News and Views

Obedience and joy can be angelic

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By Melissa Lauber

Her name is Angelic. She is a “bald, sneaker-wearing pastor” who just “shows up as herself” in the heart of Baltimore. That could be the entire story. It writes itself. 

But add: her parents named her Aretha, then her godparents renamed her. As a part of her identity, she “has God in her mouth.”

Then add, last year Angelic was appointed to serve St. Luke UMC as an interim, brand-new pastor. The church, in one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, started to immediately grow, and she was assigned on a more permanent basis. District leaders say they are surprised that she has accomplished years of ministry in just a few months.

Since she started preaching at St. Luke in Sandtown-Winchester, attendance in worship has gone from about 19 to between 60 and 75. On a good week, there are 95 worshippers. But more importantly, there is fruit. One Sunday morning, for instance, Williams was talking to a member of the church when she saw a young pregnant woman pass by outside.

 She excused herself and flew out of the door to pray with the woman, who she knew was staying at a sober-living facility down the street from the church. It was too rich of a moment to pass up an opportunity to offer a blessing and a word of intercession.

“My grandmother was an intercessor, and she raised an intercessor,” Williams said. “I want us to know our neighbors, especially those who might be in pain. Sometimes this means praying on the sidewalk instead of in the church.”

Taking the church to the streets outside the building has been a large part of the transformation unfolding at St. Luke UMC.

Last June, Williams was inspired to do a community cookout. There was no money in the budget, but she set about getting a permit for the two-block area, soliciting donations, and lining up people to volunteer. One member had a food truck and handed out 200 free snow cones. Another distributed gourmet cupcakes. The local library gave away 160 books. There were games, burgers, face painting, and a grocery giveaway. Even the fire department came.

 “It was beautiful,” Williams said. “It was a seminal moment, a huge moment where everybody came together. It was more than free hotdogs; there was singing and dancing. It was a good day. We learned the power of coming together and how God could bless us and make much out of very little.”

For a long time, Williams had been preaching the Gospel as a laywoman in an interdenominational church. She had lived in Florida for two decades when her husband of 21 years died. “Within a blink of an eye, I didn’t know who I was,” she said. “I was disoriented from loss.”

Her family, with whom she is very close, swept in and moved her home to Baltimore to heal. She began attending Eastern UMC in Baltimore, where the people ministered to her, and she got back to her Methodist roots.

One thing led to another, and she filled in as a preacher in local pulpits, then was called to fill in at St. Luke. She is also working a secular job as an insurance investigator. “God has made a way,” she said. “The congregation doesn’t mind serving, showing up and giving of themselves. They are a giving, enthusiastic congregation.”

“I really think the key ingredient is obedience,” Williams said. “I always want to do the things that God assigns to my hands in the season he assigns them. … I’m willing to be stretched and to be enthusiastic. I just preach the Gospel. There’s no gimmick, no extra sauce – it’s just Jesus.”

Meanwhile, people in the St. Luke community are “reaching out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. People are being converted to Christ. Faith is being extended,” Williams said.  “When you love God, that translates to the people. Passion is contagious, it moves into the congregation and into the community.”

When Williams first arrived at St. Luke, she felt like the community treated the church like living room furniture. People know, blindfolded, where the furniture in their living room is. They don’t bump into it. They take it for granted. We had become like that – a fixture in the community, but people were living their lives around us.” she said. No more. Today, hearts are being broken for Jesus. New life is coming forth as people begin to see themselves and one another as Gods’ image-bearers. 

“I function with evangelistic intentions. I’m just obeying God,” Williams concluded.  And that, it turns out, can be Angelic.

Joann lee Dec 7, 2023 12:21pm

I am a member of st lukes church family and I am so happy and proud to tell the world what a blessing that we have pastor Angelic Williams ❤️ the holy spirit come every Sundays ❤️

Charletta Jackson Dec 7, 2023 12:37pm

Praise God! I truly feel Pastor was God sent to our Congregation! I believe our Church will continue to reach into the community where I was born raised! I feel like God has a bigger plan! Obedience and joy is the key as Title! Hallelujah!

Lillian Farmer Dec 7, 2023 1:01pm

I’m truly blessed by St Luke Church and My new Pastor Angelic Williams. I live in Bridgeport , CT but my daughter has been a member at St Luke’s for over 15 years she has four of my beautiful grandchildren they love StLuke but since God bought Pst Williams to be the Shepherd of Gods Flock they love going even more and are servants for The Lord and I was apart of a Prayer Discipleship the was in Zoom and I feel in love with her and I consider her my pastor . I can truly say that

Candice Dec 7, 2023 1:46pm

Congratulations on being recognized in this lovely article. This is just the beginning.

Denise Small Dec 7, 2023 1:47pm

My Pastor is the greatest, she comes with love and intent to preach the gospel. We love her and pray to have her as a Pastor for a long time to come.

Thank God for this woman of God.

Wendy Johnson Dec 7, 2023 2:54pm

Pastor Angelic is my cousin and we have always ha relationship . Since returning home we have had kingdomship relationships . She is truly in love with Jesus and is not afraid to share that love with everyone she meets. An anointed Woman of God who cares for the soul of people. Praising God for the accomplishments of her assignment, I know she is just beginning!!

Rodney Hudson Dec 7, 2023 3:35pm

What a blessing to witness firsthand this dynamic ministry unfold for so ma y who need hope...God sent...

