March Member Spotlight
JOSHUA & OLIVIA CUMBERBATCH
Joshua “Josh” and Olivia “Livi” Cumberbatch…son and daughter of Mr. & Mrs.
Jeff and Rebecca Dixon. Josh n’ Livi
were born in Richmond, VA. Their family moved to Atlanta in 2006.
Joshua will be 17 y/o on July 25th! He is in 10th grade at Archer High School in Lawrenceville, where he earns all As or As/Bs. He gets to showcase his astute intellect as a second-year member of the Speech & Debate Club. His Geography teacher encouraged him to join the Speech & Debate Club, because of how well he articulates his thoughts and presents himself in a respectable manner. One of his favorite speeches was about how God gave birds trees to build their homes in nature, but humans put birds in cages, forcing them into an unnatural home. Next school year, Josh plans to run for a seat on the Student Council and HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America). HOSA is an international student organization that supports community initiatives. Josh is also a skilled athlete as the top Junior Varsity player on his school’s Tennis Team! He played a key role in the Archer “Tigers” recent 8-0 win over the Winder-Barrow “Bulldoggs” in a doubles match! Additionally, Josh is a very talented, self-taught guitarist! He owns four of them – two electric and two acoustic. His favorite guitar is a beige and black acoustic which was given to him at 13 y/o. In his collection of guitars is also a “pink and sparkly” one he took from his sister because of her lack of interest in it! His musical inspirations are Eric Clapton and BB King. Josh also owns two drum sets and a piano. He likes jamming out with his Dad playing instruments and has been TRYING (LOL!) to teach him to play guitar. As a rising upperclassmen, his attention is now turning towards college. He is interested in attending either the University of West Georgia (Carrollton) or the University of North Georgia (Dahlonega). He is considering majoring in politics, law, or psychiatry. Josh has a heart for helping people and considers it his civic duty to one day help the disenfranchised and under-served. He occasional works part-time as a busboy for a family friend’s business. As most kids his age he likes video games and school sporting events. His favorite scripture is Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Olivia turned 12 y/o on February 10th! She is a 6th grader at McConnell Middle School in Lawrenceville. She has consistently appeared on the President’s List for having all A’s and has never been less than an A/B student! One of her favorite classes is Language Arts, because she has a love of reading and creative writing. Additionally, she really likes her beginners Spanish class. She is excelling so well that she’s strongly considering signing up for Honors Spanish next year! Livi is also a skilled musician who plays the Cello in the school Orchestra, and for a while she took piano lessons. She is also athletically inclined. For four years she took gymnastics and plans to join the Track & Field team when she enters high school. Livi LOVES to swim! From a toddler she took to water like a fish. She brags about how once, during a family vacation to Canada, she jumped from a diving board into 9 feet of water with NO FEAR! Livi is already giving strong thought to what she wants to be when she grows up ….an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN). She says she wants to help women who have health challenges get better physically, and feel better emotionally. Next school year, Livi plans to run for a seat on PAC (the Principal’s Advisory Council). PAC is a select group of students who meet monthly with the Principal to offer ideas on improving student-life on campus. Some of her closest friends are Mia, Jania, and Zia. They recently took a baking class together at Williams Sonoma in Norcross! She loves horror movies, and Mama keeps a watchful eye to monitor this closely. Livi likes having “girls time” with her Mom (shopping, going out to eat, and trips to the nail salon). However, she is actually a Daddy’s Girl. Whenever something is wrong she goes straight to him for advice and strength. Livi is the family goofball! She is playful with high energy…always joking, jumping and climbing! She loves to wear Army fatigue-print clothes and has been dreading her hair for about 3 yrs!
Josh and Livi are saved and have been baptized. Both express that Jesus is an ever-present friend who hears the things they can or cannot express, and helps them whenever they feel overwhelmed or uncertain. They have been actively involved in ministry at Redeeming Word. Whether on the Praise Team, Dance Ministry, Greeters, or Junior Armourbearer…they enjoy serving God by serving His people. They also look forward to participating in the 4:12 Youth Department activities. Josh and Livi love their RW family and hold Pastor & Lady Randle in high regard.
