Imani Temple Ministries founder and pastor The Rev. Rodney Thomas and his congregation received a major surprise last Sunday when the first woman presidential candidate Hillary Clinton began her Ohio tour with a pitch stop.
Although Thomas knew, members were caught off guard with the abbreviated services, and the front row pews reserved, but they were delighted when Democratic presidential candidate Clinton, along with her running mate Tim Kaine made a stop at Imani Temple as part of their "Stronger Together" jobs-focused bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“One again before November comes and people make up their minds, people needed to hear what she will do for America, the middle class, and what she would do for just common ordinary individuals trying to get on with their daily lives,” said Thomas who founded Imani Temple Ministries 15 years ago.
Clinton’s visit marked the first visit of a presidential and vice presidential candidate at his congregation, but it was not the first experience for Thomas who is among the hardest working community ministers in Northeast Ohio.
“To me it was once again a wonderful experience. It was some 25 years ago when her husband Bill Clinton was the nominee of our party was running for election for the office of presidency. He had an opportunity to speak at my father’s church St. Andrews in Memphis. As a child of the pastor it was wonderful experience then and it was illuminated to me to have that same experience on Sunday to have Hillary come to Imani Temple,” Thomas told the Call & Post.
Clinton warned the audience of the false promises made by Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.
“So when Mr. Trump says, ‘I can fix it alone’, I honestly don’t know who he’s talking about. I know I’m a product of a family and my father ran a small business. He worked for people. He enlisted my mother and brother and me to help him, but he didn’t do it alone,” Clinton explained.
Clinton credited her experiences at public school and Methodist church where her minister took her to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when she was just a young teenager.
“Dr. King was not doing it alone,” she ask the congregation which answered with resounding ‘No!’
“I think about our armed forces, men and women in uniforms, I think about our doctors and nurses, I think of people who toil everyday to make a living in enterprise---We are all in this together,” she added.
Clinton vowed that she is committed, “to lift up everybody in America.”
“Here’s what I want you to know, Tim Kaine and I will work our hearts out for you, we will from the first day to the last day we have the honor of serving do everything we can to help create more good jobs with rising incomes.”
Clinton encouraged the African American congregation when she stated the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs is African American women.
“The fastest way you can raise income in America is the make sure that women get equal pay for the work they do,” she stated to a roar of approval.
“I know sometimes people say, well there she is playing to woman card again. If that’s playing the woman card then deal me in,” Clinton continued to a standing ovation.
She went on, “ it’s not the woman card, it’s the working mom card, it’s the working wife card, it’s the working daughter card, it’s the working sister card!”
Thomas had a private opportunity to share with Clinton afterwards about what he thought Ohio needed and about what he thought Northeast Ohio needed.
“I also thanked her for her selection of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge as the chair of the DNC week and thanked her for her support in that and I told her how proud we were of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and I was appreciative of her leadership in that decision,” said Thomas.
Thomas works hard in the community and was most appreciative and grateful of Clinton’s visit.
“I am most grateful that Imani Temple had an opportunity to host a president and vice president candidate and our church serves the community well and to be fortunate to have those candidates in our congregation is more than a blessing and I am extremely appreciative,” Thomas concluded.