Members of the St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith welcomed a special visitor for Sunday (6/4) service. Oprah Winfrey and her best friend Gayle King showed up unexpectedly and gave the congregation another reason to celebrate.
Oprah was touring from California to New York to promote the play based on her movie "The Color Purple" which is up for several Tony Awards Sunday on CBS. Members of the congregation say she was there because she just wanted to go to church.
The pastor got a call that the surprise visitor was stopping by but members said he did not believe it. It turns out it wasn't a joke. For members of St. James church she was more than a guest; she was a member of the congregation.
Oprah gave a testimony during the service about her experiences with God and how her beliefs are the reason she is who she is today. One member said she listened to Oprah and Gayle behind her during the service and said she began to cry at one point.
Her visit was not the first connection Oprah had to the church. One of the parishioners received a scholarship a few years ago through Oprah's "Angel Network". She praised him for his accomplishments during the service.