The fabulous Ms. Bev

Community of Hope is a small operation.  Currently, there are two of us.  I want you to meet The Fabulous Ms. Bev.

Reverend Beverly Johnson is my coworker, my partner, my sister.  She keeps me in line and tells me to rest.  The pace we keep is pretty rigorous and the demands on our time these last few months have been somewhat overwhelming.  But, she has more energy than people half her age and she is always there with a quick smile, a word of wisdom and encouragement, and a way of speaking truth and life into difficult situations.

There is no other word for her than fabulous.  She is fabulous in every way possible.  She was in charge of the jury commission in Cuyahoga County for 30 years. Then she retired and became the head chaplain in the jails for the next 7 years.  Then she retired from that and came to work at the YWCA as a life coach for many more years.  Now for her 4th retirement, she works with me as the YWCA Open Table Recruiter and Table Supporter. 

We don't go ANYWHERE in Cuyahoga County where she isn't known---from the parking lot attendants to the mayor.  She knows everybody and she loves everybody and that love is returned to her a hundred fold. 

Ms. Bev is extra-ordinary and Community of Hope's Open Table initiative would not be where it is today without her love and her wisdom and her guidance.  Her thoughtful ideas, her gentle reminders to rest, and her eternal perspective that "God's got this"--brings peace that passes understanding.  Sometimes our beloved youth make tough choices that require tough love, and Ms. Bev is there to help them and to deliver the love.  She reaches down her hand to lift them up and tells them, "it's going to get better".  She knows that relationships change lives. Action also changes lives, not just talking about action so she is constantly challenging the faith community to engage with young people who need their love and their time. 

She has the respect of hundreds of pastors because she is the real deal.  She can sing like an angel and she can preach a powerful word.  She loves Jesus and she loves all of His people. 

When the YWCA invested in a position to help with Open Table, they suggested I meet Ms. Bev, so I did.  I instantly knew that she was the person I would need to help me.  She is really beyond words.  She is a rock. 

When tables meet weekly at the YWCA, often they see her in the evening running around from room to room checking in and making sure they have what they need as they get together.  She is a constant presence in the lives of many and we really couldn't imagine life without her.  So, if you decide to participate in an Open Table in Cleveland, you too will have the pleasure of meeting Ms. Bev.  She will become someone near and dear to your heart as well, because, well, she is simply fabulous. 

Amber Donovan