Brown Chapel AME to host festival Aug. 17

Published 8:18pm Friday, August 9, 2013

While Brown Chapel AME Church is historically noted and a place of interest, the new minister, the Rev. Leodis Strong, wants it to become a place for the community in the present.

The church served a vital role in the voting rights movement in 1965, as the starting place for all marches and it hosted members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for several months. But today the congregation is reaching out to the community in which the church sits — GWC Homes.

A family fun day and festival are planned for Saturday, Aug. 17 at the church on Martin Luther King Street and everything from health screenings, pony rides and line dancing lessons will be awaiting community members for free.

Strong and members of the congregation are committed to help bring about change in the at-risk parts of the community, as well as providing leadership for youth.

“How can we apply our faith in a way that it touches individuals and also in a way that it addresses issues about the quality of life for people in the city,” Strong asked, noting it is time for his new church to serve the community beyond voting rights.

On Aug. 17 from noon until 6 p.m., the church congregation will host a family and friends day.

There will be free health screenings from UAB Family Medicine and a booth by Dr. Shaun Watts and Dr. Leroy Maxwell of Eyemax Vision Center. Organizers say there will also be free food, games, a D.J. and music, line dancing, youth choirs, praise dancers, card games, movies and rides.

Church member Juanda Maxwell said it was the intention of the church to create a great event while introducing their pastor to the community.

“We wanted to have something in between a block party and a festival and we will be introducing our new pastor to the community,” Maxwell said. “We want people to come because we want them to see the God from our church through our service. We want to connect God, service and love in our community.”

She said of Strong that he has a heart for seeing change in the community as well as a heart for young people. He has pushed the congregation since his arrival in March, Maxwell said, to touch the community, transform it and let the congregation reflect those of the surrounding area in GWC Homes.

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