October, yes this month is set aside as “Clergy Appreciation Month” so I can think of no better time to express thanksgiving and appreciation to those clergymen who have played a part in my life.
To start, it was about fifty years ago that I came into this world. While I have no express remembrance of the day I can say of a certainty that the day was great and wonderful. You see I was named after my maternal grandfather, the late Reverend William James Smith. Yes, this naming of me set the stage for whom and what I am to be. This Baptist pastor gave me a clergyman to look up to. And why not, I bore his name and it appears that name has propelled me into the profession we share. Yes, it was a day that is written in the annals of time that started me on a path, a path most definitely.
But my grandfather, that preacher in my life, was not the only preacher to influence the indelible light within. You see I can and will never forget the pastor of my youth, the pastor called Reverend Waters. Yes, I remember that strong-handed man as he preached and taught. I did not know until years later, much later, that I was his favourite because I took interest in what was said and posed questions to that end. While Reverend Waters is no longer with us his imprint is sure; this preacher, this pastor this clergyman began to point me in a direction, a direction of service for God.
These two were impactful and part of me they will ever be. Yet there is at least one other, another that has grave significance to me. I speak of the one and only Dr. Wayne E. Anderson. Now, here is a man, a preacher, a teacher, a clergyman for sure. It is because of him that I began to work, no not merely with my hands but a work that started from within. Because of him, service was learned and by him, ministry was birthed. Forget him, no way no how. It is because of the boldness of this man that in boldness I learned to stand.
But my days in Hawaii would not last forever. It was deemed that I would return to my roots of Baltimore. And in doing so I found myself working with another dear clergyman, one raising the standard called Bishop Johnny C. Carrington, Sr. This man, this man of good report, saw reason in me to work in the clergy. And so it was with his great insight that I would be furthered into my plight. This plight, you see, is not a negative one, rather a plight to do a work that few will ever do. And because of that plight I hold to my word, that I will preach the Word of God until I can no more. And because of the Bishop ministry in me is a ministry all can see.
But by destiny it seems that I had to move again. More travels found me under yet another clergyman, this one Pastor William Riley. A man, a good man, as unorthodox as he was, saw more reason to further the work within me. No longer would I be Minister Carter but Elder Carter am I. Not because I am so worthy but because of the worth seen in me. Yes, we worked together in more than one way but this preacher, this teacher, this man of God did more than just give me papers; he gave me reason to continue the work started in me.
And back to Baltimore, I have come. And with Bishop Carrington, I am again. This time things are quite different. The Bishop is no longer just a good preaching, teaching man but now he is my mentor, my mentor showing me what the pastorate should be. Yes, he is giving, and he rebukes too. Still, he is a clergyman without whom my work would never do.
And while this ode is a memoir of sorts I simply want to say to those bearing me great influence, thank you for all that you have said and done. The years have not all be the best but because of the clergymen in my life, I look forward to the rest. And while I could not name all that have influenced me over the years of time I want the clergy everywhere to know that I am seasoned well because you took time, time to spend on me. So, to those of you that remain and can read these words please know that my love for you is true.
God bless you servants of God.