July 14 was designed favorably by the good Lord for the celebration held by Red Oak AME Zion Church. The temperature in Edgemoor reached 80 degrees, but it came with a soft breeze that made members and guests comfortable and happy.
If you live in or around Edgemoor, you will have seen Red Oak AME Zion Church grow and the number of cars increase on Sunday when the local folks and the out-of-towners who were raised in this place return to worship with their families. They all come back, maybe not every Sunday, but always for the past six years for a reunion.
On July 14, cars bearing out-of-state licenses packed the parking areas. Visitors were greeted with hugs and choruses of , "It's so good to see you." This was going to be a special day for four women who were to be honored.
The Rev. Jacob Chisholm came to the front of the sanctuary. He smiled and said that he would read from Joshua. He explained how God had taken Abraham and led him throughout all the land of Canaan and multiplied his seed. He explained how the tribes had increased and made their way through eons of history and eventually through trials, disappointments and, at times, great joy.
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He then invited John McCullough to welcome the members and guests. It is quite something when someone, in a welcoming speech, can make everyone feel wanted and appreciated. McCullough did just that.
He told of a friend who said, "If you bring your mom, I'll bring my mom." And look around, McCullough said, "Most all of the moms are here."
Lt. Col. (Ret.) James Crockett of the U.S. Army stepped forward. It was his job to honor four women who have made contributions to the welfare, health, learning and respect to various groups of people, both young and old. They are women who have contributed years of selfless time and energy to the churches and the communities. They are women known both by blacks and whites for their significant and untiring social gifts to the young people who sat in their schoolrooms or Sunday school classes. It was time for saying "Thank you" to a group of women who have made inroads into the lives of everyone they encountered through almost half a century.
Mary Eliza Massey
A lady known to all of Chester County is Mary Eliza Massey, a woman who writes poetry and has a memory "chucked" full of Chester County stories and legends -- a woman whose presence filled the memories of all with fond recollections.
She has reached her 98th year of life and has, since the beginning, made honor-based decisions. We, the people who have known her, have certainly profited from her teachings, her actions and her beliefs.
Milvoid Macon Stanley
John Crockett remembered Milvoid Macon Stanley in an unique way. When asked about Miss Milvoid, he and many of his friends who attended Pleasant Grove Elementary School could only talk about her red turtleneck sweater and her blue skirt. None of them cared to discuss the reading or arithmetic class; they only wanted to remember the clothes she wore and her charming manner.
However, she offered much more than good looks and smart clothes. She guided them to Finley High, where they went on to achieve productive jobs and happy families. She taught kindness, cooperation and the immense value of learning.
Richburg is proud to be the home address of Amelia Green, who told us she was born 88 years ago in Lancaster, came to Richburg when she married and has never left. She received her teaching credentials from Benedict College in Columbia. She first taught in Jonesboro and then in Lando, Lewisville and Chester, at the Dora Jones Elementary School.
Her life was filled with love of children and the never-ending need to improve the lives of all the students that became a part of her more than 40 years of educating.
Talking to Amelia Greene made it abundantly clear that her teaching life was one of total dedication to the Christian principles that guided her.
Chester schools and churches well remember Georgiana Moore, a woman who was married to the Rev. Samuel Moore and is the mother of the Rev. Samuel Moore Jr.
After high school, she attended Benedict and then graduated with her teaching certificate from Allen University, which opened its doors in 1870 in Columbia.
She taught at South Side Elementary, Chester Junior High, Rodman, Lando and Fort Lawn. She worked with special education children and logged 48 years at her profession, bringing to the children of this county a perfect example of just what pursuing higher education can mean.
Today, Georgina Moore lives in her house next to her son.
When the honors were done, Minnie McCullough sang a cappella the great old Mahalia Jackson spiritual, "How I Got Over."
Her lovely voice filled the church, and the audience sat unmoving and touched by this woman singing a time-proven story of faith.
Now the great day is over, and strong, giving women were remembered. We have forged new friendships, and we all look forward to next year. Many thanks to all the folks who gave so generously of their time -- too many names to list.