One hundred and twenty years of service is something to be celebrated. On April 28 at the Doubletree Hotel in Monroeville, Payne Chapel AME Church gathered for a Black and White Banquet honoring Rev. Dr. Dennis C. Dickerson.

FIRST COUPLE OF PAYNE CHAPEL—Reverend Kary Williams Jr. and First Lady Judy Williams. (Photos by Erin Perry)

Reverend Kary Williams Jr., pastor of Payne Chapel, thanked those who have labored to make Payne Chapel what it is today. “We recognize and acknowledge that we are standing on their shoulders, and we stand today as a testimony of the faith and commitment of each and every one. We honor them. Tonight we honor one such person, Reverend Dr. Dennis Dickerson for his service not only to Payne Chapel, but also for his service to our AME.” Rev. Dickerson, Historiographer of the AME Church is a pastor, preacher, teacher, scholar and a candidate for Bishopric 2012.

The evening featured selections by the vocally gifted Demareus Cooper and the mime ministry featuring Cornell Brown and Don’Tazha Kelly. The Right Reverend Cornel Garnett Henning Sr., Presiding Prelate of the 3rd Episcopal District-AME Church, was the keynote speaker.

In November 1891 the “Duquesne Circuit” was created. Reverend Milo S. Jones was appointed to organize a church and begin mission work along the Monongahela River, and a man named Brown organized Payne Chapel Church Society. Under the untiring efforts of Rev. Jones, a lot with a one room structure on it was purchased in Duquesne for about $400. The mission work began with a few workers and a large debt, but the church’s future appeared bright and promising. The congregation has embraced a mission to minister to the needs of all people by spreading Christ’s liberating gospel through word and deed.

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