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Deaconess licensed to preach the gospel

On June 18, Deaconess Virgie Banks of New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, Virginia was licensed to preach the gospel by her pastors, Rev. Lois Blakey-Paige and Rev. Louis R. Blakey, Jr.

Virgie Banks' Initial Sermon: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Rev. Margaret Minnicks

Banks has been a deaconess for several years before God called her into a different area of ministry. She has been quite involved in evangelism and prison ministry for many years.

Pastor Paige often shares Francis of Assisi's quote, "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." Banks has been preaching the gospel through her lifestyle, and on Wednesday night she proved she can use words when necessary.

Her initial sermon was titled, "Praise is What We Do" based on Psalm 150. She gave the background of the psalms before going through each verse of the last psalm. For instance, she let the congregation know that there are 150 "Hymns about Him." The first psalm is an introduction to all the psalms, and the last psalm is all about praise. There are five divisions with a doxology ending each division.

Connection: New Canaan has stopped singing a doxology after the offering. Instead a prayer is given before the offering. Last night even before Banks talked about a doxology in her sermon, Pastor Blakey asked the congregation to sing a doxology after the offering for the first time in over three years. Perhaps, like this writer, others in the congregation including Banks noticed the connection or confirmation.

Banks pointed out that praise is what we because of who God is and thanksgiving is what we do because of what God does. Banks added that praise is the duty of every Christian. She cited that in the six short verses of Psalm 50, the word "praise" is mentioned 13 times.

Banks called attention to all the instruments mentioned in the praise psalm. She said those instruments were the ones used in the Old Testament, even though today we praise God with modern instruments in our churches.

At the end of the sermon, Banks challenged the congregation to reflect on all God has done and advised the people to give Him the "Hallelujah" praise. She included the Christological move by telling how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose on the third day, and for that we should give God praise.

After the initial sermon, the former deaconess was licensed and Pastor Blakey referred to her as "Rev. Virgie Banks." Not only did the New Canaan family support her, but many relatives and friends came to witness this special occasion in the life of Rev. Banks.

Watch the slideshow above of pictures taken at the celebration. View more photographs on New Canaan's Facebook page.

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