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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't dress dad in this for Father's Day!

My dad has been dead for decades, but I would never dress him in this outfit. OMG, I wouldn't dress any man in these duds - would you?

Call the fashion police...I complained that this was the ugliest men's outfit I had ever seen. What do you think? Appearing at Macy's in metro Atlanta.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Greek Orthodox Christians display God's bounty at Festival

An estimated 18,000 people will be served by volunteers before cultural event ends today.
OPINION:  Never in a thousand years would I have imagined contemplating joining a Greek Orthodox congregation. It's funny how we grow and change during our spiritual journey, and I'm at the precipice of falling in love with orthodoxy after receiving the bountiful gifts exhibited at the three-day, 23rd annual Greek Festival held in Marietta, Ga. which ends today on the grounds of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church.

επίθ. πλουσιόδωρος, γενναιόδωρος is Greek to me but has become more understandable after witnessing the time, love, and effort put into the Festival by volunteers working 12+ hour shifts, doing the utmost for God and community. Evident here are people willing to give and receive blessings.

Let the pictures do the are some of my festival favorites.

Young man surveys map of festival grounds. Comfortable shoes were worn for walking and dancing.
Greek Orthodox Christians are not teetotalers and like to serve liquid refreshments at celebrations.

Mothers and daughters shared colors, belts...
...and smiling braces!

Friday night featured dancing with fire. (Photo by Ilea Johnson)
Greek food is a festival staple which draws crowds every year, despite forecasted rain.

 Hats, scarves, and jewelry were best non-food items.

Cross-culturally, hair threading and caricatures were among Egyptian artifacts.
Protopresbyter Father P. (Dr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou) mingled in crowd in church amphitheater in between dancing sessions.

 A band from Ohio played Greek songs which seemed to last an eternity.

Volunteers at a busy booth were serving Baklava sundaes during the heat.

Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church is a non-profit which sponsors the event every year. Guests can learn about the religion by buying books, especially this one written in plain English.

To learn more about the Festival, go to:

©2013 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Emancipation 150 years ago not forgotten...

In January 2013, it slipped my mind that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago. This move by Lincoln was downplayed since it was said in retrospect that the document only freed slaves in the Confederate States, however, it was a major event in American History.

Fifty years ago, my parents took me to see Duke Ellington's Orchestra play at the "Century of Negro Progress Exposition" at McCormick Place in Chicago between August 16th and September 2, 1963.  It was the only vacation I remembered going on during my childhood that did not include just visiting relatives, for I never went to a theme park until I was 15..

I discovered the official souvenir program while going through some old papers. JFK was president then, and Richard Daley was mayor of Chicago. The program was my first Black History book and profiled many African Americans who made major contributions in the United States. The Founder and Executive Director of the Exposition was Alton A. Davis.

Alton Davis

Some of the Exposition's major advertisers were Playboy, Spiegel, Beatrice Family of Fine Foods, Schlitz, Mobil, Walgreens, Sealtest, and Ida Mae Scott Hospital. Flipping through the program, an ad for Supreme Life Insurance Company caught my eye, and I thought I would share it with you. The message needs to be repeated today, 150 years since Emancipation. (I edited out some of the marketing verbiage.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Charles Ramsey: from zero to hero

What I love about life is that there is always hope. Miracles are still happening. Who would have thought that three Cleveland, Ohio women missing for a decade would be saved by a convicted felon. Thus unfolds the story of former abuser who served jail time, was reformed by the system, and in his poverty acted with Christian fervor to save someone in need.

Hello....this is a happy ending. The message: never give up on God's ability to intercede in the lives of people who have been written off by society.

To Ramsey, I say take the reward money and take the accolades, because convicted felons get few second chances. Be like biblical Joseph - come out of prison and save our people.

When you fill out a job application, after the felony question, describe how you rescued four humans from danger and then gave God the glory.

Be blessed.

Should Friendship Baptist Church move for Falcons?

Friendship delegates to National Baptist Convention, 1946
The church is more than the property where members meet and serve mankind; it is the inspiration for a whole community built on sacred ground. If its members decide to relocate for a new Falcons stadium, Friendship Baptist Church needs to be richly compensated for the prime real estate it has fought so hard to acquire with a lot of blood, sweat, and prayers.

History is important, but will it take the backseat to the city's need for a new football stadium? Should the congregants of the 151-year old church take the money and build elsewhere or stand their ground?

Friendship Baptist Church is part of Atlanta's historical past and like the city, its architectural transformation has advanced over time. Members started out worshiping in the First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1862 which has since been relocated. Then members consequently met and prayed in a house, moved to a railroad boxcar, and began construction of the present facility in 1871. That was progress.

The "roots and fruit" of Friendship's history were recorded in it's 85th Anniversary Booklet. The place where the Friendship boxcar first rested became Atlanta University.  Morehouse College students once met in the original church. Spelman students studied in the basement. Friendship has provided a proving ground for educated blacks.

An old church anniversary program stressed things the church stood for 66 years ago which continue today:  "The deep spiritual experiences of the centuries and of our fathers have coined a treasure of the spirit which we spend for the job and inspiration, feeling no need for the husks of the world and its dives as we kneel before God." The church was involved in mentoring to youth, voting rights, medical assistance, as well as religious counseling. That is Friendship's past and a launch pad for the future.

It's somewhat ironic that the church's 1946 statement of purpose may be antithetical to building a sports stadium on hallowed ground. "We hold that the house of God is no place for Jazz and Circus..."

Dr. Maynard Holbrook Jackson, father of Atlanta's late mayor, served as the church's third minister between 1945 and 1953. Rev. and Mrs. Jackson with Maynard, Jr., Carol Ann, Jeanne Odalie and Constance Elaine.
The church is not the building, but the building is a landmark. It seems that the building, however, is collateral damage when it comes to sports progress.  Would the city every consider moving the Georgia State Capitol Building instead??? 
Ms. Carrie Taylor, clerk for 28 yrs.

I am not a member, only an onlooker, but my first reaction is to say pay the church a premium for having to move and dedicate a historic zone marking the church's contributions in a special place inside the new dome. Guarantee the ministry of faith and education continues in a more glorious location. Then, I have to think about why the land was consecrated and what that means.

Membership photo, 1946

©2013 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.