It was a tremendous blessing to contribute my creative energy in the form of a poem to Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Sr.’s 45th Anniversary Celebration. Comforting was my friend Vincent Brown’s comment that he has never known me to write a poem that rhymes. That would be correct, but I knew I had to appeal to a cross-section of generations and ages who could understand and appreciate the familiar nuances of our Bishop who has been at the pulpit’s helm for Bethel Baptist Institutional Church for 45 years. Now that’s what I call serious, ministerial service.
Oddly, I have had few personal encounters with Bishop Sr., but he’s one of those souls whose spirit you can capture from his morning messages, his presence, his willingness to be so accessible to his flock, and his genuine zeal for the Lord and the people of God. He’s humble, consistent, real, often humorous, and incredibly compassionate. (I hope the poem conveyed that!)
Last year he visited me in the Hospital and I was “moaning and groaning” about having been there for 11 days. His poignant perspective to me was, “But these were YOUR eleven days.” One month prior to his anniversary special I was in the hospital again for 27 days and his prior counsel gave me perspective (not that I want to do any of it again.)
He is a Pastor’s Pastor and a Bishop’s Bishop. While I actually do write in rhyme (slant rhyme, off rhyme, internal rhyme), I leave “end rhyme” to the one and only master of the craft and that was Robert Frost. It is actually very difficult to do without sounding “trite and/or elementary.” Sometimes there are occasions where our gifts find their dutiful place and purpose and in the writing of this poem, I must say, metaphorical genius was neither required nor necessary.
Incidentally, I didn’t read the poem the evening of the Florida Theater spectacular tribute. I was unsure if I’d even be able to attend so another church member rehearsed diligently and delivered eloquently and beautifully. Kudos! I don’t know her name, but thank you for representing my work and uplifting Bishop.
It was a dignified and professionally produced theatrical production and more than adequately served as an integral part of a weekend long celebration for a man whose life and legacy have, and will continue to make a difference.
Much love and respect to you Bishop, Sr. and thank you for being such a blessing to me and countless others.
Penny Dickerson 2011