California author visiting Quincy to help with church's prison ministry

Wanda Turner, a motivational speaker and author, addresses a crowd at the Cathedral of Worship on Sunday as part of Black History Month's Prison Week. (H-W Photo/Maggie Menderski)
Posted: Feb. 24, 2013 8:52 pm Updated: Mar. 10, 2013 9:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Wanda Turner addressed a faith-filled crowd Sunday morning at the Cathedral of Worship, then preached to a crowd of prisoners Sunday night.

Bishop E.L. Warren with the Cathedral of Worship invited Turner to Quincy to preach to his congregation as part of the church's Black History Month Prison Week. The California-based author and motivational speaker delivered a message of hope for the prisoners and a sermon based on giving, changing for the better and creating a proud new history for the present.

Sunday morning's crowd cheered and raised their hands in prayer. They eagerly answered the call to aid those now behind bars.

"Today is tomorrow's history, so what are you doing today?" Turner said. "It's the whole idea of being willing to change and to benefit others for a cause."

Each year, the church dedicates a week in the month of February to raising ministry funds and awareness for the imprisoned population. During 2011, the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities declined by nearly 1 percent to nearly 1.6 million, and about 40 percent of those prisoners were black, according to U.S. Justice Department statistics.

"So how can we celebrate our heritage and forget that population? We can't," he said. "So we minister to them."

During Sunday's service, Warren encouraged his congregation to be generous when donating to the prison fund. Warren said it will take $20,000 to keep the prison ministry in active.

Turner will visit 10 prisons in the area this week and preach the message of God's word.

While the Cathedral of Worship celebrates the prison ministry during Black History Month, the outreach continues year-round. The church serves 18 local prisons on a weekly basis. In this ministry, Warren and his church bring the message of Christianity to an often forgotten population.

"This is a week where we invade those prisons with a message of hope," Warren said. "(Turner) comes in and gives them hope, and that's what this is all about."