Sunday morning service had a tough act to follow. After all, this last day of our Jubilee Week came on the heels of a fabulous evening of celebration at the Marriott Crabtree Marriott. What could possibly top that?

For starters, a $25,000 gift to our Tree of Life fund that effectively doubled our pledge-drive goal.

Right after the blessing of the offering – during which the Intercessors Choir sang “God’s Got a Blessing (With Your Name On It)” – Sisters Danaka and Cheri Walker surprised Apostle Phillip Anthony Walker and the entire congregation with an oversized check for $25,000 from Elaine and James Stallings, Apostle Walker’s sister and brother-in-law. The actual check was also presented to Apostle Walker, the funds designated as a “founder’s memorial gift” toward the building of our Tree of Life Center.

There were cheers, tears and a standing ovation after granddaughters Briana and Donise pulled the blanket off the gift check. After expressing his deep gratitude and joking about how he had wondered why his sister was asking so many questions about the Tree of Life Center, Apostle Walker launched into a powerful sermon about now being the time for Mt. Pleasant to “go forward.”

This final Jubilee service included a “Salute to Our Future” presentation and “Oaks of Righteousness”, a compelling dance by a group of youth members that had been cut from the banquet schedule due to time constraints.

In addition, Mother Nora Caviness Smith – the only member who’s been with the church from its beginning 50 years ago – shared “Moments of Reflection” with her fellow congregants.

It was an awe-inspiring, energizing and fitting end to our 50th anniversary celebrations. “Our latter will be greater than our past,” said Apostle Walker. “Go forward!”

Scripture cited in Apostle Walker’s sermon includes Exodus 14:15, 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 and 2 Corinthians 1:8.

Photos below from Sunday’s service (9.9.12). View more in MPWOC’s online Flickr gallery.