When it comes to household chores, Livi sometimes helps with cooking. Josh says his chores are “EVERYTHING”, but he understands his parents are teaching him responsibility, accountability, and independence. As a family they enjoy bowling, going to restaurants, skating, and movies!
February Member Spotlight
BRO. KENNETH & SIS. RHONDA THOMPSON
Introducing Brother Kenneth (aka “King” or “Scooter”) Thompson and his adorable wife Sister Rhonda Rahymes Thompson! Brother Kenneth was born and raised in Charleston, SC and will be 28 y/o on June 11th. Sister Rhonda was born in Orlando FL, but she too grew up in Charleston. She will be 30 y/o on July 30th.
Kenneth graduated from RB Stall HS (North Charleston) in 2008. He played basketball, was on the Year Book Committee, and was a Mentor at the community Boys Club. Rhonda graduated from West Ashley HS (West Ashley) in 2007. Though she was a teen mom, the Lord graced her to have supportive teachers who encouraged her to stay in school. She passed all of her classes and was able to graduate with her fellow senior classmen.
In their early 20s, The Thompsons became acquainted with each other through their social circle of friends. Kenneth had a crush on Rhonda and on a day that seemed like a chance encounter, they ran into each other at a McDonald’s. He offered to pay for her meal, to which she retorted, “It’s McDonald’s, I don’t need you to pay for this.” Even with the brush-off, Kenneth was undeterred and a couple weeks later, he connected with her on Facebook. From there a relationship developed and they began dating in September 2010.
After enduring some trials and tests of young-adulthood, it became clear to Rhonda that she needed to relocate and re-start her life. Kenneth fully supported her decision and in July 2011 she moved to Atlanta. In February 2012, Kenneth relocated to Atlanta as well and they resumed life as a couple. After a few years of dating, and a brief engagement, they were married on August 14, 2013! There were plans for a big wedding to be officiated by Kenneth’s uncle. Sadly, he passed away so he and Rhonda opted for a ceremony at DeKalb County Courthouse with lots of family present as witnesses!
Kenneth graduated from Trident Technical College in North Charleston, where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts in 2010. In 2011, he graduated from Southeastern Institute (Charleston) as a Certified Massage Therapist. After tapping into his passion and what really motivates him, he is now focusing on his career goal to work in the healthcare industry. He is enrolled at Cambridge College (Atlanta) to become a Radiology Technician with impending graduation of December 2018. Afterwards he will pursue certifications as an Ultrasound Technician and CT Scan Technician. Kenneth enjoys working with people and wants to have a hands on approach to helping them have a better quality of life. As he is making strides towards securing a career in healthcare, in the interim he and Rhonda work full time to provide the best for their sons. Rhonda is a Care Giver to the elder at Hapeville Manor Assisted Living and Country Gardens Assisted Living. Kenneth is using his culinary skills as one of the main Chefs at Morehouse College. Additionally, since 2013 they have operated their own janitorial business called Ready Made For A Day, where they provide cleaning services for residential properties. With this endeavor they aspire to build a stable and lucrative stream of income where their boys will always have the security and inheritance of a family owned and operated business.
The Thompsons are the proud parents of four energetic and intelligent boys! First there’s Zayviion (13 y/o 6th grade). He’s very protective of the family, has a compassionate heart, and always seeks to resolve conflict. He’s a math whiz with great athleticism in football and basketball. Then there’s Ta’Kary (11 y/o 5th grader). He’s also a great football player, but has a greater interest in entrepreneurship. He already has multiple streams of income with a sneaker cleaning business ($5.00 a pair) and candy sales (purchasing in bulk then selling it to turn a profit). He has aspirations of owning a web design company. Next there’s King (8 y/o 3rd grader). King can be both shy and outgoing. One of his favorite classes is Physical Education, but he’s really an artist at heart, so he’d rather draw and color to express his creativity. Lastly, the newest addition is 5 m/o Kenneth Thompson III (aka “Charm”)! Charm aspires to be fed, cleaned, held, and spoiled with attention! Mom and Dad are excited about Charm’s Baby Dedication ceremony at church on Sunday, February 11th! Rhonda says the best thing about having all men in the house is that everyone’s focus is on catering to the Queen and making sure she’s happy! Kenneth says he really appreciates how Rhonda takes it all in stride, letting the boys be boys never complaining about the noise!
