Jonathan Nelson Farewell Concert (2009)
The lifelong native of Baltimore has been one of the industry's favorite sons, winning multiple Stellar awards for his songwriting and his work with his group Purpose. A standing room only crowd of over 3,000 people congregated at his home church Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, MD on May 31, 2009 for a send-off fit for a hometown hero.
GOSPELflava.com was in the house for the amazing event and caught up with Nelson for an exclusive interview.
"I'm leaving to head up the music ministry with Bishop Henry Fernandez," says Nelson. "The move represents a fresh start for my family. My wife and son are excited about the move. The move is related to the purpose and destiny for my life."
Nelson has spent the last seven years as the Minister of Music for Empowerment Temple, pastored by Jamal Harrison Bryant. The connection to Bryant however goes far deeper than their church affiliation.
"I've known Pastor Bryant most of his life," acknowledges Nelson. "We went to the same middle school. My brother and his sister were in class together. Bryant and I were childhood friends at age 13. We have an amazing connection and it's an honor to work together in this capacity. We have a strong connection here in church. I will sing a selection that ties in automatically with his sermon."
Nelson has great respect for his friend and pastor, Jamal Bryant. "He is young and has an innovative mind. He is refreshing and challenging. He went to both Morehouse College and Duke University," says Nelson. "Bryant is a positive role model for young black men. He is inspirational in his dress and demeanor. He challenges me to reach for your dreams and accomplish your purpose. Bryant is a driven person and makes you driven. When I talked to him about the move, he never held me back. I am a better leader and a better man because of Empowerment Temple."
The singer/songwriter is excited about the new move and feels that he's ready for the transition. "My life is dedicated to ministry," shares Nelson. "Just like Paris Hilton has a heritage of the Hilton hotel, the Nelson brand is dedicated to ministry. In 2004, God told me to come out of the school system and pushed me to another level. That move launched me into full time ministry. This move is definitely a God-ordained move and I'm excited about the bright future ahead."
With that said, the celebration began with tons of amazing artists and pastors rolling through to pay tribute to Nelson. Noted ministers Bishop George Searight, Bishop Ralph Dennis, Bishop Oscar Brown, Bishop Joan Sanders, Bishop Bobby Hilton, and Pastor Carolyn Showell joined Pastor Jamal Bryant in offering words of encouragement and support to Nelson and his family.
Stephen Hurd blessed the house with a song of worship and encouraged Nelson to continue penning songs that would change nations.
BET Sunday Best finalist and Purpose member John McClure, Jr. gave a special presentation to Nelson and debuted a new original song titled "We Acknowledge You".
JJ Hairston and Deon Kipping shared their single "Incredible God, Incredible Praise", while Vashawn Mitchell rolled through with "No Way".
Sheri Jones-Moffett blazed the house with "Encourage Yourself" and Chrystal Rucker blessed the masses with "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and "Changed".
Several family members chimed in with fun memories and well wishes for the departing Nelson. Nelson's brother Jason rendered the album title from Jonathan Nelson's Stellar Award winning project Right Now Praise, while sharing childhood memories with the packed house.
The evening ended with Nelson offering thanks and joining Purpose with several of their hits while debuting a new song in the process. Joining Nelson for his hits "Healed" and "My Name Is Victory" was a cavalcade of artists including Nikki Ross, Chrystal Rucker, Sheri Jones-Moffett, Jarmel Strong, and Jason Nelson.
A slew of artists and personalities including Coko, Lil Mo, Brent Jones, Bobby Perry, David Frazier, Clifton Ross III, and Jawn Murray all were in attendance to bid adieu to Baltimore's favorite musical son.
Relive the historic evening with our exclusive pictorial recap.
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