Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council (FCCMC) commemorated its 30th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Prayer Brunch at the Crown Expo for the first time since the Pandemic. What started as a small event in its formation grew into one of the Ministerial Council’s most popular and primarily sold fundraising events.
I got an opportunity to interview FCCMC President Apostle Sharon Thompson-Journigan to discuss the success of the Prayer Brunch and its marked legacy. She expressed gratitude for carrying on the legacy of many greats who previously stood in her position. “I’m standing on the shoulders of those that carry it on. When you’re in that seat, you don’t want to fail. We know with God we don’t fail, but you don’t want to be one to let it go down on your watch. I must say we have pastors, apostles, prophets, ministers that have gotten in here and all went to work,” stated Thompson-Journigan to Greater Diversity News (GDN).
The theme for this year’s brunch shined a light on Mental Health with Dr. Eric Mansfield, founder of Cape Fear Otolaryngology, as the keynote speaker. Thompson-Journigan stated that the Ministerial Council is led by the holy spirit when praying for the theme. She shared that just helping a family experiencing a mental health crisis before the event gave her the assurance from God that she was in the right vein to be that guiding light in dark places. The prayer brunch also honored the late Dr. Wilson Lacy, who previously served as the President of the MLK Park Committee, with a presentation from his widow, Clarethia Lewis Lacy.
In conjunction with the brunch, the FCCMC hosted the Youth Extravaganza led by Kevin Brooks of the Group Therapy Inc. and their Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service on January 15th, with Pastor Archie Smith from Spread the Word NC as the keynote speaker.
Even though the Pandemic slowed them down, FCCMC emerged stronger than ever. The event, which usually has 1,000 attendees, was a live stream on a smaller scale, during COVID, at Simon Temple AME Zion Church with 75 attendees. Last year when the Ministerial Council was scheduled to host the brunch in person at the Crown Expo, snow came in the forecast. The day before last year’s event, the Ministerial Council came together and decided to pivot. “I told the group that I heard the word pivot and told them the meaning of the word. Not knowing – saying we’ll have to pivot on this one. We live stream last year’s worship service, led by Dr. Eric Mansfield, on Stream Yard,” stated Thompson-Journigan to GDN.
Thompson-Journigan expressed her utmost respect for Dr. Aaron Johnson, the founding President of the FCCMC, with whom she has a commonality. He, too, served as President of the Ministerial Council during tumultuous times (Civil Rights Era), while she served as President during the Pandemic and George Floyd’s death.
Thompson-Journigan wants to be an instrumental example to the next generation to come. “I want them to know what to do, how to do it, and how to carry it on, but carry it on in a way they’re led in the time dispensation of where God is taking the Ministerial Council,” she explained. The FCCMC is carrying on the true meaning of its motto, “Let Your Light Shine; Be a Beacon.”
“God calls us to be a light, bridging the gap and coming together, regardless of our color, denomination, and economic status. He calls us to arise and shine. So that his glory might be shown in people. People can see its dark times, but God is still on the throne,” stated Thompson-Journigan.