hI missed the Ardmore years. I missed Darby years. But I had heard Bishop Todd preach the gospel many times. That was because since May of 2006 I worked for WTMR 800 AM and at one time I produced his broadcast during my Saturday afternoon shift. I knew him to be a man of authority in the kingdom of God with a dynamic anointing and a down to earth personality. I remember once when he visited the station he told me about his daughter who led the drama ministry. Another time he spoke about an Azusa Street prophecy that was coming to pass in the kingdom, and another time about the importance of true praise and worship. Wherever he went, Bishop Todd was a true man of God.
In 2011 I began to seek the Lord in earnest for a new place of worship. Not going into details but, my heart was hurting, my spirit was empty, and I had grown tired of driving on spiritual fumes. The word God gave me during that year of seeking Him was "Go to a land I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). In the beginning I had a peace about it because I knew those were the same words He spoke to Abram, so even though I didn't know where I would end up, I knew that God would show me. And so my journey began.
The very first church I visited was Christ Haven. It was on a Sunday morning in mid-August of that year and Assistant Pastor Elder Donald Fraser’s message was “The Bridegroom is Coming.” After that I visited a church in Philadelphia, a church in Camden N.J., and one in Magnolia N.J. My stay ranged from one visit to three months. Then I began to grow weary, so I sought the Lord again in desperation. He answered with, "Go back to the first church." That first church was Christ Haven!
When I walked back into Christ Haven for the second time, I had missed Sunday School and as I entered I saw Bishop Todd along with others assembling to march in. He said "Oh, it's Sister Pat from WTMR, Praise the Lord!" and I said "Praise the Lord Bishop Todd I've been looking for a home church and the Lord led me here." He kinda had that "Okaaaaayyyy" look on his face because I blurted that out (I have a habit of doing that when I'm excited) and they were about to march in. Before I entered the sanctuary I went in to the ladies room for a once over. As I entered I heard someone singing and noticed a beautiful silver-haired mother of Zion. She smiled and said “Praise the Lord, welcome and thank you for coming.” I was so surprised that she knew I was a visitor. She was so sweet and friendly. I found out later on during the announcements that she was none other than Mother Todd!
Once I started attending regularly, joined and began serving I came to know that Bishop Todd also had a heart for souls, a sense of humor, was a great teacher as well as preacher, and possessed the standard and integrity we all look for and deserve in a pastor who has watch for our souls. I didn't think I'd ever find that again, but God.
I'm typing this through my tears as I remember the times I sat in his Sunday school class literally tearing up because his teaching had reminded me so much of my own father in the gospel. I didn't think I'd ever find that again, but God.
I remember the Sunday he had a word of correction for me. You see, he was aware of an incident that had happened the week before that I hadn't handled very well. So during the week I was praying about it and before the end of the week I heard from the Lord how I should handle things so that type of thing should ever happen again. Well, after Sunday School that next Sunday Bishop says "Sister Middleton I want to have a quick word with you. In the future........" And he proceeded to say exactly what the Lord had spoken to me! I started smiling and blurted out "Bishop that's exactly what the Lord said to me!!" He started smiling too and then we both said something like "Well praise the Lord" and "Well look at God" and started laughing. I never thought I'd find that again in a pastor, but God.
I remember the time he approved me teaching VBS when I was still so new. The many times he encouraged me about my writing and my poetry. He trusted the gifts God has given me to minister and that has meant so much to me. I will never forget the time he went out of his way to let me know that he knew sometimes it was a struggle for me to be there because of physical limitations and that he appreciated it.
And so while he wasn't my pastor for very long, my heart is broken and my spirit is low. I mean, I know that in that great gettin' up morning I will see him again, but I will miss Bishop Todd. The long and short of it is that I prayed and God's answer was Christ Haven. My soul needed a place to heal, to take root again and to continue to grow and God led me to Christ Haven. Knowing all that would transpire and all that is yet to come, God led me here and I shall not be moved. I will continue to work and learn and grow and support my Christ Haven family.
#CHSTRONG #wepreachchrist #makeHispraiseglorious
Photo Credit Christ Haven Church, Philadelphia PA