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When the Bough Breaks: What it Means to Survive the Loss of All
Longing for light community crisis care makes a difference
I thought I was going to die black maternal health risks
Maryland Governor Wes Moore
Sept/Oct 2023
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Wes Moore kissing wife on cheek
You Have My Heart

Delbert Baker/C.O.N.F.I.D.E.N.C.E.: 10 Strategies for Family Success

Daniel Xisto/Trapped in crisis, but blessed with a hand up.

Wes Moore/How one good deed 40 years ago shaped the first black governor of Maryland.

Derrick and Crystal Moffett/What happened when it all came down.

Cover Photo : Art Brondo
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by Carmela Monk Crawford/One Move at a Time

by Edward Woods, III/Montgomery Was Love in Action

by Carl McRoy/Drs. Walter and Patricia Rodney International Black Power Activists

by Donna Green Goodman/The Amazing Plant Power of Hispanic Cuisine

by John and April Nixon/Lonely Days and Lonely Nights


by Debleaire Snell/The Business of Family

Cover Photo : Art Brondo
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Carmela Monk Crawford
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Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Statements in this issue attributed by an author to other speakers/writers are included for the value of the individual statements only. No endorsement of those speakers’/writers’ other works or statements is intended or implied.

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The Family History

Parenting Cosby Style cover
“God Himself, when speaking to the children of Israel from Sinai, reminded them of their own unique family patterns by making reference to the “sins of the fathers” and their effect on successive generations (Exodus 20: 5,6, NEB). However, He reminded them that they were not to be determined by their past, but through grace they were to be set free from its tyranny.

That same message of hope extends down to this present generation. It is therefore important as you explore your family history to look for the evidences of God’s grace throughout the generations. As you recognize patterns of despair and futility it is imperative that you claim the promises of mercy and compassion, victory, and hope. God still possesses the ability to create order out of disorder. And there is no relationship, no matter how broken, that He cannot reconcile and harmonize as we trust His love.”

—”How Genograms Can Help Your Family,” by Linda Dulan,

In Message September October 1987

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.

In every issue we intentionally provide resources to lift you higher! Thank you for your support over the years! Let’s continue to elevate the Message!


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Chelton Thorpe and Laos In Harmony
Project 490

Chelton Thorpe and Laos In Harmony has released a powerful sophomore album since their debut project titled, “Pass The Test,” released in 2014. Laos In Harmony has unveiled singles like, “I Win,” “Not Yet,” and “Made It Through”; however, they have provided us with a full live recording that will take us into a time of worship and praise. This project focuses on forgiveness with the first song “490.” I am excited for this project as it will show the love of God to masses. You can download this from all digital platforms today.


My message
One Move at a Time
omedian Steve Harvey used to have this bit about white people having “wonderful weekends,” but black people having a “couple of days off.”

For many of us, we exist on a string of crises and exigencies that knows no work stoppage. Rather than loading bikes and kayaks on the Subaru on Friday, we’re likely loading up the car to help move a relative from an evicted home, Harvey said. Or, we’re squeezing in the maintenance of a tenuous existence.

It would be funny, if it wasn’t so true. Or maybe it is funny because it is so true.

Take a page from urban Data Scientists and “Disaster Planners,” for example, where we can see that so many of us sit in life’s hurricane alley, literally and figuratively. Many among us, already experiencing wealth and income gaps, health disparities, and vulnerability to police misconduct, also live at the intersection of flood plains, wind and fire risk, and hazardous material sites or routes. We get no days off.

eye on the times
woman next to giant clock
Montgomery: Changing the narrative from a brawl or melee to love in action typographic title; clipart of fists, a boat, hearts, and chair
By Edward Woods, III
The Montgomery riverfront brawl triggered the past and current realities of privilege and fragility emanating from this State Capitol that appears to be embraced by Alabama and an ongoing challenge for America and, in some cases, the church.

Dubbed the “Montgomery Riverfront Brawl” and “Montgomery Melee,” it started when a group of white, rowdy boaters failed to move their illegally docked pontoon boat for the return of Harriot II, a riverboat dinner cruise, on the Alabama River. When the black dock worker attempted to move the pontoon boat after approximately 45 minutes of repeated requests, he was attacked by the boaters. CNN reported that racial epithets were used, and witnesses believed alcohol may have played a factor.

However, no one is disputing that this incident could have been avoided. “They just didn’t think the rules applied to them. It was so avoidable. This never had to have happened,” a witness, Leslie Mawhorter, 52, who was aboard the Harriott II, said in an interview.