The Thompsons both had a foundational upbringing in the church. Kenneth received salvation at 8 y/o and was very active in his South Carolina church home (Shiloh AME Church). He was one of the lead singers in the choir and even won a couple talent shows because of his singing ability! As a child Rhonda attended various churches with her Aunt. She too made an early decision to receive salvation, and be baptized, when she was 12 y/o. The Thompsons joined Redeeming Word in 2014 after Rhonda’s encounter with Sis. Debbie Morris during a Team Redeem Community Prayer Walk. Sis. Morris prayed with her, and she got to speak briefly with Pastor Randle. After visiting the church a few times, Kenneth and Rhonda knew RWC was their home! Both have embraced Pastor & Lady Randle as their spiritual parents, gravitating to their genuine, parental care. They say RW is a family church where they feel comfortable, accepted, and encouraged. Kenneth says, “Since coming to Redeeming Word, I see how God is making me a better man, father and husband every single day. Redeeming Word is such a fitting name, because it says that God allows you to start your life over again.” Rhonda says, “Redeeming Word has given me courage to witness about my faith.” She is now eager to tell people about what she has learned as a result of Pastor Randle’s teaching/preaching. They both look forward to getting their boys involved in ministry, as they’ve been asking about joining the Drama & Arts Department. Rhonda says, “The more Jesus that gets into them, the less of the world that gets into them.” She and Kenneth want to get more involved as well. Kenneth wants to work with Youth Pastor Watson as a Youth Mentor, and Rhonda is interested in the Choir/Praise Team. They’re both believing God to change their secular work schedules so they can commit themselves to ministry.
The Thompson are a young couple who make intentional efforts to cultivate their marital union through support, compromise, and communication. Kenneth says, “Rhonda gives me the green light to Go in life. She calms me and strengthens me at the same time. God really helped me out when he gave me her.” Of Kenneth, Rhonda says, “God gave me the man that I needed to raise sons with. He is their primary example of strength, endurance, perseverance, and commitment. One of the great things about my husband is that he doesn’t give up. He is willing to try until he succeeds.” Because of their work schedules, date nights are usually date days. They may spend time together over lunch so that nights are reserved for family time: dinner, homework, movies, and games. The Thompson Family Motto is: “One band, one sound”, which translates to “the success or failure of this family is dependent upon the contributions of every member of the family.” They take great care in keeping their family unified through faith in God and being accountable to each other.
Though “family is everything”, Brother Kenneth and Sister Rhonda are looking forward to time alone on their cruise to the Bahamas in March!
January Member Spotlight
SIS. FELICIA DENNIS
Meet Sis. Felicia Finch Dennis, known as “Lisa” to family and “Fe” to friends! Sis. Dennis was born in Manhasset, NY to loving parents Ms. Barbara Agard and Mr. George Finch. She also has a wonderful bonus-mom, Mrs. Pauline Finch. Sis. Dennis celebrated her 48th birthday last August, and this coming September will celebrate 20 years of marriage to Mr. Larry Dennis (a warehouse supervisor).
Sis. Dennis has a large – and ever growing – family. She has two older brothers, Kirk (deceased, USMC veteran) and Ricky; an older sister, Michelle; and a younger brother, Quin. She has two daughters, 26 y/o Jocelyn (son-in-love, Aaron) and 25 y/o Azandria; one son, 16 y/o Aeneas; and two bonus sons, 33 y/o Lawrence and 27 y/o Alex. Further expanding the family, she is Grandma (or “Nana”) to 6 y/o Candice, 2 y/o Camden, and 5 m/o Caleb!
Sis. Dennis attended LaGuardia College where she pursued a degree in Accounting. She works for Ballard Designs (home décor) in Atlanta. She’s been with the company 10 years and is the Manager of E-Commerce Content. She aspires to own and manage an event center, which she will name Full Circle. Full Circle will be a multi-plex facility that can host a myriad of events from weddings to live performances. Sis. Dennis knows that proper planning plus faith in God, makes EVERYTHING possible!
