ORANGE, NJ — On Friday, Oct. 12, the Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network founder and television talk show host, will preach at Bethel Baptist Church, 229 Wallace St. in Orange, as part of the church’s installation of its new pastor, the Rev. Darren Ferguson.
According to Nicole Williams-James, an Orange native and member of the congregation who is serving on the church’s Pastoral Installation Committee, in addition, on “Sunday, Oct. 14, at 5 p.m. is the installation service, with the Rev. Calvin Butts as keynote speaker. The Rev. Ferguson won’t actually be preaching on Oct. 14.”
City Council President and East Ward Councilman Kerry Coley, a member of the church, said he’s excited about this weekend’s events at the church.
“Dr. Ferguson is a mighty man for God, a mighty man for Bethel Baptist Church and a mighty man for the community,” said Coley on Tuesday, Oct. 9. “Orange will never be the same again, in a good way. Dr. Ferguson is a living testimony that God is real.”
Coley said the best thing about Ferguson is the fact that he’s an inspirational preacher.
“His message is real and powerful,” Coley said. “When he speaks, it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, rich, poor, drunk, sober … Everyone will be spiritually fed. Bethel Baptist Church and the Orange community have been blessed beyond what words can express with the installation of Dr. Darren Ferguson.”
Coley’s statements this week about Ferguson echoed those he made shortly after being re-elected to a second term of office in May.
“I’m changing gears. Enough about Orange politics,” said Coley on Monday, May 14. “We have been without a pastor for the past two and a half years. I was chosen to serve on the search committee last year and that was one of the hardest things I did.”
But Coley said the committee’s hard work has paid off, and he invited Ferguson to the be introduced at the council meeting the next day.
“We selected Dr. Ferguson after an extensive search and he’s coming to us out of New York State,” said Coley. “We’re going to be having our Spring Revival in June, but he’s going to be at Bethel Baptist Church on Sunday, May 27.”
Coley said Bethel Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary last year without an official pastor. He said the church are starting this year off right and charting a course for the future, with Ferguson’s guidance.
“He’s going to be doing some phenomenal things in Orange,” said Coley. We just celebrated 100 years this past October. Dr. Ferguson wants to do his installation ceremony during our 101st anniversary celebration.”
Williams-James said the church has a host of activities lined up to celebrate its 101st anniversary, culminating with Ferguson’s installation service Sunday, Oct. 14.
“Dr. Ferguson is all about social justice and equality for all people and he doesn’t play when it comes to injustice, corruption or any of the things that have been plaguing and hurting the black community for years,” said Williams-James on Tuesday, May 22. “He’s the real deal, when it comes to being a man of God.”