Ophelia Brown Carter Dec 7, 2023 5:01pm

Praise God! continue to love God and his people . So happy for you. Shalom.

Sherise Rascoe Dec 7, 2023 6:00pm

Wow, Where do I begin?? Having this Beautiful Woman of GOD, Pastor Williams here at St Luke has brought back so much JOY, LOVE and the Sense of Belonging within the Church and the Community… My Kids and I Love, Respect and Appreciate her so much. She is always there when needed and make people feel so comfortable . My mother IN CT always talking about “HER PASTOR/DAUGHTER ANGELIC”, She gets fed from Pastor by watching her every Sunday via Facebook Live…So Much Love for Pastor Williams throughout the world ❤️

Christine Fields Dec 7, 2023 7:15pm

Such a beautiful article, for a wonderful and beautiful person. Thanks for being there for me and my family at a very difficult time. Love you much.

Christine Fields Dec 7, 2023 7:18pm

Such a beautiful article for a wonderful and beautiful person. Thanks for being there for me and my family at such a difficult time. Love you much.

Little Debbie Blackshear Dec 7, 2023 8:47pm

Greetings my Sister, I often think of you and wonder how you are doing. I’ve missed your presence and your wisdom in our Women’s Discipleship class with Minister Carol and Karen. You are one awesome woman of God. There is no doubt that you are doing great things within the four (4) walls of the church and beyond its doors. It’s a blessing to me to read the comments from others of how you are influencing the lives of the people in the community. I also miss your fashion statement eye glass frames. Keeping you in my prayers.

Justine Sewell-Cole (Shelly) Dec 7, 2023 8:51pm

Before Pastor Williams arrived at St. Luke, I had been unhappy there for a long while, and was looking for a new church to join. I had a brief conversation with her one Sunday, and I gave her my telephone number. She called me one night. During our conversation, she talked, encouraged, and prayed for me. I decided to stay at St. Luke, and I've NEVER been happier! She is such a blessing to me personally, our church family, and our Sandtown-Winchester community! St. Luke's membership is increasing...we once again have some children, and young adults in our congregation! Hallelujah!!! I thank God for Pastor Williams, and what I call the "New St Luke!" She is loved and appreciated more than she realizes. I pray she'll remain our Pastor for many, many years!

Little Debbie Blackshear Dec 7, 2023 8:53pm

Greetings my sister, I have so often wondered how you were doing. I’ve missed you in our Womens Discipleship group you always came forth with such words of wisdom. It is very apparent that you are doing great things at St Luke by the posted concerning your presence there. Yes, God always has a plan you were definitely God sent.

Sherise Rascoe Dec 7, 2023 8:56pm

Wow, Where do I begin? This Beautiful Woman of GOD, Pastor Williams has been Heaven sent to St. Luke and the Community. Allowing people to be comfortable in their own skin and not shunning no one away. My Kids and I have much Love and Respect for Pastor Williams. She has brought to The Church and Community JOY, LOVE and a Sense of Belonging. Whenever you need her she is there no matter the hour. My mother who lives in CT. Brags to her friends worldwide about "HER PASTOR/DAUGHTER ANGELIC".. Which she gets Fed and Filled every Sunday by Pastor Williams via Facebook Live..Thank you Pastor for allowing GOD to use you for his Children.

Pastor Jay Dec 7, 2023 9:10pm

To God be the Glory for someone so anointed, spiritually minded, Holy Ghost centered, and truly Angelic! Congratulations on all that Jesus is doing in the life of St. Luke's.

Nancy Fulghan Dec 7, 2023 10:40pm

I thank and give God all the praise for sending St. Luke Pastor Angelic Williams. He heard our prayers and bless us better than we could have imagined. Pastor has a Servants heart that has touched the lives of people of all ages. She keeps it real, preaches and teaches. St. Luke is alive in the walls of the church and outside in the community! To God Be The Glory!

Hilda James Dec 8, 2023 1:55am

Congratulations Pastor Angelic, God is Good All The Time.

Brent Laytham Dec 8, 2023 10:38am

It has also been a joy to have Angelic as a student at St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute. She is a wonderful addition to our learning community.

Michelle Lee Dec 8, 2023 11:13am

Congratulations to my EI classmate and thank you for being such a blessing to the Sandtown-Winchester community. May God continue to bless you and your ministry for your good and for His Glory!!! Way to go, Angelic!!

LaShawn Brooks Dec 10, 2023 9:03am

Beautifully composed, how “Angelic! I love everything about this piece. May the Lord continue to order your steps and the Holy Spirit lead and guide you into all truth!

Frances Muldrow Dec 10, 2023 12:58pm

God is doing great things under the guidance of our Pastor

Frank Robert Dec 11, 2023 3:01pm

This is so inspirational!

Tariah Carrington Dec 14, 2023 12:02am

I love to see it. To God be the Glory. I see He’s doing great things at St. Luke.

Pastor A. Jan 3, 2024 7:49pm

An Amazing Woman Of God whom I am blessed to call My Sister! Continue to let God use mightily.

Robin Altimari Jan 22, 2024 10:44am

Beautiful story! God bless you, Angelic!

Phillip Smith Mar 5, 2024 1:01am

I am not a member of the congregation, but a believer just the same. I have known Pastor Williams well over 40 years, have been friends those same 40 years. Her relationship with GOD is something I have never witnessed before now or