BY JAMES HARPER
It was no ordinary Sunday at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Daytona Beach.
The occasion was the 10th anniversary of Dr. L. Ronald Durham as pastor of the church.
But the real treat for those in attendance was witnessing the Rev. Al Sharpton prove that he is more than just a civil rights activist and host of a cable TV show, but actually what God called him to be – a preacher of the gospel.
Praise for Durham
Sharpton titled his sermon “One More Night with the Frogs,” referring to Exodus 8 in the Bible. He made the point that like the pharaoh, too many people say “tomorrow,’’ delaying the blessings that God has in store for them.
Before completing his sermon, which prompted about 10 people to come to the altar to give their lives to Christ, Sharpton paid tribute to Durham, his friend. It was the reason he agreed to preach at the Daytona Beach Church, one week before he is scheduled to lead the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington in D.C.
Sharpton said many people could not believe he would take the time out of his busy schedule to fly into Daytona Beach for Durham when he had so much on his plate involving the D.C. event that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands.
Hundreds attend service
Sharpton said that over the years Durham had earned his respect and loyalty. It was Durham he called to help him organize a rally in Sanford a year in a half earlier to pressure local law enforcement there to arrest George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
“Durham has balance – dealing with social justice and bringing a thousand souls to Christ,” Sharpton said about Durham’s fight against injustices and also managing to increase Greater Friendship’s roll at the same time.
Sharpton said there are two types of leaders – thermometers and thermostats. He called Durham and himself thermostats – they just don’t measure the temperature but change the temperature of a room.
More than 900 people filled Greater Friendship for the anniversary.
Area ministers and choirs helped Durham celebrate his anniversary during three different services beginning Aug. 16.
“It’s been a wonderful 10 years here at Greater Friendship, and I look forward to the future with great anticipation,” Durham said.