By Jackie Hampton,
The women of College Hill lead the church service Sunday as they celebrated their 72nd Annual Women’s Day service beginning at 10 a.m. The theme for the occasion was “Christian Women Remain Steadfast, Unmovable, Abounding in the Work of the Lord.” The guest speaker for the occasion was Dr. Carmen J. Walters, president of Tougaloo College. The Women’s Day chair was Deaconess Debra McGee.
The tone was set as the Women’s Day choir marched down the aisle into the choir stand singing “I Just Want to Say Thanks.” There were smiles, claps and nods as the congregation stood and patted their feet to the beat of the music.
It was Women’s Day, and it seemed as though men were not allowed to sit in the pulpit. Pastor Chauncy L. Jordan Sr. and Rev. Calvin Peoples seemed quite content sitting on the front row of the right side pews.
Women lead the service from beginning to end, with one exception, the invitation to discipleship. First Lady Lashanda Jordan presided over the service. The call to worship was extended by Jeraldine Watts, scripture read by Bobbie Lowe, opening prayer by Latasha Clark, each normally led by clergy and deacons.
Prior to the message, a surprise presentation and tribute was presented by Women’s Day co-chair Shirley Davis. The Women’s Day Committee had selected Malena Winfrey Dow as Woman of the Year. It was a total surprise to Dow. The church gave her a standing ovation as a sign of total agreement and appreciation.
Davis was emotional in describing how much Dow has done for College Hill. Being a long-time member, she said to Dow, “You have been a faithful servant to the church and words cannot describe how much we love you.”
A special tribute was given by JSU professor Dr. Mark Henderson, one of Dow’s former students while she taught at Jackson State University. In his tribute to Dow he recalled when he was one of her student’s he might say to her, “Mrs. Dow, I am hongry,” and she would say, “No, you are hungry.” I might say “I wasn’t in class because I had to go to the libary and she would say, “No you had to go to the library.” He even recalled her home phone number from when he was a freshman. He said she gave it to him in case he ever needed to reach out to her.
In his tribute Henderson spoke directly to Dow saying, “Sometimes I wonder, as I wander through this life, what I could have been or would have been if there was no Malena Dow. If there had been no you, then there would be no me.”
After the tribute Dow thanked her former student and the church family for the honor of being chosen “Woman of the Year.” It was obvious that she was truly surprised and caught off guard. In fact, she said, “Had I known, I would have worn my high heels.”
Church member Leon Williams, who watched the service from home, said afterward, “We should choose her again when we have Men’s Day.”
Walters, fourteenth president of Tougaloo College, was introduced by Committee Chair Debra McGee. She described her as a Christian woman and a life evangelist that is an expert trainer in church administration, and trains church boards and executive leaders across the country to help them understand their role in ministry.
Walters had the women of College Hill to stand on their feet, shouting “Glory.” There were tears and laughter throughout her message. She dwelled on the fact that “God is Real” and we must not be too proud to acknowledge Him. Walters said she would not read a speech and if this is what was expected of her, then she apologized. She simply preached a sermon acknowledging that when the choir marched in she knew everyone was ready to have church.
During her message she sang, prayed and taught. She said, just like the theme, one must remain steadfast. Your mind must be saved and a saved mind is an optimistic mind that must be clear in order to remain steadfast.
At the close of the Women’s Day message, Pastor Jordan opened the doors of the church, where one, based on Christian Experience joined the College Hill family. In his remarks, he congratulated the Women’s Day Committee for a job well done. He thanked President Walters for an excellent message and choir and musicians for their participation.
Pastor Jordan congratulated Dow for been chosen as Woman of the Year.
He extended special thanks to Jan Taylor Ellis, guest choir director, and Sherry Milton and Ashli Sutton, guest musicians, for their participation in the 2022 College Hill 72nd Annual Women’s Day celebration.