Love Feast recognizes York's community leaders

Jason Addy
  • Fourteen people were honored at the 23rd annual African-American Love Feast on Sunday.
  • Hosted by the Emmanuel Church of God in Christ, the ceremony is held to recognize contributions to York's African-American community.

Dressed in their Sunday best and in African attire, with plates piled high and gospel music filling the air, Yorkers gathered Sunday to honor community members for their contributions to the African-American community.

Lincoln Charter School CEO Leonard Hart was one of 14 people recognized at the 23rd annual African-American Love Feast Recognition Dinner at the Wyndham Garden York, 2000 Loucks Road, and he called it an honor to be recognized for the work he does out of his love for children.

Clara Anderson, right, mother of York City Mayor C. Kim Bracey, is honored during the 23rd annual African/African-American Love Feast, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Attorney Chuck Hobbs said he was humbled to be recognized for his volunteer work in the community, though he joked he wasn’t sure he deserved to be in the “distinguished panel” with the other winners.

Hobbes, who is running for York County judge, said it is important for community leaders to have an open door and to maintain open lines of communication between different communities.

“The greatness of our nation doesn’t come from our government. It comes from the strength of our communities and the bonds we share with each other,” Hobbs said. “This is about the bonds that we share. That’s what’s important.”

York City Councilwoman Judy Ritter-Dickson said she was at the dinner to support all of the award winners, though three in particular had special meaning for her.

Ritter-Dickson’s cousin, Rosalyn Walker, fellow Councilman Henry Nixon and Clara Anderson, the mother of York City Mayor Kim Bracey, all scooped awards recognizing their work in the local African-American community.

The Love Feast ceremony — dubbed “Super Love Sunday” by Emmanuel Church of God in Christ pastor Leighton McMillan — was hosted by WGAL anchor Ron Martin, who promised the audience they’d be home in time for the Super Bowl.

McMillan said his church hosts the event each year to shed light on members of the community who are improving the lives of others but aren’t getting much recognition and to “share the love of Jesus Christ” throughout the community.

Over the past two decades, the dinner has outgrown several venues, McMillan said, and it has reached a point where the awards are able to honor people at the highest levels, including Gov. Tom Wolf, who was recognized several years ago.

However, McMillan said it is most important to him that children be honored for their community service.

This year, Aalyhsia Bartley, a ninth-grade student at the York County School of Technology, and Ajanae Henderson, an eighth-grader at Logos Academy, were named as junior honorees at the ceremony.

Aalyhsia and Ajanae are both honor-roll students and share a passion for arts, theater and singing.

Other honorees at Sunday’s Love Feast included Carlotta Barnes, Pastor Miguel Arenas, Deacon Michael Flack, Pastor Courtland Howard, York City School board member Michael Miller, Shane McMillan and former York City Controller Robert Lambert.