Black from the Past
Drs. Walter and Patricia Rodney: International Black Power Activists
Drs. Patricia and Walter Rodney
By Carl McRoy
dotted line going up - cream
Dr. Walter Rodney was flying from the Congress of Black Writers in Montreal, Canada, to his home in Jamaica, on October 15. 1968. Without explaining why, Jamaica’s Ministry of Home Affairs issued an “exclusion order” blocking his reentry. Dr. Rodney wasn’t even allowed to deplane. Instead, he was sent back to Montreal that afternoon.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) followed that move with immediate dismissal of the Guyanese-born historian, professor, and activist. Dr. Rodney’s Caribbean version of black power was gaining popularity among UWI students, working-class people, and especially with Rastafarians. About 900 students, stunned by Rodney’s sudden banishment and firing, walked out of school and started marching. The crowd kept growing and flowing into the streets of Kingston, chanting “Black Power” until the next morning. Some burned buses and looted stores, triggering the police to respond with tear gas and multiple arrests.

Optimal Health
Plant-based Lifestyle
The Amazing Plant-Powered Benefits of

Photo by Adobe Stock
The Amazing Plant-Powered Benefits of


By Donna Green Goodman


f the first thing you think of when you hear Hispanic Cuisine is Mexican food, I’ve got some news for you!

“Hispanic Heritage Month,” according to, “is celebrated annually in the United States from September 15 to October 15 and explores the diversity of Hispanic cuisine. From Mexico to Central America, from the Caribbean to Northern and Southern South America, while a basic common language unites those cultures, the diversity within their customs, ethnicity, regional lingo – and their food – is quite broad.”

I discovered that what we eat in American restaurants is far different from what is actually consumed in the native culture.

I’ve also learned how valuable the plant ingredients are. Avocado, cilantro, and black beans form a phytochemical powerhouse that prevent and reverse health conditions.

Total Intimacy
Lonely Days
and Nights

for Married
Lonely Days
and Nights

for Married
Vector minimalist digital illustration of a woman and a man sitting next to each other showing off frustrated expressive feelings as the woman has her right hand on her chin and left arm around her knees while the man has his hands on top of his head with his head tilted downward facing the ground
Photo by Adobe Stock
Dropcap uppercase letter O in magenta
ne of the great things about marriage is the idea that you never have to do life alone. There’s an assumption that, for the rest of your existence, you have someone to share your days and nights with. Marriage is supposed to be the ultimate cure for loneliness. After all, it was the Ecclesiastes writer who said, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT).

Yet, sadness and loneliness are regular features of many marriages, not to mention feelings of rejection—a silent marriage killer. According to the American Psychological Association, “[feeling completely dismissed] increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness.” Repeated patterns of rejection can develop into something very serious.

We were recently introduced to a new term to describe people who fall into this category. The term is “incel” or involuntarily celibate and describes mostly single “men between the ages of 18-25 who typically express extreme resentment and hostility toward those who are sexually active” (Merriam-Webster). Many of them have been hurt by women, which causes them frustration and feelings of failure. The years of rejection cause them to resent women. They have been known to meet online and discuss their extreme hatred and sometimes become violent because of it.



By Dr. Delbert Baker

n any of the 84 million families in the United States, it’s a sad sight to see family members who sign-off and tune-out, with resulting family drama and trauma getting out of control. While there may be mitigating circumstances, it’s always unfortunate. To make it personal, you may know of dysfunctional families or may be in one.

The gamechanger? It will take effort and commitment but with the right tools you can be a force for good in strengthening your family! But here’s the catch. If you’re not actively contributing to family bonding, chances are you may be part of the problem rather than the solution.

So then, how can you be a change agent for good starting today? In this special issue on the family, here are ten effective strategies you can implement with CONFIDENCE while expecting positive outcomes.

Longing For Light
By Daniel Xisto
Black I dropcap
magine what it must have been like for the 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet beneath the surface of the Atacama Desert in Chile. It was August 2010, and a cave-in at a copper mine had left them cut off from the outside world. They found themselves buried under 2,300 feet of earth, with little hope of rescue.

Nevertheless, drilling began in a desperate attempt to reach them, and against all odds, an exploratory drill miraculously punctured the small cavity holding the stranded miners. Now they had a lifeline of food, water, and light through this narrow borehole.

Sometimes, all it takes for people to keep going in life is just a little bit of light.

Some of us feel like we are buried under 2,300 feet of darkness due to our own personal cave-ins, our own personal crises. That was the case for the family of Wes Moore Sr.

You Have My Heart typography

An Interview with
Maryland Governor Wes Moore.


Photo by Joe Andrucyk. Gov. Wes Morgan with his daughter, Mia, son, James and the first dog, Tucker.

hen Maryland Governor Wes Moore set up a visit with the congregation of the Takoma Park SDA Church in Takoma Park Maryland, the meet up sealed a debt of gratitude. The 63rd Maryland Governor, and first black Governor, reaches back to the moments that his family and this church family sojourned together in a season of loss and pain.


hen Maryland Governor Wes Moore set up a visit with the congregation of the Takoma Park SDA Church in Takoma Park Maryland, the meet up sealed a debt of gratitude. The 63rd Maryland Governor, and first black Governor, reaches back to the moments that his family and this church family sojourned together in a season of loss and pain.

