Nehemiah Missionary Baptist Church celebrated two anniversaries on Sunday, March 19. The first was the founding of Nehemiah two years ago, with the second being the anniversary of its founder and leader, Rev. Thomas Hunter, Sr.
Nehemiah Missionary Baptist Church holds services at the Boys & Girls Club located in the middle of the MDHA Andrew Jackson Community. Its placement is very intentional and something that Rev. Hunter embraces.
“We are a church that is love exemplified through action,” said Rev. Hunter.
That action was made apparent by some of the guests at the anniversary dinner. In the audience were many young men from the Andrew Jackson housing area who are mentored through the church. Additional guests included women from the mission whom the church has reached out to for mentoring and transitional housing.
“We go beyond just a church service,” said Nehemiah Deacon Rachod Mildton. “We have some late nights and early mornings. It’s been a great work. When you get busy working for the lord, you get busy. I would have it no other way.”
“It’s our second anniversary, so it is very special for us,” said Deacon Greg Gabis. “Several ministries have come out of this already.”
One such ministry is IBOX, focusing on youth development through amateur boxing. Deacons Gabis and Mildton run the ministry.
Another ministry has been the formation of ‘Queen’s Worth,’ which provides transitional housing helping women move out from the mission.
“Ms. DeBerry runs our women’s home,” said Rev. Hunter. “We currently have two women and the capacity for two more. She does phenomenal work representing our church.”
“I met him [Rev. Hunter] in September or October at a festival through the Urban League,” said LaSheray DeBerry. “He found out what I want to do and he helped me bring that to life. He and his wife are amazing!”
The celebration consisted of inspiring music, special guest speakers, and the presentation of heartfelt gifts to the pastor and his wife by church members.
A special proclamation from the Tennessee House of Representatives was presented by Rev. Hunter’s long time friend, Rep. Harold Love.
“Who’d have thought in 1986 that we would have forged a friendship that would have us both in position to give back to a wonderful city that has blessed both of us? I take great pride in knowing Thomas,” said Rep. Love.
A powerful and entertaining sermon was delivered by Rev. Robert Collins, associate minister at St. James Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Collins condensed two sermons into one. The first was ‘We Started From the Bottom and Now We’re Here,” with the second referring to the pastor: “Who is He, and What is He to You?”
Pastor Hunter attributes Nehemiah’s success to the principle that sound teaching and prayer is what builds churches, and that Nehemiah is right in the midst of where it needs to happen.
“I may be the first pastor of this church, but I know I won’t be the last,” said Rev. Hunter.