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Powell’s Annual Pilgrimage to Alabama Aug. 18

It’s about that time again, time for the Powell’s annual Pilgrimage to Alabama. Yes, it’s time for the Homecoming at Salem Missionary Baptist Church.  It’s held the same time each year, the third Sunday in August and each year the Powell Family, 16 siblings (as many as can), make their way to Alabama.

We can remember when we were young and our Father, Singer Lee Powell (Bootee) and Mother, Viola (Bochee)   took us to Homecoming also known as “The Big Meeting.”  It was a joyous time when folks who once lived there, had attended the church, would come back and join in the celebration.  It’s like when the birds migrate.  It is a yearning in your soul that it’s time to go home and be renewed, refreshed, and revived.  So we gather from the north, south, east, and west and headed home to Alabama for the spiritual and the natural as it cannot be homecoming without food.

Homecoming favorites are Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Potato Salad, Dressing, Cornbread, Sweet Potato Pie and Red Velvet Cake, just to name a few.   You get the opportunity to see the folks you grew up with, went to school with, worked with, and worshipped with.  Just because you have moved away does not affect the love for the place where you grew up and learned life skills that you still use today.

Coming home brings back so many memories. Although times have changed we fondly remember Greenville and the Big Meeting.  Our Father and Mother were faithful members at the church and all the children attended Sunday School and sang in the choir along with our parents.  We brought our spouses and children home each year for the Big Meeting.

Our children have gotten older and have families of their own, jobs, and don’t come back like they use to but this year some of them have decided to make their way to Greenville to the Big Meeting.  One of the siblings now leads Salem Missionary Baptist Church as the Bridge Pastor, Elder Robbin Powell.  God has been good to the Powell Family.  When we were growing up we were taught to stick together and that has stayed with us through the years.  No matter what happens in the family we always stay connected with each other.  We have monthly calls, weekly Sunday School calls, celebrate each other’s birthdays with special emphasis given to the 50th, 70th, and 80th birthdays where we send that person turning that age that amount of money.

The family presents at the People of Colour Conference which takes place in different locations in and out of the country and is sponsored by Stony Brook University in Westbury, N.Y.  The family was recently featured in the Harlem Times for a presentation that they gave at the historically black Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York. Everyone was eager to hear how the family stays together but it all started in Greenville, the Salem Missionary Baptist Church, The Big Meeting.  The church taught family values and we were there and heard the word not only of the church but our parents.  We took what we heard and we thrived and survived.

This year we invite the whole community of Greenville to come and join us and experience Homecoming, The Big Meeting with us the 3rd Sunday, Aug. 18.  Sunday School starts at 10 a.m. and the afternoon service starts at 2 p.m.