October 8, 2023, was a special day for Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Bloomfield, Kentucky. It observed “Harriet McElvaney Day” with a program of tributes, accolades, presentations, and proclamations as it observed the accomplishments of its first female pastor in its 148-year history. Mrs. Janice Stivers served as the Mistress of Ceremony.
Rev. McElvaney was also honored by people from all over the Kentucky Conference as they acknowledged over 60 years of service as a musician, Christian Educator, teacher, and pastor.
The guest speaker of the hour was Rev. Erich V. Shumake, Pastor of Taylortown A.M.E. Zion Church and Presiding Elder of the Bardstown District, Kentucky Conference. His sermon was taken from James 2:19-29, 26, A Faith That Makes A Difference. This was attested to by many people of the Kentucky Conference, including a letter, read by Ms. Candice Lewis of Campbell Chapel, from Bishop and Mrs. Michael Angelo Frencher, who said in part, “Thank you, Campbell Chapel, for setting aside this day to honor this woman of God who has blessed so many people in so many ways.”
Words of appreciation were also given by Rev. Dr. O. Lacy Evans, Presiding Elder of the Louisville District, Rev. Tanisha Durrett-Simpson, Rev. George Phillips, Rev. James C. Tutt (Presiding Elder Emeritus), Rev. Charles Mitchell of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Mr. Leo Stivers, Preachers Steward of Campbell Chapel, Mr. & Mrs. Bill McReynolds (Zion Temple, Madisonville, KY) and Mrs. Lula Howard, who chronicled her journey starting at Stoner Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church playing for the Youth Choir at the age of 12.
The Taylortown Choir beautifully sang “Great Is Your Name” and “He’s Done Enough,” very appropriate for this occasion.
Rev. Carolyn Thompson, current Pastor of Campbell Chapel, read a proclamation from Governor Andy Beshear, of the State of Kentucky honoring Rev. McElvaney as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor given to lay persons in Kentucky. She said in part, “I can’t fill Rev. Mac’s shoes, but I’m bringing new shoes to Campbell Chapel.”
In her closing remarks, Rev. McElvaney stated she was humbly appreciative of this honor, but in everything, she has tried to be obedient to the Lord who placed her in this service. She attested to the words of Andre’ Crouch, “Just let me live my life, let it be pleasing, Lord, to Thee; And if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary.” Rev. McElvaney retired from active pastoring in June 2023 after Campbell Chapel hosted the 157th Session of the Kentucky Annual Conference. It was a joyous occasion with all praise, honor, and glory going to our Almighty God for all He has done!
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