Zion Cathedral members pounded on drums, while other congregants waved purple and gold flags as they took part in a parade celebrating the 90th anniversary of the church at Bishop Frank O. White Memorial Park in Freeport last Saturday.
Church members and residents ate hot dogs and hamburgers while children played and had their faces painted at tables set up around the park by the Freeport Memorial Library, the American Red Cross and other organizations. There was also a college fair and a health fair.
Music blasted throughout the park, as gospel recording artists Bro Hahz, Donnell Williams and Company, J-Medley Music and other church members performed on the stage.
“We’re celebrating 90 years of being in one village, and this is like a big family reunion,” said the Rev. Frank White, Zion Cathedral’s pastor. “You can truly feel the love of people in this park right now, and we can come together to remember the idea that God is love, and whoever doesn’t love doesn’t know God.”
Many church members said the event gave them the chance to show their love for the church and their fellow congregants. “God has really been faithful to our church because we’ve been here for 90 years,” seven-year member Jerrod Atkinson said. “It’s great to be able to gather for this event and spread love, because we’re really a family over at Zion.”
“This celebration really gave me the chance to come together with my community,” 20-year member Harriet Weber said. “This really brings us together as a church community to show one another love.”
Other congregants said the celebration was a chance to chat with friends. “It’s a milestone in our history to be celebrating 90 years and to still be standing firm on the word of God,” said Phyllis Hickmon, the church’s director of business operations, “and hopefully in 10 years we’ll be celebrating the 100th anniversary. I’m enjoying this celebration because I’m getting to see former members come back to be reunited with the church.”
“This anniversary event means a lot to me because this is the park where my senior bishop was named,” said Laray Haggood, a 25-year church member. “I’m looking forward to all the old-timers coming back and getting to know and reunite with them.”