House of Peace to honor pastor Linda Sweezer-Rowster on March 5

Published 4:00 am Sunday, February 26, 2023

On Feb. 5, 1995, Linda Sweezer stood at the podium in Mount Zion No. 1 M.B. Church and delivered her first sermon.

In the 28 years since that first sermon, Sweezer, now the Rev. Linda Sweezer-Rowster has preached the gospel to many people, including the congregation of the House of Peace Worship Church International, the church she established in 2001 — six years after delivering that first message at Mount Zion.

On March 5, the congregation of House of Peace will honor Sweezer-Rowster’s accomplishments as a preacher and pastor with a program entitled “A Day of Appreciation and Celebration” at 2 p.m. at the church at 1301 Holly St. Guest speakers for the service are Apostle Marion Hughes of Wayside Holy Temple Church of Hattiesburg.

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There will also be a night of prayer and worship on March 3 at 7 p.m. at the House of Peace Worship Church International at 20045 U.S. 61 in Rolling Fork.

Sweezer-Rowster said she was inspired to preach by the Holy Spirit.

“He spoke to me and said, ‘You’ve been called to preach’ and I stepped out,” she said.

She said her pastor at the time, the Rev. R.L. Foreman, “Had already seen the call on my life. He had already told me he saw it so he just kind of confirmed what the Holy Spirit said.

“He was the one that pushed me out and really supported me and had me preaching at Mount Zion No. 1 before I was a pastor,” she added.

She preached for six years, she said, before the Holy Spirit told her it was time to become a pastor.

“I had another pastor who did this, the celebration service, to launch me out into pastoring. I had a lot of support; I had great support,” Sweezer-Rowster said.

She founded the House of Peace Worship Church International in Vicksburg and then in Rolling Fork and in 2015 started a church in Atlanta.

“I think that’s a unique thing, you know, to highlight the fact that it’s three churches that God allowed me to start and none of these churches existed prior to that time (before her ordination). So it’s a blessing that is still alive for me,” Sweezer-Rowster said.

Serving as a pastor and preaching, Sweezer-Rowster said, “It’s really who I am.”

“The Holy Spirit,” she said, “started me in social work,” adding she was a licensed social worker for 16 years.

“I was a director of a social service agency called Vicksburg Family Development Service for 14 years, so I was there for 19 years; six years I was a social worker and 14 years I was the co-director with Kay Lee,” Sweezer-Rowster added.

The Holy Spirit, she said, gave her the foundation because her work had her go into homes, do home visiting, visit families; getting to know the community in a greater way.

That foundation, Sweezer-Rowster said, helped to push her into ministry “because it was really the love that I developed for people, no matter who they were because I home-visited people from all racial backgrounds and denominations.

“So it’s — to me — it’s what I was born to do and I love it, even with the hardships; working with people and your heart is broken because you love them when things happen or they die, things like that. They’re sick; very sick.

“Still, it’s who I am. I really feel like I’m doing what I was supposed to do.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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