July 9, 2009
By Rose J. Reeder
Today I attended the celebration of the life of native Miamian Bishop Isaiah Williams Jr., founder and Senior pastor of Jesus People Ministries. I sat next to two people I knew: Sharon Jackson, a member of the church and Phyllis Wilcox, a graduate of Miami Carol City and retired educator from the Miami-Dade school system. Phyllis was also a bridesmaid in Bishop Williams' wedding.
Back in the day, I met Izell (what we called him) at Miami Central Senior High School, home of the Rockets. He attended Central and his wife (Gloria) attended Carol City Senior High School. We socialized outside of school and he knew my family. During my 12th grade year, Izell was my escort for the "Girl of the Year" debutante cotillion.
After high school, we went in different directions in pursuit of higher education and careers. While I was away in college, my mom told me Izell played drums for Bible Baptist Church, my cousin Ralph Pressley's church. Bible Baptist was the springboard for Isaiah's own church. Years later, my grandmother and I ran into Izell in the strip mall at Miami Gardens Drive and 27th Ave. the location of his first church.
It was quoted a man's time on this earth is determined by his contribution not his longevity. I learned today Bishop Williams contributed a tremendous amount and left a vision for others to carry out.
Director Robert Parker of the Miami-Dade Police Department said Bishop Williams was known by 4,400+ police officers for he volunteered as a chaplain for police officers. Someone else called him a "gentle giant". Bishops, Drs. Pastors and ministers etc traveled from all over the country to speak about Bishop Williams and to support his wife and family.
Dr. Creflo Dollar wrapped up the celebration with this statement "Bishop Williams knew how to love and how to serve others and his greatness can only be celebrated.!! RIP Bishop Isaiah Williams Jr.