Church Of Christ Eagerly Anticipates New Building
“The last Saturday in February is always reserved for our Annual Black History Month Celebration,” said Cornelius Heyward, minister of the Far Rockaway Church of Christ. “I think this year’s celebration was our best by far. We are anxiously looking forward to our new edifice that is scheduled to be competed by year’s end.”
The first floor of the church’s annex building was filled to capacity in spite of the cold weather and snow that had pummeled the city just two days before. The audience huddled into the limited space and thoroughly enjoyed the program that featured members of the congregation, including the young and not so young.
Stuart Alleyne stepped up and did a stupendous job as Master of Ceremonies for the day. The devotion was completed with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem, led by Rory Guy and sung by the entire audience. Talent was evident throughout the more than two-hour cultural event. For the first time in the history of the annual celebration, the program featured an essay contest open to all young people 8- through 18-years-ofage. The essay topic was “President Barack Obama,” who made history in 2008 by becoming the 44th and the first African American President of the United States of America. The proud winners were Mayeesa Mitchell who took fourth place and received a $15.00 gift card from McDonalds; third place winner Dante Roberts, who won a $25.00 gift card from McDonalds, located at 2141 Mott Avenue, Far Rockaway. Cherie Guy’s impressive essay earned second place and received a $50.00 gift card from Target, located on Sunrise Highway in Valley Stream, NY. Arielle Jaques was the first place winner for her essay that was not only well-researched and well-written, but also presented with equal ability. Arielle won a $100.00 gift card from Walmart in Valley Stream, NY. Not to be outdone, Tyler Buckley, age 7, won the Black History Month Quiz answering the most questions, 5 out of a total of 30. His prize was a $50.00 gift card from Red Lobster in Valley Stream on Sunrise Highway. Upon winning Tyler beamed, hugging his mother, LeShun Buckley, whom he said would be taking him (or vice versa) to dinner at Red Lobster. The essays and the Black History Month quiz, filled with historical facts and information, were huge hits and enjoyed immensely by all.
“Who Am I” was performed by Angelica Shaw, who wowed the audience with her savvy, hilarious interpretation of the famed TV and radio icon, Wendy Williams, wig and all. Two very thought-provoking dramatic presentations came from Eulalie Hinds and 6- year-old Timothy Wilson, who brought the house down with his age appropriate, poetic oration entitled “What Every Child Needs.” Franchelle Reed belted out a heartfelt vocal solo and Clarice Hinds joined Dante Roberts for a duet. The Far Rockaway Church of Christ vocal groups Testimony and The Comforters added jubilance and enthusiasm that inspired the audience to participate and sing along with their soul stirring songs of praise. William Reese Sr., one of the church’s talented song leaders, rounded out the celebration with his contributions to the vocal selections. Two of the youngest participants in the program – 4-year-old Jada Belisle, who sang a song, and her 6-year-old brother Nigel Belisle, who performed a dramatic presentation – received rousing applause and cheers as they concluded this year’s celebration. During his closing remarks Minister Heyward said he was astonished with the talent he witnessed and congratulated and gave special thanks to everyone who worked to make the celebration possible, including public relations specialist Josiah Heyward, coordinator of the program, and Joyce Owens, director of Cultural and Community Affairs at the Far Rockaway Church of Christ.
Construction of the new Far Rockaway Church of Christ edifice is well underway at the site of its original location, 21-25 Nameoke Avenue in Far Rockaway, NY. When completed, the new more spacious church building will provide much needed accommodations for a variety of activities. These include the worship services, classrooms for the after school program, the annual community health fair, the food pantry and other ministries to serve the community, operated by the congregation. Pleased with the overwhelming success of this year’s Black History Month Program, Minister Heyward announced that “prayerfully, we anticipate that next year’s event will be held in our new edifice” which left a smile on everyone’s face as they exited the building delighted with the announcement and outcome of the 2010 celebration.