Day Celebration at Greater Allen Chapel AME Church
It was celebration time at Greater Allen Chapel AME Church on Sunday December 14, when family and friends attended worship services at 8 and 11 AM. They came from as far as New York. There is a Negro Spiritual “When all God’s Children get Together What a Time” and that is what happened at Greater Allen at 2416 South Lipscomb Street. This was a part of the 130th Church Anniversary Celebration which will conclude at 10 AM Sunday February 22, 2015. Mrs. Erie Shackleford and committee under the leadership and guidance of Pastor Lorenzo Laws invited Pastor Dale Haynes and congregation of Scott Chapel United Methodist Church, Melbourne for the 8 AM service. Rev. Dr. Rhella Murdaugh and her congregation from Mt. Zion AME Church, Ocala was invited to celebrate at 11 AM.
Psalm 34:3 “O magnify the Lord with me; let us praise his name together” was the theme scripture and the focus was Faith, Family and Friends. Rev. Haynes shared that to magnify is to make it evident how big God is in all situations and he is worthy of all praise. He exhorted the congregation to keep Jesus as the center of the church, family and friends. Jesus is the Savior- redeemer who keeps us all, he said. Rev. Murdaugh reminded the congregants that family and friends are to remember what God has done for them and not forget to help someone else when they are down. She said try God and know that when you need him you can declare that “God heard me” and celebrate the goodness of God, family and friends. Mt. Zion’s choir provided the music and praise dancers danced to the glory of God.
“Black Lives Matter” was an integral part of the worship service. Pastor Laws led a Litany written by AME Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr. (Excerpts) “Today we’re wearing black – an almost universal symbol of mourning. It is a simple gesture of uniformity standing in sympathy and solidarity with grieving families in every region of the country where young men have died at the hands of police whose purpose it is to ‘serve and protect.’ Under these circumstances, it is the one thing we can do to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter. Today we’re wearing black – as a solemn act of protest. The shooting, the chokehold was caught on camera. We saw it. The coroner said it was a homicide. The badge-wearing gunman exacted an extrajudicial death penalty. With a history of racism, we are certain that you understand why we protest. You can understand why we are ‘fed up;’ why we join our voices around the country and around the world to say ‘Enough is Enough!’ Pardon us if we scream Black Lives Matter.
Following the Litany, Pastor Laws called all youth to come forward to be prayed for. This portion of the service was very touching as young and old joined hands and prayed together as family and friends that God would protect, guide and keep the youth from injustice. Faith, Family and Friends were demonstrated as believers worshiped together to encourage and each other and to magnify God.