ST. PETERSBURG — Members packed Bethel Community Baptist Church to celebrate 22 years of spiritual leadership under the dynamic Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes last Sun., March 29. The theme for this year’s anniversary was Revive, Rebuild and Reconnect.
Former Bethel Community member Reverend Rory Nelson visiting from Dallas, Texas, delivered the anniversary service message anchored on Isaiah 43 and Ezekiel 37.
“In 22 years there have been some rocky terrain … a lot has happened,” said Nelson who also stated that in order for a major change to happen, something negative would have to die. He referred to ego, guilt trips and fear as examples of the negative elements that would have to die in order for resurrection and rebuilding to occur.
Nelson used the analogy of a couple that decided to gut major portions of their house in order to rebuild to new specifications. The couple leveled practically everything except the foundation because it was still strong and fortified. He then compared Bethel to the story of the house by stating that the trials, tribulations and successes of the church under Sykes has been resurrected like a new structure on an old, dependable foundation.
Rev. Sykes continues to retool the house that the beloved Rev. Enoch Davis built for the challenges yet to come. With Mother Reed at the service, who by the way is 99 years old, and several infants in their mother’s laps, Bethel is looking towards the future while building on the past.