Manatee Schools Superintendent Diana Greene encourages workers to lean on faith when helping local children

BRADENTON -- Manatee County School District Superintendent Diana Greene delivered a message about the Lord's work to the annual session of the Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist District Congress of Christian Workers at the Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church.

"The work of the Lord is beyond these four walls," Greene said. "The work of the Lord is with the 48,000 kids we serve every day."

Greene was one of three area officials who spoke to clergy members at the church on Monday night. City councilman Harold Byrd and Lieutenant James Wilkinson also welcomed various members. The annual event is designed to help Christians who work in today's world.

Byrd has long been associated with the organization, he said, and urged those in attendance to work together to help Bradenton improve.

"We need all hands on deck if we are to move forward with this community," he said.

He praised the participants for helping make the community better, saying the work they do is inspiring.

Wilkinson, who patrols the area where the church sits, said he was new to the event but that it looked to be a good thing for the area. As the event continues throughout the week, Wilkinson said the department would pay close attention to the area.

"We want to make everyone feel comfortable," he said.

But it was Greene who laid on specific marching orders for those in the pews. As a Christian first, she said she would be remiss if she did not quote scripture. She read from first Corinthians 16, Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

"We need you to be with our children." she said.

Greene encouraged people to get involved with the schools and with the children, many of whom may not have the Lord in their own homes.

"I will stand strong, I will hold fast, and I will do the work of the Lord," Greene said to a round of applause.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.