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Pastor A.F. Caver of New Birth Christian Fellowship Assembly delivers riveting eulogy for innocent shooting victim nine-year old Saniyah Monee Nicholson at Second Ebenezer Baptist Church on Saturday June 30, 2018.


On June 30, 2018, the City of Cleveland watched yet another child laid to rest leaving another family in mourning, as services innocent for nine-year old Saniyah Monee Nicholson were he before an overflowing crowd at Second Ebenezer Baptist Church.

On June 20, 2018, Saniyah Monee Nicholson was shot while sitting in her mother’s car at Lee Road near Cloverside Avenue.

The City of Cleveland responded with overwhelming love, compassion and offered assistance to the family of Saniyah. Cards and letters of Condolence were sent from across the City to encourage the family of Saniyah and to express sympathy for the loss of a precious little girl. Ministerial Councils were also present in support of the family.

The Eminent elderly Statesman Dr. E.T Caviness, President of the Cleveland Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council and Pastor of the Greater Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church, was present with a powerful reading of the Scriptures followed by Dr. Jimmy Gates, Pastor of the Zion Hill Baptist Church. The host Pastor, Dr. A. L. Owens, Pastor of the Second Ebenezer Baptist Church offered a heartfelt prayer. Dr. Larry Macon, Pastor Mt Zion Church and President of United Pastors in Mission presided over the service.

The Executive Director of United Pastors in Mission and Pastor of Mt Sinai church, Dr. C.J Matthews was present to introduce ministers, other community groups and political representations. Pastors, preachers, political leaders and other faith leaders from across the City, including the Maple Heights School Board along with Saniyah’s teachers were in attendance. Present, was also the honorable Mayor Annette Blackwell, Mayor of Maple Heights, Ohio. Mayor Blackwell made an appearance not only as the Mayor of this family, but as a mother with a broken heart; evident by shed tears throughout the service.

They all came to make their presence known to celebrate an angel’s ascension and to support a grieving family. Dr. Larry Harris, Pastor of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and President of the Mount Pleasant Ministerial Alliance who was in attendance at another service, yet made an appearance to show his support, as did Pastor R.A Vernon, Pastor of the Word Church. Praise dancers danced; the melodious voices of New Birth Christian Fellowship Choir sang under the Directorship of Ms. Tina Farmer. The mother of Saniyah is a member of New Birth Christian Fellowship Church, and without question her Church family stepped up to show their love and concern for more than a member, but a part of their family as well.

This story however, would not be complete without reflecting on the message delivered by Pastor Caver. It was a message that gave notice to all who were listening that God speaks and that he speaks at times through the things he allows to happen, situations and circumstances. “God never permits a loss without a lesson”

The problem the preacher suggested is that as students in the classroom of life, we are not always listening to the teacher, and that we don’t always apply the principles of his Word to our lives. A Word he called “God’s Prescription.” Personally speaking, none can deny that there is an ill in this nation and in this City. It is obvious that political, Judicial and social fixes have not produced a much-needed change in our nation, our City and more specifically the community.

We need more than surface fixes. We need a cure that works from the core and a fix that digs down to the foundation. We need to engage with a greater effort than ever before. We need the aid and assistance of mothers and fathers, Churches and ministerial Groups and Community Activists.

We need the efforts of Mr. Art McCoy and Black on Black Crime, Brother Khalid Samad who were all in attendance as well as the services of the media.

We need togetherness and a unified effort against crime, drugs and all other venoms inflicted upon the lives of this citizenry. Then, when armed with our faith; joined with the principles of God’s Word; change is possible; a difference can be made. As a twenty-eight (28) year retired Police Sergeant, I speak not only from my experience in the streets of Cleveland, but as a father and grandfather and a minister. I speak from a heart that hurts when I hear and see the vices of evil move through our City. I am convinced that if we stand together as one force with one fight, we can and will win. We will make a difference, and with our united efforts a change will come.

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