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Miracle on 97th St.; church renovated for free

Members recall with wonder how God's house was transformed

Gigi Tinsley | 4/17/2014, 9 a.m.
Fourth Standing-(L-R): Pastor Leonard Shaw, Pastor Jordan Wiggins and Head Deacon Arnold Montgomery

Some folks say and some believe, “These are modern times (the season we live in) and God doesn’t perform miracles anymore.” If you fall into one of those categories this reporter strongly suggests you talk to a few Revival Tabernacle Assembly of God (RTAG) Church members and listen to them tell you about a miracle that happened there.

A “miracle” is defined as “a surprising and welcomed event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.” The word is derived from middle English via Old French, from Latin ‘miraculous,’ meaning “object of wonder.”

RTAG, at 2085 NW 97th St., was founded by Pastor Selwyn M. Scott, along with his wife, Antonia (deceased) and their six children. He was the first Black pastor accepted into the Assemblies of God USA, 40 plus years ago. Thirty-one years ago, Scott married Tomasina Seymore and from that union Samuel was born.

In 2013, Scott retired from the pastoral position at RTAG and his protege, Leonard Shaw became the senior pastor.

The Azusa Street Revival began the modern Pentecostal Movement in 1906, out of which the Assemblies of God arose in 1914. Many at RTAG “are praying for the same type movement to saturate Miami-Dade County and from it an army will rise up to proclaim that God is the same as he was yesterday, today and will be forever more.”

Last year reported Shaw, “I started praying and fasting for the needs of the church. Paramount on the list were renovation of the sanctuary and air-conditioning needs.”

Shaw didn’t just pray about the needs he made the District Superintendent Reverend Terrell “Terry” Rabum of the Peninsular Florida District Council of the Assemblies of God aware of those needs.

During this same time, Pastor Jordan Wiggins on behalf of the Builders and Renovaton Team from Evangel Temple Assembly of God Church in Jacksonville was inquiring about the possibility of doing a project in Florida. (The Team has already been to more than 40 countries). Soon afterwards, Wiggins and Team were informed of and introduced to Shaw, and for months they communicated electronically.

The Team doesn’t just go out and make patched-up repairs. First, the men from RTAG stripped the sanctuary down to its bare beams and up to the stripes on the roof and from there the work began.

The Team paid for and house themselves in a local hotel and traveled to and from the church from Mon.-Thurs., from dusk until dawn totally renovating the sanctuary. All supplies were paid for and sent to RTAG by the Evangel Temple Church’s Building Ministry.

The expenses from RTAG were at a bare minimum. And the ecstatic beauty of RTAG, due to the physical work, blessings of Wiggins and his Team, and God’s grace, there is now a new sanctuary at RTAG.

Last Wed. evening, instead of the regular, informative, Bible Study, Wiggins brought the message to RTAG’s members and the Team.

The scripture was taken from Deuteronomy 31 and entitled ‘A Vision for Miami.’

The synopsis of the sermon: That along with Pastor Emeritus Scott’s seven children, their more than 22 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, numerous other relatives, who worship at RTAG; Pastor Shaw and his wife Mary, their daughter; the Head Deacon/Vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees Arnold Montgomery and Members, and all the other auxiliaries, organizations within RTAG, will appoint themselves a ministry-of-one. Then by prayer, supplication, and personal example, they will be able to lead others to Christ — a change in Miami will happen.

RTAG members say, “God has manifested himself at RTAG.”