ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Conference of the South Atlantic Episcopal District culminated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary with a Legacy Awards Gala. This momentous, formal black-tie occasion was a red-carpet celebration with distinguished Bishops, Presiding Elders, Pastors and Laity being honored. The event was held on August 4, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Airport Marriott Hotel’s Ballroom with Toastmaster, Rev. George McKain. He shared the dais with Presiding Prelate Bishop Mildred Hines, Missionary Supervisor Dr. Gwendolyn Brumfield, Guest Bishop Kenneth Monroe, Presiding Elder Vincent Wilson, and Conference Presiding Elders Rev. Dr. and Mrs. John Paul Ruth(Conyers-Winder District), Rev. Lelar Johnson (Augusta District) and Rev. and Mrs. Reginald Morton (Atlanta District). The Presiding Elders collectively sponsored the Gala which was spearheaded by Rev. Reginald Morton. The souvenir booklet chronicled the numerous congratulatory expressions which were received from internation, national, civic and community, churches and congregations’ well-wishers for the stellar legacy of Zion’s Southern Expansion.
The spiritual tone was set by devotional invocation, the melodious ensemble Chosen, a liturgical dance by Ms. Erin Gates, and a “Historical Journey” video presentation narrated by Rev. Gwendolyn Moore, all depicting the theme that “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.” Bishop Mildred B. Hines was the keynote speaker; and she was introduced by Bishop Kenneth Monroe who encouraged her to remain steadfast to her mantra and “stay focused, aim high, and stand firm.” Bishop Hines, adorned in a gorgeous purple, organdy dress, stood piously before the august body of celebrants declaring that the Georgia Conference has a rich heritage that is founded in the Word with a pilgrimage embedded in a faith of “hope and trust, dependency and expectancy, and a forbearing testimony evidenced by things not yet seen.” She emphasized the importance of remembering our African ancestors’ native land posture as kings and queens, proprietors and entrepreneurs before the Diaspora of slavery. Our forefathers and foremothers possessed a determination and divine wisdom to press through the odds of injustice, inequality, and degradation, to press beyond disparity and marginality, and to press on to God’s destiny and deliverance to greater heights. Our younger generations should truly capture an authentic picture of our ancestral contributions to humanity at home and abroad.
Zion has a rich heritage of resiliency and fortitude. This landmark 150th year of the Georgia Conference, in the 21st Century, is a pivotal time to focus on the clarion call for the church to respond to cultural and societal shifts. Our “Legacy of Faith” is guided by Our Great Jehovah as we trust in His grace and as we hold on to His powerful, unchanging hand.
The program highlighted devout servants’ who have made historical and dedicated contributions to the Georgia Conference with special awards and recognitions to Episcopates Mildred Hines, Kenneth Monroe, Joseph Johnson, George Battle, Jr.; and posthumous recognitions to Episcopates Clarence Carr, Arthur Marshall, Jr., and Cecil Bishop; and Resident Episcopates Warren Brown, George Crenshaw and Louis Hunter, Sr. The Presiding Elder Recipient was awarded to Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. John Paul Ruth for his seniority and past tenure of administration of the three Conference Districts. A video clip was presented of the other sixteen Conference Presiding Elders: Reverends Ernestine Mattox, John Wesley Smith, William Potter, Dr. M.C. Broughton, Dr. Ndugu T’ Ofori-Atta, Dr. Roe Nall, Jr., Dr. Jeffery Tribble, Sr., Albert Young, Jawwad Love, Dr. Lester McCorn, Dr. Robert Postell, Otis Robinson, Charles Street, Don Phillips, Reginald Morton, Lelar Hodges-Johnson.
The Lay Members’ historian awards were presented to Mrs. Clemmie Black, Ms. Linda Cratic and Mrs. Vivian Brown. Honorable Lay Member recipients from Atlanta District were Gladys Reid, Arbie Avery, Vivian Davis, Rose Burke, Mary Adams, Valeria Howard, Odessa Huff, Melvin Knox and Bernice Baker. Augusta District recipients were Lola Reese, Emma Postell, Richard Manor, Willie Latimore, Larry Hilton. Conyers-Winder District recipients included Betty Hendricks, James Barnes, Rudolph Summerour, Janice Williams, Jackie Hammond, Joanne Dorsey, Rutha Thompson, Blanche Owens, Barbara Ray, Rachael Landers, and Lela Butler.
The Pastoral Awards were presented to five Pastors with long-term tenure in the Conference, with outstanding church leadership and community/global outreach exemplary of humanitarian contributions at local, district, conference and the connection levels, and they are as follows: Reverends Samuel Grant (Senior Conference Pastor), Dr. Ernest Alema-Mensah, Frederick Williamson, Dr. Roe Nall, Jr., and Clifford Rounsaville.
The success of our landmark, prestigious Gala was due to the dedicated Steering Team: Rev. Gwendolyn Moore, Pamela Perkins, Vivian Wright, Jackie Hammonds, Rev. Donnie Deberry and Gloria Ricks, with these supportive Chairpersons and Committees: Programs (Betty Stephens); Awards (Dr. Deloris Donaldson); Souvenir Journal (Michele Morton); Publicity (Rev. Kristen Berry); Historical (Rev. Gwendolyn Moore); Ticket Sells (Dr. Carol Hart) and Hospitality (Vivian Davis).