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Rev. Ron & Mrs. Aziza Wright
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
The community-wide tribute planned for Rev. Ron and Mrs. Aziza Wright, pastor and first lady of New Vision Church of Jesus Christ, has drawn inquiries from those unfamiliar with the Wrights work and the question is, "Why?" In response, Rev. Dr. Clyde W. Oden Jr., program coordinator, listed a number of reasons during a recent interview with the Sentinel.
LAS: "Many people wonder why Rev. and Mrs. Wright are worthy of the upcoming salute on Sunday, August 21, at 4 p.m., at Bryant Temple A.M.E. Church? Now, these questioners aren't ‘hating,' they just want to know.
Dr. O: "Well, it's a fair question and I'm glad you asked. Did anyone hear that great eulogy he preached at the homegoing services for Mother Lillian Mobley? I certainly did and I believe Rev. Ron Wright is one of the great preachers of our time!"
LAS: "Okay. I can't deny his sermon was outstanding and many people commented how it touched their hearts. But, certainly one great sermon can't be the only reason that renowned clergy such as Bishop Charles E. Blake, the Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, the Rev. Dr. Frank M. Reid III, Elder Ron Simmons, the Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright are uniting to honor Rev. and Mrs. Wright."
Dr. O: "You are absolutely correct. These men are eyewitnesses to the tireless efforts of Rev. and Mrs. Wright over the years. They all readily agreed that honor is due to this couple who has labored faithfully and effectively in our community without fanfare or notoriety for more than a quarter of a century. It would be an indictment of our community if all we did was to receive the blessings of God that we have received from this couple without ever saying ‘thank you.'''
LAS: "I agree that while many may know about their contributions to the church and community, what is not well known is their work in the recovery movement."
Dr. O: "That's true. Rev. Wright is the co-founder of the nationally acclaimed ‘Free-N-One,' a faith-based substance abuse recovery program. He has helped scores of people overcome addictions through this Christ-centered program. And Mrs. Aziza Wright has over 30 years of experience providing exceptional administrative and executive functions to social service agencies in South Los Angeles."
LAS: "Are there other reasons for the tribute that many may not be aware of?"
Dr. O: "Yes. This is an opportunity for the faith community to show love to a couple whose ministry is affected by the tragedy of sickness. Rev. Wright is serving our community with the burden of Parkinson's disease yet Rev. and Mrs. Wright are witnesses that God can work in the lives of a family facing adversity. Medically, Parkinson's is called an ‘idiopathic disease' which means the causes are unknown, but the impact can be devastating, especially for pastors. The disease affects one's speech, gait, and mobility. For lesser people, they might give up, but Rev. Ron and Aziza Wright see this as just another challenge for which God gets the glory out of their lives." LAS: "Are other people participating in the tribute?
Dr. O: "In addition to the clergy, the honorary co-chairs include California State Senator Rod Wright, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Ms. Loretta F. Jones, CEO of Healthy African American Families; Ms. Virgie P. Walker, Dr. Bowen Chung, and Marian Wright Edelman, nationally recognized children's advocate.
"The afternoon tribute will also feature great preaching by Rev. Charles Lee-Johnson, the dynamic pastor of Corona Community A.M.E. Church, and music led by Bill Marshall who will conduct a Mass Reunion Choir comprised of anointed singers who previously served with the Wright family. Special guest soloist will be Martha Taylor La Croix, the daughter of Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor.
"We are looking for everyone to rally to support this couple and their work at New Vision Church of Jesus Christ and in the community."
Dr. Oden is senior pastor of Bryant Temple A.M.E. Church, 2525 West Vernon Avenue in Los Angeles. For information about the tribute, call Dr. Oden at (323) 687-3729, email