The October 9 gala at the Amway Grand Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids includes a reception and dinner, music from gospel star Karen Clark Sheard and guest speaker Bishop J. Delano Ellis of GUF, a group of Christian ministries which includes the Lighthouse church.
Formal ceremonies marking Sapp's new role were held in July at the organization's annual meeting in Jacksonville, Fla. "That was a grand affair with all of the litanies that go along with consecrating a bishop," said Sapp, 47.
Sapp is best known across the country for his gospel music artistry, which includes his latest album "You Shall Live." But West Michigan residents know him as a pastor. He and his late wife MaLinda co-founded Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in 2003. It now worships at its sanctuary on Madison Ave. SE but also has a campus on Burton St. SE.
Sapp noted that his new duties as Bishop include oversight of 70 pastors and churches in GUF's north central U.S. region. But his added responsibilities will not affect his role as a local church pastor and recording and performing artist.
Sapp has two children in college (son Marvin and daughter Mikalia) and a daughter Madisson, a junior at NorthPointe Christian High School.
MULTIPLE GIFTS, CALLINGS
His album "You Shall Live" was released in June but still remains high on the sales charts, checking in at No. 5 on Billboard's early October list. The song "Yes, You Can" is No. 6 in radio airplay even after 17 consecutive weeks on the chart.
Also last July, Sapp was honored as a "Living Legend" at the McDonald's 365Black Awards held during the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
Looking ahead, the Grand Rapids native once again will be part of the gigantic "Evangel Christmas Celebration" production. Over three December weekends, Sapp as well as gospel music stars Kirk Franklin, Tamela Mann, Yolanda Adams and others are part of a Christmas musical-drama at the huge Washington DC area church, Evangel Cathedral.
But his schedule still has him preaching in his own church pulpit on most Sundays.
"I keep wearing all these different hats but what blesses me about it is that God is not allowing more than I can do in him," he said. "I'm looking forward to the future."
Tickets for the Oct. 9 celebration gala may still be available. Call 616-241-5448.
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