Featured Image: Suad Bejtovic Photography.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve experienced difficult lows and felt division in our country. But as they say, feeling the lows makes enjoying the highs even better.
We could all use a dose of positivity, love, and service to others right now, not to mention a healthy measure of fellowship and unity.
Recently, Earnest B. Morgan, Pastor of The Empowerment Church in Frisco, created an opportunity for our community to experience all of the above.
He rallied our community to fellowship together, build bridges, and serve others. And it started with a commitment to cook 600 pounds of pork, beef, and chicken for our local Police and Fire Departments.
If you know Earnest, you might be aware that he once owned and operated “Earnest B. Barbecue – Home of the Texas Style Ribs.” A self-proclaimed “pitmaster,” Earnest has also always served in ministry, from his time living in Mississippi and now, in Frisco, Texas.
Why would Earnest set out to commit to cooking 600 pounds of barbecue? Quite simply, to demonstrate service and love to those who keep our City safe.
Because of all the things going on in the world, I feel as if we’ve been called together. My job in this community is to bridge gaps and bring people together, all races, all backgrounds, wherever you are from.
This wasn’t simply a response to events in late May and June. For 20 years Earnest and his wife, Cicely, have aspired to build community. In fact, in January of this year, Earnest set out to create an event to support the Frisco Police and Fire Departments. Coordinating dates on the calendar became a challenge, and then, COVID-19 shut down the city.
Recently, as a peaceful protest was going on in Frisco, Earnest was at home praying and saw Mayor Cheney’s live stream. He emailed Frisco Chief of Police Shilson again that day. He responded right away and things moved quickly to select a date and make it happen.
The date was June 19th – Juneteenth – which was also the original date of the Frisco Police’s Annual Awards Banquet, canceled due to COVID-19. Yet, because of Earnest’s BBQ event, police officers and colleagues still had a chance to have a meal together, listen to music, and talk.
Throughout the day, more than 100 police officers and department staffers got to enjoy the meal. The first shift saw about 80 people, then Earnest made sure all the BBQ was left behind so that the night shift would get to eat, too.
It was evident how thankful and appreciative the staff and officers were as they came through the line. When asked how often this type of thing happens, Chief Shilson replied,“Never.” He said he can’t remember a time where a group brought in a full meal and officers got to sit on the patio together to have lunch.
The abundance of energy flowing from Earnest B. Morgan was certainly the most instrumental part of making the day special. His heart to love, support, and serve others in felt in every smile, every hug, and every blessing he puts out into the world.
Following the Juneteenth event, the response was overwhelming. People reached out to Earnest thanking him and asking, “What’s next?”
Indeed, there was another event in the works, but this time to serve the Frisco Fire Department on June 26-27. Volunteers and community support came together to serve nine Frisco Fire Stations.
Of course, serving lunch to about 300 police and fire first responders doesn’t just happen. Although Earnest rallied the troops, it was the result of many helping hands pitching in that ultimately made it a success. Earnest never once asked for help. He posted about it on social media and people got behind it, absorbing various duties.
Empowerment Church raised funds, volunteered to serve, and members of the community made donations and/or stepped up as sponsors. Hope Fellowship, Potter’s House, Market Street, UP Inspired Kitchen, Frisco Chamber of Commerce, and Frisco Rotary Club, among many others. Big Frog donated the GO. SERVE. LOVE. shirts worn by volunteers.
Our Lifestyle Frisco team got involved, too, donating funds to provide the drinks for the lunches or volunteering to set up and serve. Melody of Hope pitched in by providing music on the patio at the police station. Sixteen-year-old Frisco resident and country singer, Austin Chatfield, set the mood for everyone to enjoy their time together.
Mayor Cheney was welcomed to the event with a boisterous hello and a smile from Earnest. The Mayor talked about the day being important for Frisco’s strong community:
This is an afternoon of serving each other, showing how we listen to each other, sit down at a table together, eat and learn about each other. It’s a great day of community.
Without being asked, the Frisco community showed up, pulled together, and said thank you to our Police and Fire Departments for their efforts keeping our City safe.
This past weekend was absolutely awesome. To have the opportunity for our church to serve the Frisco Police and Fire Departments alongside friends, was 100% life-changing for me. — Earnest B. Morgan