The Rev. Judy Talbert (Courtesy photo)
The Rev. Judy Talbert (Courtesy photo)

The legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Judy Talbert, former pastor of Faith Tabernacle of Prayer, still resonates throughout the nation’s capital. A Founder’s Tribute held recently in her honor celebrated her years in ministry, community and government. The event was well-attended by a diverse array of guests and culminated with a balloon release marking the one-year anniversary of her death. Dr. Talbert was a person of purpose, passion and prestige.

For 43 years, her dedicated and committed leadership impacted the quality of life for countless individuals as she worked closely with all elected D.C. mayoral administrations and was a member of former President Barack Obama’s National African American Clergy Network. A trailblazer and pioneer to men and women in ministry and the workforce, Dr. Talbert stood at the forefront during challenging times in America particularly for women and people of color.

As a highly sought-after speaker who proclaimed an exhilarating and uncompromising gospel message, she traveled across the nation in crusades and supported missions in Haiti, Uganda, Nigeria and the Sudan. She was honored as a Champion of Change by President Obama and her work spanned across social and economic divides and touched people from all walks of life. Whether co-chairing one of the city’s first housing initiatives for individuals living with AIDS, bringing rivalry gang members together for conflict resolution, starting a gospel band for troubled and aspiring inner-city young males, or helping returning citizens reintegrate successfully into the community, her contributions helped to save and transform lives as well as stem the tide of violence.

Her works still echo throughout Ward 8 where her name is often mentioned in community meetings. One attendee stated, “She was everyone’s pastor regardless of their location and many were drawn to her wherever she went.”

Just as Dr. Talbert led the charge for decades, a host of community outreach efforts continue at Faith Tabernacle. The ministry is continuing strong and partners with several local businesses to support families throughout the community. Church volunteers recently visited schools in the District and Prince George’s County to donate school supplies. Food and clothing distributions are made monthly to those in need, both onsite and through mobile and park visits. Program services to the elderly and incarcerated persons also continue.

The work is now spearheaded by Presiding Elder Rev. V. Johnson and Rev. Talbert’s daughter, Evangelist J. Talbert. The faithful membership is fulfilling Dr. Talbert’s mandate, “Help Somebody to Help Somebody.” United in the cause, the church is committed to carrying on the legacy of Rev. Dr. Judy Talbert and moves forward declaring, “We shall continue!”

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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