Caption: Dr. Rodena Preston
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
LAS: What is your name and what is your ministry?
RP: My name is Rodena Preston and I am a musician. Locally, I serve as Minister of Music at Second A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles. Internationally, I am on the Board of Directors and Minister of Music for the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA).
LAS: How long have you been in this ministry and how did you get started in it?
RP: I started playing the piano at three years old and began playing at nine years old for the Junior Choir at Victory Baptist Church in Los Angeles. I was blessed to learn so much from my mother, Robbie Preston Williams. She was an incredible musician who played at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Los Angeles, then served 35 years as pianist at Victory Baptist, one of the first churches to televise their worship services. She exposed me and my brother, Billy Preston, to gospel music and many early pioneers in the field.
LAS: What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?
RP: God has always and continues to be number one in my life. His loving power has guided and protected me throughout my career and enabled me to stay firmly grounded in His word whether I’m dealing with challenges, set-backs, or triumphs. My relationship with Christ is the best thing that ever happened in my life. He is always there for me.
LAS: What is one of the most memorable moments or experiences during your ministry?
RP: I have had a number of wonderful experiences and among them was playing, traveling, and working closely with the Rev. James Cleveland, one of the Kings of Gospel and founder of GMWA. I witnessed the birth of this organization and its growth into an international association with 75,000 members. As the GMWA Minister of Music, I have the rewarding responsibility of receiving and approving all new music as well as music by new songwriters that will presented at the GMWA Conventions. This position allows me to see first-hand the abundance of talent in gospel music.
LAS: What are you doing or working on now and what are some of your future goals?
RP: We have programs planned this year for the Music Ministry at Second A.M.E. Church and my GMWA activities include appearances by the L.A. Chapter Mass Choir at several local events and preparing for the GMWA National Convention, August 13-19 in Tampa, Florida.