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Monday, February 20, 2017

AME Church in ATL's Buckhead celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month began as Negro History Week  in 1926 and is celebrated each year at New Hope AME Church.
It's done in Buckhead, Ga. the third Sunday in February each year - a Black History remembrance filled with singing, dancing, testifying, and praising God for trials and successes.

Yes, New Hope African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church on Arden Road in Buckhead, right across from its full graveyard, likes to celebrate history and makes no excuses for what the congregation claims are blessings in times of trouble.

New Hope is a lesson in history itself. It was created on two acres of land willed to black servants in the community after the Civil War (1872) by James "Whispering" Smith, a white resident of Buckhead, to be used for a church and school for "Negroes."     

Today, the small church is surrounded by mansions, and none of the congregants live in the neighborhood. But they still praise God, have barbecues, bible study, and an occasional film shoot. Almost everyone dressed in African garb, including Pastor Chisholm, for yesterday's event.

Pastor Chisholm
"God of our weary years and silent tears who has brought us safe thus far. We look back and can see your hands working in the midst of your people," said Pastor Phillip Chisholm. "We've made it because of the grace of God in our lives."

The service was solemnized by the gospel choir's rendition of Hezekiah Walker's "Grateful." Two dance performances, two poetry readings, and a solo were witnessed by attendees.  

Elder William Townsend, IV, a native of Atlanta who resides in Stockbridge, gave the sermon focused on holding on to God's promises through the processes of life. From the Bible, he read Psalm 27:13-14 - "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lordbe strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" AND Isaiah 40:31 - "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Don't give up! was the message sung by the choir during Black History Month celebration,
as Rev. Townsend (seated) waited to give his sermon.
"The incompetence of others led us to do their work," Townsend said of Black History in America. "We took nothing and made something. Don't let anyone put you in a box to limit your potential. We come from a successful linage."

Townsend, 26, said most people don't want to wait for their blessings and are impatient, but one must go through a process to reach success. "Process comes before what is promised. Tears, sleepless nights, but it will work out for your good. Remember what has been promised. We will experience God's goodness in the land of the living. Keep a good heart while you're waiting," were his recommendations.
Perry Washington, an English and Religion major from Morehouse College, gave recitation on slaves in flight.
The next major church event will be celebrated Saturday, March 25 when New Hope will honor its sister church, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, for being a faithful community partner for 20 years.  

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