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Sermon by Todd Grant Yonkman at Beneficent Church on 12 January 2014. Text: Matthew 3:13-17, 21:28-32. Baptism Sunday. Topic: Saying “yes” and doing “yes.”

Sermon by Nicole Grant Yonkman at Beneficent Church on 22 September 2013.

Paulette Littlejohn and family

Long time member of Beneficent Church, Deacon Paulette Littlejohn was recently featured in a news article in UCNews, the news organization of theUnited Church of Christ. Here’s a sample:

The Rev. Nicole Grant Yonkman figures 45 years is long enough.

Lifting up Paulette Littlejohn for her long-standing membership in and service to Beneficent Congregational UCC in Providence, R.I., Yonkman’s strong sentiment is succinct.

“It’s high time she got some recognition for what she does in the church.”

Yonkman and her husband, the Rev. Todd Grant Yonkman –– co-ministers at Beneficent for the past 16 months –– proudly presided over the Native American Ministries worship service Sept. 26 at which five members of Littlejohn’s family were baptized.

“She’s been a member of this church for 45 years and has never been asked to be in leadership,” says Nicole. “It’s crazy, because here she is an elder of a tribe and the tribe has 1,500 members. This year, for the first time, she is a deacon in our church.”

A council elder of the Northern Narragansett tribe, Littlejohn counts more than 300 –– including 12 great grandchildren –– among her family. Self-identified as Native American, she also has African-American blood.

“Our Native-American family is providing the leadership that is revitalizing and helping us to turn around this downtown struggling church,” says Todd. “Our ministry is about empowering groups, building leadership and affirming what they bring. This is not ministry to, this is ministry with.” Read more . . .

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