Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Life and Legacy of District Missionary Primrose Bennett Harrell

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, God sent His angels to His own, Missionary Primrose Bennett Harrell, to quietly bring her from her earthly home to her heavenly home to rest from her labor at the age of 82.

Missionary Primrose Bennett Harrell was the third of seven children born to the union of the late Cleveland Bennett, Sr. and the late Lillie Lue Van Hitchens Bennett on March 31, 1935. She was delivered by a midwife in a three room framed house with wooden windows in the Hillsdale Community. She attended elementary school in a wooden church school in St. Helena Parish and graduated from St. Helena Parish Colored Training School (high school) in 1953. She furthered her formal education at Southern University-Baton Rouge. There she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Home Economics in 1957.  She later achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education and pursued additional studies at Dillard and Southeastern Louisiana Universities.

Missionary Harrell accepted Christ early in life at Gordon Chapel #1 Church of God in Christ under
the leadership of the late Elder E.C. Pounds and was baptized in the Tangipahoa River. After the demise of Elder Pounds, she continued to serve under the late Elder W. M. Slack. While under the leadership of the late Superintendent Alex Richardson, she attended a rival conducted by the late Bishop James E. Gordon and Superintendent Charles H. Gordon. It was in that service that God baptized her with the Holy Ghost. Eager to please the LORD and be found working within HIS vineyard, she served as Primary Sunday School Teacher, Assistant Church Secretary, Assistant to the Church Mother, and in any capacity that was needed.

Proverbs 18:22 says" Whoso findeth a wife fainted a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord." On
August 3, 1958, the late Elder Jasper Harrell, Jr. knew he found a "Good Thing" in the former Primrose Bennett. This union was blessed with two daughters, Wanda Lynette and Kim LaJasper.

As they grew in their service to GOD, in 1973 her husband was appointed pastor of Gordon Chapel #2 Church of God in Christ, known today as Gordon-Harrell C.O.G.I.C. As First lady, she navigated the Women's Ministry. She and her husband remained before God as to how HE would have them lead his people. So it came as no surprise on the passing of the late Elder Frank Harrel that once again an appointment was given to serve at New Bethel C.O.G.I.C.

Upon the passing of her late husband/Pastor in 1987, Missionary Harrell held her relationship with GOD above all and served in accordance with HIS WORD joyfully. She continued to serve under the leadership of the late Elder Roosevelt Harrell, Sr. the late Elder Raymond Harrell, Sr., the late Superintendent Samuel Richardson, and Superintendent Emmitt Richardson.

In recent years, she served on a local level as church mother of Gordon-Harrell, under the leadership of her current pastor, Elder Erold Lesperance. GOD endowed her with the ability to teach. She cherished that which was place within her and functioned as the instructor for the Adult Sunday School and Bible Band classes. She enjoyed coordinating Vacation Bible School and any other capacities needed. Her services spanned across District #1 North for more than 20 years. She as assistant to the late District Missionary Helen Wilbon and gleaning much knowledge. In 2001, she was appointed District Missionary for GOD groomed her with wisdom to lead women in HOLINESS. There was no role to small or too big. She as willing to be the missing link in an ever growing move of GOD's love. She found it pertinent that women carry themselves within a manner predicated by GOD and never missed an opportunity to instruct on such. Missionary Harrell spent time with GOD and lived a life that others might see HIM and come into HIS glory.

As she broadened her service on a jurisdictional level, opportunities of advisement became available. Missionary Harrell diligently sought the LORD in all her ways and was lead to obey leadership under the late Bishop W.K. Gordon, Sr., the late Bishop J. E. Gordon, and Bishop Alphonso Denson, Sr. She knew what it meant to pray for leaders and how to lead. She gladly fulfilled memberships on Louisiana East First Jurisdictional  Catechism Board, Executive Board, Women's Finance, Conference Registration Committee, and Conference Food Committee. An area she held dear was the Business and Professional League. Not only did she serve as a member, but also as former president. Her favorite songs were, " Jesus Said It", Running for My Life" and "Come Over Here." Her favorite scripture was Psalms 121: 1-2

Missionary Harrell's professional career as an educator spanned over 30 years. She began her career in McComb, Mississippi and she retired with St. Helena Parish School System. She educated many children during her tenure as a teacher and assistant principal at Fifth Ward Elementary School. She was known throughout the community as a very firm, but caring teacher. If a student had an unmet need, she didn't hesitate to assist. After retiring in 1988, she continued to educate many other students as a substitute teacher within Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parish School System.

Also, she joined the SHP Federal Credit Union in 1969 and served as secretary of the Board of
Directors. She continued her service to become Board President in 1997 until her resignation due to illness in 2016. She was infamous for her strict adherence to Federal and State regulations. She spent countless hours at the office and home ensuring regulatory compliance.

Homegoing Celebration of
District Missionary Primrose Benett Harrell
Missionary Harrell enjoyed reading her Bible, praying, cooking, sewing and traveling with her family and friends. Her last summer vacation with family was spent enjoying San Antonio, TX. During her illness, she often prayed for visitors that initially came to pray for her. She was known throughout the region for her culinary skills. People traveled from near and far to sample her perfected dishes, such as chicken dumplings, mirliton casserole, bread pudding, cakes, and pies. Attempts were often made to imitate her dishes, but they were never duplicated. For the past few years, her son-in-law, Howard became her travel and cooking companion of choice. She cherished her service to the community through various efforts. These efforts included servicing as a hospice volunteer, as a respite sister for hospitalized family-friends, and cooking large meals for bereaved and ill family/friends.

