Photo caption: 2014 Pauline B. Grant Status of Women award recipients, l-r, La Toya Johnson, Robin Raquel Sweet, Amanda Johnson, Micole Williams, Haley A. Wright and LaRonda Walker (Samisha Davis, not pictured). Photo credit: Derrell Daniels, photographer
In a world that is increasingly conveying contradicting messages and values, seven young women recently proved that Christian Girls Rock!
The Metropolitan CME Church included a special awards ceremony in their regular service on Aug. 31 to honor Samisha Davis, Amanda Johnson, La Toya Johnson, Robin Raquel Sweet, LaRonda Walker, Micole Williams and Haley A. Wright with the Pauline B. Grant Status of Women award, presented by the church’s Women’s Missionary Society.
The awards were given to acknowledge the recipients for their extraordinary achievements in using their talents to make a difference from right where they are.
The Christian Girls Rock! Project, the vision of Michelle Mathis, president of the WMS Society, and Shandra Smith, WMS department secretary, was conceived to acknowledge the service and contributions of young women who have exemplified a desire to make a difference while holding onto their values. Mathis and Smith went on a seven month journey with recipients to dialogue on life’s issues and capture a visual essay of their values, beliefs and future goals.
The organizers recognize that many in the community “sometimes shrug their shoulders in uselessness, feel ineffective and sometimes do absolutely nothing.” But despite the sense of hopelessness, the pair agree with author Elisa Morgan’s sentiments in her book, “She Did What She Could”, when she wrote:
“…most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and taking care of our family demands, we question our ability to make a difference.”
“The goal is to encourage younger girls and boys to use their God-given talents, gifts and resources to the glory of God …not just here at Metropolitan but in the community, in their professions, in their lives – simply from where they are,” said Smith.
In birthing the project, Smith was inspired by the number 7, a number used more than any other in the Word of God, with the exception of the number “1”, she shares.
“The number 7 in the Holy Bible was the most sacred to the Hebrews and was an expression of completeness. In the Book of Revelation, the number 7 is used throughout. There are 7 churches, 7 Spirits, 7 stars, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, 7 dooms and 7 new things. The number 7 symbolizes spiritual perfection.
“All of life revolves around this number. Seven is used over 700 times in the Bible and used 54 times in the Book of Revelation—the 7th day of Creation week, the Millennial Rest day, the Sabbath, 7th day. Seven notes are in the musical scale. Doe- Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti… When the musician uses the eighth note, he goes back to “doe, a deer, a female deer”. Today, we embrace “doing seven new things” also because it is a part of the mission of our church (“Doing a New Thing”),” explains Smith.
Some of the Extraordinary Achievements of the PBG Honorees include:
Nationally Registered Sonographer and Teacher/Professor at San Jacinto College. Pursuing a MBA in Healthcare Management at the University of Texas. Church roles: Mass and Chosen YA Choirs, past Vice President of YA Ministry, currently President of YA Ministry, Chairperson for Annual Gospel Explosion
Project Lead – HR Global Service Delivery at Baker Hughes, graduated Cum Laude in 2008 with a degree in mass ommunications and business. Church roles: Usher Board, Greeter’s Ministry, former Ms. Debutant for Christ, Vacation Bible School volunteer
La Toya Johnson
Supervisor, University of Houston Bookstore. Church roles: Board of Christian Education secretary, Audio Visual Team Ministry, Chosen and Mass Choirs
Robin Raquel Sweet
Math Department chair/skilled specialist/educator at Aldine Middle School, cheerleader coach, Highest LEP scores across district for Math TAKS; AISD Extra Miler Award (going above and beyond), Student Council sponsor, Volleyball coach, nominated and finalist for ‘Teacher of Year’ two consecutive years and currently enrolled in MBA Graduate Program at University of Houston. Church roles: Anointed Feet of Praise (Dancer), YA Ministry, Missionary and Event Coordinator volunteer
Teacher /educator, Alief School District (two consecutive years ‘Teacher of the Year’ in Alief School District. Church role(s): Director, Children’s Ministry and Vacation Bible School, Chosen and Mass Choirs
Haley A. Wright
Licensed Specialist in School Psychology for Katy ISD, past teen mentor, past Youth President and Assistant Sunday School teacher and coordinator for children. Currently YA vice president, member of Mass and Chosen music ministries, served recently as delegate for CME Eighth Episcopal District – Annual Conference(s).
-Excerpt from Special Tribute-
In a world filled with so much bureaucracy, these young women you see are trying to live out Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, so that we may ALL live in peace and harmony.
You will astound the world with your talent and sheer sense of sorrow, amazing traits in which we would revel, if allowed to borrow headliners to each of your professions; subtle perfection, what an honor it is to follow your direction.
All little girls dream of what they want to be or who to become, you are the women who exemplify the principle of what is yet to come. Start with a dream, then a thought, add some prayer and never stop. This is the real definition of what it means when ‘Christian Girls Rock’.
“Hats Off” to these “Christian Girls that Rock” who have done and are doing extraordinary things right from where they are.
The church is located at 8955 South Freeway, Houston, Texas 77051. For more information, visit www.Metropolitancme.org.
Photo credits: Derrell Daniels, photographer