By Marnita Coleman,
Special to the AFRO
St. Timothy’s Christian Baptist Church, located in the West Arlington neighborhood of Baltimore, will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023.
The church was founded by the highly esteemed, Rev. Carl Washington Sr., who served as pastor for 47 years until his death in 2020. Following his steps, Rev. Minnie R. Washington, who established the ministry alongside her husband and now serves as pastor.
Pastor Minnie and the church members are ecstatic about the upcoming celebration. In her humble but straightforward way, Pastor Minnie admitted that she has “never been attracted to the pulpit, as far as pastoring is concerned, because it is a tremendous responsibility. The pastor can’t do what he wants to do, it has to be God’s will and God’s way, or no way!” All Pastor Minnie asked God for was to be a mother and a teacher, but He has shown her so much more.
She took the AFRO on a stroll down memory lane, reflecting on the sovereignty of God and her heartthrob, Carl Washington Sr.
The sneak preview of St.Timothy’s Christian Baptist Church’s 50th Anniversary is spectacularly outlined across the entire year of 2023, though the official anniversary date is in March. It will be a year of rejoicing, restoration, replenishment, and revival!
AFRO: What were the early years of ministry and family like?
PASTOR MINNIE: Anybody will tell you that Minnie Washington loved being Carl Washington’s wife and working in ministry with him in every way from the ground up. I worked in every capacity from scrubbing floors to administrative assistant, whatever needed to be done.
As a young pastor’s wife, I didn’t want to stand up front in the church. That’s how timid I was. The first time Carl asked me to pray, scared the life out of me. And I let the other minister’s wives know quickly that I did not consider myself the first lady. My contention is that there’s no place in heaven reserved for the first lady, but there is a place reserved for Minnie Washington. It gave me the opportunity to be a real woman with all of the women in the church. So they called me, ‘Sister Minnie,’ and I loved it. They said they didn’t see me as someone high up because I was a pastor’s wife. And so I had camaraderie with my members.
I was always beside Carl, being his wife, being the mother of my children. From the time I was 18 until the time I was 25, I had six children, Matwaia Isabelle, Carl Washington Jr., Chris Washington, Pia Taylor, Carmi Flood, and Debra Carter. They were close in age, we weren’t rich and didn’t have a television. You have to read between the lines.
AFRO: Teaching was one of two requests you made of the Lord. Take us into your time at Morgan State University.
PASTOR MINNIE: Carl and I had planned to travel. Returning home from vacation, I received a contract in the mail from Morgan State University to teach for one, fall semester. Carl said, ‘Well, it’s your favorite professor, and he needs you for just one semester.’ I remained at Morgan for nearly 30 years. It was a wonderful ministry and growing experience. I taught with a passion, but I teach with a passion wherever I am. God had given me the opportunity to be at a Black university where I could be with young Black men and women. And yes, there were some whites and there were some islanders, but predominantly Black. And I could minister to them in a way that only a Black mother can minister to her own. And I was just so grateful to God, and I challenged them to the utmost because I wanted them to be the best. And that time at Morgan State gave me people who are now sprinkled everywhere, who stay in touch with me, and who God gave me the opportunity to pour what he had put in me into them. And it was wonderful because I could openly say to them, ‘I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ And so it was definitely a very fruitful experience.
AFRO: What was it like to step into leadership of the church when your husband transitioned, and not assume the posture of a grieving widow?
PASTOR MINNIE: Our church membership knew my husband and me as two people, very much in love with the Lord and very much romantically attached to each other. He didn’t keep it a secret. He was so open with it that many times I had to blush. In 2020, after a long illness, he passed. He had already made me pastor, but my function at that time was really to be 100 percent his wife and to take care of him, to do what was necessary for the church, but to make him my major. And I did that.
As a full pastor, I came in immediately. I didn’t have the privilege of other widows. I was informed by my son, Dr. Carl Washington Jr., who pastors in New York, that I needed to get in the pulpit as soon as possible. He said to me, ‘You’re not only the pastor’s wife, you are now the pastor. The people need the pastor to lead them through this mourning process.’ So I moved right in, and by the grace of God and the mercy of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he sustained me. Was I frightened? I was scared stiff. I told the congregation that I know I’m going to break down and cry. And what we can do, is we can cry together.
AFRO: How do you keep the fire burning in ministry for 50 years?
PASTOR MINNIE: The church is a miracle. The secret is we didn’t start the fire. Keeping the fire burning is something that only God, the Holy Spirit, can do. Anyone who believes they can do that has stepped out of their place. We accepted Christ and came under His authority. We accepted that the Holy Spirit is in charge of the church. That makes moving ahead easier than by our own fire because our fire is “fake fire.” The Book of Acts says, the word of God increased, and God added to the church daily. That’s a repetitive statement and I can say that has proven to be
true since I assumed the full leadership of the church. While my husband was in hospice for over a year, I asked him to please tell me what to do. He said, “You already know what to do.”
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