Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Omega Omega, Rho Theta Omega and Phi Beta Omega Chapters celebrated a major milestone at their 2014 Founders’ Day Celebration and Luncheon at Drexelbrook Country Club. The theme of the weekend long event, attended by 350 members, was “We Are One: Strengthening the Bonds of Sisterhood.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., is an international service organization founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African-American college-educated women.
Mary Houston, president of the Rho Theta Omega Chapter of Philadelphia, welcomed members. She remarked, “Each of us is important but we are stronger when we are united in service and sisterhood. For 106 years, members have gathered to remember our then young, enthusiastic and visionary founders who took the first step on this journey of sisterhood in 1908. Today, in 2014, we, who are gathered here on this auspicious occasion, by our very presence, are keeping the vision, the dream and the mystique alive.”
Evelyn Sample-Oates, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, Ruth Easley, Wanda King, Jacquita Wright-Henderson and Meredith Henderson were among distinguished international and regional leaders who were acknowledged during the program.
“Our tri-chapter Founders’ Day weekend was a momentous occasion. The luncheon was nothing but perfection with sisterly energy flowing throughout the celebration as we revered our founders and current leaders. Our worship service was riveting as we gave thanks to our God for the blessings that he has bestowed on our sorority to serve others. We then closed our weekend celebration at the gravesite of our founder, Ethel Hedgeman-Lyle. As milestones go this was significant for me,” Sabrina Price-Powell, Phi Beta Omega Chapter President of Montgomery and Bucks Counties stated.
The program featured Jennifer Lewis-Hall as this year’s keynote speaker. Hall is a member of the sorority and is also an accomplished journalist and author. There was also a special tribute to three members who demonstrated outstanding service to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Sherry Hopkins of Omega Omega; Shariah Dixon Turner of the Rho Theta Omega Chapter and Marie Simpkins of the Phi Beta Omega Chapter were selected as 2014 “Sorors [members] of the Year.” Each honoree received a beautiful crystal inscribed award and a bouquet of pink roses.
The Rev. Lorina Marshall Blake, Omega Omega Chapter president of Philadelphia, offered an inspirational prayer asking for “Oneness and unity” and blessed of the meal. Marshall summarized the significance of the occasion. She remarked, “Each year we find ourselves reflecting upon the legacy of leadership of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., but most specifically the great contributions of our founder Ethel Hedgman Lyle. Even though she has transitioned from this world, her spirit lives and breathes in each and every member. Founder’s Day reminds us that as Alpha Kappa Alpha women it is our responsibility to diligently serve all mankind. It is our duty to serve, whenever we can, wherever we can, to as many as we can throughout this city, this region, this state and the world.”
Mayla Henderson Jackson, Rho Theta Omega Chapter; Leah Smith Sheppard, Omega Omega Chapter and Carol B. Young , Phi Beta Omega Chapter, served as the dynamic tri-chairs of the 2014 Founder’s Day luncheon program. Congratulations and best wishes are extended to all members.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
The 41st installation service and luncheon of the Baptist Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows Union of Philadelphia and Vicinity took place at the Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia. The gala celebration, attended by nearly 500 people, welcomed Pauline M. Moore, as the organization’s 2014-15 president, and distinguished members of her cabinet. Moore is the first lady of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, where her husband, the Rev. William B. Moore, serves as pastor. She stated, “The new administration will work under the theme, ‘Sisters, Called to the Kingdom for Such a Time as This.’ Our goals are to focus on after-school tutoring, self-esteem classes for young ladies and helping young ladies to develop and recognize their self-worth. They are somebody and God doesn’t make junk.”
Carolyn Edwards, immediate past president, reflected upon her tenure as the 40th woman to hold this officewith tremendous pride during the January event. She is the first lady of St. Jude Baptist Church and wife of the Rev. Cleveland Edwards.
