Historic Angelina County church hosts 'old fashioned' homecoming

Rev. Waldo Murphy
Rev. Waldo Murphy

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Memorial Chapel C.M.E. Church sits just north of the Lufkin city limits in the Cedar Grove community.  Many generations have worshipped within its walls since services began there more than 125 years ago.

"We like to get together and worship the Lord," said Rev. Waldo Murphy, Memorial Chapel C.M.E. Pastor.

Every year, the church hosts an old fashioned homecoming where parishioners don clothing from yesteryear.

Rev. Murphy says it's a fun way to show respect to those who came before.

"We kind of like to represent times past... We invite people that have gone through the doors of this church. We invite them to come back home and worship with us," said Murphy.

It wasn't only a day for homecoming, but a chance for two churches to come together in fellowship. Several years ago, they began inviting other churches to attend the event.

A Nacogdoches church, Johnson Chapel C.M.E., was invited because of the unique history of its leader.

"The church from Nacogdoches, Pastor Richard Edwards... came from this church. He grew up in Memorial C.M.E. Church," said Murphy.

A member of the Nacogdoches congregation, Ozell Ward enjoys the service because bringing two church choirs together makes for music twice as holy.

"that has always been apart of the service and if you ask anybody about the black experience, they will always tell you that music has always been apart of us and us apart of it," said Ozell Ward, member of visiting Johnson Chapel C.M.E. Church.

It's that energy that motivates Reverend Murphy to keep hosting the old fashioned homecoming, and added that the event also serves as a reminder to the congregation.

"My message was that when you come home its a time to refocus on Jesus Christ," said Murphy.

The fellowship began with a large, shared meal to give everyone a chance to get reacquainted and meet the other church's members.

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