By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
For the past 12 years, locals ages 60 and over have enjoyed the food, fun and fellowship offered by Destiny Worship Center at the Atmore church’s annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day.
And while the event has been a success each of the previous years, the sponsors and guests of honor felt the 13th edition, held last Saturday, November 23, might have been among the best ever.
“Tonight went over the top,” said Bernard Bishop, pastor of the non-denominational worship center. “I think this is one of the best, if not the best, turnout, participation and number of volunteers we’ve ever had.”
Bishop’s remarks were made around 8 p.m., an hour after the evening’s advertised ending time.
“Look at the seniors — they’re not even in a rush to go home,” he smiled. “That’s a testament that this long-standing event really had an impact on their hearts. They look forward to it, and they’re enjoying it so much that we can’t even let them go.”
The annual soiree featured songs from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church’s praise team, as well as the vocal testimony of former Escambia County High School choral standout and honor student Adonis Williams.
Williams also performed a duet with DWC co-pastor Felicia Bishop, and the duo later became a trio when Bernard Bishop joined them. Joshua Hall provided accompaniment on keyboards.
The evening included, too, an informational session from American Red Cross representatives Brenda Bivens of Washington County and Sandra Gray of Escambia County, as well as door prizes galore. The giveaways ranged from gift bags to collards and sweet potatoes, to Blue Bell ice cream coupons, University of South Alabama basketball tickets and more. Sponsors and volunteers were also given game tickets, which were provided by the Red Cross.
Attendees — including some who arrived in a chauffeured limousine — enjoyed several games, including a cake walk for which the prizes were, naturally, cakes. The numerous baked goodies included one from Mary’s Kitchen in Pensacola and a homemade one whipped up by Atmore’s Myrna Monroe.
The celebration of seniors ended with a meal featuring a choice of soups — chicken noodle, vegetable or taco — and either crackers or home-baked cornbread, served by a host of volunteers.
“We cannot forget the ladies who have worked and given their blood, sweat and tears to make things better for all of us,” Bernard Bishop said of the service group.
After those in attendance had photos made with the pastors, Felicia Bishop echoed the sentiments expressed earlier by her husband.
“Tonight was an awesome night,” she said. “To see the joy on our seniors’ faces, the zeal and excitement of being here, made it all worthwhile. It was a phenomenal night, and we could not have done it without these volunteers. Every outreach we do, they make it happen.”
But it wasn’t just the co-pastors who thought the evening went well.
“I loved the whole thing,” said Deborah Glover. “It was good food, good singing, just a real good time.”