New Birth Tabernacle of Praise Ministry pastoral team consists of 3 Pastors and 1 Deaconess.
My mother was a devoted Christian, so I had to go to Sunday school as well as devotional service. To be honest I can only say I enjoyed when the musicians were at their best, the rest I found hard to follow, so as soon as I was able to leave I never looked back for a long time.
I got married and I had my 3 boys and I would usually send them to the same church with my mum while I stayed at home.
Being out of church did not mean becoming the total opposite, yes I did go out now and then but after a while it lost its lustre.
As my years went on, I had this feeling that one day I would give my life to God. I did not want it to be that when I went to church now and then at the invitation of my mother, and the music is good and you get caught up in the hype, with someone calling you to the altar and next thing you are in the baptism pool, because I knew me, Monday morning I will have come down to earth and so I wanted to do it off my own accord.
In 1996 that time did arrive as I was on the coach to London running for my life with my boys, I was leaning with my head on the window when I heard a voice telling me that it was time to give my life to God. I looked around to see where the voice was coming from and again I heard the voice saying it’s time to give your life to God.
When I got to London I said that if I still feel this presence around after the weekend then I will give my life to God, and sure enough that presence around after the weekend then I will give my life to God, and sure enough that presence was there, so I called mum and the bishop, and the way they were rejoicing it’s like the prodigal daughter has returned home at last.
Baptism was not anything like I expected no one told me that the road would not be easy so I went in with my rose tinted glasses, and I came down with a bang, and as much as I wanted it to last, it was too much to understand alone, so after a time I went back to the world but still pretending to be this great Christian, and it took my own conscience after doing this for 4 years that this may not be for me after all.
I looked around Bristol for other churches but something was always missing, so I started going to a church in London and every weekend for 5 months without fail I was on the M 4 motor way to London, sometimes alone sometimes with others, to Gods glory T.O.P ministry was birth in Bristol via the church in London. Through out I had to face the trials of life, the learning process, I had to go through the fire, the flood, I had to go through the darkroom process, all this time not knowing that God was fine tuning me through the refiners fire but it was not left there because, and for the next five years 2006 – 2010 many more drastic changes took place and again it was a true learning process that when your serving God you are just the vessel and not actually God yourself (I had to learn the hard way) and so; – Like Abraham, I was taken from my birthplace
– Like Joseph I echo his persona in many ways
– Like Moses so I can lead Gods people I had to go afar to have a one to one with God
– Like the prophet Paul it had to be all about God even in the very worst of situation but
– Like the 3 Hebrew boys even when the heat was seeming to be unbearable God was right there with me
– Like Daniel he protected me in the Lion’s den
– Like Job I knew my redeemer lives
– Like Esther I have to see the king and
– Like Gomer there is no place like home (wrapped up and tangled up with God).
I thank God for the dream he gave me in 2007 concerning my calling it took a few more years for that dream to manifest (but you can’t hurry God).
True it all I had to trust in Jesus, true it all I had to depend on him
So today I stand to be ordained as senior pastor of New Birth T.O.P Ministry. My aim and desire is not by might, not by power, but by the spirit of Jehovah most high, and with bishops help build a ministry that is based on holiness righteousness and truth. I know it will not be easy but the hotter the battle the sweeter will the victory be.
I did not grow up in the church. My mother was a ‘believer’, but not a regular church goer; our house was a ‘God fearing’ but not actively Christian household. My mum, ensured that me and my siblings attended Sunday School and Girls Brigade every week at the local Baptist Church, where my parents were married and all us children christened.
Sunday School was not something I enjoyed. I found it boring and the teachers even more boring. Often I would be chucked out for being disruptive and once got sent home for asking “Well who created God?” My mum always despaired as I openly confessed to not believing in God “The invisible man.” Now as a Christian and Sunday School teacher, I am amazed at how much I learnt and remember from Sunday School.
My teenage years were typical of most teenagers. College, work, shopping, clubbing and friends. Never a thought about God. Going to parties where shootings and fights took place. Never a thought about God. Out with friends and partners who used drugs, drank and raced cars in the streets whilst high and drunk. Sometimes I would be a passenger in the car racing. Never a thought about God. I attended funerals of friends who were victims of stabbings and shootings. Only briefly thinking about God.
“Attending funerals of friends who were victims of stabbings and shootings.
