Bishop Cornelius Golden delivers Emancipation Proclamation sermon
By Derek Joy
It has been some 23 years since the Rev. Dr. George McCrae was installed as pastor of Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City.
And yes, he has been holding his Annual Emancipation Proclamation Service on January 1, each year.
This year the sermon was delivered by Bishop Cornelius Scott Golden, who oversees the pastorate of Solomon’s Porch Christian Resource Center, Inc., in Crescent City, Fla., which he founded.
So, as members of the youth department, Patrick Boynton and George Perry, lead the congregation in the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation as signed and issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862.
“We can remember, beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said McCrae, “that God has brought us a very long ways. Let nobody fool you. God has brought us a very long ways.
“You know, when you start to walk this way, you need some help. His father was one of the brothers who helped along when I started this walk. His father became one of my best friends. He is from Crescent City, which is almost in walking distance from Palatka. I give you Bishop Cornelius Golden.” McCrae said.
With that introduction, the sermon was on. People were on the edge of their seats as the walls shook with the joy of Christ.
Golden, in preparation for the message, cited 5 Galatians 1.
“I’m overjoyed at having the opportunity to stand in such a powerful pulpit,” said Golden. You have invited me to come and exercise my gift. I thank God.
“Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty, wherefore Christ has made us free, and he will not again entangle us in the yolk of bondage. Freedom comes from the inside out.
“We probably are being entangled in some other things of our own choosing. There have been many things God has delivered me from, but some reason I chose to go back into over and over and over.
“I thank God I put my foot on solid ground. I thank God I didn’t get entangled in the lilies beneath the water and drown. To this day I have not been back in the water.”
But there was more.
Golden went on to preach on the freedom that Black Americans perceived themselves to have gained with the Emancipation Proclamation.
“You can’t legislate morality,” Golden preached. “The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t set us free. It didn’t change the hearts of men. It was God and God alone. God can change the hearts of your enemies.”
And with this sermon of immense power and passion, the New Year flowed beyond a shadow of doubt at Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church.
“This is the first time I’ve been in this church since I was in seventh grade,” said Brother Mack Finnie, a long time member of Peaceful Zion Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. C. Carlton Oreston, as he embraced former colleague at Miami Northwestern, Sister Helen Davis, a long time member of Mount Tabor.
“I like any preacher that can preach and teach. I liked the service and I liked what he did. This kind of preaching needs to be done in all Black institutions. The most important thing is Abraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves, God did,” added Finnie.
And for Golden, his message included the distinction between significance and prominence.
I’m so glad to be in a church where people are more concerned with significance rather than prominence. That’s because some churches are more concerned with prominence rather than significance because they’re not doing anything.”