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Rankin Chapel features Bishop Vashti McKenzie
Howard University’s Rankin Memorial Chapel service was packed with people and purpose as Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie preached an Easter Sunday message filled with hope.
The service, held at Cramton Auditorium, brought together a choir of former and current students, liturgical dancers, and chapel ministers dressed in white robes.
“The Easter story reminds us that we can find hope out of despair,” said McKenzie, the first woman bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
McKenzie, now the interim president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches, climaxed a spirited service that was one of many in houses of worship around the area.
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“He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today,” sang members of the Alfred Street Baptist Church Mass Choir, who were part of a massive program that included video production, liturgical dancers, and a live orchestra.
Rev. Howard John Wesley, the pastor of Alfred Street’s Alexandria, Virginia congregation, preached from the subject, “Don’t Be Surprised If It’s Dark at Dawn,” because he said, “Life has a way of delivering you at dawn.”
“Disappointment and discouragement will eclipse the sun of hope and joy in your life,” Wesley said. “The women came to the tomb saying was all this for nothing.”
Wesley compared the struggle of many today to the thoughts of the women who came to the tomb on the third day. “Was it for nothing? Pilate was still in office; the Pharisees were still acting up, and doves were being sold in the temple again. Beloved, you can lose hope when you ask was everything I did was in vain.”
“The message of the Resurrection will not make them hold down their Confederate flags,” Wesley added, ”but it will make you say I love you in Jesus’ name.”