Effie_photo.jpgEffie Rolfe

The Rev. Clay Evans, the “Godfather of ministry,” hasn’t retired—he’s rewired after resigning from the historic church he founded, Fellowship Baptist Church. “You know, I pastored for 50 years and have been preaching for about 63 years,” said Dr. Evans. “I thank the Lord that He has allowed me to see my 88th birthday. The Lord has been good to me—my theme song—it is no secret what God can do—the Lord has used me in a marvelous way to preach the gospel, and I want my life story to be for his glory that it might inspire others to live for him.

“I have been inspired by others too numerous to name and now I want to inspire people to live for him,” shared Evans. Nearly 13 years ago Evans appointed the Rev. Charles Jenkins as the young pastor of Fellowship Baptist and hasn’t slowed down since. “Every Sunday, I’m preaching somewhere,” said Evans. “I have to pick the things I do—when you’re young you can just jump into everything, now I have to make choices because I don’t have the strength but I’m still involved. “ He continued, “It is a marvelous thing the favor I’ve received with young preachers who help me along the way. The lyric goes, ‘If I can help somebody, along the way…then my living will not be in vain. If you don’t want your living to be in vain then help somebody else, so that even when you die—you will still live. I never worried about my name being on street signs or buildings. I want to live on in people…buildings will burn down and trees will blow down, but if you live in the lives of people you will live forever.”

Living in the hearts of people is indeed Evans’ life story, under his leadership, Fellowship Baptist Church’s choir, known as the Ship recorded the classic hits—“Room at the Cross,” “Bringing in the Sheaves,” “I’m Blessed,” “What’s He’s Done For Me,” “Have You Got Good Religion,” as well as their popular theme songs heard on their TV and radio broadcasts for nearly 47 years. “From 1971 to 2001, we recorded one to two albums every year,” said Royal Warren, former assistant minister of music under Evan’s sister, Lou Della Evans Reid. “Several musicians left because Rev. Evans allowed his sister to be the minister of music at his church.” Also, the Clay Evans Scholarship Foundation is another way Evans lives on. “The scholarship foundation started in 1974 and has blessed over 150 students with over $150,000 in Brownsville and Chicago to attend colleges around the country,” said executive board member Helen Warren.

Although it’s not a priority for him, the Brownsville, Tennessee native did mention that his hometown has a road named after him. “I still say I want to be planted in the hearts of men and women, which is vital to the kingdom.” Even now, Evans continues to bless and inspire as he resounds the heartfelt message, “May the Lord Bless you real good…!”

Radio personality Angela Martin invites Chicago-area readers and listeners to Onederful Prayer, held the first Saturday of each month at the New Zion Upper Room Banquet Hall, 1950 W. 13th Street from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. The co-host of “The John Hannah Morning Show” started the prayer movement nearly three years ago for women in the Chicago land area to gather and pray. The doors open at 8:50 a.m., July6th, and the admission is always free.

It’s an Independence Day weekend celebration at the 21st International Festival of Life, Thursday July 4-7th at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph. The popular family festival features music, food, arts, crafts and more with over 70 acts in concert including Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Inner Circle, Third World, Luciano, Sanchez and more. Noted radio air personality Dana Divine will perform, as well as host the gospel inspirational stage with talents such as Maggie Brown and Taylor Moore. You can also experience the best of Reggae, Rock, Caribbean, Latin, African, pop and Gospel along with a variety of World Music entertainers. Also, there will be a health pavilion to unite and fight against all diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV, arthritis, kidney, cardiovascular and others. For more information, visit www.festivaloflifehealthawareness.com online.

Effie Rolfe is an author, media personality and motivational speaker. Contact her via www.effierolfe.com, or www.twitter.com/effiedrolfe.

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