germaine-smith-baugh_web.jpgLAUDERDALE LAKES —For the last four years, Germaine Smith-Baugh, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Broward County, has tried to uplift residents by inviting the community to church for fellowship, camaraderie and prayer.
Last Saturday morning, Dec. 5, prayers went up at The First Church of the Open Bible in Lauderdale Lakes.  Lifted up in prayer were the nation’s economy, Broward County residents and their leaders, pastors, business owners, children and families.

About 50 people who gathered at the prayer breakfast sought the help of God in making Broward’s melting-pot communities work together to overcome the challenges they share.

“The Urban League and the Civil Rights Movement were birthed out of churches with Martin Luther King and other pastors coming together. So, it is only natural for us to be engaged in prayer and with faith leaders,” Smith-Baugh said.

Newly appointed Broward County Commissioner Albert Jones, Lauderdale Lakes Mayor Barrington Russell Sr., Lauderdale Lakes Commissioner David Shomers, Lauderhill Commissioner Howard Berger, pastors Allen Jackson of the Living Word Community Church in Lauderhill, Darrell Owens of the Christ the Rock Community Church in Cooper City, Charles Taylor of Journey Church in Miramar and Lena Gillis of Zoe Life Christian Center in Plantation, all joined business owners Jerome Hutchinson, Horace Hord, Robert Beatty, Esq. and others for a solemn hour.

“Prayer is essential because we are faced with so many obstacles and a myriad of challenges,” Jackson told South Florida Times. “Being a person of faith, I know that faith is fueled by prayer. And so, the Urban League bringing us together puts a little more fuel in our tanks to go and serve and help the community.”

Before interceding for Broward County’s elected officials, clergy, and community and civic leaders, Jackson confessed that he, too, faces seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

“Being a leader requires your sacrifice, your time and sometimes you ignoring your own family. We think that their lives are perfect; we think that they don’t suffer; we think that they have everything under control. But the reality is, anybody that is in leadership is bleeding on the inside while they are leading,” Jackson said.

Bishop Henry Fernandez of The Faith Center, a 7,500-seat church in Sunrise, urged the congregation to pray for their community leaders as they “try to change the minds of young people, especially African Americans, in order to make things better for our communities and the next generation.”

In his address, Fernandez encouraged people in positions of leadership to make change to activate “crazy faith” in fulfilling their purpose and envisioning the possibilities that still exist.

“We are struggling to find ways to empower and educate our children to be future leaders. I must say to those of you who were given the privilege to lead this organization, that you were perfectly positioned for such a time as this,” Fernandez said. “We must have faith in our God, in our families, in our communities and our governments.”

The Urban League’s 4th Annual “United In Leadership” Community Prayer Service initiated the organization’s 35th year anniversary celebration, which officially begins in 2010. The commemoration will end on the same note next year, Smith-Baugh said.

“I believe that the whole community is being benefited from this prayer right now,” said Allan Baugh, the host pastor and Smith-Baugh’s father-in-law. “And I think everyone who came received a blessing in their hearts.”

Photo by Elgin Jones/SFT Staff. Germaine Smith-Baugh