Women from around Georgetown County were honored at the 16th annual Sons of Allen African Men Tribute to African American Women. The banquet was held at the National Guard Armory on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
This year’s theme was God’s Choice.
Each year the Sons of Allen pay tribute to African American women by showing them how much they are appreciated with honor, appreciation, and gratitude.
When the women arrived a single red rose was given, as they were escorted to their table by the Junior Sons of Allen (young men from middle to high school).
Lou Pope the new Coordinator for the Sons of Allen said they were doing something different this year.
“We changed our menu to a healthier menu and are more health conscious.”
“We are trying to stay in line with Faith Activity and Nutrition (FAN) sponsored by the University of South Carolina.”
“Also this year we have the Georgetown Outreach ministry performing a play, something we have not done in the past.”
“This is the biggest turnout we have had in quite a few years,” added Pope.
The program began with Marvin Neal corresponding secretary giving the purpose of Sons of Allen.
The Sons of Allen is a fellowship through which African Methodist men can enhance their sense of belonging to the church, gaining understanding and appreciation of the spiritual and social message of the church. The proceeds from the banquet are given as a scholarship to three young males of the district who are planning to attend a two- or four-year college.
The goals of the Sons of Allen banquet are to recognize black women in the Georgetown District that have made a significant contribution in the areas of community service, education, and outreach.
This year’s award recipients were given to Willie Mae Deas of St. Mary’s AME church in Pawleys Island, Francis Swinton of Mt. Zion AME church of North Santee, and the trail blazer award for those 70 and above went to Beatrice Campbell of Trinity AME church.
Willie May Deas received an award for her outstanding community service. For the past 20 years she visited the sick in various nursing homes and has assisted with their care.
She also writes and produces plays, giving opportunities for the youth to enhance their talents.
Francis Swinton organized the Community Unity program for the Thanksgiving holiday in Georgetown County.
She works with local government officials and assists the senior citizens in the community.
Beatrice Campbell received her education from South Carolina State. She taught in the Pee Dee area in 1948. She also worked in various positions at Waccamaw EOC and retired from the Home for Boys.
The Sons of Allen also recognized their own.
Zack Grate was given a plaque for his years of dedication.
Grate is the former coordinator for the Sons of Allen.
James Holmes served as treasurer for many years and he was also awarded a plaque for his years of dedication.
New pastors and their wives were also honored.
The wives were given a bouquet of roses.
Those honored were Rev. Lewis Dorsey and Patricia Dorsey, Rev. Bernard Brown and Latonya Brown, and (Retired) Rev. Wallace McKnight and Alvina McKnight.
Dr. Norvel Goff of Reids Chapel AME church of Charleston was also awarded a plaque.
Presiding Elder Rosalyn Grant Coleman introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Norvel Goff.
Bishop Richard Franklin Norris the Presiding Prelate of the South Carolina AME churches was scheduled as the guest speaker but he was unable to attend.
Dr. Goff is Senior Pastor at Reid Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia. He has taught at Northeastern Seminary and at AMEC Ministerial Training Institute, both in Rochester, New York. He and his wife are the proud parents of two sons. Dr. Goff has a B.A. in Psychology and attended Yale University.
Dr. Goff talked about the days growing up in Georgetown and attending Sunday school at St. Stephens AME church.
His message was “It’s time for a change”.
In order for you to have a change you must be born again, said Goff.
It’s time for a change in the church, in the community and in the home.
He also gave recognition to the black women in the bible that were a part of God’s plan, Queen of Sheba, Ester, and Rebecca.
As a reminder he also said, “It’s was not that long ago that they took the physical chains from us.”
In closing he spoke of the 150th year anniversary on January 1, 2013 of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves.
By Rounette Johnson
For The Times
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