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Men’s group hosts black history program

NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Lillian Lilly sings, “Lord, You’re The Landlord,” at the second annual Black History Program at Haven Hall. Lilly is an original member of The Mississippi Mass Choir and became the first solo recording artist to break out from the choir.

NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Lillian Lilly sings, “Lord, You’re The Landlord,” at the second annual Black History Program at Haven Hall. Lilly is an original member of The Mississippi Mass Choir and became the first solo recording artist to break out from the choir.

The Mt. Wade Senior Men Mission Society treated a group of nursing home residents to a history lesson, soulful musical performances and words of worship during its second annual black history program Monday.

The group presented the program at Haven Hall at the invitation of activity director Ruth Perkins. Perkins said the program started as a way to get residents more involved in their community.

“Also, it’s been a long time since they’ve attended a black history program,” she said.

Andrew Spiller, founder of the Mt. Wade Senior Men Mission Society, said that the past two years of the program have been successful.

“The group that was there today was just happy,” Spiller said.

Spiller said that as part of a personal mission, he has regularly visited the nursing home since 1990.

“They are not able to get all of these things regularly being in a nursing home,” Spiller said about the residents’ appreciation of the musical performances, poem, stories and other presentations of the morning.

The lineup for the morning included presentations on the origin of Black History Month, recognition of local and national black achievers, a poem by Scott Brown and songs by Tommy Sanders, Rosie Walker and Lillian Lilly of the Mississippi Mass Choir.

The Mt. Wade Senior Men Mission Society is an organization that formed when the pastor of Mt. Wade Missionary Baptist Church expressed a need for more organizations within the church.

Spiller said the organization for men 55 years old and older has a mission to aid the sick and elderly in the community. He said that once a month the group offers a visiting prayer service to the sick in the community as well as services for those in nursing homes. The organization also donates things to the nursing home, sponsors a health program at the church, and invites other churches to offer a host of other programs to the community.

“We hope to benefit not only our home church but the community, surrounding areas, and people who’d most likely not receive visitors,” Spiller said.

He said although they are a small group they are able to help people financially with things like purchasing medicine.

Spiller said the society has been meeting for 10 years and currently has seven members. He said that they are happy to offer their services to any and all the nursing homes in Brookhaven.

“Some of the people don’t have anyone to come visit them,” Spiller said about the nursing home residents. “We thank God we’re the people to fill that void.”

Both Perkins and Spiller said the black history programs are helpful with bringing back memories for the residents. Perkins said she hopes the program gets bigger and more people get involved.