By 1010 WINS’ Larry Mullins
Boy oh boy did we meet a fireball today. As Christians might say, “she’s ON FIRE” for the Lord.
My producer (Sharon-Barnes Waters) introduced me to Reverend Linda Tarry-Chard, who is the Minister for New Membership, Care and Parish Life at the Riverside Church in Manhattan.
It’s that gigantic church up on 126th street (Morningside Heights), which looks like something taken from Italian skyline. That place is incredible…and especially the Nave. But even a church that big doesn’t come anywhere near the personality of Linda Tarry-Chard.
I can’t even begin to talk about her achievements; leadership roles which include everything from children’s services, to victim outreach, child-care, you name it. There are just too many. Don’t tell her I said this, but for a second, I thought she created all those titles, because one person couldn’t have done all that! (But she’s a preacher, so I trust her.)
But seriously, it’s the program she started in 1995 (with a doll ministry) that has the whole world (including Nelson Mandela himself) singing her praises. The Project People Foundation was started, to help children in the impoverished villages of South Africa. They distributed over 15,000 dolls, to kids who had never seen anything like that. Well eventually (in 1996), the program expanded, to become a beacon of encouragement, job skills, training and education for both youth and adults. And it’s been going strong ever since. Tarry-Chard says they started out in Capetown, moved into Johannesburg, and now they’re hoping to move to some of the more rural communities, here in 2014.
And check this out: they’re educating people here (at Riverside church) and other places around the country so that they can better understand the needs in South Africa, as a means of providing future support and information-sharing. It’s such an amazing set-up, especially for the youth. And to hear Tarry-Chards excitement and energy would make most people tired-at just the thought of putting in that kind of work.
Nelson Mandela was here in New York a few years ago. She says he stopped by her church, and personally thanked her, for taking the time to come all the way across the seas to assist his people, in addition to the work she does here at home. She’s traveled to South Africa 26 times, since 1995. I told her, she needs to get an apartment over there. Anyway, you’ll get to hear her “fire” in this series. And if you get a chance, go by the Riverside church. Take a map though, because you’ll totally get lost in that cavernous place! It’s that church where they held the funeral for Luther Vandross, Gil Scott-Heron, Harlemite Percy Sutton, and so many other celebrities.
But not only that, you can feel the love, and see the diversity (God’s banquet table they call it) the minute you walk into the doors. I could have sat inside the Nave all day!
Pastor Linda, tell the truth…you’re stocking a case of “5-hour energy” under your desk aren’t you! Luvya!