June 12, 2014 at 10:45 pm

The Rev. Sandra Kay Gordon, Bloomfield Hills

Gordon: Minister had gift for reaching out to people

Rev. Gordon )

Whether encouraging other women to pursue the ministry or counseling those who had faced personal struggles, the Rev. Sandra Kay Gordon loved reaching out.

“She helped so many people,” said the Rev. Kenneth J. Flowers, her pastor at Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. “That was her gift: helping others.”

The Rev. Gordon died Wednesday, June 4, 2014. She was 62.

Born Nov. 7, 1951, in Detroit, she long was active in her church, where her father was a deacon. She worked in various jobs before attending Bible school and later becoming ordained.

Part of the journey coincided with tragedy. In 1998, her daughter, Nakia, committed suicide at 23.

After working with a Christian counselor, the Rev. Gordon turned her grief into action. She co-authored a book, “Nakia’s Gift: A Mother’s Journey from Misery to Ministry,” as well as “ministered to anyone who was going through issues,” Flowers said. “She reached out to people.”

The Rev. Gordon was ordained in 2000 — a time when African-American congregations were re-examining their position on female leadership, said David Crumm, a former print journalist and editor of ReadTheSpirit, a publishing company that specializes in religious and cultural works.

Supported by church members and spurred by faith, she decided to help other women in the region who had similar aspirations yet faced challenges.

Through Daughters of Deborah, a group the Rev. Gordon launched, “she would spend a lot of time counseling and encouraging women to accept their call to the ministry,” said the Rev. Sharon Buttry, a longtime friend who participated. That included offering opportunities to preach. “I think it was her calling. … She had been given an incredible freedom and opportunity to do that, and she felt that was a gift she could give to others.”

The Rev. Gordon also shared her gifts at church, where she spent more than a decade as Flowers’ assistant. Duties included preaching services while he was away, visiting the sick and leading a prayer group.

“She was loyal, she was faithful, she was committed, she was dedicated, she was honest, dependable, capable, compassionate and loving,” Flowers said. “She was full of joy, peace, contentment. She was one who was always on fire for the Lord.”

The Rev. Gordon also spent years with the Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit, or WISDOM, sharing during panels her experiences with issues such as discrimination, said Gail Katz, the group’s co-founder. “She’s just been an incredible model of a woman who has overcome difficulties and crossed boundaries. … She had a heart that just connected with other people.”

The Rev. Gordon worked with other interfaith efforts and was selected to visit Israel as part of a mission, said her sister, Theresa Doyle. “She really reached out to everyone ... .”

Other survivors include her husband, the Rev. Charles Gordon Sr.; four children, Tony Grandberry, Carmen Larkins, Sandra Lynette Gordon and Charles Gordon Jr; a brother, Samuel Vernon; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation is noon until 8 p.m. today and 10-11 a.m. Saturday at Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 586 Owen, Detroit.

A homegoing service is 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.

mhicks@detroitnews.com