Long-time supporters and community friends joined Mission Possible: COSM Executive Director Thelma Nelms in honoring Ware, who died Sept. 30 at age 82. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

From its earliest years forward, Mission Possible: COSM (Church Outreach Service Mission) enjoyed the ardent support of former City Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware. That longstanding association was a focal point of the group’s annual December fundraiser.

Long-time supporters and community friends joined Mission Possible: COSM Executive Director Thelma Nelms in honoring Ware, who died Sept. 30 at age 82.

The 2021 annual fundraiser and award ceremony (December 5) was imaginatively staged on the parking lot of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church at 7289 Stage Rd. in east Shelby County. Attendees filled the parking area and witnessed the program from their vehicles.

“We remember with joy the great contributions Evangelist Ware gave to Mission Possible,” said Nelms. “Not only did she offer her time, but we benefited greatly from her wisdom and advice, her time and talent, and also her generous financial gifts. We honor her legacy of love, commitment and loyalty.”

Ware, who led the organization’s annual fundraiser, passed away after contracting COVID-19.

Rolling on with the mission …
Mission Possible: COSM (Christian Outreach Service Mission) and its founder Thelma Nelms (second from left) held the group’s annual December fundraiser last Sunday (Dec. 5) at Oak Grove M.B.C., 7289 Stage Rd., where the Rev. Donald L. Johnson is the host pastor. Pictured (l-r): Terica Lamb, Nelms, Allisia White, Vanecia Belser Kimbrow, Esq., former State Rep. Johnnie Turner and Judge Deborah Henderson. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

Several highlights made this year’s December fundraiser memorable:

Ware’s life and legacy were creatively dramatized by her granddaughter, Vernesia Moore.

Chaplain Steve Miller, who serves in the Methodist Lebonheur Healthcare system, explained in a “Good Grief” presentation some healthy ways of processing the sadness that many find themselves dealing with during the holiday season.

Adding to feelings of sorrow and loneliness is the stress of navigating through a deadly global pandemic. Miller, pastor of North Star Church, encouraged those experiencing such to seek help and talk with someone.

The Rev. Warrie Williams, the interim pastor of Fullview Missionary Baptist Church, delivered a moving mini-sermon in tribute to the church’s late pastor the Rev. Walter Peggs. Also a faithful advocate of Mission Possible: COSM from its inception, Peggs died shortly after last year’s annual event.

Vanecia Belser Kimbrow, Esq., was honored with a presentation by Judge Deborah Henderson. Some of Kimbrow’s Delta Sigma Theta sorority members were on hand for the salute.

And to her obvious surprise, former State Rep. Johnnie Turner was recognized for her “many years of service to the community.”

“As much as we can, we should honor those who have paved the way for coming generations,” said Nelms. “Mrs. Turner has served our community, this city and the state in various capacities for many years. She deserves to be honored and appreciated while she can hear our praise and see her flowers.

Turner’s award presentation was met with loud, sustained horn-blowing, applause and yelling.

Turner’s acceptance remarks were brief and filled with emotion.