Goler Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church Prison Ministry Choir 24th anniversary

Goler Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church Prison Ministry Choir 24th anniversary
September 17
00:00 2015

The Goler Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church Prison Ministry Choir  performs (submitted photo)

By Timothy Ramsey

For The Chronicle


The Goler Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church Prison Ministry Choir celebrated its 24th anniversary Sunday, Sept. 13, at 630 N. Patterson Ave. in Winston-Salem.

The Prison Ministry Choir was formed by Norman Robinson in June 1991 to provide worship services within the prison system, which lacked an African-American church presence in its ministry.

Originally the choir started with nine members of the congregation, have had as many as 30 members and currently has 16 active members including, president Donna Harper. Alexandra Barnes said she joined the choir because “I just felt so welcomed from the friendship and fellowship that I just stayed.”

Vernita Oaks added, “I love this choir, I love going to the prisons and singing, I love expressing my feelings because I love God.”

The choir starting singing at the jail on Cherry Street, but now provides services at prisons throughout the state of North Carolina and remains the only A.M.E. Zion choir dedicated to this ministry. The choir also aids the inmates with supplies, such as reading glasses and toiletries, when they visit.

Mistress of Ceremonies Lori Hill, started things off with an energetic praise and worship that excited the entire crowd and set the tone for what was to come from the choirs.

The history of the Prison Ministry Choir was provided by Melissia Sutton, who then presented Donna Harper with a gift for her years of serving as president.

The Prison Ministry Choir then took the stage and delighted the crowd with a number of selections, and was joined by Hill for the song “Intentional” that got everyone in the crowd on their feet.

Following the Prison Ministry Choir was the First Baptist Church Gospel Choir, who sang a number of hymns, and finally the gospel group Just Sangin ended the performances for the day with two selections.

Pastor George Banks concluded the evening with thanks to all of the choirs and to those who attended then instead of a traditional benediction, he asked those who were struggling with anything in their lives to come to the front and held an altar call and blessed everyone with a prayer.

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