FAIRLEE — No matter how long it takes, God is going to get you there right on time.
That was the optimistic tone that Bishop Ronald Fisher of Faith Life Church in Chestertown struck Saturday morning as the keynote speaker at the Kent County NAACP prayer breakfast.
The Potter’s House Ministries and its pastor, Bishop Charles Tilghman Sr., hosted the annual event that celebrates the legacy of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Speaking without any notes, Fisher used the Bible story of Joseph to talk about God’s purposeful plan for each of us.
The most loved son of his father, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. But with God’s help, Joseph was able to interpret dreams — an ability that ultimately finds him in favor with the leaders of Egypt.
After enduring unspeakable hardships for 13 years in prison, Joseph was made second in command to the pharaoh.
“In one day,” a fiery Fisher said, “God takes Joseph from the pit to the palace.”
God has a plan for all of us, and he knows how to get us there, Fisher said.
“God makes no mistakes,” he said.
“God will use people to move you from place to place, but you have to say, ‘I’m going somewhere.’”
Tilghman, who also is president of the Kent County chapter of the NAACP, followed Fisher to the speaker’s podium.
The struggle for equality and justice is real, Tilghman said, “but we shall overcome.”
He added: “We’ve made great strides, but there’s more to be done. It will take us working together to effect positive change.”
Tilghman voiced his support for the Souls to the Polls program that encourages participation in the political process through voting.
He also talked about the recent ACLU-NAACP partnership to have the ward boundaries redrawn in Chestertown to enforce the voting rights of racial minorities guaranteed under the 14th and 15th Amendments.
“The black vote is not as powerful as others, and that needs to change,” Tilghman said.
While acknowledging that there are still injustices, and we should get angry about that, Tilghman said he is distressed about gun violence.
“We’re losing so many young people in the streets. Let us get angry about that too,” he said.
Tilghman called for a “return to the old ways,” when young people respected their elders, attended church and neighbors looked out for one another. He called it “coming back to the basics.”
In offering the opening prayer, Lutheran Pastor Thomas Sinnott noted that the NAACP has been a diverse group since its founding in February 1909. Its strength is its solidarity, accomplishing more when people come together than when they are divided.
Echoing that sentiment, H. Emerson Cotton of Rock Hall, vice president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said in his welcome, “When we as beacons come together, we can have a nice bright life. ... If you want to walk together, you can go far.”
Saturday’s event included performances by the Potter’s House Mass Choir under the direction of Annette Turner and the Angels of New Birth praise dance team from Bethel AME Church in Chestertown.
Larry Samuels, the senior warden of Shrewsbury Parish Church in Kennedyville and an active member of the NAACP, read passages from some of Dr. King’s speeches.
As a concluding activity, the audience stood to sing “We Shall Overcome,” which is commonly accepted as the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.