Faith and Family Weekend at St. Luke AMEC – St. Croix
Rev. Florence C. Petersen
St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, strategically located in the heart of Estate Grove Place, on the island of St. Croix—United States Virgin Islands, was the joyful setting for more than 150 school children and their parents during our second annual “Back to School Explosion.” This major outreach component of our Faith and Family Weekend 2016 under the theme “Moving Forward Together in Faith” was based on Ezekiel 1:12. It was led by our pastor, Rev. Carlos Wesley Perkins, and was one of many activities designed to positively impact the residents of the three housing communities which surround St. Luke.
The weekend began with an ecumenical youth ministry celebration service hosted by the St. Luke AME Church Young People’s Department (YPD) under the leadership of First Lady Carla S. Perkins. Sister Shevana Jones, St. Luke’s YPD President, served as a capable and anointed worship leader for the youth-led service. The Children’s Liturgical Dance Ministry of St. Luke opened the service with a joyful dance selection to “Freedom” (Eddie James), followed by poems and reflections on the goodness of God in our lives. The Youth Choir and Liturgical Dance Ministry of Refugee Tabernacle Church (Pastor John Briscoe) blessed the service in song and dance, respectively. The Youth Ministry of Frederiksted Baptist Church (Pastor John Gilbert) was present to join in and support their peers for the Friday night youth celebration. The service closed with the whole assembly singing, “I Need You to Survive” (Hezekiah Walker). It was an awesome time worshiping the Lord being led by the youth.
Laughter and excitement filled the church grounds and sanctuary on Saturday, September 3, as the children and their parents gathered for this fun-filled outreach event. Participants enjoyed several outdoor games, jumped around in the “bouncy,” and ate freshly-popped popcorn, hotdogs and snacks. They were also spiritually blessed as Sis. Azalia Hunt-Speight, a member of Victory Christian Ministries International, Washington, DC, encouraged them to “Separate, Concentrate and Elevate” for a successful school year. Each child was anointed and prayers for their protection and divine favor to excel during the school year were offered for them.
One hundred back bags, filled with school supplies, were donated by Bishop Hector Hunt, Founder and Pastor of Bless the People Church, Maryland. They were distributed to attendees by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Azalia Speight. Bishop Hunt is a spiritual father to Pastor Perkins and provides encouragement and support for the ministry of St. Luke AME Church. Sister Azalia Hunt-Speight and her husband are longtime friends and prayer partners of Pastor Perkins and First Lady Carla Perkins. Both Bishop Hunt and Sister Azalia Hunt-Speight were present to assist in the distribution of the school supplies and blessing of the children.
Pastor Perkins transferred from Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church, Bowie, Maryland (Pastor Jonathan L. Weaver) into the 16th Episcopal District, under the previous Presiding Prelate, Bishop John Franklin White and was assigned to St. Luke in May 2015. He now serves under the Episcopal leadership of Bishop E. Anne Henning Byfield, Supervisor Ainsley Byfield, and Presiding Elder Uklyn Hendricks of the Virgin Islands Annual Conference.
Reverend Florence C. Petersen is an Itinerant Elder in the Virgin Islands Annual Conference and Senior Minister to Women at St. Luke AME Church.