Posted: June 25, 2007 in Peace

I had an interesting afternoon yesterday.

Not long after I moved to Ocean Springs, I had the pleasure of meeting the Reverend Doctor Jesse L. Trotter, Sr. (usually worded in that particular order), pastor of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Ocean Springs. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the preachers in Ocean Springs treated me graciously when I moved here, not as a punk Church of Christ kid, and Dr. Trotter was especially kind.

Dr. Trotter is sort of a local legend. In addition to being the ranking senior pastor in Ocean Springs, he also has the notoriety of being the first black alderman in the city’s history, ending an 89-year drought with his election back in 1981. He pastors a large African-American church next to the poorest section of Ocean Springs, and he has a passion for the causes of peace and justice.

I’ve wanted to include Dr. Trotter in my Ocean Springs photo-project, but I never could catch up with him! But recently, I noticed a celebration scheduled at Macedonia in his honor at 3pm on Sunday, June 24, to honor his 39th anniversary as their pastor. Can you imagine preaching at the same church for 39 years??? I decided I would go…

I felt a bit funny walking in, mostly because my only invitation was the church marquee as well as because I didn’t know anyone outside Dr. Trotter who would be there. But my fears were soon allayed: for one, everyone treated me kindly, but also, I soon saw Greg Gipson, an old friend who came to sit by me. I then saw another friend in Latan Griffin. And when the choir sang, I saw another old friend in Tyndria Hines. I learned that I was there among friends.

The service began at 3pm, and as you might suspect, it was a lively service! To give you a hint how lively, I left at 4:45pm, and they hadn’t made it to the preaching part of the service yet! I actually went and conducted our evening devotional at our place at 5:30pm, stayed after for a couple of lengthy conversations, and when I returned to try again to get a picture of Dr. Trotter at 6:45pm, they were just finishing up dinner! I got a hug from Tyndria, and when I tracked down Dr. Trotter I saw Latan again. After I snapped the picture I wanted, Latan offered to take a picture of me with Dr. Trotter (seen above).

I noticed yesterday that I was one of two white people in an auditorium of several hundred. I thought later that I hope I live long enough not to notice such things.

Maybe a few trips like yesterday will help.

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