The phrase “a convenient season” was taken from the Book of Acts; Chapter 24; Verse 25 as a theme for San Quentin’s Garden Chapel annual revival.
For five nights, a convenient season was explained in depth. Pastor Ferrari Moody, prisoner sparked the interest of a hundred men with a sermon titled, “Your habits determine your harvest.”
“At the root of this principle lies the prevailing disposition of our thoughts which dictate our action and ultimately develops our character,” he said repeatedly to the men who made up the congregation here.
Men who came broken in three parts: mind, body, and soul seeking to be whole again. As well as men who came to restore grace, favor, and reap what they have sown as men of God.
“When we talk about revival all through history revival is for thirsty people, hungry people, and the need for refreshments,” said Moody.
“For us it’s the fruit of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, kindness, forgiving, long suffering, and patience we refreshing our mind and heart with,” he said.
Musa Bailey, 62 year-old lifer said this is his third revival at the Garden Chapel.
“It’s an opportunity to renew yourself if you may have gotten off track,” said Bailey, “It’s like going to the gas station to refill your car up.”
“We have theatrical holiness where we act humble instead of being humble,” he says, “My goal is to be in the image, and likeness of God. The revival brings me a couple steps closer without the theatrical holiness that burns you out acting.”
There was praise dancing to gospel recording artist William Murphy single “This is my season” by the Mime ministry dancers Andress Yancee, Orlando Harris and Ventrise Lasater.
Sonny J. Sanchez, a former gang member from Riverside, and present-day minister said, “At 61-years-old I had to come to San Quentin to learn how to love a black man after hating them all my life.”
“I was taught hate by my dad. As a minister in Riverside I wouldn’t go into the black neighborhood of Edgemont when the pastor would send me to go preach,” he said as he broke into tears.
“I got here to San Quentin. I got to meet Elder Holloway, and he showed me nothing but love. Accepted me as his own,” Sanchez cried.
No stranger to tears herself, the Chapels Chaplain Mardi Ralph Jackson shed tears of joy of her own.
“God is elevating the hearts and the minds of men to a deeper place in God,” she said bearing witness to the power of love.
Reflecting on the theme, Pastor Harry Hemphill also of the Garden Chapel said, “When Chaplain Jackson first came to the Garden Chapel she declared this will be a house of prayer to prepare it for consecration. She went around praying over everything in the chapel to rid it of bad spirits.
“We have been through seasons of perseverance, dealt with health issues, some of us closed our eyes, and opened them on the other side.”
Hemphill said, “Since I been in prison, God has been pulling out pride. Removing people, and things that were hindering this ministry, the challenge to man up, and be soldiers, because we had been called to be soldiers of the Lord.”
Visiting from Houston, Bishop LT Chung of ASATT Church anointed Pastor Moody, Pastor Hemphill, and Elder Holloway. A certificate of appreciation was given to the bishop on behalf of the Garden Chapel along with Mariam Barnes of Let’s Talk Ministry.
Elder Crummie visiting from Wings of Love Ministry said, “We are vessels of honor, and if you know anything about vessels, vessels are made for the purpose to hold something or put something in.”
“Men are master builders, but if that vessel is not holding anything or has anything on the inside it does not serve its purpose as a vessel.”
He explained there is a lot of people who are walking around as empty and broken vessels.
“All vessels reflect the craftsmanship of the designer or the one who designed it, and we who are God’s people who reflect that, have a purpose.”
“No one is here by accident…God wants to use us all.”