frederica-wilson_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

Congresswoman Frederica Smith Wilson, D-Miami, learned about the power of prayer as a child while attending church with her parents. So, no one was surprised when she announced that she wanted to begin her swearing-in activities in Miami, at the church where she grew up, The Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Overtown.

On Sunday, at an Inter-faith Prayer and Consecration Ceremony led by the Rev. Canon Richard L. Marquess-Barry, pastor and rector of St. Agnes, Wilson accepted the mantle of servitude as prayer was made in her behalf, asking for strength and wisdom to serve the people who elected her to office.

The church was filled to capacity, with family members, friends, parishioners and elected officials.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist, religious leader and freedom pioneer, preached a message of hope and the importance of the role of a servant.

It was a message that Wilson knew well.

For nearly all her adult life, Wilson has served the people of her community, first as an educator and then as an elected official, on the Miami-Dade County School Board and in the Legislature and as founder and head of the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence black male mentoring program. This time, she would move up even higher, serving from the nation's capital as a member of congress.

It seemed an awesome task but one Wilson felt she was prepared for. The prayer and consecration service was one of the ways she readied herself.

“I wanted to come to Congress with the cloth of the Lord covering me,” Wilson said in an interview. “There is so much work to do… there is so much suffering because of the economy and what is happening in Haiti.”

“District 17 has its share of suffering and I felt that I needed the armor and sword of the Lord to help me and also President Obama, who is under constant attack. It is so important to stay under the banner of the Lord."

She said she was touched by the outpouring of love from the people who came to the service.

"I saw people I hadn't seen since I was a little girl,'' she said, laughing. "The 5,000 Role Model boys were there wearing their red ties… Oh, it was a glorious day and one that I won't forget for as long as I live.''

Wilson was elected overwhelmingly to serve Congressional District 17, a seat held by Kendrick Meek, who gave it up for a failed bid for the U.S. Senate.

She was formally sworn into office Wednesday at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Democrat, will be joined by Republican congressional colleagues U.S. Senator-elect  Marco Rubio and Reps.-elect Mario Diaz-Balart, David Rivera and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen at a local swearing-in ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 10, at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse, 400 N. Miami Ave. in downtown Miami.

U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno will administer the oath of office to the Congressional Delegation using the same oath that was delivered in the official swearing in Washington, D.C.