Columbia Minister Uses Voice to Help Unite Black Community
February is Black History Month, and Rev. Coleman continues to make a difference. St. James Baptist Church only has a dozen members, but Coleman hopes to at least double that by this summer.
"We are looking for the membership to grow, to just grow way, way, way on up, astronomical," he explained.
For 37 years, Rev. Coleman has led various churches in Columbia. Rev. David Ballenger of Log Providence Missionary Baptist Church has a high regard for Coleman.
"He's very well-respected," said Ballenger. "The second thing he is, he's really an icon in our community, a quiet icon, but a very effective icon."
Coleman's nephew, Taurean Williams, attends St. James because of what he calls his uncle's ability to spread the word of God differently than other ministers.
"Especially when he preaches, he's somebody that just puts a lot of energy into it," Williams explained. "Whenever you come here, it's not the usual service where you just sit, go through the motions, and you leave. This is something where you come in, you're entertained as well as some other things. It's something that I really enjoy coming to. It's something that's full of energy and, before you know it, time's up."
Coleman's wife, Bobbie, believes his faith in God brings the community together.
"His love for God, his seriousness for what he is doing," she added. "He's a true Christian and he passes that on to his congregation."
Coleman also helped the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People organize religious leaders, and won the group's religious affairs award.
"I greatly appreciate it right now," said Rev. Coleman. "But, there is still a lot of work, a lot of work to be done."