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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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A festival for all

Signage for the homecoming event hangs in the front of the Pinn Memorial Baptist Church (Photo by Natalie Drum ’20).

Pinn Memorial Baptist Church celebrates anniversary

A section of 54th Street was closed for the annual Pinn Memorial Baptist Church homecoming event on Sept. 8. The celebratory event was held outside in hopes of attracting surrounding community members.

“This is a homecoming of when this church first got here,” said Wanda Pate-Dennis, one of the 13 associate ministers at the church. “It is also about the evangelistic effort of going out into the community. We want people to embrace us and join us.”

In addition to food and live music, there were a multitude of free services offered to festival goers, regardless of if they were parishioners or not.

Community members celebrate outside the Pinn Memorial Baptist Church (Photo by Natalie Drum ’20).

“We wish we could get more people to come from across the street,” Pate-Dennis said, in reference to the newly constructed townhomes directly facing the church.

Inside the church, there was an area allotted to people who wanted their blood pressure taken and an opportunity to get a flu shot administered. Other services inside included haircuts and manicures, while outside, vendors lined the street in front of the church.

A representative working within the community connected Chris Dixon, an Oak Street Health associate to the event.

“Oak Street Health, along with a lot of other companies are here to provide information for services that they [the community], could possibly use,” Dixon said.

The church, which Pate-Dennis said generally consists of anywhere from 600- 800 members, receives its funding for the homecoming celebration through the church’s different ministries. In addition, people and companies in the community donate money and/or items.

“Now this is something St. Joe’s may think about for next year,” Pate-Dennis said, while pointing to a table with a few white plastic bags on it. “Donating backpacks to us because we did not get enough this year.”

Minister Wanda Pate-Dennis (left) with First Lady Etty A. Chatman (right) at the Pinn Memorial Baptist Church Homecoming event (Photo by Natalie Drum ’20).

Etty A. Chatman spearheads the school supplies donation and distribution program within the church. As the wife of Dr. Jacob L. Chatman, senior pastor at Pinn, Etty Chatman is referred to as the first lady and helps out wherever needed.

“I taught school for about thirty years and so I have an idea of who needs what,” Chatman said.

The former school teacher emphasized the community’s role in the homecoming event. Many attendees welcomed the idea of neighbors in any direction, particularly St. Joe’s students.

“The only way that you could help us is to come and participate,” said Chatman.

At the end of the event, the remaining school supplies are brought to the Samuel Gompers Elementary School by one of the ministers from the church. Chatman said she receives thank-you notes from Gompers students every year.

“It is very sad,” Chatman said. “The students need a lot of stuff there.”

Chatman said that, ultimately, the church aims to include all people at the festival.

“We do this as a community so everybody participates,” Chatman said. “So wherever you are, wherever you come from, you know that you can come here and get something.”

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