By Rev. Dr. Cheryle Hanna, Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, Ottawa
I am Reverend Doctor Cheryle Renee-Chapman Hanna. I am a leader. Leadership is complicated. Leading well includes listening, speaking, vision and compassion. My leadership style was largely molded as a youth by my grandparents, all members of the Shiloh Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. James Steen (my mother’s father) was a life-long deacon and lived the scripture “Come let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18) William Henry Chapman (my father’s father) was a person of few words, when grandfather spoke, we paid attention. I try but often fail at this lesson. My grandmothers, Rosie Lee Steen Feemster and Anne Mae Chapman served the church faithfully until death. They had strong opinions shared with love and grace.
Later, two pastors added to my leadership education. The first was Rev. Dr. Howard Bruno Manicult Fauntroy, Jr., pastor of the First Baptist Institutional Church, Detroit. Fauntroy would say there are two types of pastors, those who stay at home, preaching, teaching, and sharing all they have learned with God’s people each week and those who run around the country gathering a name for themselves. Fauntroy was the former. The second I met during a seminary internship, Rev. Dr. Lyle Dystra, a Presbyterian pastor, who believed influence was the only power of the office. I have used my influence to encourage God’s people to ‘stay the course’ by operating our emergency shelter for youth, Haven Too. We have an ongoing bible study, and we pray for others.
I am a leader. I listen well, I have strong opinions I try to share with love and grace and most importantly I understand my only power is the influence that grows as I faithfully preach and teach each week to the people God has assigned to me.