August 3, 2023

Maryland Governor Has ‘Homecoming’ at Takoma Park Church

He thanked the church for the support his family received when his father passed away.

V. Michelle Bernard, Columbia Union Visitor, and North American Division News
On July 22, Maryland Governor Wes Moore shared his gratitude for the church’s assistance to his family upon the sudden death of his father 41 years ago. [Photo: Art Brondo/NAD]

“It was a long overdue homecoming,” Maryland Governor Wes Moore said during his visit to the Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland, United States, on July 22.

Addressing the packed congregation, he said, “I’m thankful, not just for the congregations of today, but the congregations of the past as well. I’m thankful not just for this church, but for the Spirit that guides this church. Because 41 years ago, it was this congregation, this church — it was this house of the Lord that reminded me and my family how loved we were in our time of greatest pain. The reason I love this area, this church so much.”

Moore shared the story of how members of the church stepped in to provide support for his family after his father passed away suddenly. “In that moment that things were the darkest ... it was members of that congregation who came to [my mother] and were the first ones to tell her, ‘You’re going to be OK,’” he said. “This was a congregation that saw pain and tried to soothe it. It was a congregation that saw suffering and tried to heal it.... And because of that, that woman, 41 years ago, in her darkest moment, had a chance to see God’s love. You all did that.”

He noted that church members came to spend time with his family without asking what church they belonged to, or about their background. “You simply saw us in a way that many people did not,” Moore said, adding that his entire family benefitted from God’s love as felt through the church. “You saw a 3-year-old child without a father. And you said, ‘He needs to be supported. He needs to be loved, and we are going to be sure that we are the ones to do just that.’”

Moore added, “I’m here to say thank you because that message was received loud and clear by my sisters [and me]. So, I come to you today with humility. I come to you today with gratitude, not just on behalf of the state of Maryland.... I come to you on behalf of my family.”

During the service, church leaders joined Henry Wright, former Takoma Park church pastor, as he prayed a prayer of blessing over Governor Moore and his family. Wright prayed, “Heaven is concerned about integrity. People who are moved not by position, not by power and authority, but by a sense of service. This leader has displayed that, and we only ask that you enlarge his capacity.”

Moore also thanked local community and Adventist leaders for their service and presented the congregation with a governor’s citation for their “continued support and service to the community.”

Daniel Xisto, pastor for community engagement and church operations at the Takoma Park church, presented Moore with an Andrews Study Bible and a red t-shirt that Takoma Park members wear when serving in the community.

Orlan Johnson, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the North American Division, his team, and Potomac Conference and Takoma Park church staff worked with the governor’s team to help make the momentous occasion happen. Johnson noted that the governor had approached him at an event, asking for the opportunity to attend a service. Johnson was happy to provide whatever assistance he could to help make the opportunity a reality.

After the event Johnson replied, “Here at the North American Division [of the Seventh-day Adventist Church], we believe that our primary purpose is to engage in service by being the hands and feet of Jesus at all times and to all people. It was my privilege to be of service to help provide the governor the opportunity to personally express his gratitude to one of the churches that 41 years ago supported a family in its community without questions and without reservation.”

He concluded, “For me, what this congregation did is the ultimate definition of being Christlike.”

This story is based on the version posted by the North American Division news site. The original version was posted on Columbia Union Visitor.