My walk with God began on 6th August 1993, two days after the birth of my first child, who arrived 12 weeks early and weighed just under 2lbs. Sat at his incubator, ventilator helping him breathe, machines beeping and tubes sticking out of him, in desperation I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in; the same God I had ignored all my life. “Dear God, I know you didn’t give me a child so he could die. If you let my son live I will give you my life.” 22 years later my son is living proof God answers the unmerited prayer of a sinner. It took me another 10 years to fulfil my promise and give up the world for a life with Christ and be saved, baptised and born again. But in those 10 years God certainly continued to walk by my side and be merciful and faithful. Like me at aged 22, my son is not a strong believer in the God I now serve, but I know if God reached out his hand for me, he will do it for him. He did not spare his life simply because I asked but also because it has a purpose.
So here I am 12 years since being baptised; a Woman of God, a praise and worshipper and a prayer warrior (Oh how I love to pray!). I have been through much trials and tribulations but each time God has been my unfailing guide, my shield and buckler. Now I can’t imagine my life without Abba Father. My favourite bible story is that of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20 and my favourite scripture is from verse 12 … “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that comes against us; we do not know what to do; but our eyes are fixed upon thee”. My favourite biblical character is The Apostle Paul. I wish to learn more about Paul and become more like him. I have been a member of New Birth Top Ministry since its birth and have witnessed the glory of God to fulfil his promises in this ministry.
Today I am excited to be taking the next step, in the next chapter of God’s plan for me and those around me.
I knew that God was calling me from an early age but I found it easier to ignore his voice and keep on running.
As a child, I attended Sunday school every Sunday and enjoyed the teachings and songs but as I grew older I found the partying lifestyle to be more attractive.
After the birth of my first child in 1994 I made a conscious decision to seek God. I tried many different churches but none of them seemed right as this ‘void’ just could not be filled so I went back to what I knew best, partying.
God being so merciful and kind continued to try to get my attention and the more he tried the more I’d run. Little did I know that I was running into a deep dark pit. This was one of the lowest points in my life and I decided it would be easier if I took myself out of the equation as that was the only way to stop the pain and suffering. But for the true love of God and his still small voice in the midst of it all and for the first time I went on my knees and cried out to God saying, “I don’t know you, but if you are real then please help me” and God being God heard my despairing cry and instantly attended to my prayer.
“I knew that God was calling me from an early age”
God directed me to a church where the people are real and know what it’s like to mess up, a church with no condemnation where the love of God is everywhere you look, a place where my past is a welcoming testimony.
In January 2001 I got baptized, washed in the water the spirit and the blood. It was the best decision I’ve ever made now I can honestly say that my life is great I still have struggles but I know I serve a great big wonderful God who will always be my anchor in every situation. Today I can say that it was only the love of God that kept me whilst I was sinking deep in sin very far from the peaceful shore.
Today I give God thanks for New Birth Tabernacle of Praise Ministry where God has called me to lead the women’s ministry which I am looking forward to as the vision is already written.
I used to attend church from a young age right up to having my first daughter at 18. The church that I had attended since a small child and at which my parents got married in, refused to christen her due to the fact that I was an unmarried mother.
This led me to question the whole church. My child is a child of God and yet you say she cannot be christened due to being born out of wedlock? Hmmm. So I began attending Newton Street Chapel where Shirelle had a blessing. I decided on a blessing as I believe people should be given the opportunity to choose Christ and be baptised. I just wanted to say publicly “thank you Lord for blessing me with a beautiful and healthy baby girl.”
Some years later whilst still attending Newton Street I returned to education and started a degree course. I also started a Black History course at the same time. I had now also had a son who was also blessed at the same church.
Both courses were challenging in opposite ways. However I felt the History course was a way of keeping my sanity and redressing the misinformation being given to me on the degree course and what I had learnt previously in school. It allowed you to turn things on their head and to question. So for example what were Afrikans doing spiritually before white men came with their bible? Maps show Afrika to be much smaller than it really is and the reasoning behind it. Why was Afrika poor? These and many more questions I was challenged to answer.
With these questions going round in my head and seeing the huge levels of discrimination and inequality I became angry and disillusioned. I stopped going to church and began searching. The bible was not the answer as it was the cause of our enslavement and was the foundation upon which all our issues as a people in regards to inequality stemmed from.
I did a weekend course exploring Afrikan spirituality led by Ishakamusa Barashango an American who had been a practicing Pastor and begun to question the ‘lies’. None of it made sense there appeared to be no answers in the bible and so I went my own way deeper into Afrikan spirituality which made sense to me. With the birth of Jesus Christ, who was always shown to be white when even according to the snippets of scripture would mean he was black.
Long story short, I have gone full circle. A situation arose in which I found myself in the middle of the sea thrashing around trying to find something to hold onto. There was nothing. I came to realise that the Afrikan spirituality I had been hanging onto, when it came to life’s pressures, had no substance.