by Jesse Irwin
For New Pittsburgh Courier
If one were to give a definition of the word family, the Greater Allen AME Church would exemplify it beautifully.
In a program run by the church’s Christian Education Department on April 12, families from around the city came together to watch their youth demonstrate their natural talents and show the need for religion in our lives. From praising the Lord to playing the piano, children of all ages performed in front of a lively audience in the Bethel’s basement.
Coordinated by Evangelist Dorothy Stubbs and Linda Hughey, the education department’s dynamic duo brought in kids from all over Pittsburgh to give them a chance to express their gifts. Having seen a need for encouragement and religious involvement in Brighton Heights’ adolescents, the two reached out to as many as possible to promote the event.
“Our entire department networked through local families, neighborhoods, communities, and even just people I knew,” said Stubbs. “We need to come out of the box and show these kids that there’s more to church than just Sundays and holidays.”
This isn’t the first event the church has hosted to bring the neighborhood together. A “Fun Night,” which included board games and more, occurred on Jan.18.
Evangelist Stubbs started off the night with some opening words and introduced the first act to a full room of 50 plus. Charles Grayson, also known as GA Rebel, then took the stage to perform two of his songs titled “Spiritually Fly” and “Yeah YUP.” Everyone was up and clapping their hands, kicking off the night perfectly.
Grayson is a deacon in training and is currently part of a fellowship program with CORO, a non-profit organization that teaches leadership skills for public affairs.
From there, performances of several classic records lit up the room. Surrounded by congregants and corned beef sandwiches, those present listened to beautiful renditions of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Local rappers Young Fire and Big-D also played, praising the Lord with a different flair, but with the same intentions.
Theodora Cotton, PhD, the church music teacher, said that she feels members of the congregation all have something to offer and that this is a great setting for them to share it.
“Families are in trouble right now,” said a concerned Hughey. “And anything we can do to bring them together to do positive things and introduce them to Christ is really what it’s all about.”
The Greater Allen AME Church, led by recently appointed Rev. Floyd W. Alexander, is home to 105 members, only twenty of which are children. Originally located a few blocks over on Columbus Avenue, the church switched to their current location at 3600 California Ave., in November 2000.
With the success of this program the congregation’s education department plans on holding similar events in hopes that youth are inspired and motivated to continue coming back.
“Kids mean everything to me,” said Stubbs. “So once they know we’re doing this quarterly, they’ll know what we’re really about.”

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