It seemed serendipitous (though actually divinely orchestrated) the circumstances by which Sis. Dennis and her family came to live in Atlanta. In the early 2000s she and her husband and their circle of friends had all been talking about moving to Atlanta…”the land of opportunity for Black folk!” This was a very tangible goal for The Dennises, until Larry was informed of an impending lay-off in June 2002. Not to be shaken in her faith, Sis. Dennis took this news as a sign that it was in fact time to move! While she and her husband were in their valley of decision, one of the couples yet proceeded with their plans and began having a home built in Atlanta during spring 2002. Larry would make periodic trips to Atlanta with Jamal to check on the progress of the house and to scope out the city. Larry loved Atlanta and soon inquired with a realtor himself. On one particular trip with Jamal, he recorded about six videos of properties and sent them to Felicia for viewing. It was through video recordings that she chose her Atlanta home…having never stepped foot on Georgia soil! She and Larry closed on their Atlanta home in September 2002 and immediately relocated! Ironically, The Dennises moved to Atlanta before the other couple’s house was finished, so they lived with The Dennises for a couple months. In the end, what was a lofty dream for all the circle of friends eventually became a reality as all the couples have now relocated and settled in Atlanta!
Sis. Dennis was raised in a Christian home. She attended 1st Baptist Church in Great Neck (Long Island) where she sang on the Praise Team. She also sang with a community choir called the K. Smith Choir. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior at a Watch Night service altar call during her 20s. Upon moving to Atlanta she periodically attended a Methodist church until being invited to Redeeming Word Church by her step-mother in 2007. Going from Baptist to Methodist to COGIC was a culture shock in many ways, but within a year she joined RWC knowing the Lord had connected her to this ministry and this leadership!
What drew Sis. Dennis to RWC was the young, charismatic leader she saw in Pastor Randle. He had a fresh Word that fit today’s reality. She also loved the family dynamic, not only from what she observed in Pastor, 1st Lady and their children, but within the church membership. It was important to her that she not be just another member. She says, “I wanted to attend a church where people knew me by name.” God responded to that desire and gave her not just a church home, but a church family. Sis. Dennis credits Pastor Randle with opening her understanding to biblical truths that she never learned, or understood, before…specifically the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Her testimony is that after gaining an understanding of who the Holy Ghost was, she began to fervently seek the in-filling of Him, which came upon her during an altar call at RWC at the Washington Road location! This encounter with the Holy Ghost marked a significant transitional period in her life.
Sis. Dennis’ favorite scripture is Isaiah 40:31 - "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." For her, waiting upon the Lord means giving Him more of her time. She feels the pull of the Lord to be still, listen, and draw closer. As a wife, mother, and career-woman “life” can become all consuming; however, she knows that yielding to time alone with God will afford her the proper balance and harmony that He alone can give. Her favorite sermon by Pastor Randle is “The Purpose of the Anointing” (aka “the nose flies” sermon). She loves this classic message as it gives such a vivid description of the importance of allowing your pastor to shepherd (train, discipline, and protect) you. Sis. Dennis’ personal motto is “It is what it is.” (meaning: Own it, Embrace it…Conquer it!)
Sis. Dennis serves in ministry as the Armourbearor to 1st Lady Randle. The Lord has endowed her with a servant’s heart, thus making this role more an honor and less a duty. Through divine instinct she is able to anticipate the needs and sensitivities of 1st Lady. She wholeheartedly supports Pastor and 1st Lady by giving of her time, talent, and treasure. She says, “I support Pastor’s vision, because I know his vision is the Lord’s vision.”
Aside from workin’ n’ churchin’ Sis. Dennis spends much of her time taking care of family. From cooking, to Football Booster Club, to Nana duties…her plate is full. Though Larry supports her through it all, she says they are way overdue for quality time as a couple. In a year, when Aeneas graduates high school, she and Larry will be on “destination vacation!”…there first time away - ALONE - since their honeymoon!
Did you know?...Felicia met her would-be husband at a night club! After spotting him across the room, she acted on sheer confidence and approached him! They danced and talked all night…and the rest, as she says “Is what it is!”