MLK Foundation honors pastor, community leaders with rousing celebration
By Cedrell Mitchell
Fifth Sunday broke from tradition in a couple of ways at Family Worship and Praise Center.
It was electrifying.
The youths put on lively church service with song, dramatization and praise dancing to urban gospel music. They were followed by an energetic DJ and guests that included community activist and former city commissioner Anita Davis, Keith Bowers, Regional Director of the FSBDC at FAMU.
Davis and Bowers were among list of people who were honored by Martin Luther King Foundation.
Quincy D. Griffin was recognized as Pastor of the Year, while his wife, Michelle, was named First Lady of the Year. Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil received the Person of the Year Award. Each of the other honorees was recognized for their community contributions.
“In terms of the pastor of the year we wanted a pastor that is doing something on the grass root for people in the community,” said Steve Beasley, founder of the MLK Foundation. “It was no question on Quincy he is young and innovative.”
A former band nerd from Charleston, S.C., and logical thinker from Detroit, Michigan both Quincy and Michelle were determined to attend FAMU. Their parents would have preferred Tennessee State University.
“I don’t know where I heard of FAMU or Tallahassee but I knew in seventh grade I said I’m going to FAMU. Now I know why it was set on my heart to go,” said Michelle.
The Griffins met during their freshmen year of college. Quincy’s dream of becoming a band director never ceased after graduating from FAMU he became the band director at Rickards High School.
Calling it a vision from God, he became pastor of FWPC in 2013, following the death of pastor Cyrus F. Flanagan, who founded the church.
“God blew my mind,” he said. “I had a dream that I had to leave my career and fulfill ministry,” said Quincy.
Michelle reluctantly accepted her destiny after the prophecy but soon took responsibility as First Lady of FWPC. Quincy became Pastor of FWPC in 2013, a year after the death of Flanagan.
Being young leaders in Tallahassee is an outlet to broadcast a great example of the pastor of FWPC Quincy Griffin and wife, Michelle Griffin.
Being in that position was a bit more than they expected.
“It is pressure because people’s perception of young leaders is immature but we don’t alter who we are,” he said. “Integrity and character is so big for us outside of just being on the pulpit or leading a men’s prayer or woman’s prayer.”
They are proving just that. The Griffins have developed a passion for impacting their community. They feed homeless twice each month, have food truck gathering and celebrate the New Year’s Eve with an extravaganza.
Community work done by the power couple throughout the city does not go unnoticed. This upcoming Halloween the church will have Hallelujah Night where the youth can wear costumes and trick-or-trick in a safe environment.
“To get something like this (the award) so early in ministry so young in age it is very humbling but it lets me know that this is so much bigger than us as a personality and community figure,” said Quincy, whose church has become a gathering place for millennials. “It’s something God is trying to do to push his kingdoms assignment.”
The honor is a little more than the couple expected.
“I was honored, shocked but humbled we don’t do any of this for any kind of recognition we do this because we love people and that’s honestly the only thing,” Michelle said.
Members of their congregation said the award is well-deserved.
“They are both so passionate; caring and always wanting to make sure we are okay,” said Elder Fran Barber said. “It gives me life to see someone their age impart wisdom.”
Added Mara Burnside, Children’s Church Leader: “He is really down to earth and a father/brother figure. Lady Michelle is really sweet and an awesome light and she carries herself with such grace and excellence.”
McNeil was a hand-down choice for the Person of the Year honor.
“Sheriff Walt McNeil is an All-American person; he has a beautiful family he is also working with Rev. R.B. Holmes on this mission for prisoners who gets out of jail and helping them get back on their feet,” said Beasley.