“We’re Better Together.” The Church is here, and the Community is here — Bishop Rodney Canion. The Bronx, N.Y
This was an event that intrigued me from the start.
The 2019 Leadership Conference at the New Gospel Temple Church in the Bronx New York. A homecoming for me since the Bronx is also my home borough. The borough that I have had a lifelong bond with and will always love. The memories of the Bronx is where I was raised by my grandmother and two Aunts. My cherished family members in those many different Bronx apartments that took me from, (against tremendous odds) and made me into the man I am today….without EVER having a father figure in my life.
The theme of the Church Conference was: “Enabled to Lead Despite My Obstacles.” It was held at the beautiful Church on Minford Place, in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. A stone’s throw away from the always busy shopping area of Southern Blvd, and just blocks from the NYC Police Precinct where crime was so bad many, many years ago, that it was nicknamed“Fort Apache.” Fort Apache became the actual subject of a Hollywood movie starring Paul Newman.
Hunts Points is residential, but also a very much industrial part of the City where products like Fish, meat, and fruit arrive in the City. 18-wheeler tracker-trucks are constantly moving back and forth in Hunts Point. One of the scars of this particular area, when I was growing up happen to be a very bad prostitution problem, out in broad daylight. Fortunately those days are long gone. My night to speak happened to be a Friday at the four day event.
I sat down to chat with the Pastor of the Church…..Bishop Rodney Canion. A man who is a towering figure in this community.
“Pastor this is a very special Church, what makes it so special?” (Journalist Dominic Carter)
“Well what makes it special is our involvement in the community. We opened here in March 2008 after a fairly extensive building project. We went from a one story warehouse to a 3 story facility.”
“We have a sanctuary side and then also a life center side, and so what we have brought to the community aside from the visibility, which people speak of as a transforming factor in the neighborhood…. But also we have indicated core needs in this community and have sent out to accomplish some of those things, and meet some of those needs.” -Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York
So all these years later from growing up in the Bronx, I’m a reporter. A newsman myself, and I remember well…the times when my grandmother didn’t have money to get us food….about the 15th of every month, when her Social Security Disability check would run out. That’s why I’m deeply impressed with the Food Bank operation New Gospel Temple is doing….and Churches like it around the world….to help those in need. It’s what I call being a voice for the voiceless.
“One of the things we are doing here now, and have been doing for a guess about 2 and a half years, we collaborated with an organization, another non-for-profit….we do meals here on each Wednesday. Meals are giving out, generally we serve up to 96 persons that are possibly impoverished, but there is a need so they come….hot meals are served. They get two lunches, a beverage, fruit, etc. and that’s through that collaboration. So that’s one thing we’re doing in the community.….” Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York
Bishop Canion is doing all he can to help the community….and his efforts are bearing fruit.
“I will just say that collaboration is important in this day and time. You may not always have the resources yourself, but if you share and your talking and you have that communication, you network!!! And so we collaborated with another entity and they brought in programs for Adult Day Care, Senior Day Care, and Special Needs Programs. So that’s been going on for about a year and a half. Different ones are able to come in the community. It’s a safe haven for them, and most times, they are taking them on different outings, so people can get out of their houses. There is free put up service. They put em up, drop em off…..AND THEY SUPPLY THEIR MEALS!!! Their lunches for the day. Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York
Bishop Canion told me he has been the Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church for 23 years.
“23 years!” (Journalist Dominic Carter) “So how do you explain your calling?”
“Well the interesting thing about a calling is I have lived long enough to know that there are some people that in a single way call themselves to an assigned task, but I’m of the belief, and I was just reared in this that my calling actually came from God! Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York
“If I’m going to be totally transparent, I never wanted to pastor. My father pastored. The Pastor of this church. I saw that! My mother actually Pastored….this church and another church, and I understood the gravity of being in that position of Pastor.” Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York
“Some look at only certain segments of it that may seem glamorous from the outside, but trust me when I tell you, the intricacies of all that is involved, and the sacrifices that are made for the ministries….even as far as building, but then also for the people, the sacrifice. You know sometimes it can be quite cumbersome but then you also have to look at the flipside. You have an assignment. A task that is sometimes thrust upon one, but as you walk in that capacity, and walking by faith, and not be sight as the bible would say….you see the fruit of your labor.” Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York
“Bishop Canion…..in closing, is there something I didn’t ask you that you feel the public needs to know….about this Church?” (Journalist Dominic Carter)
“Just that we don’t come from a place of not wanting to venture into an arena or an area that we haven’t before. New opportunities are being presented daily….and as we sit down and we have conservations, we can do Greater things together, as a Preacher friend of mine says: “We’re better together.” And that’s what we try to do! The Church is here, the Community is here. We’re a part of one another so we should be able to collaborate on things so that we’re held as one to another.” Bishop Rodney S. Canion/Pastor of the New Gospel Temple Church. Bronx, New York