Photo by Joe Andrucyk. Gov. Wes Morgan with his daughter, Mia, son, James and the first dog, Tucker.

a man holding a microphone looks at Governor Wes Moore who looks back smiling at the Takoma Park SDA Church

Photos by Art Brondo

MESSAGE: So many of us were touched by your testimony, one of gratitude, to the church for helping your family when your father died unexpectedly. You were so young. What do you remember of that loss? What part of your family’s vulnerability and experience has stood out to you personally, as a galvanizing memory and direction for your life’s work now? (Food insecurity? Housing insecurity? Healthcare?)

MOORE: I remember the hole that my father’s sudden passing left in our family–one that my mom worked around the clock to try and fill. But I also remember the love we received from our community, including the church. Our entire family could lean on the support of the village. When I think about why I made the choice to serve, I’m brought back to that early tragedy in my life, when people came to our rescue without being asked, and delivered the help we needed. I’m proud to have served in the Army; I’m proud to have led one of the nation’s largest poverty fighting organizations; and I’m proud to have been elected the 63rd governor of Maryland. Those choices are emanations of the fact that I learned early on that acts of service can be the difference between overcoming tragedy and being consumed by it.

Mother of Three Describes Trauma She Endured Delivering Her Second Son.
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Mother of Three Describes Trauma She Endured Delivering Her Second Son.
woman in discomfort during child birth in a hospital bed
Photo by Adobe Stock
By Madison Reinschmidt
A dropcap
t 6:40 a.m., on July 17, 2019, Thea Cole arrived at an Atlanta area hospital to deliver her second son, Caiden. At 8:07 a.m., her water broke, and at 8:21 a.m. Caiden arrived.

But, despite an hour-long plea for pain medication during the delivery, the mother said her cries were ignored.

Cole a nurse anesthetist did not intend to have a natural birth that day. She had experienced “a precipitous labor” with her first son, Carter, delivering the child after pushing for less than 30 minutes, she said in a recent interview. After that experience, the OB physician who delivered her first son recommended she arrive at the hospital early if she was ever pregnant again and inform the medical staff that she would deliver quickly.

Black Fatherhood
The Lie, the Truth, and the Solution
By Amanda Blake
he absent black father myth refuses to die. Societal factors, all of which can be traced to systemic racism, conceal the truth and keep the illusion alive.

Yet, the stereotype is undoubtedly false. Research shows that black fathers tend to display higher levels of engagement in their children’s lives than men of other demographic groups in similar parenting situations.

According to a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, black fathers with co-residential children are more likely than Hispanic and white fathers to bathe, dress, diaper and help their children use the bathroom, transport their kids to and from activities, and help them with homework. In another study conducted in 2011 by the PEW Research Center, researchers stated: “There are some differences by race and ethnicity in the likelihood of talking with their children several times a week about their day. … While almost half (49%) of blacks talk with their children several times a week about their day, the share of Hispanics who do so is 22%, and of whites, 30%.”

Five Steps to Help You Succeed at Co- Parenting
By Amanda Blake
Cooperative, selfless co-parenting is an essential part of effective child-rearing in all family structures, whether married, cohabiting, separated or divorced, according to a 2021 study titled “Co-parenting and child behavior in the context of divorce: A systematic review.”

While a home with two loving parents is the ideal scenario for every child, many children live in circumstances where parents are separated for some reason, resulting in various living arrangements that can impact their emotional well-being. In 2010, The Pew Research Center conducted a study chronicling the trend that has developed over the decades.

“Children in America are growing up in a much more diverse set of living arrangements than they did a half-century ago,” researchers noted at the time.

illustration of boy in hand
Image by Adobe Stock
The Black Homeschool Trend
Photo by Adobe Stock
Why More Families are Joining the Movement
By Victoria Mills

hen COVID-19 rocked our world, healthcare, economics, business, and even how we communicate changed drastically in many ways. Disruptions in the United States educational system, in particular, revealed a trend that has been growing steadily over the years — more and more families are homeschooling.

According to the U. S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, 5.4% of U.S. households with school-age children reported homeschooling in the first week (April 23 – May 5, 2020) of the survey. By the fall of 2020, 11.1% of households reported homeschooling.

“That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year,” wrote Casey Eggleston and Jason Fields in an article published on “It’s clear that in an unprecedented environment, families are seeking solutions that will reliably meet their health and safety needs, their childcare needs and the learning and socio-emotional needs of their children.”

monster silhouette shadow
Photo by Adobe Stock
BY Caleb Schaber

onsters have plagued humanity for millennia, always lurking in the shadows and dark corners of our civilized world. They are born from fears we have about the unknown. They are conquered when we either find out the true nature of something unknown or become familiar with things previously alien to us. They represent our anxieties, both as individuals and as societies.