The new vice president, Clara (Tanya) R. Quann, is the first lady of Bethlehem Baptist Church and wife of the Rev. Charles W. Quann. She was installedwith otherdynamicofficers; Veronica Blue, Frankie Myers, Geraldine Jones, Prudence Harvey, Henrietta Allen, Marion Furlow, Margaret Savage, A. Vivian Sutton, Sarah Bowers, Angie Hewitt and Delores Collins. Moore and officers wore regal shades of purple for the installation ceremony. She presented a lovely butterfly pin, the organization’s national symbol, to each new officer.
The Baptist Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows Union was organized in 1933 by Rosa B. Caffee, wife of the Rev. E. D. Caffee Sr., pastor of the Second Baptist Church, with the assistance of Jacqueline F. Washington whose husband, the Rev. T. R. Washington, was the pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church.
The purpose of the organization is to create a closer social and religious fellowship among Baptist ministers’ wives and widows of the Philadelphia area for more effective and greater service in kingdom-building. There are approximately 75 Baptist churches in the Philadelphia region affiliated with the prestigious organization.
Thirty-eighth president Velma W. Goode; 35th president Marie Coleman; Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. John Payne; Zion BaptistChurch associate minister, the Rev. Raymond T. Blue; Zion Baptist Church education minister, the Rev. Tracey Joel Hunter Hayes and 31st president Elizabeth Bell were among those participating in the program.
Everyone enjoyed beautiful musical solos by the Rev. Gregory Fleming and Urasha Sanders, fellowship and a wonderful luncheon prior to the ceremony.
Highlights of the afternoon included remarks by a hosts of eminent individuals ,including Mayor Michael N. Nutter, the Rev. William Shaw, the Rev. Reginald Johnson, the Rev. Terrence D. Griffith, the Rev. Robert Shipman and the Rev. William B. Moore. Others offering warm greetings on this very special occasion were Ethel Nichols and
The Union has served its membership and used its collective talent and resources to respond to the needs and concerns of the larger community. Throughout the years, the organization has given substantial gifts to Mercy Douglass Hospital, the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., the Foreign Mission Bureau of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, OIC, NAACP (including a life membership), the Robert Wood Home, the United Fund, the Red Feather Campaign, The Baptist Women’s Center, the Annual City Wide Revival and Alpha Pregnancy Services.
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Pauline Moore, her cabinet and all members of The Baptist Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows Union of Philadelphia and Vicinity who do so much to uplift our community.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
The Links Inc., Bucks County Chapter, hosted its second annual Legends Tea at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia recently. The theme of this year’s signature event, attended by nearly 200 ladies, was “Great Women from all Generations.” It was an amazing intergenerational experience, with participants ranging from age five to 95 and a wonderful opportunity for them to share lessons learned and wisdom gained through life’s journey.
The current chapter officers are: president, Deborah Camp-Frye; vice president, Tayna Longino; treasurer, Cherylayne Walker; recording secretary, Pamela Coles; corresponding secretary, Mynetta Edwards; financial secretary, Tonya Jones; historian, Emma Guion; parliamentarian, Katherine Davis; and program coordinators Clarice Taylor and Carla Stinnette.
The Legends Tea was the centerpiece of a multi-day celebration that began when the ladies gathered for a presentation by Donna Coaxum. She is a member of the organization and author of “Dear Wives, Your Husband Wants a Girlfriend Too.” Coaxum led a lively discussion about how to remain a, “Market Ready Sister.” (MRS) She advised attendees to, “Remain physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially on top of their game.” She urged them “to hold on to the power, beauty and love that is inside of you, and to nurture these traits throughout their lives. We often forget to care for ourselves when we become wives and mothers, but we cannot continue to shine unless we shower that same love that they give so freely upon themselves.”
The Bucks County Links also welcomed Dianne Hardison, Links Inc. Eastern Area director, and Terri Parker, Links Inc. Eastern Area treasurer. Highlights of the afternoon included a moving tribute to members of the chapter, mothers, friends and mentors, with a reading of Pearl Cleage’s poem “We Speak Your Names” and a lovely violin solo by 15-year-old Amaya Christie, a member of the Bucks County Links Youth Council.
The entire chapter was lauded by Hardison, who said the national organization of the Links Inc., which now has three generations of women in its active membership, is implementing a national strategic initiative to celebrate generations of women. The Legends Tea will also be submitted as a template for national implementation.
