With a stellar cast of recipients, McCoy Memorial Baptist Church conducted its own version of the Oscars on February 28.
The southeast Los Angeles church recognized Pastor R.A. Williams, recording artist Jeffrey Osborn, CBS broadcaster Jim Hill, Councilmember Curren Price, LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the family-owned Woody’s Bar-B-Que as “Outstanding African Americans Giving Back to the Community.”
The program highlights included Osborn singing a melody of songs. “Hey church, we can’t woo, woo, woo now, but some of these old songs work in praising the Lord, too,” he said.
Hill, a 30-year sports journalist, expressed his respect and admiration for former NBA player Jalen Rose, sitting in the congregation, and thanked Pastor Williams and the congregation for the honor. “It feels good when it comes from our own,” Hill said.
Superintendent King, who oversees more than 1,000 public and charter schools, noted “There’s over 600,000 students in the education field; the new education revolution is about to take place.”
Congresswoman Waters was lauded for outstanding efforts in representing the South L.A. area for 37 years. She was unable to attend and James Smith accepted the award for her.
Rodney Phillips was presented the award on behalf of his family, the original owners of Woody’s Bar-B-Que. The restaurant chain was honored for its 40+ years of service to the African American community through its four locations and more than 60 employees.
In applauding his 50 years of preaching and service, Pastor Williams received a number of accolades as he shared the moment with his wife, Debbie Reynolds and their two children, Laura and Derrick. The congregation, Usher Board members, a number of children gave heartfelt testimonies and extended congratulations.
But, Williams’ biggest surprise came from Councilman Price. Raising a sign over his head, Price announced, “From now on, 46th and McKinley will be known as Robert A. Williams Square.”
Over the applause and song, Pastor Williams thanked God, his family, fellow recipients, and all who were took part in the celebration and service. Encouraging the audience to be “in touch with God’s plans for you and not belittling your grander cause,” Williams added, “Let your light shine. Touch somebody and tell them you are a city.”