By APOSTLE LINDA SWEEZER-ROWSTER
Thanking God for unity
About 25 years ago, I was in a somewhat despondent state of mind because God had turned my world upside-down when He filled me with His Holy Spirit and called me to preach the gospel! It was an honor to be chosen but I also knew that being equipped was essential. I reflected on Jeremiah 1:4–5 and realized that the call was there BEFORE He formed me in my mother’s belly. I was excited about being chosen but afraid that I did not have all that I needed to succeed.
As the time passed, the God that CALLED also PROVIDED. I had a spiritual leader (but) I needed comrades and colleagues in the ministry to fellowship with, (and) did not know how to make it happen. There was still a lot of stigma concerning women in the ministry, and ALL of the pastoral alliances only included the men. I talked to some other pastors and we tried to start a new alliance that would bring men and women together.
After a year of trying, that effort failed miserably, and I wasn’t sure if I would ever be a part of forming an alliance again. Jesus had another plan, however, and it was spearheaded by Rev. Neddie Winters from Mission Mississippi.
He came to Vicksburg and sat down with the pastors to explain Mission Mississippi’s mission: to encourage and demonstrate grace in the body of Christ across racial and denominational lines, in order that communities throughout Mississippi could see the practical evidence of the gospel message. Rev. Neddie was immediately greatly respected because of the anointing that was on his life to do this. This gathering was what heaven had ordered for us and what we also wanted.
It was obvious to me that the hand of God was on this move of forming this Mission Mississippi Pastoral Alliance that would not only birth clergy fellowship but would totally IMPACT our community. Needless to say, the bonds that came out of this relationship with Mission Mississippi have greatly changed our community as a whole. Our 12-plus years together have reaped seeds of friendships, church connections and racial respect and unity that has been noticed and talked about for years in our city.
By the grace of God, and the undergirding of Mission Mississippi, we have annual UNITY picnics that bring churches and the community together across racial lines. We have an annual church service that rotates from one church to another, and the speakers, our group members, also rotate and bring diversity to the various pulpits. The monthly meetings of the Pastoral Alliance, going from church to church, have brought an incredible bond that only God could arrange.
I truly thank God for the help that He has given to me through all that Mission Mississippi has done. We are truly blessed to have such an awesome ministry such as this right in our midst! Let us never take them for granted, nor fail to financially support a ministry work of this caliber.
Apostle Linda Sweezer-Rowster is the senior founding pastor of The House of Peace Worship Church International, with campuses in Vicksburg, Rolling Fork and Atlanta. She is the wife of Timothy Rowster, the mother of Anthony and Ann Sweezer, and lives in Vicksburg.