By Marnita Coleman,
Special to the AFRO
We checked in with the Rev. Myeskia Coger Watson, the illustrious former pastor of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, who candidly shared what’s been going on recently in her world. She was installed, January, 2019, as the first female pastor of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Baltimore, and launched the church’s new theme, “Seeing What We’ve Never Seen Before,” based on Eph. 3:20. “As children of God we can trust God to experience what we’ve never seen before,” declared Watson. Three years later, Rev. Watson stepped away from that assignment. Here’s what happened.
She recalls spending the first year “listening, learning and loving the people.” Her out-the-gate groundwork included growing the physical sanctuary, and implementing daily prayer calls at 7 a.m., 12 noon and 7 p.m. This 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 everyone to see.
In the second year of her pastorate, the prophetic proclamation of the theme spoke in the way of a global pandemic. “I am very aware and confident that what may catch us by surprise doesn’t catch God by surprise,” she said. As other ministries, Mt. Ararat built an online community via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube. During that time, the church partnered with neighborhood associations, Coppin State University and Mondawmin Mall to become a hub for voter registration. Once the quarantine was lifted, worship services were held outside, and the Hanlon Longwood community attended as well as travelers passing by.
Beginning the third year of pastoring, following a rigorous year of COVID-19, Rev. Watson found herself in need of “refueling.” However, she was met with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Due to its type and location, the targeted treatment consisted of surgery, weekly chemo and radiation, followed by mild chemo every three weeks for a year.
The well-known preacher said, “You don’t get to choose the challenges in life but you get to choose how you go through them. I chose abundant life; I chose joy and I chose to live in love. ‘Myeskia’ means life. Jesus came that we might 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 “brought forth the word” through virtual means. Rev. Watson said the Mt. Ararat family never lacked for a powerful word from God.
Embracing the journey, she confidently rocks a mohawk. “My oncologist told me that chemo would cause my hair to come out.” So she asked her daughters, “Would you be okay with mommy being bald? I’m a believer in communicating. It became a family conversation.”
In May, cancer treatment ended. Watson turned 50, and stepped away from pastoring, but not the calling 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 Rev. 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 God has given me,” she said.
When God gave Rev. Watson the vision for Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, she did not imagine it included a global pandemic, breast cancer, and a champion status for her equestrian daughter. She simply wants to live, love, learn, and enjoy abundant life, as she helps others through their cancer process, and give God the glory. “Let God blow your mind. He will complete what He began. Life is so much bigger!” she declared.
What’s next for Watson? Perhaps the “50 years of living, 30 years of preaching podcast world.”
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! Join here!