The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Ms. Yolanda Adams

Bay Area Baptist Church
Houston, TX

Sponsor: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D-TX)
Date of Prayer: 04/18/2013

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) is recognized for 1 minute.

There was no objection.

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, we have faced enormous tragedies this week with the horrific tragedy of Boston, and now today the tragedy of explosions in West, Texas. I rise today to salute Minister Yolanda Adams, who has taken her music to a step where she is ministering and giving comfort to those who need comfort.

As reflected in her prayer and through her music, Yolanda Adams has taught us to embrace God's grace and mercy, and for those who will listen, to stand in the sunlight of joy as one looks toward the hopefulness of their future or of their lives.

Yolanda Adams is a native–born American, native–born Houstonian, and in fact someone who grew up in the public schools of Houston and began her life in music after she began her life as a teacher. She graduated from Sterling High School in 1979 and is the oldest of six siblings.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, she began a career as a schoolteacher, and then she began her career as a professional singer. But she wanted to do more and combined her singing with ministering.

She is an American Grammy Award–winning gospel singer, but she also has a heart for giving, and she provides every year in our community a health forum for women to make them healthier, to make them take care of themselves, to provide them with information. She has a wonderful album, ‘‘Songs from the Heart,'' with the wonderful song ‘‘Fragile Heart.'' In 1999, she was able to move her career beyond this local community. Her songs included ‘‘Yeah'' and ‘‘Open My Heart.'' Many of you have heard her sing ‘‘Believe,'' ‘‘Never Give Up,'' and ‘‘Battle is the Lord's.'' Yolanda Adams comes to us as a person who believes that her ministry can comfort, but she can also comfort in song. She never leaves anyone behind.

She had the privilege and honor of giving to President Barack Obama and adding to the song, ‘‘Yes We Can: Voices of a Grass Roots Movement.'' She has sung the national anthem at the BCS national championship football game, as well as making a lot of other contributions to American music. She is a supporter of music education for our children, the mother of a daughter, and, yes, a prominent American.

But I think what says the most about Yolanda Adams is that she never stops evangelizing and seeking to help those who are hopeless and in despair. She brings joy to those who seek it and believes that everyone is a child of God.

I'm grateful to know Yolanda Adams and to claim her as a constituent of the great city of Houston and the great State of Texas. But most of all, she is an American and a believer and understands the value of America's freedom to be able to worship. She continues to soldier on to save souls, and we're delighted to have been able to have her bless us this morning.

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate a great American artist. I wish to first thank Ms. Adams for her thoughtful, and inspirational prayer. As the representative of the 18th District of Texas I am proud to say that she is a constituent and represents what is best about the State of Texas.

As was reflected in her prayer, Yolanda Adams through her music, has taught us to embrace God's grace and mercy, and for those who will listen, to stand in the sunlight of joy as one looks toward the hopefulness of the future.

Yolanda Adams is an American Grammy and Dove–award winning Gospel music singer and radio show host. The oldest of six siblings, Yolanda Adams was raised in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Sterling High School in Houston in 1979.

After graduating from University of California Berkeley, she began a career as a schoolteacher and part–time model in Houston, Texas. Eventually she gave up teaching to become a professional singer.

Her enormous talent attracted the attention of Thomas Whitfield and Sound of Gospel Records which signed her recording contract and released her first album, Just As I Am in 1987. In 1990, she released her second album, Through The Storm, released by Tribune Records.

Songs from the Heart, her album released through Verity Records, featured the inspirational ‘‘Only Believe,'' ‘‘Still I Rise,'' a song dedicated to Rosa Parks and inspired by Maya Angelou's poem of the same name.

‘‘Fragile Heart,'' was dedicated to the memory of Yolanda's long time road manager who died in 1998. Her album ‘‘Mountain High ..... Valley Low'' in 1999 extended her popularity and appeal outside the urban contemporary gospel arena. The album went Platinum in 2000 and won her a Grammy Award. Notable singles from the album include ‘‘Yeah,'' ‘‘Fragile Heart,'' and ‘‘Open My Heart.''

In 2001, Yolanda Adams released a live album, The Experience, which won her a second Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. Believe, which included the hit ‘‘Never Give Up'' was released in 2001. She would later go on to perform this song at ‘‘The Salute to Gospel Music'' at the White House during President George W. Bush's administration. Believe was certified Gold in 2002. The Divas Of Gospel, with Albertina Walker, (Queen of Gospel), was also released in 2001.

Yolanda Adams recorded the song for the 2003 hit film, Honey titled ‘‘I Believe'' and was also a judge for the 2nd Annual Independent Music Awards.

Yolanda Adams' song ‘‘Hold On'' is included in a compilation in support of Barack Obama's campaign entitled ‘Yes We Can: Voices of a Grass Roots Movement'.

Yolanda Adams performed the National Anthem at the 2009 BCS National Championship football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida.

I want to thank Yolanda Adams for her bountiful contri

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Heavenly Father, we are honored to be in Your presence, experiencing Your goodness and glory. We thank You for this day, a day to make a difference in the lives of those who need and depend upon us, a new day to realize how much we absolutely need Your guidance and direction.

Give us the boldness to be the leaders of light and compassion, for we are our brothers' keepers. Allow us to be blessings wherever and whenever the opportunities arise.

Lord, empower us to be leaders of great example. Let us become loving like You, caring like You, unselfish like You, and always giving like You.

Lord, in light of all the recent tragedies, we ask that You give comfort and compassion to those who are hurting and grieving. Be with them in this time of grief, loss, fear, and uncertainty.

Lord, let us be agents of healing, hope, and love. We love and adore You. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayers and petitions. Thank You for Your grace and mercy which strengthens us for daily service. We expect goodness to follow us this day as we honor You in our living.

In our Lord's name, amen.

To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory