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Maryland Governor Has "Homecoming" at Takoma Park Church

Governor Wes Moore at Takoma Park church, photo by Art Brondo

On July 22, 2023, Maryland Governor Wes Moore shares his gratitude for the church's assistance to his family upon the sudden death of Moore's father 41 years ago. Photo by Art Brondo/NAD

“It was a long overdue homecoming,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore during his visit to the Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland this past weekend.

Addressing the packed congregation, he said, “I’m thankful, not just for the congregations of today, but the congregations of the past as well. I’m thankful not just for this church, but for the Spirit that guides this church. Because 41 years ago, it was this congregation, this church—it was this house of the Lord that reminded me and my family how loved we were in our time of greatest pain. The reason I love this area, this church so much.”

Moore shared the story of how members of the church stepped in to provide support for his family after his father passed away suddenly. “In that moment that things were the darkest … It was members of that congregation who came to [my mother] and were the first ones to tell her, ‘You’re going to be OK,’ he said. “This was a congregation that saw pain and tried to soothe it. It was a congregation that saw suffering and try to heal it. … And because of that, that woman 41 years ago, in her darkest moment, had a chance to see God’s love. You all did that.”

He noted that church members came to spend time with the family without asking what church they belonged to, or about their background. “You simply saw us in a way that many people did not,” Moore said, added saying his entire family benefitted from God’s love as felt through the church. “You saw a 3-year-old child without a father. And you said, ‘He needs to be supported. He needs to be loved and we are going to be sure that we are the ones to do just that.’”

Moore added, “I’m here to say thank you because that message was received loud and clear by my sisters [and me]. So I come to you today with humility. I come to you today with gratitude, not just on behalf of the state of Maryland. … I come to you on behalf of my family.”

During the service, church leaders joined Henry Wright, former Takoma Park church pastor, as he prayed a prayer of blessing over Governor Moore and his family. Wright prayed, “Heaven is concerned about integrity. People who are moved not by position, not by power and authority, but by a sense of service. This leader has displayed that and we only ask that you would enlarge his capacity.”

Governor Wes Moore gives a citation to Takoma Park church for their work in the community

With Potomac Conference president Charles Tapp (left) looking on, Governor Wes Moore presents a citation to Takoma Park church, handing the framed citation to Pastor Daniel Xisto, for their continued support and service in the community. Photo by Art Brondo/NAD

Moore also thanked local community and Adventist leaders for their service and presented the congregation with a governor’s citation because of their "continued support and service to the community."

Daniel Xisto, pastor for community engagement and church operations at the Takoma Park church, presented Moore with an Andrews Study Bible and a red t-shirt that Takoma Park members wear whenever serving in the community.

Orlan Johnson introduces Maryland Governor Wes Moore on Sabbath, July 22, 2023, at the Takoma Park church

Orlan Johnson introduces Maryland Governor Wes Moore on Sabbath, July 22, 2023, at the Takoma Park church. Photo by Lucas Cardino

Orlan Johnson, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the North American Division, his team, and Potomac Conference and Takoma Park church staff worked with the governor’s team to help the momentous moment happen — noting that the governor approached him at an event, asking for the opportunity to attend a service. Johnson was happy to provide whatever assistance he could to help the event become a reality.

After the event Johnson replied, “Here at the North American Division, we believe that our primary purpose is to engage in service by being the hands and feet of Jesus at all times and to all people. It was my privilege to be of service to help provide the governor the opportunity to personally express his gratitude to one of churches that 41 years ago supported a family in its community without questions and without reservation.”

He concluded, “For me, what this congregation did is the ultimate definition of being Christlike.”

— By V. Michelle Bernard, Columbia Union Visitor; the NAD Office of Communication contributed to this report; the original version of this article appears on the Columbia Union Visitor magazine website.