by Lyndia Grant
Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer
Have you looked back on memorable days in your life? You’ll cherish those thoughts for a lifetime. Such a day happened for me recently. As I sat writing my newspaper column and preparing for my radio show, I heard my cellphone beep for a new email message.
This message had come on July 2 from Value Partnerships, Joshua DuBois, CEO, and the Oprah Winfrey Network. The subject line said “July 7th Conference Call with Oprah Winfrey.” I couldn’t believe my eyes! I thought, “This is remarkable a chance to hear from Oprah Winfrey herself. I’m in!” My life will never be the same since joining that conference call. Oprah spoke with an international community, sharing her desire for the Belief Series to change the world in a positive way.
What a joy it has been to work with Values Partnerships leaders, Etoy Rignal and the Rev. Carolyn Wilkins, both of whom have been in contact weekly with me and other leaders in the Washington metropolitan Area. I’ve become one of the lead coordinators of the D.C. Belief Host Committee, meeting many new and exciting people. It has been a marvelous experience.
What’s this all about? Oprah Winfrey is presenting a new seven-day series on OWN Oct. 18-24 titled “Belief,” a groundbreaking international television event exploring humankind’s ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves.
This original series invites viewers to witness fascinating spiritual journeys through the eyes of believers. Oprah Winfrey said: “For several years, my team and I have traveled to 33 countries to film the Beliefs of all races, colors, creeds, religions in an effort to show somehow, we are all very much alike.”
What is my belief, you ask? Throughout my life our family of nine lived on a farm in North Carolina, near Kinston. My father had been a Pentecostal preacher and pastor since1959. I was 9 years old. He had a cute little church with a steeple located near the rail road tracks. It only accommodated 150-200 people.
For the family, it was church all the time. Only preaching and spirituals played on our radio. Playing cards was out. His small but dedicated congregation worshiped monthly. Other Sundays we visited neighboring churches, never missing one. A poor family, but we looked good. The boys were wearing suits and ties and the girls dresses with standout slips and ribbons in our hair, riding in a Cadillac.
A talented musician, our father played the piano, organ harmonica and guitar, his favorite. After supper he and mother would sing, clap, both patting their feet. We children would join in.
At age n19, I married a tall, handsome Catholic Marine. My old-school upbringing taught me my husband’s religion would be the family’s choice. We followed Catholic protocol, from premarital counseling and the big wedding to baptizing our children as Catholics. They even attended Catholic schools.
What I believed had changed, from a small Pentecostal church in the South to the National Shrine in Washington. For Catholics, it was acceptable to play cards inside the church fellowship halls. It was totally different from how I grew up.
Now 40 years later, I’m divorced, and I’m enjoying the Baptist religion. Though the Baptist faith is different from Catholicism and Pentecostalism, it falls somewhere in the middle. Throughout my life, all churches I’ve attended believe in Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Over the years, I’ve had Mormon friends, Hari Krishnas, Buddhists, Jews, etc. Recently, with this project, I met Sister Jenna, a lovely spirit, Brahma Kumari, and CEO of Meditation Museum. She travels to 160 countries!
What a magnificent opportunity to bring people of all faiths together in one room around the world. But this time, only looking for similarities: love and peace. It is up to you to believe.
Lyndia Grant is an author, inspirational and motivational speaker, radio talk show host and columnist. Visit her new website at www.lyndiagrant.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-558-2107. Tune in Fridays at 6 p.m. to the radio talk show, 1340 AM, WYCB, a Radio One Station.