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A demonstration of 40 years of Christian-Muslim brotherhood

By Nisa Islam Muhammad -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Aug 2, 2017 - 12:56:04 PM

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Rev. Willie Wilson and Min. Louis Farrakhan Photos: Hasaan Muhammad

A moment of prayer at Union Temple Baptist Church during special program on July 30.

WASHINGTON—For many who attended the 44th Anniversary event for Rev. Willie Wilson, the esteemed pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church, a captivating moment was Rev. Wilson’s introduction of the 11 a.m. service guest speaker, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, national representative of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam.

“How is it that a Christian, for 40 years, can have a Muslim speaker at his church?” asked Rev. Wilson.  “I’m not a Christian. That’s a manmade creation. I am a follower of Jesus. Since February 1977, every year for 40 years, he’s spoken here, sometimes twice a year.”

For Sheila Robinson, who has attended Union Temple for most of those 40 years, just hearing those words brought tears to her eyes.

“I just got really emotional when I heard that. That kind brotherhood between a Christian and Muslim is hard to find these days. That can only be the work of God,” she told The Final Call.  “It’s almost like a marriage. What God brought together let no man put asunder.”

Over the 40-year period, Rev. Wilson and Min. Farrakhan have developed a relationship that goes beyond one being a host and the other being a guest speaker.  Rev. Wilson was instrumental in organizing the Million Man March, the Million Family March, the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March: Justice or Else and so much more.

“There is one God that has sustained our relationship for 40 years,” Rev. Wilson said.

This year-after-year overflow event has become a family affair for many.  Retired government employee Ronald Wilson brought his son Trevor to hear the Minister.

“I thought his speech was very inspirational,” he told The Final Call.  “I thought it was just that kind of speech, that he was speaking to my son and I. Because, coming to hear the Minister, we shared the importance of conveying to others what you’ve gone through, so that they can take that forward on their own and make life better for others.  It was almost like he was talking to us personally when he was speaking.”

Audience enjoying program Photos: Final X

Union Temple Baptist Church was a place of celebration as friends, family, congregants and community came to honor the work and ministry of Rev. Willie Wilson and his wife Rev. Mary Wilson.

His son works in sales in the hotel business.  “His speech couldn’t be more timely.I didn’t get to experience him [Min. Farrakhan] in the 70s and 80s but I appreciate the fact that I can experience him in the zenith of his wisdom. And I felt so touched by him and, if he reads this, I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me personally. And I just want you to keep struggling,” Trevor said.

Daniel Lampkins of Washington focused on how the Minister talked about the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and how Elijah played an instrumental part with Muhammad Ali and others.

“The important thing, however, is even in this house when Rev. Wilson leaves, people need to step up. This house has lost a lot of members. Forty-four years of service Rev. Wilson has given. The Minister pointed out that Black people are hard to serve because of envy. Everything the Minister talked about I really enjoyed and the message was timely,” Mr. Lampkins said.

For UTBC member Vaughn Hawkins, “the program was just what we needed in a time like this. Min. Farrakhan spoke the real truth. So many times, we are in a position where we hear fantasy rather than the truth.  Min. Farrakhan gave us the reality and he has been consistent throughout his career. When he spoke about building a sand castle as a little boy and somebody tore it down, he said our will was being broken.

“He understands the purpose of God is to elevate us as a people, to lift us up out of the darkness and bring us into this marvelous light. He did that today. I came into faith because of Min. Farrakhan. I would not have faith and be in a Christian church today if it had not been for the Minister speaking to me 40 years ago at this church,” he told The Final Call.

The 40 years of brotherhood between the Christian and the Muslim is a great example to many.

“It is always an honor and privilege to come out to hear the dear Minister speak. When he spoke about the relationship between Jesus and Prophet Muhammad, it was one we always try to confer to our Christian brothers and sisters just how much we are alike,” Rev. Jeffery O. Thames, of Silver Spring, Md., told The Final Call.

“Seeing the Minister and Pastor Wilson together today really confirms and affirms the position that we take in creating brotherhood amongst the religions. The entire speech given by the Minister today was a highlight,” he added.      

For Sabrina Green, a Washingtonian, the unity was also key.  She told The Final Call, “I hope a lot of people would see the unity. Yes, it was about Rev. Wilson and the church, but it was a powerful message for the entire community to hear. For me the main highlight was on the exposing of Satan that is in this world today.”

“Simply phenomenal,” added Lorraine Muhammad of Wilmington, Del. “What we have to start doing is self-examination. I got very emotional when the Minister announced he would have to go away and how he used the Bible. 

“I thank Rev. Wilson. We have to be mindful of who we have in our midst,” she said.

(Jehron Muhammad and Michael Z. Muhammad contributed to this story.)