As a teenager I joined the Bethel AME Church of Baltimore under Pastor John R. Bryant and his wife, Cecelia. They are the parents of Jamal Bryant and Thema Bryant.
Most of my memories of that church are positive. I remember being invited to the Bryant Parsonage/home once, as he and his wife were holding an event to thank those of us who were active in church ministries. They treated everyone like family.
I’ll never forget the father of John R. Bryant. His name was Harrison Bryant (now deceased) and he was a retired bishop and a true man of God! The first time I entered the church, he was leading the pastoral prayer and he prayed like a man who had had some encounters with God. It was clear in his prayer that he LOVED God and respected God. He had a strong legacy in the civil rights movement and when he was in his 80’s he got arrested while protesting Aparteid. Strong man for the Kingdom. That’s the type of legacy Jamal Bryant comes from. In fact, his middle name is from his grandfather.
Jamal’s mother is Cecelia. I always admired Cecelia. She dressed in African attire, wore her hair in a natural short fro, and she and Bishop Bryant had a loving marriage with mutual respect.
Pastor Bryant (who is now a bishop) was a great preacher. But I enjoyed Cecelia more. She was uncompromised in her preaching. She knew that Word backwards and forward and the girl would bring it raw every time.
Regarding the Bryant offspring—Jamal and Thema. Thema was bright, obedient and reminded me of her mother. Jamal was known throughout the church as a problem child. He had some behavioral issues and was often referred to by members as “sneaky”.
One of my fondest memories of Cecelia was of her praying. That was a praying woman. I’ll never forget a sermon she preached once where she talked about how parents can pray for their children but the children “still fail in school” and still fall under the spell of foreign spirits. Powerful sermon. It was clear to me that she was referencing her son who was having problems in school and hanging with the wrong crowd.
Well prayers can only take us but so far. You can pray and fast for a person but we all have a free will. Jamal Bryant clearly has potential. He did not finish high school but he completed his GED. Then he completed Morehouse. That’s an accomplishment. Prayer changes things, folks!
Jamal’s father is presently a bishop in the AME church. I believe that Jamal was allowed to become a pastor so quickly due to his family ties. Remember, his grandfather was a bishop. His father is a bishop. And his mother is a preacher and Elder within the AME denomination.
Jamal was not ready to be a pastor in anybody’s church. His priorities are screwed up. This is a man who brags about a Bentley that he leased. He brags about his home. He cheats on his wife and makes babies outside of his marriage. He is not fit to be anybody’s pastor. He does not even live up to what he preaches.
I said in the past that I have no intentions of covering his divorce (his wife filed for a divorce against him on the grounds of adultery and out of pride, he filed against her). I stand by that. I won’t be following the divorce here. I’m sick of that garbage already.
What I will say is this. Jamal Bryant had no business being elevated to the role of a pastor. And even now he needs to come out of that office. He is not worthy or ready for such a serious position.
God issued a warning: Beware the pastor who scatters the sheep.
I would strongly advise Jamal Bryant to examine himself and to heed God’s warning.
Here is Jamal Bryant talking on the subject, “Why Did I Get Married”