Homestead church celebrates heritage with biblical message, awards
By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Published: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 5:06 a.m.
With its eighth annual black history celebration, Park Place AME Church of Homestead shared the message that its members are “born for greatness.”
Taking the theme from Genesis 45:3-11, Park Place AME welcomed members, friends and awardees to reflect on the life of biblical figure Joseph as they celebrated Black History Month with a luncheon on Saturday at Second Baptist Ministries Hall in West Mifflin.
Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, was sold by his brothers into Egyptian slavery.
Imprisoned by his arrogance and set free by his ability to dream, Joseph ultimately rose above his conditions to become the favorite of his new home's leader, the Pharaoh.
“Joseph and his example are fitting for our community today,” said Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen, the keynote speaker. “All of the adversities that Joseph suffered only served to build his character. God had a purpose in these adversities.”
Allen told guests that no one can stop God's purpose in a person's life, except for that person. She said individuals must learn to trust God, to love and to forgive their brethren.
“We have a moral breakdown,” Allen said. “Self-centeredness is a major issue in our society.”
Allen referenced the shocking occurrence of a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe while standing at the corner of 13th and Filbert streets in center city Philadelphia earlier this month.
What should be more shocking, she said, is the message he carried — a sign explaining that the KKK killed 3,446 blacks in 86 years, while black-on-black murders surpass that number every six months.
He is Sixx King, a 35-year-old black man, who wanted to bring awareness to the “hypocrisy, complacency and apathy” in today's African-American culture.
Allen believes reviving the black community's relationship with God will resolve the issues King described.
The problem, she said, is not political. It isn't social. Rather, it is fundamental.
“God is our source, and all these other things — the government, the programs — are resources,” she said. “If you take away a resource, I will suffer; but if you take away my source, I will die.”
Allen said young people must be taught by today's adults and elders that there is a difference between right and wrong and that there is an absolute truth that can be learned through faith.
With freedom comes responsibility and accountability, Allen said, noting that blacks must eliminate the victim mentality.
“Circumstances do not determine success,” she said. “Choices determine success.”
Where the Lord is not, Allen said, there is bondage. And without living by God's example through Jesus, she added, blacks are enslaving themselves through poorly chosen behaviors in today's society.
Allen acknowledged that no human is perfect, but what makes a person redeemable is recognizing that he or she needs God.
“She issued us a challenge,” emcee Ruth Smith said. “The challenge is that we are not doing enough, and I encourage everyone to meet that challenge.
“Give us a year. Mentor someone. Do anything you can, because if we do not reach our youth, they will be a lost generation.”
Park Place AME's celebration honored individuals who already are doing their part to build a strong, faithful black community.
Awardees included Allen; the Rev. Helen M. Burton, pastor of Payne Chapel AME; Leslee Peters, a West Mifflin Area graduate who now attends Slippery Rock University; Louis Wheelter, a Korean War veteran and longtime government employee who now serves as a trustee of Park Place AME; Earnell Miller, owner of Earnell Miller's Auto Center; and Richard Walker, the chief marketing officer and business attorney for 1-800 Law Firm.
As each honoree accepted an award, Park Place AME's the Rev. Kevin Parks said, “You were born for greatness.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jefferson Hospital to say ‘thank you’ with light-up night
- Santa spends the day in Steel Valley, the evening in Elizabeth
- Agents remove dogs from unlicensed kennel
- Retirees, senior citizens anticipate annual holiday program
- Survivors recognized during West Mifflin Area ceremony
- McKeesport woman charged with insurance fraud
- McKeesport council approves budget with no tax hike
- Segina, Malinchak recognized for service to McKeesport
- East Allegheny adds ‘wish list’ items
- McKeesport’s Festival of Trees ignites holiday spirit
- Speedway opening McKeesport store, plans to build 3 more