president as a way to expand his brand. But as the presidential race continued, one by one each Republican was knocked out of the race. And what a race it was. Name calling was one of his favorite tools in his arsenal. He called Jeb Bush “Low Energy Jeb.” Ted Cruz was “Lyin’ Ted.” “Little Marco” was his choice for Marco Rubio. It was funny for some but others were appalled. Due to this behavior as well as others qualities, Republicans still didn’t take him seriously until he was actually selected as the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election. Still, there remained a faction who referred to “Never Trumpers” who were dedicated to not getting on the Trump Train no matter who jumped on it.

Surprisingly for some, evangelical Christians were among those who jumped on board. Despite the Two Corinthians situation and Access Hollywood tape, evangelical Christians, by and large, voted for him while many other Christians, namely black Christians, didn’t support him for a variety of reasons including his questioning the birth certificate of our nation’s first black president Barack H. Obama and other incidents in which some believe that Trump demonstrated racism. This is a chasm that continues until this very day although there have been many well-known black Christians such as Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., for example, who support the president.

So I’m not going to provide an exhaustive rundown of all the controversies that have transpired in Trump presidency, but I will discuss some of the controversies that come to my memory as I write this. Think of it as a controversy highlight reel if you will…

  • While our nation is analyzing the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol Building under  siege today, it wasn’t that long ago when our nation was in an uproar about what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia in the summer of 2017, months after the president was inaugurated. Self-proclaimed white supremacists, holding their Nazi and Confederate flags and  tiki torches, took over a city in a “Unite the Right” rally.  Additionally, President Trump’s comment about “very fine people” at Charlottesville caused controversy.
  • While this was going on, the Russia investigation, in which Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was examined, unfolded like a soap opera with daily updates. The Mueller Report, as the investigation was led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, was released and became a bestselling book although it was free!
  • And while this going on, many people were still curious about Trump’s taxes which as far as I know he still hasn’t released although various news organizations have been able to acquire some information about his taxes.
  • And let me not leave out out the firings and resignations: Michael Cohen, Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus, John F. Kelly, Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Anthony Scaramucci, Hope Hicks, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Omarosa and more…way more actually but these are just a few of the names that come to mind as I’m writing this morning.
  • What about the “perfect phone call” also known as the Trump-Ukraine scandal? The long and short of it is that Trump was impeached behind that…
  • The Coronavirus Crisis: I’ve never experienced anything like this…Have you?

Now after what happened on Wednesday, the president has been booted off of social media, he has stated that he’s skipping the inauguration of President-elect Biden and he may be impeached for a second time. Again, this is not even exhaustive list of all of the controversies that transpired during the Trump presidency…

Both those who support President Trump and those who do not have to agree that many of these controversies are unprecedented in a presidency. When the Lord wanted to get Moses’ attention in a unique way, he was presented with a burning bush in which an angel of the Lord spoke to Him from the bush. Aside from an angel being in the midst of a burning bush, it was also unique that even though it burned, it was not consumed. I’m desperately hoping that is the case for this country. We are on fire, Saints, but I pray we are not consumed. The U.S. Capitol Building under siege is a sign that no one can ignore, and I think what has happened since is an indication that many others feel this way as well. It seems like some Democrats and Republicans are coming together to figure this all out in addition to Christians in both parties, and I believe that is good. What is God saying to us through the presidency of Donald J. Trump? I have many, many, many thoughts about what I think, but I won’t reveal them right now…

What say you?

Any thoughts?

Georgia Senate Candidate Pastor Raphael Warnock & His Church Elders Receive Death Threats According to Radio Personality Darlene McCoy

Hello World,

I should be surprised by this news, but nothing in politics surprises me anymore. But this news does sadden me. No one should receive death threats just because he or she is a political candidate, but to threaten the elders of a church is pure evil. Surely the devil and his agents are at work. See the Facebook post of Praise 102.5 Radio Personality Darlene McCoy below…

Pastor Warnock and the elders and leaders of his church are receiving death THREATS to their family JUST because He is…

Posted by Darlene Johnson McCoy on Thursday, December 10, 2020

 

Let’s pray for the safety of Pastor Warnock and the elders and leaders of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Even if you don’t agree with him politically, you should not want him, the elders of his church nor anyone for that matter harmed for political pursuits.

In other news, black ministers recently sent an open letter to Pastor Warnock to challenge him on his recent statements on abortion, according to the AJC.

Below are a few of the highlights:

*Dear Reverend Warnock,

We are a coalition of Black Christian ministers who, like you, feel called by God to preach the Bible, advocate for justice and fight against societal evils. We applaud your commendable efforts to share Christ while pursuing political solutions to our most pressing problems today.

But precisely because we share so much in common with you, we feel compelled to confront your most recent statements concerning abortion. You have gone on the record saying that you are a “pro-choice pastor” who will “always fight for reproductive justice.” You have publicly expressed your views that abortion is an exercise of “human agency and freedom” that is fully consistent with your role as a shepherd of God’s people.

*Abortion prematurely thwarts God’s providential and loving plan for a promising human life. And by terminating an innocent unborn life in the womb, abortion directly violates the seventh commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” God demands that every faithful Christian protect and uphold the sanctity of innocent human life, at every stage of life. Supporting abortion represents a serious abdication of and a transgression against that responsibility, just like the disrespect of the poor, the disabled, or the elderly.

Couching abortion in the language of “reproductive justice” may be savvy marketing, but killing an innocent human life has nothing to do either with reproduction or with justice. Do American adults really need another public voice urging them to put their own short-term desires ahead of the needs of their children? As a pastor who speaks for the Christian community, we implore you to speak the plain truth about a practice as barbaric and destructive as abortion.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Any thoughts?