Among those “Out & About” for the celebration were Link members from other chapters: Kathy Grant Davis, New Jersey Primary Care Association president and CEO; Henri Moore, Citizens Bank senior vice president and director of public affairs; Annette Kelton, managing director and associate general counsel for Goldman Sachs & Co., New York; and prominent dermatologist, Dr. Susan C. Taylor.
The Bucks County Links continued its tradition of service with their 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service Project, “Make It a Day On, Not a Day Off.” The chapter partnered with Second Baptist Church of Doylestown, General Electric, Jack and Jill Inc. and Delaware Valley College to support the efforts of numerous community organizations. Over 200 volunteers participated in the national day of service.
Congratulations to event co-chairs: Carla Stinnette, Clarice Taylor and Rosalind Williford who did a fantastic job organizing the second annual Legends Tea, Lisa Reynolds Smoot for her public relations support and the entire Links Inc. Bucks County Chapter.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
Darius M. Billings and Ashley M. Baker were married by the Rev. Angela Patton in a beautiful, formal ceremony on Nov. 9. Ashley, given away in marriage by her father, Theodore E. Baker, was stunning in her ivory, shirred mermaid bridal gown. The strapless couture design featured a side train embellished with jewels and delicate beading accenting the gown’s bodice and side. She truly captured the glamorous, 1940s Hollywood era. Darius and his groomsmen wore Calvin Klein gray tuxedos with personalized gray and yellow Chuck Taylors.
Ashley, 35, is the daughter of Wanda C. Chatman and Theodore E Baker. Cecilia Baker is Ashley’s stepmother. Her maternal grandparents, Linwood and Eleanor Jones, have lived in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy neighborhood for more than 40 years. Ashley is a graduate of Temple University, where she earned a degree in real estate finance. She is an entrepreneur, and a designer of unique jewelry who founded Ash Marie Jewelry in 2009.
Darius, 39, is the son of Judith Smith and the late Frankie Billings. He is from West Virginia and earned a degree in marketing from Howard University. Darius enjoys his career as director of marketing and merchandising for a major athletic retail company.
The Bridal Party
Loren Hamilton was Ashley’s matron of honor; her maid of honor was Tania Keith. Her bridesmaids were Alondeia Williams, Aiesha Hermitt, Sherita Starks, Melanie Williams, Daina Perez, Zoe Baker and Lauren Taylor. Ten-year-old Dabria Bilings, daughter of the groom, was the junior bridesmaid and the couple’s adorable nieces Belle Victoria Baker and Nylah Billings were flower girls.
Gregory Billings, brother of the groom, served as his best man. Four-year-old Reign Baker, the bride’s nephew, was the ringbearer and nine-year-old Noah Billings, the groom’s nephew, was the junior groomsman. Darius’ groomsmen were Marcus Oliver, Franklin Hairston, Gregory Richardson Jr., La Keem Dwight, Calcie Cooper, Channing Baker and John Thompson.
How They Met — The Proposal
While Ashley was studying at Temple University, Darius had graduated and worked for a major Philadelphia-based streetball apparel and footwear company. Surprisingly, Ashley and Darius never met while living and working in Philadelphia for many years, but did meet in Atlanta during the summer of 2010. They discovered that they knew a few of the same people and frequented some of the city’s most popular hot spots, and found it ironic that they never crossed paths.
They were introduced by a mutual friend, Alondeia Chaney, one of Ashley’s bridesmaids. Alondeia called Ashley and asked if she wanted to go to a pre-season Falcons game with her new friend and neighbor. Ashley agreed and a few days later they met Darius at his apartment, only 10 doors down from Alondeia’s, to go to the game. Everyone had a great time cheering for the Falcons that day. When the game was over they went their separate ways. A few weeks later, Alondeia told Ashley that Darius and his friends were having an annual tailgate party for the Teessee State-Florida A&M Football Classic and she needed to be there. The couple enjoyed a fabulous evening and the beginning of a beautiful whirlwind courtship.
