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Bethel AME-Oxnard Honors Senior Saints with Rolling in the Eighties Celebration
By Gary LeRoy Harbour, Contributing Writer
Published September 28, 2022

Pastor Benjamin Thomas, Jr., First Lady Tamara Garrison-Thomas and family members (Gary Harbour)

The Senior Activities Center for Bethel AME Church in Oxnard sponsored its 2nd annual tribute to seniors on Sept. 11, at the Residence Inn. According to Senior Activities Director ShaRan Harvey, the event celebrates Grandparents Day and honors seniors from ages 79 to 90.

Pastor Marvin L. McKenzie of Walker Temple AME in Los Angeles served as the emcee and Bethel AME Pastor Benjamin N. Thomas Jr. was the keynote speaker for the afternoon. His wife, Tamara Garrison-Thomas, graced the attendees with a beautiful song prior to his presentation.

Eleven churches in Ventura County had honorees during this year’s tribute. The churches and honorees represented were:

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Bethel A.M.E. Church: Bobby L. Adams, Jan Beard, Nita Brantly, Otis Brantly, Varie Crawford, Walace Dailey, Albert G. Duff Sr., Mexie Duff, Leroy Gibbson, Jr., Betty L. Gibson Mosley, Mary Sue Green, Gloria Hill, Lorraine Hirshey, Edna Ingram, Myra Kelley, Ruby Manor, Romona Mitchell, Irene G. Pinkard, InaFaye Reese, Marty Reynolds, Carolyn Starkey, Bruce T. Stewart III, Frances Williams

Calvary Missionary Baptist Church: Daisey Cotton, Mother Marie Cannon

Ephraim & Manasseh Worship Center: Sylvia Patterson

Evangelistic Missionary Baptist Church: Mother Odessa Edward, Faite Millines, Barbara Millines, Gloria Nixon, Deacon Odell Washington,

Grace Bible Fellowship: Joan M. Walker

Morning Star Church of God in Christ: Mother Vencie Lee Thompson

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New Trinity Community Church: Georgia McClaughlin

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and Preschool: Betty Johnson, Lloyd Tribbitt

Saint Paul Baptist Church: Charlene Johnson, Marjorie Palmer, Joyce Shepard, Praxedes T. Walters

Saint Paul United Methodist Church: Giletta Allen

The Bethel AME Senior Activity Center Committee (Gary Harbour)

The following are community members were memorialized and their families were honored with a special award: Horace J. Booker Jr., Wardell Matthews, Marjorie E. Penson, Renomia Pleasant, Arlether Washington, Earnie Ruth Bradley, deacon James Clifton, Deacon Arthur L. Dawson, Elizabeth McCain and Virgie Lee Reese.

There was an amusing segment of the program called “Remembering the Thirties, Forties and Eighties”. Ruth Holland (Bethel A.M.E.) strolled out with a giant “boom box”. She and Deloris Smikle (Morning Star COGIC) began interacting with the attendees delighting them with a trip down memory lane. They played samples of music which defined the last several decades, from Cab Calloway to Motown. Ruth and Delores also played trivia games having the attendees try to guess the names to popular music over the decades.

The luncheon concluded with musical selections by DJ “DFO.”

Categories: Religion
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