I’ve known Reverend Gordon Oliver for a long time. One thing I’ve always admired about him is his dedication to his wife, children and above all, God.
When I first met Reverend Oliver, he was a member of Andrews AFB Gospel Service. I watched as he followed his call to be a minister. Then together with his wife founded the ‘It Takes Three Marriage Ministries’. This ministry ministers to married or engaged couples as they deal with life’s issues. It also teaches them how God intended marriage to be. Reverend Oliver is also the Pastor of Bunton Memorial CME Church in Washington DC.
I had an occasion to talk to Celestine Oliver-Stokes, Reverend Oliver’s daughter. I found out how the two of them have bonded. As busy as Reverend Oliver is, he found time to help his daughter in her weight training. This started as a simple “let’s go to the gym” thing. But, it soon became a chance for a father to bond even closer to his daughter through a shared activity.
I’ve known Celestine since she was a teenager and she’s always loved and respected her father. I asked the two of them how this bonding got started and they shared their story with me.
Celestine started working out after she gave birth to her second daughter. She tried a couple of programs on her own to lose weight and had lost a little but not much. After trying a couple of online trainers that didn’t work out, she reached out to her dad. Reverend Oliver has always been into fitness.
Reverend Oliver was very receptive and wanted to motivate his daughter to work out. He told her that he’s in the gym at 4:00 in the morning so if she wanted this, it had to be at that time. Not only did Celestine show up, she oftentimes was in the parking lot waiting for her father to arrive.
The two of them worked out together and it became their special bonding time. Celestine said, “My Father motives me to be the best I can be in the gym as well as spiritually.” What started as a daily workout routine turned into spiritual growth for Celestine.
As a father myself, I admire how Reverend Oliver is there for his adult child. He didn’t break the dinner plate at 18 and leave her to fin for herself.
As a pastor, Reverend Oliver is a father figure to the children in his congregation. He desires to instill the same drive and determination in them as he does his own daughter. His goal is that the children of the church will grow physically and spiritually.
Reverend Oliver is Celestine’s father, pastor and personal trainer. This bonding has grown their relationship closer. Their love for God and each other has taken them to new heights. As they continue on this road of training their bodies and souls, they know that the best is yet to come.
As close as I am to my 11-year-old son, I am even more motivated to continue to strengthen our bond. Reverend Oliver has inspired his daughter, but, after this interview he has also inspired me. I’ve learned that being a father is a forever job. You can continue to strengthen your bond regardless of the age of your child. It doesn’t matter if they’re married or not. It doesn’t even matter if they have their own children or not. You can still increase the bond you have.
My prayer is that every father out there will feel the same inspiration and bond with their children. It’s not just about providing monetary support. It’s about love, spirituality, education and more.