I grew up with our church being at the end of our backyard, so I grew up knowing preachers. Being from a tobacco state most of the preachers grew, smoked, chewed, or dipped some form of tobacco.
I also grew up hearing of Daddy Grace and other high profile Black preachers including controversial Congressman Adam Clayton Powell so when I heard the kids talking about this television program called Preachers of LA, it peaked my interest but I did not view it until my son caught me in the mood and changed the TV channel one night.
Then I noticed one of the preachers was Bishop Ron Gibson of Life Church of God in Christ from Riverside.
This really peaked my interest since I remembered Rev. Gibson from delivering papers to his church, the Tyisha Miller protest and my son becoming a member of his church. As a matter of record, my last public speaking engagement was at Rev. Gibson’s church for a Black history program and he helped me from the podium and prayed for me.
I am doing this piece on my friend Rev. Gibson because of some of the reviews I read on the show calling it junk and calling the pastors, power seeking and money grabbing ministers. Now I cannot speak for the other ministers but what I have seen of the program Ron is true to himself as a person and minister.
Pastor Ron has always spoke of his background growing up in a gang and drug infested neighborhood. He did it all and gives all the credit to God for saving him from a life of drugs and violence. It is through his life experience, just like so many of us, that he responds to life and certain situations.
When Tyisha Miller was killed in 1998 by four White police officers in Riverside, the Black ministers came together to lead the fight for justice on her behalf and Rev. Gibson was one of those preachers. On several occasions when the committee needed a place to present controversial speakers like Rev. Al Sharpton and community activist Danny Bakewell, Gibson did not hesitate to offer Life Church. When the police chief told the group they could not protest in front of the police station anymore, there was Rev. Gibson stepping up saying this is public property. Vermont McKinney of the United States Justice Department Community Relations stepped forward and said to Rev. Gibson and Rev. Bernell Butler give me ten minutes to talk with the chief. Needless to say they protested in front of the police station on the property. He was one of many that was arrested and hauled off to jail for protesting. When he went to jail and was in court he pulled off his Rolex watch and had the court officers hold it.
Pastor Gibson showed no fear in his confrontation with law enforcement and it gave strength and courage to the other clergy when confronted with the establishment.
There were many preachers who demonstrated exceptional leadership during that yearlong protest for justice on behalf of Miller. I even offered biblical nicknames for some of them, like Luke was Rev. Jesse Wilson chair of the Tyisha Miller committee. For Rev. Gibson I gave the name Peter “You the Man” because of his eagerness and quick response in critical situations. It was Peter who cut off the solider’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus. That is the way Pastor Gibson responds through his neighborhood experience.
As I previously mentioned, I don’t know the other ministers in the television program but Rev. Ron Gibson and his wife, LaVette are living the life they have always lived and giving all the credit to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.