St. John C.M.E. welcomes new pastor

St. John C.M.E. welcomes new pastor
October 26
06:00 2017

The Rev. Omar Dykes led the congregation of St. John C.M.E for the last couple of years.  After reassignment to another church up north in the New England area, the church will now be led by the Rev. Dr. Regina L. Reese-Young.  On Sunday, Oct. 15, the church held a celebration for Reese-Young, welcoming her to the city.

There were special invited guests, such as Mayor Allen Joines, a representative from the Winston-Salem Police Department and the Winston-Salem Fire Department.  Members from the church were also in attendance during the welcoming.

Reese-Young is originally from South Central Los Angeles, California.  She came to St. John from her previous post in Syracuse, New York.  She has been in the ministry for 38 years and counting.

“I love the friendliness of this city. I forgot how friendly it was in the South,” she said.  “When it’s friendly, it’s friendly, when it’s not, it’s not, and I like the idea of not having to guess which way.
“I am enamored with how green the city is,” she continued.  “After 12 years of being between New York and Connecticut, I am looking forward to what they call ‘a not hard winter.’”
She says the church (St. John) has a theme and that is “We love to love you.”  Upon her arrival, she says they have held “listening parties” to get an idea of what the church wants and needs.
“I don’t come in with an agenda. The only agenda is to love the people and to help them love,” she said.  “I want the church to grow internally and then externally.  When I say grow, I mean having the clear understanding of faith and having that translate into community service.

“From my perspective, we are limited in the community service that we render,” Reese-Young continued.  “I really believe we can expand our reach.  If I can understand what the needs are of the people in the church, it will help me to understand what the needs of the community are.”
Reese-Young says she has some ministries that she would like to implement in the church but first find out if those ministries are needed.  She said she would like the name “St. John” to be synonymous with community involvement.

Along with working with the community, she wants to build a relationship with the police department, fire department and the NAACP, among others.  Partnering with the local ministers conference is also on her radar.

“I am building inroads to all of that and I am glad some of them showed up today,” she said.  “Because if they didn’t show up, it would tell me how they felt about this church.”
Reaching out to the local schools is another passion of Reese-Young.  Having the church partner with a local school is on the agenda she says.

“In the C.M.E church, we have something called ‘One Church, One School,’” she went on to say.  “With that program, what we do is we either adopt a school or a classroom and we take Jesus to them without preaching to them.”

Reese-Young says she is aware of the feelings some may have against female pastors.  She said that is not something she spends much time on because of her faith.  She feels as though she was just answering the call the Lord has set forth for her.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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