I've been blessed to travel the country for the past few years at the invitation of various schools, organizations, universities and religious groups to talk about The Black Church Food Security Network.
As a part of my presentation, I've told countless thousands about Maxine Nicholas. She was the member of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church that really made our church garden what it is today. It was not uncommon to find her in the garden very early in the morning before sunrise and oftentimes in the evening as well. She brought the wealth of her experience growing up on a farm with her family in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina to our small 1500 square foot church garden. With our small garden ministry, she grew the produce, prepped it, canned it, sold it and served it to our congregation. She was the source of inspiration for the Black Church Food Security Network. She expanded my ideas around what was possible - transforming me and the trajectory of my life in the process.
She would engage the throngs of passersby and many college groups that came to Pleasant Hope wanting to know the story of this church garden. Many of them left her presence feeling like they had gained another grandmother. She gained surrogate children and grandchildren throughout her life because of her warm and loving spirit.
Mama Maxine went Home to be with The Lord last week. After being a member of our congregation for 64 of her 87 years of life, she truly was a Mother of our congregation. Today, we will celebrate her life back in her hometown and I will attempt to preach the eulogy of a woman who honored me with the privilege to be her pastor for these past 10 years.
We are considering ways to honor her legacy far into the future and may invite your support to make this happen.
For those who pray, please whisper a prayer for the Nicholas Family and our church family as we say "see you soon" to a sacred elder of our community that has touched the lives of those across the nation.