Spiritual Baptist pastor receives award

Elect Lady Rev. Mother Naomi Harper (left) receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Archbishop Dr. Voni Johyn.
Photo by Nelson A. King

A Spiritual Baptist church in Brooklyn last Friday night bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on a Vincentian Spiritual Baptist pastor in Brooklyn at a gala award ceremony at Paradise Manor on Avenue U, also in Brooklyn.

Elect Lady Pastor Naomi Harper, of Zion House of Prayer, Inc., on Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn, were among nine other honorees at the biennial ceremony organized by Isaiah’s Temple of Mt. Hope Spiritual Baptist Church, a faith-based organization in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

In receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, Pastor Harper, who hails from Evesham in the Marriaqua Valley in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, told patrons that she was “truly standing here not on my own but because of the Great Jehovah, who has seen fit for me to rise from a bad cancer.

“I owe it to the man called Jesus,” she added. “I’m truly blessed. For all who received honors, and hope to receive honors, keep serving God.”

The other honorees were: Barbadian-born Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix; Trinidadian members of the clergy Pastor Mervyn S. Passie, Bishop Majorie Trim, the Rev. Eric Wyllie and Minister Dionne Smith; Jamaican-born pastor Archbishop Fr. Allan S. Jones; Clinical Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Janet Larghi; New York State Assembly Member Latrice Walker; and Guyanese Archbishop Dr. Pamella Taylor.

“It is with love and appreciation that I extend congratulations to our honorees,” said Her Grace, the Most Rev. Dr. Voni B. Johyn, the Jamaican-born senior pastor and founder of Isaiah’s Temple of Mount Hope Spiritual Baptist Church that provides community services in the East New York and Brownsville communities in Brooklyn.

“Biennially, Isaiah’s Temple of Mt. Hope extends recognition to well-deserved individuals, who, through hard work and personal sacrifice, continue to enrich the lives of others,” added Dr. Johyn, stating that her church, at its biennial gala awards ceremony, honors outstanding business, political and clergy individuals, who “provide significant contribution to their respective communities.”

New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, who was the keynote speaker, and Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene were among elected officials and others who extended congratulations to the honorees and Isaiah’s Temple of Mt. Hope.

Pastor Harper said she has been involved in church and community development for over 35 years.

Harper, who migrated to New York in 1967, said she held “cottage meetings” in her Brooklyn home for many years before being ordained as a Spiritual Baptist Minister, in 1983, by Bishop Oswald Williams, of the New Jerusalem Temple of Truth.

A year earlier, she founded the Zion House of Prayer.

In 2014, Pastor Harper was consecrated to Lady Elect by His Beatitude Dr. Edward F. Barrow, Provincial Apostolic Primate of the Spiritual Baptist Apostolic Province of New York.

She said her love for life and the people of God have “encouraged” her to “teach and educate God’s people.”

Pastor Harper said while it has been a challenge, it has also been “an opportunity and worthwhile Christian experience to share with Ministers of God.”

She said she was “honored to be honored with this prestigious award.”

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