Marla A. Matime| Contributor
Kicking off Holy week, the Allen Chapel AME Church of Riverside hosted its inaugural Palm Sunday Celebration with an afternoon of praise, worship, dance, and spoken word.
A little history of Palm Sunday, which is also called Passion Sunday, commemorates the first day of what Christians call Holy Week. It is the Sunday before Easter, said to have ushered Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
According to scholars, “During the Middle Ages the ceremony for the blessing of the palms was elaborate: the procession began in one church, went to a church in which the palms were blessed, and returned to the church in which the procession had originated for the singing of the liturgy.
The principal feature of the liturgy that followed the procession was the chanting by three deacons of the account of the Passion of Christ (Matthew 26:36-27:54). Musical settings for parts of the story involving a crowd were sometimes sung by the choir.
After reforms of the Roman Catholic liturgies in 1955 and 1969, the ceremonies were somewhat simplified in order to emphasize the suffering and death of Christ.”
The sanctuary was decorated with palms throughout and some of the attendees were offered blessed palms to take with them.
The Allen Chapel Choir sang inspirational selections throughout the program opening the celebration with “We Come to Give Him Praise,” by mid-program, “The Blood Still Works,” and closed out the celebration with “Hallelujah Amen.”
The celebration continued with dance performances by the Allen Chapel AME Praise Dancers, and spoken word performed by Ajamn Elijah Lee Johnson with his poem titled, “That Donkey.”
Other guest performers were Bethel AME Church of Perris, Women in Praise Dance Ministry, of Ward LA, and a duet performed by First Lady Settle and their son, Jeremiah Settle, on guitar, “In Christ Alone.”
Dr. Barry Settle, Pastor of Allen Chapel AME, shared how he had a vision a few months ago, to put together a program, as he wanted the church family to do something “different” than what they did in years past, to prepare for Easter Sunday.
With the help of his wife, First Lady Rochelle Settle, and a few members of the church, they planned and organized a program, that they hope, will grow bigger and bigger in the years to come. Pastor Settle informed his congregation and guests, to set their calendars for next year’s celebration on April 5, 2020 for what will now be an annual celebration for Allen Chapel AME Church.
The celebration concluded with acknowledgements, thanks, and benediction from Pastor Settle who was pleased with the amount of support, participants, and attendees that were present and engaged. The anticipation for next year’s event is high and all community members who are interested in attending are welcome to come.
Next Sunday, April 21, 2019, they will be worshipping during their Sunrise Service at 6:00 am, with a community breakfast at 8:00 am, and their regular worship service at 10:00 am. All are encouraged to “Come as You Are!”
The Allen Chapel AME Church Riverside, is located at 4009 Locust Street, Riverside, CA 92501.