#FaithWorks: seeing what we’ve never seen before

By Marnita Coleman,
Special at AFRO

We caught up with Reverend Myeskia Coger Watson, the illustrious former pastor of Mount Ararat Baptist Church, who candidly shared what has been happening in her world recently. She was installed, January 2019, as the first female pastor of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Baltimore, and launched the church’s new theme, “Seeing What We’ve Never Seen Before,” based on Eph. 3h20. “As children of God, we can trust God to experience what we have never seen before,” Watson said. Three years later, Reverend Watson retired from this mission. Here is what happened.

She remembers spending the first year “listening, learning and loving people”. His substantive out-of-door work included growing the physical sanctuary and implementing daily prayer calls at 7 a.m., 12 p.m., and 7 p.m. It was a new way for the non-digital congregation to stay connected and hear each other’s voices. Their theme was placed on the church bus and a huge banner for all to see.

In the second year of his ministry, the prophetic proclamation of the theme spoke like a global pandemic. “I am very aware and confident that what may surprise us does not surprise God,” she said. Like other ministries, Mt. Ararat has built an online community through Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube. Meanwhile, the church has partnered with neighborhood associations, Coppin State University and the Mondawmin Mall to become a hub for voter registration. After the quarantine was lifted, worship services were held outdoors and the community of Hanlon Longwood attended as well as passing travelers.

At the start of her third year of pastoring, after a rigorous year of COVID-19, Reverend Watson found herself in need of “refueling.” However, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to its type and location, targeted treatment consisted of weekly surgery, chemo, and radiation, followed by mild chemo every three weeks for a year.

The well-known preacher said, “You can’t choose life’s challenges, but you can choose how you get through them. I chose the abundant life; I chose joy and I chose to live in love. “Myeskia” means life. Jesus came that we may have life!

During this time, she remained present before the congregation and was surrounded by a rich support system of pastors across the country who “spread the word” through virtual means. Reverend Watson said the Mount Ararat family never lacked a powerful word from God.

Embracing the journey, she confidently rocks a mohawk. “My oncologist told me that chemo would bring out my hair.” So she asked her daughters, “Would you mind if Mom was bald?” I am a communicator. It became a family conversation.

In May, the cancer treatment ended. Watson turned 50 and walked away from the pastorate, but not from the call on her life to preach the gospel. “It’s the Lord’s church and I was a humble servant for three years,” she said.

The family recently returned from Ocala, Florida, where Reverend Watson’s 10-year-old daughter was crowned grand champion in an equestrian competition. “As a wife and mother, I am present with the family that God has given me,” she said.

When God gave Reverend Watson the vision for Mount Ararat Baptist Church, she had no idea it included a global pandemic, breast cancer and champion status for her equestrian daughter. She simply wants to live, love, learn and enjoy an abundant life, while helping others through their cancer process and giving glory to God. “Let God blow you away. He will finish what He started. Life is so much greater!” she stated.

What’s next for Watson? Perhaps the “50 years of life, 30 years of preaching in the world of podcasts”.

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