It’s a big, scary world out there sometimes.
That’s why I’m glad I have a firm belief in God. I won’t preach to you, but, it’s necessary for me. I have no idea how I would survive and succeed in many situations if not for the hand of a Creator. I am thankful that my parents introduced me to faith at a young age. We moved to Stamford, CT in 1991, and I can remember us trying to find the right church home. We would eventually land at Union Baptist Church on Newfield Ave. and I’m guessing that that had a lot to do with the incomparable Reverend Robert W. Perry. I was only 7 years old when we first started attending the church. At that young age, faith and God were too much for me to understand (and to this day, it is still too much for me to understand, but that’s why it’s faith, you grow in trusting….okay, seriously, I'm not going to preach…). But again, at that young age, faith, God, and going to church were things placed upon me. It was that “thing we did on Sunday mornings.”
As a child, I would enjoy the music, enjoy the fact that in the church people were very nice to one another, and then there’d be the part at the end where the pastor would talk for about 45 minutes… The church was hot, my clothes felt bulky, I was getting hungry, and I was thinking about what video game I was going to dive back into when all of this was over. So who was this man up front talking, and what’s taking so long? Why are people clapping and cheering at what he’s saying?
Fast forward 20 years. It’s 2011. I’m 27 years old and I’ve learned that my mother has stage 4 cancer. Where is the first place, I go? To church.
I am incredibly thankful for those moments from 1991. I am incredibly thankful that in 20 years, I stayed with faith (that God stayed with me, really) and that I started to grow and understand who I am as a child of God. I am incredibly thankful for Reverend Robert W. Perry.
I am fond of my relationship with Union Baptist Church between 2010 and 2013 because they were the most trying years of my life. I made a bold decision to embark in a new career direction. I struggled financially. I witnessed my mother’s illness and eventual death. God, my pastors, and Union Baptist Church kept me afloat. When I was a child, that “45 minutes where the pastor would talk…” was a bore. I didn’t understand what a sermon or the Bible or what was being preached. But as an adult, sermons became vital. I craved them. I understood why people were clapping and cheering now and I joined them. Each week, no matter what I was going through, the sermon for the week would speak to exactly what was troubling me and help relieve my anxieties. Rev. Perry became my counselor, my pastor.
Rev. Perry began preaching over 50 years ago, and (as of 2013) had been the pastor for Union Baptist Church on Newfield Ave. for 40 years. It was time to honor the man properly. Our church organized a wonderful anniversary ceremony for him at the Greenwich Hyatt hotel in April of 2013. Many members of Union Baptist were in attendance as well as the following guest pastors and notable personalities:
Rev. Leroy Parker – New Hope Baptist Church, Danbury CT ( formerly assistant pastor at Union Baptist Church)
Rev. Dr. Fred Lucas – Brooklyn Community Church, Brooklyn, NY
Rev. Dr. ACD Vaughn – Sharon Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD
Rev. John Luster Scott - St. John Baptist Church, New York, NY
Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook – US Ambassador of International Religious Freedom
My father, Minister Michael Pollard, served as the evening’s emcee, and there was an appearance and a few words by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal: