Soldiers Memorial marks its 150th anniversary Sunday

SALISBURY — Special music, speakers and recognitions will highlight Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church’s 11 a.m. Sunday service, when the congregation celebrates the church’s 150th anniversary.

Soldiers Memorial, located at 306 N. Church St., was founded in 1864.

The Cathedral Choir will sing Sunday under the direction of Dr. JoAnne Harrison.

Guest speaker will be the Right Rev. George Battle Jr., presiding prelate of the Piedmont Episcopal District and senior bishop of the AME Zion Church.

Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell will offer greetings from the city of Salisbury.

Dr. Grant Harrison Jr., pastor of Soldiers, penned the words and music in January to the “Sesquicentennial Hymn,” which will be sung at the service.

Since last July on the second Sunday of each month, the congregation has heard 11 “Links in the Legacy” of Soldiers Memorial.

The congregation also has completed 300 hours of prayer in the weeks leading up to Sunday.

At the service, certificates will be given to two grandchildren of one of the church founders from 1864.

Certificates also will go to two families who represent four generations which actively have been involved in Soldiers Memorial.

A Sesquicentennial Celebratory Banquet is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 24 at the Event Center on the campus of Livingstone College.

James Parks has served as chairman of the Anniversary Committee. Fred Evans is trustee chairman, and church historian is Raemi Evans.

The church has been an integral part of the city’s history since its founding, and its member and leaders have always had close ties to Livingstone College and the AME Zion Church.

The church building itself features century-old stained glass windows and Victorian pews.

The Soldiers Memorial name originated with the Rev. Dr. William H. Goler, one of the early pastors and second president of Livingstone College.

Goler said the “Soldiers Memorial Church” should honor the soldiers who gave their lives and service for the freedom of slaves.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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