Before popular culture, some of the earliest monsters to appear were drawn on maps of the world. Here we could see entire civilizations of “monster races” living on the outskirts of the known world. These “monsters” represented the xenophobic attitudes the civilizations that created them had against those who lived outside of their culture. As societies mingled and interacted, these depictions of each other as actual monsters slowly dissipated, but the idea of the “monster other” remained for centuries to come.

Even today, it is not uncommon for us to call the reprehensible actions of our enemies “monstrous.” Dr. Seth Pierce has taken the concept of a monster and turned it into a tool of academic and biblical study. In his “Monsters, Faith, and Pop Culture” class at Union College, and more recently his “Beast and Bible” podcast, Pierce encourages people to consider what monsters symbolize. From the horrors on the silver screen to the beasts within religious texts, monsters exist for more reasons than just to scare us.

When the Bough Breaks
What it Means to Survive the Loss of All
By Derrick and Crystal Moffett

remember when I was a child, I heard the most violent nursery rhyme that one could ever imagine.

Rock a Bye Baby,
On the tree Top;
When the wind blows,
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall;
Down will come baby,
Cradle and all!
Thank God no one knows what happened to the baby after the fall. However, this rhyme reminds me of what happens when a loved one dies unexpectedly, the bough breaks, and everything falls.

The bough broke first for us in 1980. I had just married the most beautiful woman in the world, January 26th of that year. My wife, Crystal, was pregnant with our first child. We had just accepted the Lord together as Seventh-day Adventists, bought a house down the street from her brother, Robert, and contemplated enrollment at Oakwood University.

The Business of Being Family
illustration of frustrated and tired parents surrounded by their 6 young kids
Photo by Adobe Stock
By Debleaire Snell
f your family is anything like ours, the school year introduces busier schedules. And I’m willing to admit that when I became a father, I thought it would be easier to manage my plans as my children grew older. Even though I knew that family dynamics change as the family grows together, I wasn’t prepared for the different directions we get pulled in regularly.

Like you, in our house, my wife and I went from coordinating our schedules to worrying about piano lessons on one side of town, sports on another, and homework and project deadlines. And although it’s easy for us to let certain things fall by the wayside because we get caught in the trap of constantly rushing to the next thing, I’ve realized that when dealing with family, that’s no way to live.

 Christopher Thompson
The Experience Study
The Experience Logo
Photo from Brett Streutker
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14:14-20).
A Reflection on Feeding the 5,000
by Ellen G. White
“You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). The disciples thought they had withdrawn where they would not be discovered, but as soon as the multitude missed the divine Teacher, they inquired, “Where is he?” Some among them had noticed the direction in which Christ and His disciples had gone, and soon an immense crowd was looking for Christ. Fresh additions were made to this number until the congregation was composed of no less than five thousand men, besides women and children.
You’re family here.
Message is the oldest, black, Christian magazine in North America whose longevity is owing to its critical function of sharing the message of redemption, relationship, and readiness.
Redemption in slab font
We believe that God, recognizing how irretrievably broken our lives and world would be following the influence of the enemy’s lies, sent His Son Jesus in whom we are created anew. He has promised the total righting of everything that is wrong in this world. Seek Him. Reach for Him, and He will in no way cast you aside. He wants you to know Him, and assures that He will be there when you look for Him. No matter who you are, this opportunity is for you.
Relationship in. slab font
We’re here to operate as a set of His hands and feet, to come alongside all who preach, teach, and work with this good news. We fight against the destructive effects sin has had on us, the personal, systemic and perpetual division that plagues this world. In particular, we target and counter the false narrative of who God is. Together we affirm His image found in the black mind and body that has so often borne the brunt of brutality and untruth. Together we seek to align with God’s Kingdom at work in the here and now.
Readiness in a slab font
Finally, we prepare for that day when all of God’s people reunite with Him in person. That preparation includes a complete opening of our minds and hearts to Him, allowing Him to do the work of getting us ready. We’re reading His Word with an open mind, seeking the special blessing of the Spirit especially on His Sabbath, and we eagerly watch for His return!
Let’s walk together, fam.
To receive personal Bible studies, pray with someone, talk with a chaplain or find a church, reach the Message Resource line: 1-855-God-Cares (1-855-463-2273).
Bless and Be Blessed
Map of all Churches in the U.S.
Find resources near you by going to this link
Atlanta, GA
Berean Outreach Ministry Center
291 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive
Atlanta, GA 30318
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Chicago, IL
Hyde Park SDA Church
4608 South Drexel Road
Chicago, IL 60653
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Miami, FL
Mt. Pisgah SDA Church
3340 NW 215th St,
Miami Gardens, FL 33056
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Thanks for reading our September/October 2023 issue!