Darius asked Ashley’s father and brothers, Channing Baker and Avant Baker, for her hand in marriage a month before he proposed to her. Ashley’s parents were already planning a Christmas Eve party for a few friends and family members. Ashley had no idea that Darius would propose to her on Christmas Eve. Her brothers and father helped Darius with the surprise by distracting her, and met with complete success. Ashley said, “When I turned my attention to Darius, he was nervously on bended knee and asked, ‘Will you marry me?’” The rest is history.
“Our wedding day exceeded our wildest dreams. Our wedding planner, Sarina Lindsey — who is also a dear friend — took our vision and ran with it. Every detail was pure perfection. The customized and handpainted pillows made by fashion designer and friend Jasmine Elders were breathtaking. From our wonderful caterer (Epicurean Drama) to the amazing DJ Legacy (MTV DJ) & DJ Xzact made all our dreams come true. Our wedding day was gorgeous, the weather was spectacular and the ceremony was magical, funny and full of love,” said Ashley.
A joyous reception was held at the Ambient Plus Studio in downtown Atlanta. As the bridal party was photographed, everyone enjoyed a fantastic cocktail hour featuring a special signature drink and an array of hors d’oeuvres before a delicious sit down dinner.
The couple danced their first dance as husband and wife to “Truly” by Lionel Richie. Ashley and her father danced to two songs that were very meaningful to the bride and her father at an early age. The selections were “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” sung by Nikki Yanofsky, and “The Way We Were” by Barbara Streisand. Darius and his mother danced to “On this Day” by Christian Barnes. The bridal party song was, “Champagne Life” by Neo.
Ashley and Darius moved to Switzerland for seven months a week following their wedding. This exciting opportunity to live abroad was due to Darius being selected to work on a major strategic project for the athletic retail brand he works for. They plan to use this time to travel throughout Europe and enjoy“mini” honeymoons.
Ashley, who is like a daughter to me, shared, “The two words that Darius and I would use to describe our wedding would be ‘absolutely amazing’! If we would have to describe the love we feel for each other it would have to be the anonymous quote: ‘If I had my life to live over again, I would find you sooner so that I could love you longer.”
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Mr. and Mrs. Darius Billings!
Congratulations to Rosetta Thurmond-Williams and Judge Williams, who happily celebrated their 17th anniversary. They were married on Dec. 29, 1996. Rosetta and Judge were introduced to each other by his half-sister Grace Andrews-Smith in August 1996. They connected immediately, experienced a whirlwind romance, knew that they truly wanted to spend their lives together as husband and wife and married only four months later.
Rosetta is a native of Philadelphia and was educated in the city’s public school system. She is a graduate of Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She earned a master’s degree from Rosemont College. After many years, she retired from the Philadelphia Housing Authority and from a second career as a high school guidance counselor in the Philadelphia charter school system.
Judge is a native of Trinidad, West Indies, and was educated in the public school system there. He was employed by the Airport Authority of Trinidad for most of his adult career, prior to coming to the U.S. Judge currently works for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging as a housing mechanic supervisor. He also uses his carpentry skills to rehab and repair rental properties owned by the couple.
The couple lived in Philadelphia, where they lovingly raised their family before moving to Williamstown, N.J., in 2008. Together, they have a blended family of seven children and eight grandchildren. They are very proud of their children and grandchildren, some of whom live and Trinidad and others in Philadelphia and Boston. Rosetta and Judge have instilled the importance of education and responsibility in their family and are proud of their achievements.
Both are members of the Williamstown Seventh-Day Adventist Church and enjoy attending services together. They also enjoy going to the movies, taking short trips and whenever possible, they spend time with their beautiful grandchildren.
I asked Rosetta to express what she feels has contributed to a happy and lasting marriage. She shared, “I love to entertain at home and spoil my husband. I find ways to make our family and friends feel special and comfortable in our home. Seventeen years later, we are still together, loving and courting each other. Judge is the comedian and always finds a way to humor folks with his ‘corny’ jokes and quick wit. I am the planner and Judge is the worker. That is the secret to the success of our many years of marriage. We work together and complement one another.”
Best wishes are extended to Judge and Rosetta Williams for many more years of courting and marriage.