"We've Come This Far By Faith"
Fifty-nine transformative years of delight and discovery! It is rewarding and refreshing to know the labor of ushers, past and present, who persevered and prospered on our behalf.
Mrs. Minnie E. Anderson (1943-1975) organized the National Baptist Convention Ushers Auxiliary in 1943. The ushers had no place to hold their meetings and had to assemble in hallways and garages. A decision made, by the Parent Body, allowed them to assemble with the Laymen Auxiliary. They were allocated two hours of meeting time on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Funds collected from Ushers were given to the Laymen and were to be reported to the Parent Body. However, financial reports listed Laymen only.
During the Annual Session the following year, President Anderson requested more meeting time. The Laymen refused the request prompting a walkout by the Ushers. Having discussed and assessed the situation, the Ushers walked the streets of Chicago, Illinois looking for a place to hold their meetings. This courageous group of Ushers hailed from the states of Arkansas., California, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, and Tennessee.
After blocks and blocks of walking, dripping with perspiration and aching feet, they met a man who listened to their story. He introduced them to a friend who owned a funeral home. Having rested and talked, they engaged themselves in a Spirit-filled service. The news of this endeavor reached the ear of the President, Dr. J.H. Jackson, who asked the Parent Body to accept the Ushers as an Auxiliary and to provide them with the same accommodations as other Auxiliaries.
President Anderson's humble beginning was one we could all emulate. She was a woman who picked up fans and paper from the floors long after service had concluded. She placed herself at doors without being assigned just to be available to meet and greet members and visitors attending services.
Lamenting over the fact that there were no organized involvement of young people in the Ushers Auxiliary, in September of 1973 President Anderson organized the National Young People Department. Supervisors appointed to this department were Evernetta Williams of California and Mamie Luckie of New York.
President Anderson faced many challenges and crossed many barriers and yet remained steadfast. From the inception of this great Ushers' Auxiliary in 1943 continuing through her thirty-two years of leadership, she was "just a woman standing at the door", but even then, she had VISA.
Mrs. Naomi Ellis (1976-1989) - Inspired by the leadership of our first president, President Ellis kept the momentum going. She served with the same fortitude and commitment.
A leader isn't leading if she isn't moving forward. President Ellis did not allow the successes of President Anderson keep her from pressing on to bigger and better things. She gave lavishly of her time and effort. Her sincerity and integrity earned her the respect and admiration of all of her fellow doorkeepers.
Mrs. Mamie Luckie (1990-1998) - Good followers make good leaders! President Luckie served as Vice President At Large to President Ellis. When leaders enjoy their work and feel it is meaningful, they are more productive and more open to improvement. Such a person was President Luckie; she found pleasure in her work. Perhaps it was because she was a Spirit-filled, dedicated Christian leader that spared no pain in speaking and teaching God's word. What a blessing to hear her speak?
We respect the service and leadership she provided to this Auxiliary for eight years. She is as committed and faithful today as she was during her tenure as President.
Mrs. Sallie N. Titus (1998-Present) - In 1998, President Titus became our fourth President under the Convention leadership of President Henry J. Lyons. She took a leap of faith and began her term believing in herself and her followers.
What shall I say about President Sallie N. Titus? That she is a woman of great character, who enjoys a splendid reputation for integrity, loyalty and faithfulness? Shall I enumerate on the love she has for the Ushers and Nurses Auxiliary or how she gives of her time and service to our Convention?
In integrating VISA into the Ushers and Nurses Auxiliary she has implemented and or accomplished the following:
- 4 - Appointed a Regional Director to restructure Geographical Regions
- Centralized consolidated registration and banking
- Developed a curriculum and course of study for classes
- Certified classes through the Sunday School Publishing Board
- Procured Study Guides for classes
- Publish an annual News Letter
- Provides quarterly reports to the President and Auditors
- Makes semi-annual reports to the Parent Body
President Titus has been the catalyst for change in this Auxiliary. After fifty-nine years our souls rejoice for we have witnessed much progress. We have been up and we have been down, but never out. At all Ushers gatherings, every sermon preached, every class taught, every prayer prayed, every song sang, and every dollar given has as it's final goal, the salvation of souls. Thank God for the victory!
Truly we have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord. Trusting in His holy word, He has never failed us yet. We cannot turn around we have come this far by faith. New chapters are waiting to be written. Jesus Christ Only, Always is leading us every step of the way, and knows the next step.
Margaret Roland, Reporting
Los Angeles, California