BY Dexter L. McCree, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had it! Mohandas Gandhi had it! Even Mother Theresa had it! The “it” is the loving effect on people that brought them to a place of peace, unity and love for all people.
Many desire to have this mantle. Most won’t come close to operating in it. Too self-anointed and appointed; too frail to face criticism with a smile and not enough meals of humble pie.
However, Bishop Preston D.H. Leonard wears this love and the impact stretches wide. He is the pastor of Christ Gospel Church of God In Christ and has the longest tenure as pastor of a single congregation in the St. Petersburg area.
Bishop Preston D.H. Leonard
He is also the Presiding Bishop of Christ Kingdom International Fellowship, which includes churches throughout the United States and Africa, and the International Bishop of Christ Gospel Churches of Jamaica and Haiti.
Bishop Leonard’s loving effect has global warming affection.
Last month at a celebration marking Bishop Leonard’s 63 years as a servant of God, the outpouring of love deemed as reciprocation for his own actions became glaringly charming.
“Love is what we do, which provokes others to do also,” said Bishop Leonard. “It’s action with, for and toward people where God receives the glory and we may or may not get credit. But people really do appreciate good people.”
One guide, particularly for couples touched by Bishop Leonard, describes such love as being patient; love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way: it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth.
Not only does Bishop Leonard have a loving effect on couples and marriages, but actions over the years have given a reason for others to be faithful and to do work that will have a positive effect on people.
It is amazing how so many people are willing to give of their time for the sake of one man who has given so much to so many people. Love does have something to do with it.
Bishop Leonard is one man who has enough love to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things. His love has a lasting effect.