She leaves to cherish her memory two caring daughters, Missionary Wanda H. Knighten adn Kim (Howard) Jones; surrogate daughter/sister-in-law, Missionary Deloris (Henry Washington; three amazing grandchildren, Jasper Knighten, Myia Knighten and Amari Rose Harrell; two sisters, Missionary Carlen (Joseph) Pope and Mariah Bennett, ten sisters-in-law, Rose C. Bennett, Missionary Mildred A. Harrell, Sarah Harrell, Isabell Harrell-Cook, Jerry Dean Johnson, Cherry Harrell, Ruth Jackson, Patricia Jackson, Mary Harrel and Sadie Harrell; four brothers-in-law, Joseph Pope, Elder Henry Harrell, Oliver Jackson, Jr., and Henry Washington, one uncle-in-law, Reverend  Francis Williams, (Ella); five Godchildren, James Lewis, Thomas Cook,Trenda Haywood, Missionary Veronica Elder Johnny) Dunomes and Camria Pope;  a devoted cousin/sister Joyce (Walter) Haywood, a devoted cousin/friend, Mary B. Smith, Aunt-in-law, Geraldine B Hitchens, long time friend and church traveling companion Missionary Priscilla Gordon, a host of nieces and nephews, other family and friends. The Gordon Harrell C.O.G.I.C., District #1 North, Louisiana East First Jurisdiction families, and Fifth Ward Alumni are also left to cherish her memory.

She was preceded in death by her husband Elder Jasper Harrell, Jr., parents, Cleveland Bennett, Sr., and Lillie Lue Van Hitchens Bennett, two brothers, Celeveland Bennett, Jr., and Alan J. Bennett and two sisters, Dorothy Bennett and Lloyd Bennett.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, have kept the faith: henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but until all them also that love His appearing. " II Timothy 4: 6-8

Monday, April 24, 2017

Teach Kids to Get Involved with Community Issues and Politics

Left to right
State Representative Tracie Davis, Connor LaCoste, State Rep
Cynthia A. Stafford, Chase LaCoste
Children are eager to learn new things and want to get involved. Teaching them to respect the environment, getting involved with causes at school, or community causes.  It's a great way to teach them how to stand up for their rights and learn the due process. Learning about house bills, resolutions, and the three branches of the U.S government will help them to learn about the laws and democracy in the United States as well as the; injustices that plagued and threaten that democracy. 

My grandson Connor often talks Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Thurgood Marshall. He said that Thurgood Marshall is his hero and that if he was still living he would hire him in a minute to represent him if ever he had to appear before any court in the U.S.  He often points out that Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court Judge. He went directly to google to learn about the Clarence Thomas who, succeeded Thurgood Marshall. When he asked me the question about Clarence Thomas, I informed him that the two can't be compared. 

Often times when there is political, business, town hall, are community meetings I must attend, I take them along with me to learn and use this time as a classroom to educate them. Last week I had to attend the sessions of the Legislature at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. I took my two grandsons with me, they witness how laws are passed. It was quite and experience for them. They met several Florida Senators and State Representatives. They also met the Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi and the boys
They had direct invitations to the office of State Representative Cynthia A. Stafford a Democratic member of Florida House of Representatives, representing the 109th District which includes northeastern Miami-Dade County, Senator Daryl Rouson District #70, and State Attorney Pam Bondi. They were given strong words of encouragement from the elected officials about setting goals and to work hard to achieve those goals. 

I find them talking about the three branches of government and discussing issues that are important to them. Especially issues that pertain to kids.  It's never too early to teach them how congress affects their lives and their future. Connor wants to be a voice an advocate for seat belts and cameras on all Tangipahoa Parish School buses. You can follow him on;

My granddaughter Jo'elle love drawing and art. She creates eye-catching posters with a powerful message for the causes she believes in and, stands up for. Her poster was signed by the Attorney General and Senator. The boys enjoy taking photographs. They both felt like little photographers and like the idea that they were treated like professional photographers.
Florida Senator Daryl Rouson

Chase enjoys taking photographs and getting involved with critical discussions on politics, laws, and issues. Now, before I can ask the question, "who want to come with me?" All hands are in the air to go come along.  I think my grandson Carter has expressed interest in becoming an actor in his mind. Politics is not on his agenda. Each one of them has talents, gifts, and skills that must be nurtured. 

In celebration of Earth Day, Jo'elle created posters to attend a march in New Orleans. Her poster made a powerful statement about our planet earth. It was the first march and protest for the boys and they learned a lot about the importance of standing up for what they believe in.  Their an artist of some kind in all children. We just need to take the time to see it and help them cultivate and nurtured that gift or talent. Jo'elle was encouraged by many protesters to keep standing up and having her voice heard through her art.  I enjoy seeing her find a place just for herself and explore her creative mind. I can't wait to see her masterpiece. I don't think they realize that I have preserved many of their masterpieces. My oldest son Joseph is thirty-eight and I still have artwork he created when he was in third and fouth grade. 
Jo'elle LaCoste
Earth Day in NOLA 2017
Tangi Democrats