Faithful Central Bible Church recently honored Bishop and Mrs. Kenneth C. Ulmer for 30 years of inspired leadership to the church and to various organizations and people around the world. The beautiful celebrated 35 years of marriage, and Bishop Ulmer rang in his 65 years of life in a big way.

If I said it was a night to remember, that would be an understatement.

The energy, smiles and good will that flowed through the large gathering made one feel all warm and welcomed. Cameras flashed, men in their finest suits and ladies in lovely gowns, posed and hugged and laughed. Celebrities showed up here and there, but it was clear that the center of attention was Kenneth Ulmer. Church members, friends and supporters were there to honor him for his vision, wisdom, and love; through his energy and drive, Faithful Central Bible Church is touching the lives of thousands of individuals here and around the world.

But what better way to celebrate than by giving to others? And what could be more precious to give than a home, or having your home made safe inside and out? Thus begins an inspired partnership between Faithful Central Bible Church and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. This new initiative–Celebrate Home & Health–was launched in the spring of 2012 and created to promote and develop healthy homes and healthy families within the community and around the world. Exactly what does that mean? They will build homes, and clean up blighted areas by making properties habitable.

With the help of their corporate and civic partners and thousands of caring individuals throughout greater Los Angeles area, they plan to build or renovate homes within the local community. In addition, through the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ global network, Faithful Central plans to build and renovate in economically challenged regions of South Africa.

What better way to get the ball rolling than to have a benefit concert? I’ll say this, ‘ain’t no party like an old school party!’ And nobody can do it better than Gladys Knight and Frankie Beverly and Maze.

Gladys Knight kicked the evening off, singing her all-time favorites, concertgoers singing right along with her. Even her older brother Bubba sang a couple of songs, jokingly stealing the spotlight. Gladys, of course, was vibrant, and shared life lessons with the audience in between songs. And she has some nice dance moves courtesy of “Dancing With the Stars.”

The well-directed and produced program under the control of Paula Bond, First Option Entertainment, also gave concertgoers an intimate look at the life of Bishop Ulmer outside the church in a videotaped series of questions asked by Shaun Robinson of “Access Hollywood.” Plus we got a tender look at the role Bishop Ulmer has played in the lives of many of our favorite celebrities, from Steve Harvey and Blair Underwood to Niecey Nash and LL Cool J. They all had words of praise and thanks.

The concert continued with Frankie Beverly and Maze; these men are just magic, pure magic.

Everybody was on their feet. Folks with canes, and walkers were moving to the piercing, soulful voice of Beverly. Even Bishop Ulmer and Lady T were cutting a mean cha-cha on the dance floor. We all literally danced the night away . . . line dance, Chicago Two-Step, the Temptation Walk, the Four Corners, I could go on and on. Let’s just say we danced for a wonderful cause.

It seems these days there is a lot of negative talk about the Black church and churchgoers in general. But that’s because these naysayers are on the outside. The church has always been the pillar of the Black community; teaching the word of God, serving the underserved, and encouraging our youth. Judging by the members of Faithful Central Bible Church under the leadership of Bishop Ulmer, the Black church remains in strong hands, helping to make our communities and the world a better place.

Gail can be reached at