“It is the Lord’s doing…and I happen to agree with him…it is marvelous in our eyes,” said Pastor Damon Bridges in his office moments before his consecration as Bishop on April 9.
The consecration service was held at Restoration for Life Ministries at 1234 E. Anderson St. in Stockton. In attendance were members of the local community, elected officials, over 90 family members and friends from all over California.
A standing-room-only event, the consecration by the College of Bishops included Ernestine C. Reems, Center of Hope Community Church, Ross Garrison, Jr., Judah the Gathering Place Ministries, Easley Simmons, South Sacramento Christian Center and Rufus K. Turner, Victory in Praise Church.
In a clear, strong voice at 88 years of age, Bishop Ernestine Reems said, “I have been doing this over fifty years…and I am here today to encourage Barbara and Damon. God sent them to labor in the ministry and do the work of the Lord with pure hearts.”
An Oakland native, Bishop Damon Bridges, came “up off the streets” to commit his life to ministry in 1989, under Bishop E. C. Reems at Center of Hope Community Church. He was called to move to Stockton in 1999.
Surviving cancer twice, Bishop Bridges has ministered faithfully to the Stockton community, and five churches have started under his leadership, one of which is in Sydney, Australia.
His work includes serving as Community Liaison for the San Joaquin County Courts, as one of the captains of the Stockton Police Department Chaplaincy Program, and he is founder and Chief Executive Director of Georgia Adams Adult and Youth Services, Inc.
The bishop is described as one of the great spiritual leaders of our time, showing “willingness to talk about the tough subjects often left unaddressed.”
Tributes, proclamations, and words of personal encouragement reflected the reality of his culturally diverse congregation from all socio-economic backgrounds, and his commitment to “unreserved outreach, the economic empowerment of the impoverished and the holistic improvement of the determined.”
Publicly demonstrating their sincere appreciation of Bishop Bridges’ work, public officials attended the service.
Officials included Supervisor Kelly Placeres, CA Adult Parole Division; Judge Richard Valvianos, San Joaquin County Superior Court; Sr. Chaplain Jessie Kenyon, Stockton Police Chaplaincy; Michael Gothchaek, BI/GEO Corporation; NACCP Stockton Branch President Bobby Bivens; and Senators Jerry McNerney and Cathleen Galgiani.
Pastors honoring Bishop Bridges included Pastor Adonte Clayton, Communion Christian Fellowship; Bishop Marcus McIntosh, Sovereign Move of God Ministries, Inc.; Rev. Derrell Williams, Hillard Chapel A.M.E.; and Oakland’s Center of Hope Community Church Pastors Brondon and Maria Reems.
Minister Alfreda Mitchell, Deliverance Full Gospel MBC, worshipped in song, accompanied by the Restoration praise team and praise dancers; church musicians James Austin, Jr., drums; Steven Turner, Jr. on keyboard; Derick Gordon, guitar; and honored guest, Allen Temple Minister of Music Derrick Hall.
Attendees cheered when Chief Consecrator Bishop Rufus K. Turner recited, “Your Grace, by the Will of God, we present this candidate to you for public consecration to the sacred Office of Bishop.”