St. Stephen A.M.E Zion Church of Garland will celebrate its 127th Homecoming Anniversary unday, Sept. 9 as part of the morning service. The theme for the celebration is “the past, the present and the future.”
The guest preacher for this celebration will be the Rev. Troy D. Russell. The Rev. Russell, a native of Roxboro, is the pastor at St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church in White Oak and the campus minister at Livingstone College in Salisbury. He and wife Sherry also minister through two outreach ministries he founded – Troy D. Russell Ministries and Going the Extra Mile Ministries. Russell will be accompanied by his choir and congregation.
St. Stephen A.M.E. Zion Church was founded in 1885. Prior to the construction of a permanent building for worship, a small group of community-minded men met frequently and held services in their homes. Among the early pioneers were H. W. Farrior, Thomas Cromartie, Junious Stephen, Owen Smith Jr., Kedar Robinson, Caesar Treadwell, and Anthony Cromartie. This group of men bargained for a tract of land (the present church location) for $2. Many descendents of these founding fathers continue to be loyal and dedicated members.
St. Stephen is rich in history. It was the first “Black Church” in the Garland community. The church served as a meeting place for the disadvantaged, a place to fellowship and a place to worship. It was also used as a school for blacks and offered many an opportunity to begin their formal education.
Homecoming celebrations are opportunities to bring together families, friends and community people to once again fellowship and to worship the true living God.
The St. Stephen A.M.E. Zion Church family is urging the community to be a part of the celebration activities on that day. The church is located at 51 East Third St. in Garland. The host pastor is the Rev. Hugh Miller. For more information, contact Beverly Hollingsworth at 910-529-1908.