Gospel music industry insider Pastor Jerome Bell knows a lot about music and he also knows a lot about preaching, having been blessed to be immersed in both roles. On Thursday, October 29, he brought together those who preach from the pulpit with those who use their musical expression to bless congregations at First Rock Baptist Church. The gathering was fittingly called “Bridging the Gap.”
The Celebration Choir helmed by Jimmy Russell gave a stirring rendition of “The Blood Still Works” which got the crowd to their feet. Ginger on Sax gave a masterful performance of “My Help.” The song was so impactful that as she left the stage, strains of the song continued to waft through the air from the choir and the sanctuary.
Dottie Jones performed a stirring version of “How Great Is Our God” followed by “Jesus I Love.” She was accompanied by Stephen Key and Marvin McCoy with background vocals by Ronnette Harrison and Veda McCoy.
It is safe to say that Jones is imbued with a talent and grace that is worth celebrating. And celebrate is what happened when the former Richard Smallwood singer was honored by Pastor Bell after her performance. The maestro himself, Richard Smallwood was on hand to pay homage to his longtime friend. Jones’ pastors, Bishop Alfred Owen and co-Pastor Susie Owens spoke of her faithfulness and commitment to her church, Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church.
The message for the night was hard-hitting and skillfully delivered. Using 2 Chronicles 5: 13-15 as a backdrop, Pastor Bell talked of the need for priests and Levites to come together. He injected humor along the way, but it was an edgy message, one that attempted to peel back the layers of thoughts and feelings that may have been left unsaid and in some instances may have created a wide chasm between the groups.
Pastor Bell went full circle with his message laying out hard truths but bringing it all back to the foot of the cross and the power of God’s presence. One might say there may have been a shift in the minds of some to move a little closer to close the gap.
Spotted in the audience: Winston Chaney, Kendall King, Bobby Burwell, Jeremiah Murphy, Danny McCrimmon, Bonita V. White and Dayle Atterberry.
Bridging the Gap continues tonight, Friday October 30 at 7:30 p.m. at First Rock Baptist Church, 4630 Alabama Ave., SE, Washington, DC. The book, “Bridging the Gap between the Music Department & The Pulpit” by Jerome Bell is available on Amazon.