Parade set to celebrate oldest African American church in Pelham

Parade set to celebrate oldest African American church in Pelham
Bethel AME was built in 1878. (Source: WALB)
Bethel AME is the oldest African American church in Mitchell County. (Source: WALB)
Bethel AME is the oldest African American church in Mitchell County. (Source: WALB)
Morris Mitchell has been attending Bethel AME since 1952. (Source: WALB)
Morris Mitchell has been attending Bethel AME since 1952. (Source: WALB)
Dr. AnJel Gibson is the creator of the first Annual Black History parade in Pelham. (Source: WALB)
Dr. AnJel Gibson is the creator of the first Annual Black History parade in Pelham. (Source: WALB)
Sapp Avenue and Palmer Street is the streets where the parade will be held. (Source: WALB)
Sapp Avenue and Palmer Street is the streets where the parade will be held. (Source: WALB)

PELHAM, GA (WALB) - As Black History Month comes to a close, the Pelham community will celebrate the history of its oldest church with a parade this weekend.

"It makes me feel good because I look back over my life and see where He brought me from and see I'm still standing in a place that I was as a teenager," said Church Stewardess Morris Mitchell.

Mitchell has been coming to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) since he was a small boy with his mother in the 1950s.

"I joined this church in 1952 and I've been a member of this church ever since 1952, in and out," said Mitchell.

Bethel AME is a historic trademark for the city of Pelham. It was built by the first black settler in the city in 1878.

The walls have only been remodeled once since then.

"I just love this church because it's the oldest church and it's the loving church," explained Mitchell.

Now, the goal is to bring the sense of community that's inside the church to the outside.

"The vision of the Black History Parade is to bring us together in unity," said Parade Coordinator Dr. AnJel Gibson.

Nearly eight churches and organizations are partnering to host the city's first Black History Parade.

"It's important to have these things in our community not only for the older people but for our younger people, especially black history in our community," said Charles Brimberry, an event volunteer.

For longtime member Mitchell, he said he's thankful to see this parade happen.

"Fifty years, I've been looking at these walls and seeing them coming and going and it's just a blessing. And I know it had to be God keeping me here to see all of this," said Mitchell.

The Black History Parade will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday. It will begin on Sapp Avenue, go across Palmer Street and end on West Railroad Street.

Afterwards, you can see a black history program at Bethel AME at 1 p.m.

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