Friday, January 09, 2009

For Perdue, courage, patience and wisdom -- she'll need it

(revised 3:26 p.m.)
Friday morning's Inaugural Prayer Service with Governor-elect Beverly Eaves Perdue and the Council of State was a lively, inspirational affair. Held in Raleigh's First Baptist Church just off Union Square, which some folks call Capital Square, it was jammed-packed with the governor and her family, elected members of the Council of State including Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and other members from both parties, newly-named members of Perdue's cabinet, a host of other politicians and even a sprinkling of the news media.
The church is one of two First Baptist Churches, one on each side of Union Square. The one where the inaugural prayer service was held used to be called First Baptist Church (Colored) in an earlier time. Both both churches started out as one in 1812 with both black and white members. Later in the 19th century, black members of First Baptist Church created a new First Baptist Church and that's how both churches have the same name. New Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco of Asheboro was a little late because he went to the other First Baptist Church first.
The service featured the singing of the N.C. State Employees Choir and the participation of Dr. Dumas Harshaw, minister at First Baptist, the Rev. Gregory Moss of Charlotte's Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Rabbi Lucy Dinner of Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, the Right Rev. Richard Thompson, presiding prelate of the Eastern N.C. Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Zion Church of North Carolina, Dr. Michael Blackwell, president of Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina (and a native of Gastonia and a former journalist), and Rev. J.J. Wilkins of Wake Chapel Church in Raleigh.
There were prayers of Thanksgiving, for Wisdom and Humility, for Courage and Compassion, for Leadership and a prayer of Blessing. It was a well-planned service with lovely music, and moments of humor.
Blackwell, who is blessed with a resonant voice, a puckish sense of humor and good political instincts (he has counseled a number of North Carolina politicians, elected and otherwise), prayed for Perdue and her administration thusly:
"Bless her, O Lord. Grant unto her special gifts: the patience of Job, the courage of Moses, and the wisdom of Solomon, for she shall surely need them all."

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I've heard Blackwell speak several times. He should be in politics--deep thinker and powerful orator.

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