Bethel Baptist kicks off church day

A prayer, praise and worship service was held at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Thursday night honoring FAMU Interim President Castell V. Bryant.

“God chose for FAMU to have a strong leader,” said Alan Williams, president of the Leon County Chapter of the FAMU Alumni Association.

“I think she is a wise choice because she has the ability to excite the students, faculty, staff, alumni and board of trustees,” he said.

The evening was filled with prayer for the University and Bryant.

Prayer leaders included the Rev. Donald L. McBride, the Rev. Guy Schley, the Rev. Charles Morris, the Rev. Lawrence Barrineau, Director of the FAMU Wesley Foundation, and Bishop Keith Johnson of the Greater Works Miracle and Deliverance Church.

The FAMU Marching “100” performed a number of gospel songs including Shekinah Glory Ministry’s “Praise is What I Do” and Gospel Music Workshop of America’s Women of Worship’s version of “Order My Steps.”

There were also performances by Bethel’s Collegiate Choir and a reading of a letter from Gov. Jeb Bush that sent the University best wishes.

When Williams was given the opportunity to speak, he informed the audience that at one point in time, as children got older they could depend on the church, and the University. together,” Bryant said.

County Commissioner Bill Proctor served as the guest speaker for the evening.

Audience members shouted praises when they were informed that Bryant is now being referred to as “Give ‘Em Hell Castell.”

“I’m just letting you know what the street committee is saying,” Proctor joked.

The bulk of Proctor’s speech was spent discussing FAMU’s history and accomplishments. He also recognized each of the past presidents and their contributions to the University.

“God’s track record is good by FAMU,” said Proctor, as he encouraged the audience to “be not dismayed.”

“God will take care of FAMU,” he said.

Proctor concluded by asking the audience to touch and agree in prayer for Bryant.

The service served as the official kick-off of FAMU Church Day on Sunday.

“I think the church day is awesome,” Proctor said.

“I think it’s awesome for FAMU to come to church and for a president to say let’s go back to church.”

Eva Wanton, Bryant’s administrative assistant, said FAMU Church Day is the national day of observance for the University, designed to assist in raising funds for scholarships, athletics and other activities.

Churches all over the country were expected to participate in the day.

The churches were sent informational packets asking if they would collect a special offering to help raise money for FAMU.

“We have alumni in every state of the union and abroad,” Wanton said, “and we have flooded them with literature about the event.”

The packets included memos that discussed the event, instructions on how to collect and submit funds, collection and mailing envelopes and a formal letter from Bryant and Alvin Bryant, president of the FAMU National Alumni Association.

According to Wanton, it was Bryant’s idea to have the event, and their goal is to raise about $2 million.

“The importance of FAMU Church Day is that it is the bringing together of alumni and friends to support the work, growth and development of the institution and to be a part of the education of our students,” Wanton said.

Those who attended the kick-off were encouraged by Wanton and Col. Ronald M. Joe, interim vice president of development, to complete pledge cards that were passed out.

Anyone else wanting to donate can contact Wanton at the President’s Office on the fourth floor of Lee Hall.

Contact Vineta Woodum at