Special speakers highlight 47th City-Wide Revival
Published 4:19 pm Friday, April 14, 2023
Suffolk’s annual City-Wide Revival returns for its 47th year featuring a host of special speakers focused on this year’s theme, “Pivoting Through the Pandemic for a Greater Commitment to the Kingdom.”
The Rev. Anthony Sommerville said the Suffolk Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, known as SIMA, is planning for this year’s revival that commences at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, and runs through Thursday, April 27.
“We are anxiously awaiting this grand occasion that we might gather to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth at St. Paul Church,” Sommerville said. The church is located at 619 Spruce St., where Pastor Derrick Grant Sr. is pastor.
Somerville said this year’s theme, “Pivoting Through the Pandemic for a Greater Commitment to the Kingdom,” references 2 Peter 3:18 (GNT) where it reads “But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen.”
He said they are blessed to have some awesome anointed proclaimers of the gospel scheduled there each night as they seek ways to “pivot” through this season.
The scheduled featured pastors are:
• The Rev. Dr. Gregory M. Howard, senior pastor of Union Branch Baptist Church, Chesterfield, Tuesday, April 25.
• The Rev. Dr. Kirk T. Houston Sr., senior pastor of Gethsemane Community Fellowship Church, Norfolk, Wednesday, April 26.
• Bishop (elect) Yvonne Wright-Dunn, senior pastor of the Birthing Place Worship Center, Portsmouth, Thursday, April 27.
“It is our hope that the city and surrounding communities will be able to support this ‘City-Wide Revival’ with your prayers, attendance and financial support as we gather from the lengths and breaths of this city to make a resounding ‘pivot’ as we reposition and rethink our commitment to the kingdom,” Somerville said.
The Rev. Dr. Gregory M Howard
A native of Lancaster, Howard currently resides in Central Virginia where he is the senior pastor of Union Branch Baptist Church in Chesterfield.
Howard has also served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church East End in Newport News, and Jerusalem Baptist Church in Sparta. In addition, he is the assistant dean and associate professor of practical ministry and Black church studies of the historic Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Howard has previously served as acting dean and associate professor of homiletics and practical theology at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and the developer and director of the John W Kinney Center for Transformative Theology and Embodied Faith.
He is a co-planner and Black church liaison for the Gift of Black Theological Education Collaborative. Howard is a past president of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and former Board of Trustee member of Virginia Union University.
Howard holds a bachelor of science degree in organizational management and development (Bluefield College), master of divinity and executive MBA degrees (Virginia Union University), and a doctorate in homiletics (Aquinas Institute of Theology at St. Louis University).
He is the author of “Black Sacred Rhetoric: The Gospel According to Religious Folk Talk and Voices Crying Out in the Wilderness: Theological Reflections Where Context Matters.” Civically, he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Above all, he loves God and the challenge of helping others see God’s grace in their own lives by proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Howard believes that “we have been blessed with life and created in the image of God to be with and for one another.” Therefore, he strives to counter the many socio-cultural and religious barriers along with the varied forms of oppression with a liberative theological practice to create a more just and beloved community.
The Rev. Dr. Kirk T. Houston Sr.
Houston is the founder and senior pastor of the Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church located in Norfolk. It is a ministry he has proudly led for more than 30 years.
A highly respected community leader, Houston is one who truly leads by service to others. He has a heart for the community and has served on many boards.
Among his many obligations, he passionately serves as the chaplain to the City of Norfolk’s Sheriff’s Office, chairman of the Norfolk Jail Ministry’s Board of Directors, and chairman of the Garden of Hope Community Development Corporation Board of Directors. He is also the author of “The Church’s Return Policy: Equipping the Church to Minister to Ex-offenders.”
Houston holds a doctor of ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio; as well as a master’s of divinity degree from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at the historical Virginia Union University in Richmond.
A native of South Florida, Houston is a U.S. Navy veteran. He and his wife, Sharon, are the proud parents of one son, the Rev. Kirk T. Houston Jr., and one daughter, Sharonja Houston; and the grateful grandparents of one granddaughter (Jsyiah) and three grandsons (Kirk III, Max and Marc).
Possessing a strong passion for issues of personal and spiritual development, Houston has committed his life to improving the quality of human life through programs and services that serve disenfranchised individuals, families and communities. He is also a certified leadership trainer with Leadership Training International and a frequent lecturer in leadership and organizational development.
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The Bishop Dr. Yvonne Wright-Dunn
Wright-Dunn is the founder and senior pastor of the Birthing Place Worship Center in Portsmouth. A called-to church planter and visionary, she launched the Birthing Place ministry in 2009 alongside her late husband, Elder Hershell Paul Dunn Jr. The ministry grew out of their passion to bring hope, liberation and empowerment to today’s Christians with the word of God.
The Birthing Place is a family-centered, revival-oriented ministry serving the needs of the lost and found beyond the four walls of the church building. With the preaching and teaching of weekly biblically-sound messages, Dunn is focused on guiding the found and to recover the lost. Through the vision of the couple, the ministry has partnered with various community service organizations to serve the greater Tidewater area. Yet, for Dunn, her greatest joy in ministry is seeing lives transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Dunn served 31 years in the medical field as an administrative director that spanned various fields to include: neurology, sleep disorders and cardiology before retiring in 2020 to full-time ministry.
Dunn graduated from Norfolk State University with a bachelor of arts in speech pathology and audiology. She received her masters of divinity with an emphasis in Christian education from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Richmond. She obtained a doctorate of ministry with a concentration in new church plants/leadership, also from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.
Dr. Dunn’s greatest pride and joy are her children, Shawn and Brandon. She is a kingdom ambassador on a mission to empower today’s Christians with the liberating word of God. She has committed her life to believing in God for “nationwide revival.”
She serves on the board of various non-profit organizations in addition to serving as the director of ministry affairs for the Gethsemane Family of Churches, under the leadership of Apostle Earl C. Hinton of Bethel Temple Church in Portsmouth. She is also the founder of P.U.S.H. Ministries: a woman’s centered ministry for empowering today’s Christian women. Additionally, she is the co-founder of OnWard Enterprise, a personalized management service that offers a holistic approach to wealth management.