MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New Salem Baptist Church is known for its community activism and outreach. But fewer people knew about the pastor’s famous friend, Stevie Wonder, until he showed up for Sunday service.
The singer was in town for a concert at Target Center, and Rev. Jerry McAfee’s wife, Carmen, said they were able to reach him Saturday night to extend an invitation.
“He said the possibility of him coming by was a great chance,” Carmen McAfee said, “However he was rather tired because he’s been on tour.”
When the service started, Wonder was in the front row. The crowd cheered loudly when he rose to sing a popular hymn, “I Won’t Complain.”
“It’s one of those old hymns that we always love,” Kenneth Jackson, a church member, said. “It’s like one of those songs that gets the spirit moving within everyone.”
At each stop on his concert tours, Wonder is known for speaking out against violence, specifically in the African American community.
He’s also known for donating money to the cause. Toward the end of the service, he had a second surprise for the congregation.
“I would like to, from the heart, donate to New Salem Baptist, $10,000,” Wonder said.
The pastor’s wife said they had a feeling he would sing at the service, but they had no idea that the donation was coming.
She said they’ll put it to good use in north Minneapolis.
WEB EXTRA: Stevie Wonder Sings At North Minneapolis Church